François Léveillée: La part des anges

February 28, 2017

leveillee2Angels and Alchemists

Listening Post 88. When cognac ages, the elusive portion that evaporates is called the angels’ share (La part des anges). As François Léveillée—humorist, singer-songwriter, author, director and beloved fixture of Québec culture—has aged, he has developed a potent formula of comedy and music. “I can take an audience to one place with humor and somewhere else entirely with a song,” he said in a recent interview. While the love songs from his latest album (French chanson, folk styles) are integrated into his shows, they are also irresistible on their own, carrying humor in their DNA but also revealing more of his tender side. The title track is a tribute to his wife: “You are my timeless muse,” he sings, “My eternally perfumed love/As in the harvest season, the angels’ share”; the song is also a family affair, a duet with his singer-songwriter daughter, Sarah Toussaint-Léveillée (video 1). Love can invite resistance, too, as in Quand l’amour a franchi ma porte (When Love Crossed My Door): “It threatened me with its charms/I had to be on my guard,” Léveillée sings (video 2). In the melancholy Elle s’évade (She escapes), he describes imaginary romance: “Her ideas fly in disarray/In a whirlwind of desires/She escapes into her illusions” (video 3). Fatherly advice drives Faut pas te décourager (Don’t Get Discouraged): “You’ll find your Prince Charming/But I doubt he’ll be perfect,” he counsels, adding, “You should talk to your mother about the day we met” (video 4). Other album standouts are Pas besoin de clavarder (No Need to Chat) comparing face-to-face and Internet courtship; and C’est quoi le problème (What’s the Problem?), focused on the libidinal side of attraction. Ten tracks, ten gems—like the angels, Léveillée gives back more than he takes. (Orage)








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