CLAUDE MÉTHÉ, A VIOLINIST FROM QUEBEC

photo Claude Methe

Claude Méthé
(photo and graphics by D. Whittle)

Memorable long afternoon

It was during this trip that we were lucky enough to meet Louis "Pitou" Boudreault, in his house in Chicoutimi. A memorable long afternoon, with violin "tunes" and many fascinating anecdotes that Louis Boudreault told to the musicians and researchers that he welcomed with pleasure.

Since this first encounter, Le Rêve du Diable came on tour to France and Europe several times during the eighties. Giving memorable concerts and Quebec evenings here and there and ensuring a faithful and enthusiastic following for themselves. 

Claude Méthé's career

After that, Claude Méthé's career developed in a way which led him to play Cajun music, with the group "Joséphine", and then to go back to music from Quebec with "Manigance", a group including Daniel Roy, a very good singer and tin-whistle player, and Daniel Lemieux on violin.

A collector of fiddle tunes

Claude Méthé has played across Canada, in Europe and the U.S. and appears on at least twelve recordings, including the soundtrack of Oscar-winning film “CRAC” by Frédéric Back. Know for his warm, textured vocal style, Claude’s impressive repertoire of traditional songs, collected over numerous years of musical partying, contains gems from across French Canada. A prolific composer and collector of fiddle tunes, Claude has also inherited the musical repertoire of Lotbinière “violoneux” Aimé Gagnon who was his mentor and close friend for some twenty years prior to his death in 1997.

Performances

  • Quebec : Des Musiques en Mémoire, Radio Canada; Bal de Neige/Winterlude; Scène du Carré D’Youville; Place Royale; UNESCO World Heritage Site Celebration; Les Francofolies de Montréal; La Grande Rencontre (Montréal); tournée provinciale La Grande Virée (Hull, Montréal, Québec); spectacle/radio “Mémoire Vives” Radio Canada, Maison de la Culture Frontenac, (Montréal)

  • I met Claude Méthé on day in July 1980. It was in Montreal, inside the Universal Exhibition. He was performing with le "Rêve du Diable", at that time, a group playing traditional Quebec music, of which he was one of the founder members with Gervais Lessard.

    On Stage

    He was on stage with Pierre Vézina, guitarist and Gervais, a great traditional singer, with a vast repertoire and an immediately recognizable voice and style. I was on a musical trip in Quebec with a musician friend. The violin and the accordion that we had with us carried with them all sorts of music which were fashionable at that time: Breton, Irish and other waltzes and "bourrées" (a dance from the Auvergne).

    Claude Méthé on stage at Montreal Expo (photo JP Bénard)
    Claude Méthé on stage at Montreal Expo

    Contact was immediately friendly, warm and musical. Sitting around a table a little later, on the terrace of a café in Rue St Denis, the jam session continued far into the night. Lovely days followed in a wooden house in the country in the County of Ste Cécile de Lévrard and contributed to the improvement of our knowledge of music from Quebec.

    Finally, very recently, Claude created a group nearer to his musical preferences with new male and female musician friends: Dent de Lion.

    With "L'Escapade", a first CD recorded in 94, and "Les Beaux Yeux Bleus" which followed it the following year, he has given us beautiful songs and violin pieces with just the right amount of gentleness, melancholy, natural beauty and taste for beautiful melodies and subtle arrangements. All good reasons to give these two recordings pride of place in your personal record collection.

    (to read some critics' comments about these recordings)

  • France : Les Fêtes de la Mer, Brest; Vielle et Cornemeuse, Saint Chartier

  • USA : Flynn Theatre, tournée Soirée Grand Ménage, Bennington Arts Center, Champlain Valley Festival, New World Festival, Festival on the Green (Vermont)--St. Lawrence University, Hubbard Hall Concert Series, Folk Music Society of New York, Ticonderoga Folk Festival (New York); The Folkway, Manchester Ste-Bastille Day Celebration, Gunstock Francophone Festival (New Hampshire); Bates College, University of Maine at Orono (Maine); Northwest Folklife Festival (Washington)

  • Claude Méthé in his house in Ste Cécile in 1980 (photo JP Bénard)
    Claude Méthé in his house in Ste Cécile in 1980

     

    DISCOGRAPHY

  • Quand ça vient l’temps (Ni sarpe ni branche)
  • Les beaux yeux bleus (Dent-de-lion)
  • Madamoiselle, voulez-vous danser? (Smithsonian Folkways)
  • Violoneux d’origine (Aimé Gagnon)
  • Entrecroisé (Jeter le pont)
  • L’escapade (Jeter le pont)
  • Joséphine (Danielle Martineau)
  • Nouvelles manigances (Manigance)
  • Auberge (Le rêve du diable)
  • Delires et des reels (Le rêve du diable)
  • La rivière jaune (Le rêve du diable)
  • Le rêve du diable (Le rêve du diable)