By Margaret Ashburner
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is pleased to present a list of newly digitized recordings from our 78-rpm disc collection. These early 20th century recordings include a variety of Canadian musicians, performers, composers and publishers. We will present the new recordings to you in six installments over the next few months.
Our first batch of newly digitized songs includes a variety of French-language songs. The release dates on these range from 1918 to the late 1930s and reflect the influx of francophone immigrants to Quebec, and Montreal in particular. With the boom in a French-speaking population came some great artistic developments for Canada, including francophone popular music, a small sample of which we have here:
- Y-a des loups: Georges Beauchemin, baritone with piano; AMICUS No. 31386448
- Où y a des filles y a des garçons: Louis Chartier, Baritone; AMICUS No. 31400059
- Les cerisettes: Louis Chartier, Baritone; AMICUS No. 31400060
- À son chevet: Ludovic Huot, tenor, and J. Allan McIver, piano; AMICUS No. 31394570
- Tu partis: Hector Pellerin, baritone with piano; AMICUS No. 31386750
- Set câllé de Pigeon. 3ème partie: Trois Copains; AMICUS No. 31395367
Georges Beauchemin, baritone
Georges Beauchemin is an interesting early example of the potential that recording technology brought to musicians. Beauchemin possessed a light baritone voice that would not have been suitable for solo stage and operatic roles. However, the new recording technologies allowed musicians with less powerful voices to be recorded and amplified.
Hector Pellerin, baritone
Hector Pellerin was an industrious musician who started out training in piano and organ but quickly moved on to popular music through his work accompanying silent films. He continued to work in various musical capacities before landing his first recording contract at the age of 29. He recorded in both wax cylinder and 78-rpm formats, ultimately making over 140 recordings.
Margaret Ashburner is the Special Collections Librarian of music at Library and Archives Canada