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If I would like to make the best compliment to the singer, it would be: he has his own style.
You hear him singing, and you do not even to know the song - it's Daniel Lavoie.

Bruno Pelletier

Now Online

Daniel Lavoie: One shouldn’t put off love, food and friends.

Vechernii Peterburg

Friday, March 26 2010

A famous Canadian musician is flattered by having many fans in Russia.

Even those who hear his name for the first time know Daniel Lavoie: in Roman Viktiuk’s stage production of «The Maids» there is a show-stopping scene when his most famous song «Ils s'aiment» is played. Its essence (Lavoie wrote this song in 1983 after having seen in the news a report about the war in Lebanon) does not exactly correspond to the essence of the artsy show:

They love one another other like they did before
Before the threats and great torments
They love one another hesitatingly
Discovering love and discovering time
There's someone who is mocking
I hear someone who is mocking
Mocking me, mocking whom?

 [Translation of the lyrics from: ]

But this is not so important, as long as it made the Canadian Daniel Lavoie famous in Russia, which the best examples of francophone music reach with great difficulty.

He is indeed famous, although the music he writes is not for everyone. It wasn’t without the influence of «Notre Dame de Paris», – now legendary musical, staged in Canada, and then imported to Paris  by poet Luc Plamondon and composer Richard Cocciante. The piest Frollo played by Lavoie was not frightening, but rather a sufferer, a victim of his passions, consealed and forbidden for many years, which have now escaped from under his control. The Pilot, the main character of «The Little Prince» – another musical, also well-known here, is more like Lavoie himself – a man with amazing eyes, a warm voice and the world’s kindest smile.

Daniel Lavoie is coming to Russia – on May 11 his exclusive concert will take place in Moscow. Before his “debut” in Russia  monsieur Lavoie has agreed to give an interview to “Vechernii Peterburg”: a little bit about the fans, a little bit about the music and about the things he doesn’t like to put off.

Music is the best means of communication.

The Russian admirers of your talent are happy because they will soon see you in Russia. I know that you communicate with your fans via Internet and than they write to you and you almost always respond. What do people from Russia write?

They tell about themselves, just like everyone else. They ask me questions about my songs, about my life.

Do you consider such exchanges important? Or is music and songs enough for people to learn everything about you that you would like to tell them?

Yes, I communicate with my fans, but I can’t spend too much time on that – or I wouldn’t have time for anything else. Music always has and remains the best means of communication for me.

The wider audience in Russia knows you primarily asan interpreter of the role of Frollo in the musical «Notre Dame de Paris», and as the author of the song “Ils s’aiment” which is played in one famous stage production. Many people have seen the musical “The Little Prince”, where you play the Pilot. But if we imagine that you are going to a country where you are not known at all, what would you first of all like to show to the audience? What do you personally think is the most important?

I think that everything is important – and not important at the same time. I try to do what I do the best way I can and I am happy when it brings joy to someone. I am lucky – my work allowed other people to get to know me. And I am flattered by the fact that I have fans in such a far-away country as Russia.

Last year Bruno Pelletier visited Moscow  with concerts. Among others he sang your songs which were written specifically for him. Do you maintain friendships with your «Notre Dame» colleagues? Who else among them, besides Bruno, would you like to write a song for?

Yes, I remain friends with my «Notre Dame» colleagues. We see each other from time to time, although all of hem, of course, are very busy people. Also I wrote a song for Julie Zenatti.

What needs to be done today?

In one of your interviews you said that the proverb “Never put off until tomorrow things that can be done today” is one of your favorite ones and you find it very true. Do you really follow this rule?

Of course, no. In reality I am in favor of never doing today things that can be delayed until tomorrow. The exceptions are love, food and friends – these things one shouldn’t put off.

You have an amazing reputation – never any rumors, gossip or scandals about you. As somebody has put it: «It’s as if nothing dirty sticks to him». Is this a result of a strict control or are you really such a harmonious person as you seem to be?

I am a calm person. I don’t like parties (sorry, girls). Besides, there are so many musicians around who love to attract attention to themselves that very few people are interested in me in that respect. And this works for me perfectly.

Inspiration in the garden.

There are musicians who love the stage and are not crazy about studio work. And then there are others who vice versa prefer to work in a studio, and for them coming onto the stage is real torture. Which one are you?

I like both. I like to work in the studio, when the atmosphere there is calm and creative. I enjoy being on stage: it both inspires and demands a lot from a performer, it forces you to stay in form. I like to stay in touch with the people to helped me to become who I am now.

Last year we heard songs by Lavoie performed by a choir. What can we expect in the nearest future? Do you like creative experimentation?

This summer I will perform with a chamber orchestra. In general I wouldn’t mind trying my skills in many musical directions. But I am afraid my fans might not be crazy about it. They like me for the things I do. And if all of a sudden I will switch to heavy metal I doubt I will have a great success.

I know you love classical music and adore your garden. What is the source of inspiration for you?

The garden, the classical music and jazz help me to relax. I am inspired by people, politics, power, love, hate, pain. All of these are good subjects for conversation, i. e. for songs.

Interview by Alla Bruk


Daniel Lavoie was born on March 17 1949 in the Canadian village of Dunrea.

His father was a local shop owner, and his mother was a homemaker. He received his education in a Jesuit school, was planning to become a doctor, but his love for music took over. His song «Ils s’aiment» made him famous.

He appeared in movies. Among others, he played a Romanian refugee in the film by Claude Fournier «The Book of Eve» and the famous Quebec composer and poet Felix Leclerc in the eponymous TV mini-series. He participated in musicals «Notre Dame de Paris» (as Frollo) and «The Little Prince» (as the Pilot).He is married with two sons, Mathieu and Joseph and daughter Gabrielle. He is active in charity work. He loves to cook, to work in his garden and to listen to Bach.

Translated by Anna None