The year 2014 is shaping up as Edgar Bori’s moment. This Montreal artist – who has long hidden his face from his audience, only revealing his identity in 2009 – has just completed his dream album trilogy Balade-Malade-Salade. He’s gearing up for an extended tour of two continents, while preparing to celebrate 20 years as a professional artist and 60 as an earthling. Quite a way of leaving behind 2013, a year that definitely ended on a bad note.
At this time last year, Bori and his spouse Cathie Bonnet were about to sell Productions de l’onde, the small company set up in 1992 to deal with the singer’s musical activities and provide a home to emerging artists. They wanted to pass the torch and ensure the company’s long-term financial viability. Four months later, the new owners had abandoned ship after accumulating a $375,000 debt.
Rather than watching the company sink, Bori has now come back on board and launched a fundraising campaign in the hope of being able to pay back those who had been swindled, and things are looking up, with some $35,000 having been raised so far through the Kapital crowdfunding platform. Bori will then fugure out how to share power while avoiding the same mistakes and retaining the artistic control of the company. “We must prepare for a transition,” the artist says. “It’s a lot of work, and I’m pushing 60. The administrative part is time-consuming, and after awhile you can no longer do it all by yourself.”
The troubles came at a time when Bori was about to complete his most ambitious project ever, the Balade-Malade-Salade trilogy. Released in 2012, the Balade part of the trio featured a variety of creative collaborations as well as a few uncompromising personal creations. This was followed by Malade, a more experimental and introspective venture, and then by Salade, a recording project that was released slightly behind schedule in the spring. Unlike the first two installments, this latest disc is comprised of covers involving guest artists (François Cousineau, Yannick Rieu, Romulo Larrea), including a brilliant piece amalgamating two classic French songs, Léo Ferré’s “Avec le temps” (“In Time”) and Jacques Brel’s “Ne me quitte pas“ (“If you go away”).
This last piece was inpired by a meeting between Bori and the late Roger Zanetti, aka Zaneth, a friend of Ferré. “Zaneth told me that Léo had written ‘Avec le temps’ in response to Brel’s lyric saying ‘If you go away… Oh, I’d have been the shadow of your shadow.’ Ferré was telling Brel, ‘Don’t worry, man, in time, you’ll stop being in love.’ I put both lyrics side by side, and since they both talk about the same things – jewels, fire, a dog, a shadow – I thought there might be something to this.”
Salade is avaibable both on its own and along with the other volumes of the box set. To encourage people to buy the full collection, Bori added a fourth recording called La Route (The Road) that includes pieces that did not make it to the final trilogy, as well as excerpts of an interview that took place in his car.
Noting that 2014 will mark the 100th anniversary of Félix Leclerc’s birth, as well as some of his own personal milestones, Bori is pretty confident that this year is going to evolve into “something quite magical.” Part of that magic is sure to carry into his stage shows as the performer prepares to embark on an extensive Quebec tour to promote both his new compositions and his growing discography. And since Bori, now a solo artist, performed as part of a group (also named Bori) from 1994 to 2000, the chances are that former colleagues will join him on part of the tour. These people include the actors and musicians who fronted his shows in the years when he preferred to remain a faceless performer.
“This show will be called Balade-Malade-Salade, but it will be subtitled ‘La dernière répétition’ [‘The Dress Rehearsal’]. This will make it possible for me to stop the music half-way through a song if I want to, take instructions from the stage director or talk with the audience. I feel ready for this after spending so many years behind a mask or a screen.”
Besides his shows for grown-up audiences, Bori is also planning to continue performing his long-in-the-making children’s show Le petit ours gris de la Mauricie (The Little Grizzly from Mauricie), which combines his own creations and a tale written by Félix Leclerc. In the fall, the singer-songwriter is planning to resume his activities in France, where he has a solid followng in the alternative music scene. He could end up spending quite awhile there, as he’s planning to set up a series of cabarets for emerging professional or semi-professional artists, and songwriting workshops, on top of the two types of shows he normally performs at home. In the meantime, Bori is looking forward to moving on to his “next dream of writing a book, which would be another world again!”
To make a contribution to the Production de l’onde fundraising campaign, visit