Renée Martel will launch the 51st edition of the Festival Western de St-Tite by inducting her father Marcel Martel’s song “Un coin du ciel” into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF), honouring one of the greatest works of this Canadian country music pioneer.
“We’re happy to partner with our friends at Festival Western de St-Tite to honour ‘Un coin du ciel’ and bring this iconic song into the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame,” says Vanessa Thomas, Executive Director of the CSHF. “We’re thankful that Renée Martel is here to celebrate her father’s talent with us, and honour his legacy.”
To kick off the festival, Renée Martel will honour the song during her show, Je voulais marier, on Sept. 7, 2018, at the Desjardins Country Club. “La grande dame du country” will sing “Un coin du ciel,” the song that launched her career. “It’s the first song I sang onstage, when I was five years old, and I sang it with my father,” she says. “It’s my favourite song. If Dad were here today, it would be one of the most amazing moments of his life. I accept this with pride, but the honours are his alone, and I’m proud to be his daughter.”
Written and recorded in 1952, the country ballad “Un coin du ciel” kicked off a long family tradition. Several versions of the song became hits, notably the 1981 version on Renée Martel’s album Un coin du ciel and, more recently, the 2013 version sung by Renée and her mother, Noëlla Therrien.
The CSHF selected this song from Marcel Martel’s repertoire of more than 500 songs and 40-plus albums. Martel wrote “Un coin du ciel” shortly after leaving the sanatorium where he was being treated for tuberculosis. The original recording of this universal love song was very simple, and true to the purest country-and-western tradition.
One of the reasons the song was chosen is the impact that it’s had on other artists. Marcel Martel’s timeless classic has influenced many generations of Québec artists, including Patrick Norman, Paul Daraîche, and Isabelle Boulay – who, as a child, loved to hear the song on the radio. Contemporary country singer-songwriter René Turgeon says he’s one of the song’s biggest fans: “This music comes from the heart, it’s real, and it’s about actual feelings we carry inside us,” he says. “It’s deeply touching, profound music.”
Benoît Montreuil, who presides over the organizing committee of the 51st edition of the Festival Western de St-Tite, is proud to offer such a historic moment to his audience: “I was thrilled when I heard the Hall of Fame and Renée had chosen our festival to host this unique moment,” he says. “Marcel Martel and Renée are two artists that are integral to our history, and they’re always welcome at our event. Everyone in the organization is thrilled that this induction will take place in a setting that’s so symbolic to their careers.”