SIGNING TO DROWN OUT THE SEA
These days, the news from the Gaspé (Québec, Canada) is depressing. The town of Murdochville is closing down, the fisheries are in crisis, the region has economic problems, its people are moving away. However, there is one bright spot on the horizon: the village of Petite-Vallée with its 238 inhabitants.
Trailer and excertps
The Festival en chanson de Petite-Vallée (Québec, Canada) – the Petite-Vallée song festival – is much more than just a contest. It is a place where people who know the great and simple joy of singing share and pass on their knowledge. This enjoyment has been handed down for generations and, over the years, has become a force driving the cultural, social and economic development of the village. Only the sea has ever interrupted this tradition, and even the sea couldn’t stop it for long.
Singing to Drown Out the Sea, a documentary produced by Guylaine Maroist and Éric Ruel, goes directly to the heart of a story as genuine as the people who tell it. The film gives a glowing vision of the beauty of this place, going right back to the root of the tradition and exploring how it developed. It focuses on the people of the village, the organizers, the young contestants and the established artists who come to contribute. Michel Rivard, Daniel Boucher, Marie-Claire Séguin, Louise Forestier and Richard Séguin all bear witness in their own ways to the special relationship that the village maintains with song. “You explore the essence of singing and song,” says Richard Séguin. Michel Rivard believes that the festival returns to the basic principle that singing is supposed to bring people together. According to Daniel Boucher, “When I got here, something clicked.”
Singing to Drown Out the Sea looks at both the past and the future, as well as the present. With an astounding sense of rhythm, light and musicality, it portrays the continuity between the family history of the LeBreux family, “purveyor of music”, and the transmission of the act of singing. With valuable assistance from director of photography Jean-François Perreault, producer-directors Guylaine Maroist and Éric Ruel have told their story rather like inspired composers, stimulated by the chance to set an exciting text to music.
Singing to Drown Out the Sea was born from a impulse of the heart. The producers leaped into the project with few resources but large quantities of energy and passion. Along the way, they acquired supporters who helped make it possible for them to set their dreams on film. We wish to acknowledge, among others, the valuable support of Radio-Canada television and the National Film Board of Canada.
Singing to Drown Out the sea? It’s all a question of breathing, and this 52-minute documentary explores the breath of history.
Source: Alain Chartrand
Media Contact: Caroline Pelletier
Coup de coeur francophone
French and English (subtitled) Versions
52 minutes and 42 minutes
Les Productions de la ruelle inc.
Guylaine Maroist, Éric Ruel and Jean-François Perreault
Guylaine Maroist and Éric Ruel
Director of Production
Production in the media
Singing to drown out the sea would not be the same if it wasn’t of the help of our partners and helpers. Thank you for your great support :
Synopsis in detail
Located on the coast, Petite-Vallée is rich in one raw material whose ratings are always on the rise in Québec: songs. Everyone in this village sings, and this has been true for ages. So it’s only natural that they would found the Festival en chansons de Petite-Vallée (Petite-Vallée song festival), which celebrated its 20th birthday in 2002.
Singing to Drown Out the Sea takes us on a journey back to the origins of Québec music. We discover the LeBreux family, and it is in their history that the musical growth of Petite-Vallée and its festival is rooted.
Ever since fiddler Didier LeBreux settled there at the end of the 19th century, music has been handed down from generation to generation. The LeBreux have kept on singing, despite their isolation and the crises of life. This passion has helped them surmount personal tragedy, and it has spread throughout the whole village.
Today, the festival provides a unique launch pad for young singer-songwriters like Daniel Boucher and Isabelle Boulay. But it also provides training and an exchange of ideas. In the magnificent setting of the Gaspé region, Michel Rivard, Louise Forestier, and Richard and Marie-Claire Séguin guide tomorrow’s artists. A genuine family has formed around the LeBreux, with ties created by music.
Singing to Drown Out the Sea puts the spotlight on these men and women of the Gaspé who have managed to build an event that creates hope. By sharing their love of music and song, they make us want to start singing again as part of our daily lives.
Source : Guylaine Maroist