|Opa-Loka||Date: Friday, 23 May 2008, 17:53 | Message # 1|
Harmonium - 1980 - En Tournee
1. Introduction (1:30)
2. Comme un fou (7:08)
3. Chanson Noire
.. Le bien, Le mal (4:22)
.. Pour une Blanche Cérémonie (4:10)
4. Le premier Ciel (20:52)
5. L'Exil (11:58)
6. Le Corridor (3:50)
7. Lumière de Vie
.. Lumière de Nuit (4:17)
.. Lumière de Jour (2:38)
.. Lumière de Vie (0:51)
.. Lumière de Vie (2eme Partie) (3:12)
.. Lumière de Vie (3eme Partie) (4:44)
.. Lumière de Vie (Finale) (2:43)
8. Comme un Sage (15:30)
- Libert Subirana / flute, saxophone, vocals
- Serge Locat / piano, organ, Mellotron, synthesizers
- Monique Fauteux / Rhodes piano, vocals
- Robert Stanley / electric guitar
- Serge Fiori / acoustic & electric guitar, vocals
- Denis Farmer / drums, percussion
- Louis Valois / electric bass, Taurus (bass pedals)
Harmonium is Quebec's most prolific progressive rock group from the 1970's.
The band was formed as a folk trio in 1973 by guitarists/vocalists Serge Fiori and Michel Normandeau, accompanied by Louis Valois on bass. They became very popular playing in cafes and small clubs, and recorded a self-titled all acoustic album in 1974, which featured Réjean Émond on drums on several tracks. The LP spawned a series of hit songs such as "Pour un Instant", "Un Musicien parmi tant d'autres", "Harmonium" and "Aujourd'hui, je dis bonjour à la vie", similar in sound to Beau Dommage, and which have became staples of Quebec musical culture to this day. Harmonium's first album is undoubtedly one of Quebec's masterpieces of folk rock.
Fiori, emerging as the group's driving force, became more ambitious on the next album by recruting keyboardist Serge Locat and Pierre Daigneault (ex-L'Infonie) on flute, sax and clarinet. The group's second LP, entitled "Les Cinq saisons" (a.k.a. "Si On avait besoin d'une cinquieme saison") was released in 1975. While the album's music can best be described as symphonic folk, this second masterpiece features a variety of musical styles with Fiori, Normandeau and Valois testing their abilities on a host of instruments. Female vocalist Judy Richard lends her voice on the 17-minute symphonic epic "Histoires sans paroles". Amazingly, the music is devoid of drums, although one wouldn't know it from the energy and compositional complexity. Marie Bernard Pagé of Et Cetera even makes a brief appearance with her unique sounding « Ondes Martenot ».
After several successful local live shows and a brief hiatus, Fiori's creative juices went into overdrive. Harmonium regrouped in Fiori's home in the countryside to compose a 7-piece suite for a double album called "L'Heptade", based on the seven levels of consiousness. Fiori recruited drummer Denis Farmer and guitarist Robert Stanley, both from Toubabou and Ville Emard Blues Band, as well as flutist/saxophonist Libert Subirana (who replaced Daigneault) and vocalist Monique Fauteux, while Locat was back on keyboards in a more prominent way. The album was arranged by well known pianist/conductor/composeur Neil Chotem (many years Fiori's senior), who added segments with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. The experience proved to be too much for Normandeau, and he left the group during the recording sessions, although he received many songwriting credits. Several other guest vocalists sang on the album, such as Pierre Bertrand (Beau Dommage), Richard Séguin (Les Séguin) and Estelle Ste-Croix (VEBB).
Released in 1976, "L'Heptade" was no doubt Harmonium's magnum opus and opened the doors for the group to perform outside Quebec. In 1977, the band toured Canada and parts of Europe with Supertramp. The group also performed in California with the encouragement of Quebec's separatist Parti Quebecois government. This performance became the subject of a National Film Board video documentary. Alas, touring proved too physically and emotionally demanding for Fiori, and he decided to call it quits for good later that year. In 1980, in order to raise money to pay the bills from the California tour which the Quebec government had promised to pay, Harmonium released a double album entitled "En Tournée", comprising a flawless live performance of "L'Heptade" in Vancouver in 1977. This incredible live version of "L'Heptade", which even surpasses the studio version, is a testament to the professionalism and talent of this legendary symphonic rock group. After Harmonium disbanded, Fiori went on to make an award winning album with Richard Seguin in 1978 (see Fiori-Seguin), followed much later by a commercial solo LP in 1986. Locat and Normandeau released good solo efforts in 1978 and 1979 respectively. In 1979, Neil Chotem rounded up most of Harmonium's last formation, and recorded a rare live album comprising some beautiful pieces written by Fiori, the last vestiges.