Saturday, November 12, 2016

Harmonium: Un musicien parmi tant d’autres (1974)

Montreal Memories & Nostalgia



Harmonium, a Québec folk-progressive rock band, performs “Un musicien parmi tant d’autres” (loosely translated as “A musician among many others”), the last track on Side B on their self-titled debut album, Harmonium. The band, formed in Montréal in 1972, consists of  Serge Fiori (lead vocals, backing vocals, acoustic guitar); Michel Normandeau ( backing vocals, acoustic guitar) and Louis Valois (bass guitar).

This song was hugely popular in Québec, even among anglophones (English-speakers) in Montreal, giving expression to the emotions of unknowningness, of naivité and of simplicity common at the time. Like pilgrims searching and inquiring, it’s all found within the lines and notes of the song.

The song speaks about the vagaries of life in general and in particular of being a musician, and how the fate or fortunes, broadly speaking, of a musician rises and falls quite independent of his will or designs or schemes, if you will. Are we the sole authors of our fortunes? our misfortunes? Comme le rideau sur une corde/Le musicien monte et descend. And the last line is essential: On devrait peut-être l'écouter.

Speaking of which, you can listen to an earlier live version [here]¸when Harmonium performed the song on rock station CHOM-FM in November 1973, before their album was released. This is the first time that I heard the song. This group has often been compared to Genesis, the British progressive rock band. Harmonium last performed in 1979 and disbanded in 1980having accomplished all they wanted to as a band.

Un musicien parmi tant d’autres
par Serge Fiori

Une main sur une épaule
Chacun a bien joué son rôle
Le rideau monte et descend
Le musicien se serre les dents
Il est si bien pour une fois

À la porte d'un café
Son nom vient de s'effacer
On a trouvé quelqu'un de mieux
Le musicien se faisait vieux
Comme un enfant, il était une fois

Comme le rideau sur une corde
Le musicien monte et descend

Une nuit pour oublier
Y a des problèmes qu'on veut soûler
Une bouteille monte et descend
Le musicien se serre les dents
Il est si loin, une autre fois

À la porte d’un café
Les noms ne font que changer
Il a enfin compris pourquoi
Le sien ne sera plus là
Comme un enfant, on ne vit qu’une fois

Comme le fond d’une bouteille
Le musicien a fait son temps

Où est allé tout ce monde
Qui avait quelque chose à raconter
On a mis quelqu’un au monde
On devrait peut-être l’écouter

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