A magnificent evening to celebrate Karim Ouellet
The show Tribute to Karim Ouellet, at the Francofolies de Montréal./Josie Desmarais/Métro
It was not time for lamentation, but rather for celebration Sunday night at the Francos to celebrate the late musician Karim Ouellet. The show Bye Bye Bye Karim: La soiree des ami.e.s brought together many Quebec artists who came to pay tribute to the singer who died on January 17 at the age of 37. Together, they were able to move the crowded floor of the festival site and make them dance.
“We are here to remember someone important,” launched the festival's programmer, Laurent Saulnier, at the start of the show.
Musician Luis Clavis, member of Valaire, acted as master of ceremonies throughout the evening. At the start of the show, he asked everyone in attendance to shout their first name, to which he replied “delighted”, offering a nice nod to his friend Karim who used to do the same during his concerts.
On stage, other winks: a video game controller, a manga image, another of the little prince, all things that Karim adored.
And, behind the stage, gigantic projections photos of Karim paraded on the UQAM pavilion.
The Tribute to Karim Ouellet show, at the Francofolies de Montréal/Josie Desmarais/Metro
Ariane Moffat, Claude Bégin, La Bronze, Alaclair Ensemble, Claudia Bouvette, Hubert Lenoir, Fanny Bloom, Valaire and other friends of the artist from Quebec succeeded one after the other on stage to reinterpret classics of the singer, taken from his various albums.
Some pieces were done in softness and emotion, others in festivity and dance.
All the artists on stage were colorfully dressed, sporting wide smiles, a sign of an obvious desire to celebrate their friend.
Claudia Bouvette and Hubert Lenoir, very accomplices, offered a particularly festive and joyful title Oh! No. The young Quebec rocker then demonstrated an equally beautiful chemistry with Ariane Moffat for the interpretation of La mer à potable, also very catchy.
Eman, KNLO and Claude Bégin of Alaclair Ensemble, all long-time friends of Karim, also brought a lot of energy each time they appeared on stage and interacted brilliantly with the crowd.
The quieter songs carried a strong emotional charge. We think in particular of Plume by Ariane Moffat, Trente by Fanny Bloom and the magnificent Marie-Jo, performed by Karim's chorister friends.< /p>
The show Tribute to Karim Ouellet, at the Francofolies de Montréal/Josie Desmarais/Metro
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This concert was also an opportunity to hear Hereditary for the first time, an unreleased song by the singer, one of the last composed before his departure. The play is about his family. Karim mentions his father, his mother, his sister. He sings: “Family is all that matters”.
The transition to Alaclair Ensemble's La famille, which features a similar chorus, was going to self. But the rappers tweaked the lyrics somewhat to turn the line “all that matters, family, family, family” to “Rest in peace to Karim, to Karim, to Karim.” All the other performers took to the stage to sing this catchy chorus.
Once the song was over, Sarahmée, rapper and sister of Karim Ouellet, dressed all in white, appeared on the stage, cheered by the crowd.
“Mom, look how people loved Karim,” said she launched, visibly emotional.
After thanking all the people who contributed to this superb show, she encouraged the public to “continue to make your children listen to [Karim Ouellet], to sing , to put the sound fucking loud”.
The concert ended with a cover of the piece Karim et le loup, sung by all the performers and the crowd, of course.
The entire 33rd edition of the Francos de Montréal, which runs until June 18, is dedicated to Karim Ouellet.
The show H tribute to Karim Ouellet, at the Francofolies de Montréal./Josie Desmarais/Metro