In the course of his 50-year career, singer-songwriter/musician/performer Robert Charlebois has become an emblematic figure in the French-speaking pop/rock world.
Charlebois changed Québec’s pop music in 1968 with the memorable stage performance L’Osstidcho. Later that year, he represented Quebec at the fifth International Festival of French Song (Spa, Belgium), winning the grand prize with “Lindberg,” which he wrote with Claude Péloquin. His recording of “Lindberg,” a brash, electrifying performance, in which Forestier also sings, was very popular and won him the Prix Félix-Leclerc in the 1969 Festival du Disque. He gave his first performance at the Olympia in Paris in 1969, introducing Europeans to Québécois French-sung rock music. His tour of France created Charlebois’s image as “Superfrog,” an outlandish figure in a Montreal Canadiens hockey sweater who sang in joual to the accompaniment of a jazz-rock group, soon became a novelty in French pop music; amusement at the novelty gradually gave way to an appreciation of the originality and energy of his music. Charlebois returned to France in 1970 and performed at the Olympia in 1972 (twice), 1973 (for three weeks), and 1974.
In 1969 Charlebois made his first significant appearance in Canada, outside Quebec, at the Toronto Pop Festival.
In 1970 he was a member of the Festival Express (with Janis Joplin, Ten Years After, Mountain, The Band, etc.), which travelled across Canada by train for concerts in Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Calgary.
Throughout the following decades, Charlebois continued to create his iconic brand of music and toured extensively throughout the French world. In 1993 he was awarded the Victoire de la Musique Trophy for best world music album and in 1994 he won a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award. In 2008 he was inducted into the National Order of Quebec and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and in 2010 was named to the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Charlebois performs September 28 at the Flato Markham Theatre.
Visit www.markhamtheatre.ca for details.