BLOU (Patrice Boulianne). His new CD is scheduled to be released March 25. À L’INFINI COMMUNICATIONS – M. GIRARD
By Eric Bourque
Two decades have gone by since BLOU first made his mark on the Acadian music scene, although it doesn’t seem that long to Patrice Boulianne.
“No, not at all,” he says.
One of the original members of the band BLOU – who has been performing and recording under that name as a solo artist for a dozen years or so – Boulianne is getting ready to release a new CD, his sixth BLOU album.
Titled 20 temps, the disc is scheduled for release March 25. The album represents a bit of a departure from BLOU’s previous recordings.
“It’s a little different than my other albums,” Boulianne says. “I’ve got up-tempo songs, but I’ve also got some songs that are fairly personal.”
One of them is a song he wrote about his mother, who had Alzheimer’s disease and who passed away in 2009. (A dollar per CD in sales of the new album will be donated to the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia.)
Another track on the new album is about a longtime friend of Boulianne’s who died nine years ago of a pulmonary embolism.
For BLOU, whose music has tended to be of an upbeat nature – about “enjoying Acadian life, enjoying life to the fullest,” Boulianne says – the songs about his mother and friend are examples of how he “took more of a personal route” on the new CD. “A little more introspective, let’s say.”
While it was, of course, very difficult to lose a friend and to see his mother with Alzheimer's disease, Boulianne says he has found that music -- putting his feelings into songs -- can be therapeutic.
“It especially helped me on those two occasions,” he says.
Reflecting on his career, he mentions various people who inspired him musically, including Jacques Brel, Paul Piché and Ronald Bourgeois. There was James Taylor and Paul Simon too, along with King Crimson. He liked Stan Rogers and says he’s a big fan of Beethoven and Bach. Boulianne’s own father, a choir director, has been another source or inspiration, he says.
A winner of numerous awards – including an East Coast Music Award a couple of years ago for entertainer of the year – BLOU has toured extensively abroad, performing his music on several continents. He says his music, in turn, has been influenced, at least to some degree, by his travels, although his basic approach has remained the same.
“The main goal was always to get the audience to participate,” he says. “That’s always been my philosophy from the get-go.”
Asked about his touring plans for this year, he says things have yet to be finalized, but he hopes to do some shows this summer, “mostly in Quebec and the Maritimes.”
In the more immediate future, however, there is the release of his new CD on March 25. (The disc can be pre-ordered on his website www.blou.ca) He also has a concert planned for Sunday afternoon, April 13, at the Marc Lescarbot Theatre in Church Point, where there will be a “mini-launch” for the CD and where his recently published biography also will be for sale.
A 52-year-old resident of Meteghan Centre, Boulianne is originally from Saint Boniface, Manitoba. He studied music in university in Moncton, where he met his future wife.
“She’s from Meteghan … we were in the same music program,” he recalls. “We got to know each other. She initiated me to the way Acadian people speak, especially here in Clare.”
Given that he has reached the 20th anniversary of BLOU, he is queried about his musical future. He laughs and says he’s “slowing down, slowly but surely.”
He is proud of his three adult children, all of whom are musicians.
“They’re all better musicians than I,” he says. “They took all their talent from their mother.”