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Félix Leclerc

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Félix Leclerc (August 2, 1914-August 8, 1988) was a Québécois folk singer, poet, writer, actor and political activist.

He was born in La Tuque, Quebec from a family of pioneers in 1914, sixth in a family of eleven children. He began his studies at the University of Ottawa but was forced to stop due to the Depression.

Leclerc worked at various jobs before taking jobs as a radio announcer in Quebec City and Trois-Rivières from 1934 to 1937. In 1939, he began working as a writer at Radio-Canada in Montreal, developing scripts for radio dramas, including Je me souviens. He performed some of his earliest songs there. He also acted in various dramas, including Un Homme et son péché. He published a number of his scripts and founded a performing company which presented his plays through Quebec.

In 1950, he was discovered by Paris impresario, Jacques Canetti, and performed his songs in France to great success. He signed a recording contract with Polydor Records. He returned to Quebec in 1953. In 1958, he received the top award of the Académie Charles-Cros in France for his second album. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1971, the National Order of Quebec in 1985 and became a Chevalier of the French Légion d’honneur in 1986.

He died in his sleep on the Île d’Orléans in 1988. A monument in his memory was constructed there in 1989.

Leclerc played a major role in revitalising the Quebec folk song (“chanson”) tradition. He also was a strong voice for Quebec nationalism.

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