Paul Daraîche at the Casino de Montréal: a touching tribute to Renée Martel

Paul Daraîche at the Casino de Montréal: a touching tribute to Renée Martel


Last year at this time, the queen of country, Renée Martel, was preparing a tour with her best friend and cosmic twin Paul Daraîche for the album they had just released “Contre vents et tides . 

Unfortunately, a few days before Christmas, the golden cowgirl was finally quickly and suddenly swept away by pneumonia, at the age of 74, after 60 years of career.

“Her departure as abrupt as it was unexpected hurt us a lot,” said Paul Daraîche on Thursday evening, opening the show he created to pay homage to him. Accompanied by his ladies of heart Laurence Jalbert, Annie Blanchard and his daughter Émilie Daraîche, he transformed the Cabaret du Casino de Montréal into a country landmark, where cowboy hats and denim were a delight to the crowd.

Sometimes soft and touching, sometimes dancing and festive, the show opened with the sweet voice of Renée Martel, singing “I'm going to the other side of the world”, while images of the singer, interspersed with strikes and tides, were projected on the screen at the back of the room. At the chorus, Paul Daraîche came to find her almost in a whisper.

Filled with classics, the tribute show was built on a repertoire that everyone can know, such as “Rosalie”, “We love country music” or “A love that does not want to die”. It was also the show “that she would have liked to present”, underlined the singer born on June 26, 1947 at 5 a.m., like her.

Taking turns on stage, Laurence Jalbert and Annie Blanchard shared “A cross on your name”, “My father” and Paul Daraîche's classic “Perce les clouds” – which Annie Blanchard and Renée Martel often interpreted together on the “A Free Woman” tour. The Acadian singer also considered her since this tour as her mentor, but also as her second mother.

Loving, protective and endowed with immense tenderness, Renée Martel was a woman of adventures, who notably lived in the United States and Morocco, but it is his strength and his courage that his best friend and cosmic twin remembers, he confided to the crowd Thursday evening, just before resuming “C ' is my story”.

The trio formed by Paul Daraîche, Laurence Jalbert and Annie Blanchard also sang “Love, suffer, forgive, forget” – the first song written by Paul Daraîche for his sister Julie -, “If we could start again”, and “Que la lune est belle ce soir” – which the spectators warmly welcomed in addition to letting their voices be heard.

Émilie Daraîche, who was in charge of the first part, also came to take a look on stage for a father-daughter duo. Together, they played “Contre vents et tides” as well as the successes of Renée Martel's father, Marcel, “Simple passenger” and “Un coin du ciel”.

Country is a big family . This is also the atmosphere that emerged from this evening. The singers' testimonies between songs about their relationship with the queen of country music added a dimension as personal as it is poignant.

Paul Daraîche and his guests will be back at the Cabaret du Casino de Montréal on Friday, for the third night away. The team will be back on the road after the holidays and will perform on stage at the Théâtre Capitole in Quebec City on February 4.