Hall of Fame: Jean Leloup
par MJ Milloy
dans Hour, 18 septembre 2008

A singular musician whose muse roams the wilds of songwriting

The wolf is dead, long live the wolf.It's tempting to think the recent profusion of lupine-monikered acts is some sort of tribute to Jean Leloup. The past and present Jean Leclerc, Quebec singer/songwriter, author (2005's Noir destin que le mien) and vedette of some of the most perfect and important Canadian pop albums of the last two decades (1989's brilliant Menteur; 1998's timeless Les Fourmis), is the kind of artist who makes everything that follows seem impossible without him. In Montreal's mid-'90s doldrums, Leloup's lyrics and songs, powerful and raw, shot through with joual charm and enfant terrible genius, were the soundtrack of a new urban present, its loves and heartbreaks, its poverty and passion, its tarmac seasons.

Like another guitar hero with a love of noms du guerre, Leloup was the troubadour of times that were changing. He didn't oppose the old myths - of French and English, east and west, black and white - as much as ignore them altogether, one city under the groove. Along with bands like Les Colocs and Bran Van 3000, he took what he needed - from boîte chansonnier, from Algerian rhythms, from American rock - to energize pre-millennial Montreal.

And, unlike some poets of the Plateau, Leloup isn't spending his time on

Buddhist mountaintops or London pubs. Just as he shared a cup of tea with this writer on his St-Dominique stoop in 1999, he's no icon, still as generous with his time and goofy humour now as he was then. He may have retired the name, but the Wolf still roams his Plateau.

photo: Dominique Thibodeau: Johnny the Wolf: Il joue de la guitare
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Dernière mise à jour le 20 septembre 2008.
Conception: SD