Music & Entertainment  "Sleeveface": an introduction to Quebecois music
02/02/201800:00 Roch Archambault
I have always loved discovering new music and artists from all over the world. I’ve talked about many artists from Asia in my previous articles. This time around, I’ll like to share with you something different from another part of the world.
Have you ever heard of the concept called sleeveface? A viral phenomenon, the practice involves having someone take a photo with an album cover. The person must hide his/her face or other parts of the body behind the cover, giving off a visual illusion. Sleeveface as a concept is also used in books and magazines. For this particular article, let me present a few Quebecois artists for you by using their album cover.

Claude Dubois is one of the biggest artists in Quebec’s music scene. He was best known as a poet-songwriter in the 1960s. The decade after, he donned a longer haircut and wrote rock songs. Following a sojourn in prison in 1981, he brought out Sortie Dubois, an album which changed the rest of his career. From that point forward, he sung more songs of love and the meaning of existence along pop notes, which were great on the radio. At 70 years of age, Dubois is still going strong and just came out with a new album. Here is a sleeveface with his namesake album from 1966, containing the song J’ai souvenir encore, and a compilation of his works from 1973.


Robert Charlebois is another important artist. Think of him and Charlebois as the first rock stars to grace the music scene in Quebec. Having started out as a poet-songwriter in the 1960s, Charlebois also turned to rock in the following decade. Now 72 years old, the singer still has what it takes to fill up concert halls, as well as all the fire and youthful spirit on stage for which he is known. See me below, posing with the cover of his 1973 album, Solidaritude. Entr’deux joints was one of the best-known tracks from this release.

In 1977, Paul Piché released his first album, À qui appartient l’beau temps. This album was the sweet fruit of labour of the collaboration of several Quebecois groups like Beau Dommage (Robert Léger, Pierre Bertrand and Michel Rivard), Octobre (Mario Légaré) and Harmonium (Serge Fiori, Neil Chotem and Libert Subirana). Sporting a huge beard and cradling an acoustic guitar, Paul Piché croons stories and little tales to listeners. Today you’ll see Piché gracing the stages of many large-scale music festivals. Some of his songs have joined the ranks of the classic hall of fame in Quebecois music.


Since the 1950s, Gilles Vigneault has had a successful career as a songwriter-composer-singer. Many of his songs are considered classics in Quebec’s music scene. Gens du pays, one of his best known works, has practically acquired the status of an anthem in Quebec.


Martine St-Clair is known as one of the best singers in the 1980s. Being known as one of the most beautiful voices of Quebec, she released a series of albums after taking part in the first shows of Starmania in Quebec. The albums were met with great commercial success. Today, Martine St-Clair continues to wow audiences with her pristine voice live. Here is her album, an interpretation of many songs composed by Luc Plamondon.


Richard Séguin started his music career with his sister as a duo called Les Séguin in the 1970s. Drawing inspirations from folk rock, he came out with his first solo album, one hinged on pop, in 1985, entitled Double vie. After a multitude of songs which have become long-standing crowd favourites, Richard Séguin’s career sees no definitive end in sight, with the star continuing to record and perform live.


Marie Philippe started out in Quebecois music in the 80s and continued on in the 90s. See me tackle her first album here, which came out in 1986.
With special thanks to Roch for his approval of the translation of his article and the liberal use of images from his Instagram. This article was originally published in French.

Translated by TV5MONDE Asie-Pacifique
Roch Archambault is a French-Canadian whose interest in Asia spans 3 decades. Over the course of the past 20 years, he has developed a particular passion for Chinese popular music, as well as for current music forms like K-Pop and J-Pop. ​

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