Love ballads, political anthems, Franglais rappers and, of course, Celine Dion and Leonard Cohen topped the suggestions I received from readers offering musical tips for my five-city road trip across my home province, Quebec, which begins today in Montreal.
Last week, I asked readers to suggest what music I should play while on the road, and they heeded my call! Hundreds of musical suggestions poured in.
In the end, I selected artists and songs that embody Quebecois identity — and which would provide the ideal soundtrack as we drive past churches; Dépanneurs, or convenience stores; and the province’s picturesque, rugged and sometimes desolate landscapes.
Some songs on the list are favorites of mine, like Mr. Cohen’s “Closing Time,” an upbeat ode to late-night revelry that reminds me so much of the joie de vivre of Montreal and Quebec.
Others — like those from the plaintive crooner Richard Desjardins, the folkloric group Les Cowboys Fringants and the Quebec rocker Éric Lapointe — are such a part of Quebec’s musical tapestry that leaving them out seemed a sacrilege.
The choices are eclectic and multilingual. Among the artists are Samian, an indigenous rapper who grew up in Abitibi-Témiscamingue and sings in both French and Algonquin; the swaggering Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire; and the Dead Obies, whose self-described “Frenglish” style mixes English and French in a province where language is at the core of identity.
Choosing a song from Ms. Dion wasn’t easy. But I finally decided on “Destin” because its soaring notes are ideal for the road. And its words seemed apt: “Je vais les routes et je vais les frontières. Je sens, j’écoute, et j’apprends, je vois.” (“I go the roads and I go the borders. I smell, I hear, I learn, I see.”)
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