mouvance… toujours plus loin dites-vous… jusqu’au bout du monde… et le bout du monde est bleu…
These words, penned by Acadian poet Gérald Leblanc, lay the foundation for the captivating multimedia journey that Suzie LeBlanc and I have been crafting since 2016. They are an outpouring of emotions that have long resided within us, birthing a profoundly intense artistic collaboration.
Suzie, an Acadian residing in Vancouver, and I, a Québécois who has called Halifax home for over 18 years, experienced a sense of uprootedness despite our migrations occurring within the same expansive and culturally diverse country, Canada. This vast territory, with its linguistic and cultural variations, prompted us to ponder upon this matter individually, delving deep into our unique experiences.
Personally, I sought solace and exploration by composing a piece for voice and bass clarinet in 2009, drawing inspiration from Gérald Leblanc’s poem “mouvance.” This expansive piece captures the essence of the Acadian saga, which revolves around uprooting and migration, albeit without explicit references, suffering, or regret. The sheer power of these words immediately enthralled me, taking us on a transcendent voyage through space and time, evoking vivid imagery and embracing modernism.
Suzie’s mesmerizing album Tout Passe (ATMA 2008) delves into the trials faced by her ancestors during the tumultuous Grand Dérangement (1755), as well as their ventures in search of work and fertile lands. Her personal experiences infuse life into these songs, making it easier to engage in heartfelt discussions about these journeys. In 2006 and 2007, Suzie herself embarked on a remarkable odyssey, traversing hundreds of miles in pursuit of songs that breathe life into her own narrative.
In the autumn of 2015, Suzie performed my rendition of the poem “mouvance” during a concert in Halifax. It was during this extraordinary moment that the idea sprouted—using this piece as a springboard to develop a comprehensive production encompassing the universal themes of movement, migration, and uprooting. In addition to Gérald Leblanc’s text, we incorporated the words of Sarah Marylou Brideau, Herménégilde Chiasson, France Daigle, Léonard Forest, Céleste Godin, Georgette LeBlanc, Gabriel Robichaud, Serge Patrice Thibodeau, and Roméo Savoie. This expansion propelled our project into uncharted realms, culminating in a breathtaking multimedia spectacle in 2019. Our talented collaborators, François Racine in stage direction, Karen Trask in set design, Vicky Williams in lighting, and Phil Comeau and Jonah Haché in video projections, contributed to the grandeur of the show.
Following the performance, we joined forces with Renée Blanchar and Ça Tourne Productions to create a series of short films, set to be unveiled in the summer of 2023. And now, at long last, this album…
We invite you to travel with us to the ends of the earth…
Jérôme Blais, Composer