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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Canadian Divas

I am not much of a music buff. I enjoy it when it happens but I do not usually seek it out. On radio I prefer good intelligent discussions to endless music.

I do enjoy female singers who sing songs with clear and wonderful lyrics. So the other night when the CBC was having a program of Canadian Divas through the years I listened. It also caught my attention that it was being broadcast from the Unitarian Church in Ottawa.

{Oh yes! I do love Vera Lynn and her war time songs. They always make me a little weepy.}

The scheme of the show was to play an historic recording of a famous Canadian female singer from 1930 to 1960. This was followed by a contemporary singer/musician performing in a way that paid tribute to the historic singer and yet made the music their own. This was based on a Gala recording of Famous Canadian Female singers.

Some of these singers I remembered at least back to Gisele MacKenzie, others I knew a little by historic reputation: Deanna Durbin and Norma Locke, for example. They all were well know and much loved in their era. My mother would have known them all. If you go to the Gala recording Website you will find the list of singers and a little 30 second recording sample of each.) Guaranteed to make you want to find more of their songs, perhaps, in you old record collection.

[Gala Records's mission is to preserve historic music of interest to Canadians.]

One singer I have taken a special interest is Alys Robi. She was a very famous singer in the 1940's who was much loved by the soldiers in the war. She is a French Canadian who before Celine Dion, who found acceptance in English Canada, the United States and Europe , singing in English, French and Spanish.

Alys Robi interests me because she was the girlfriend of the father of a friend of mine. In the late 40's she and Lucio Agostini were a professional team and a romantic couple. Her life was a manic depression tragedy which reflected here mental health. Lucio Agostini was both the great love of her life and her greatest heart break. He was married and in the end rejected her and would not leave his wife. Alys Robi after stuggling with life, love, and fame was finally hospitalized and lobotomized to overcome her bipolar disorder. Amazingly she survived! The CBC series of "Life and Times" did a documentary on her.

Alys Robi was never a star again but she did go on to sing and entertain again. Often she sang for Veterans who remember her from the war years.

I have included the You Tube video below because it was a show in CBC radio done by Lucio Agostini, (a famous orchestra leader and composer in Canada). on which Alys Roby performed

I hope you enjoy this bit of live radio, when radio was king. Sadly, such musical variety shows are not done much anymore except on the CBC (our beloved National Radio Network, funded by government) as was the program I began with about Contemporary Canadian Divas from the Unitarian Chruch in Ottawa. Enjoy! both listening to Alys Robi and music only as radio can present it as an exciting event.

One You Tube there are other videos of Alys Robi music, both particularly about her and others from the movies that have been made about her Life.


At 7:53 a.m., Blogger amelia said...

I also just adore Vera Lynn and have almost everything she ever recorded!

Her songs make me think of my dad..

At 11:53 a.m., Blogger Janet said...

My mother was a huge fan of Vera Lynn so I grew up loving her as well. Alys Robi is new to me, but you've now brought her at least 2 more fans - the Queen and me!
I've always loved singing along with songs accompanied by an orchestra. I hope someday to be able to sing that way.

At 11:00 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Philip, hope you are ok. What a fantastic post full of interesting snippets!
I used to love watching the old Palladium shows with my mam when I was younger when the 'proper' singers were on... (and the ladies wore evening dresses and looked stunning!)

At 10:30 a.m., Blogger Jeanne Pope said...

What a lovely blog you have. I am making a documentary on a Montreal sculptor and needed some information on music of the 40's from French Canada...This has really helped me..

Thank you for sharing with us all


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