Dubbed the "Bob Dylan du Quebec," singer/songwriter Richard Séguin spearheaded the evolution of French-Canadian folk music into rock & roll.
Born in Montreal on March 27, 1952, Séguin began his career in collaboration with twin sister Marie-Claire as Les Nochers. From the outset his melodies drew on the rich traditions of folk and blues, but his richly imagistic lyrics were always firmly rooted in contemporary sensibilities. Beginning in 1967 the siblings performed as Marie et Richard. Two years later, they teamed with guitarist Robert Letendre, bassist Andre Brault, pianist Norman Théroux, and drummer Denis Chénier to form the pioneering psych-folk outfit La Nouvelle Frontière, cutting a pair of LPs for the Gamma label. After the group splintered following 1970's L'Hymne aux Quenouilles, Richard and Marie-Claire reunited as Les Séguin, recording four acclaimed LPs before pursuing respective solo careers in 1977. Richard made his solo debut that same year at the Ontario Festival, followed by tours of Switzerland and Quebec. He then collaborated with Harmonium guitarist Serge Fiori on Deux Cents Nuits à l'Heure, which sold more than 100,000 copies and claimed three Félix Awards. Séguin finally issued his self-titled solo debut in 1979, followed a year later by Trace en Contraste. His third album, Double Vie, did not hit retail until 1985. While its clean break with Séguin's folk past alienated some listeners, its enthusiastic embrace of straight-ahead rock grew his audience exponentially, and the album spent more than 50 weeks on the Quebecois charts, winning the Félix for best rock album. The 1988 follow-up, Journée d'Amérique, claimed the same honor, and a year later the Séguin composition "Ici Comme Ailleurs" won the CBC's "Notre Chanson" competition. The 1991 release of Aux Portes du Matin was supported by his most expansive tour yet, a 150-date trek that generated the 1993 live LP Vagabondage. However, in the wake of 1995's D'Instinct Séguin announced an extended break from recording and touring, and his next release, Microclimat, proved five years in the making. A six-year hiatus preceded his next release, Lettres Ouvertes, which debuted atop the Quebecois charts. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi