Phonothèque québécoise

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Highlights in the history of Quebec's record industry
history of Quebec's independent record labels 1930-1945









Highlights in the History of Quebec's Record Industry


Interviews, research, editing, writing and digitizing by Christian Lewis


  * Hyperlinks will take you to photographs or sound clips



Important Artists

Comments and Links*





* It takes a while for the  record market to get back on its feet; the recording studios are empty; re-issues make their appearance.

* EMI is founded in 1931 following an agreement among Columbia, Pathé and Gramophone Co..

* Mary Travers (La Bolduc) dominates the Quebec market with her songs, whose lyrics convey the life of the French-speaking working people.

La Bolduc
La Bolduc

* The influence of American music is ever stronger (swing, big band, ballroom)

* RCA inaugurates a budget series (on the Bluebird label) offering re-issues of recordings of Quebec artists; most of the other companies do the same  (on the Melotone, Duprex and Velvet-Tone labels).


* Radio (Radio-Canada, CHLP, CHLN, CKAC, CKVL) promotes Quebec song and folklore (the Montagnards laurentiens on CHRC Québec, the Quatuor Alouette live during the 1930s, and Lionel Daunais).


Les Montagnards laurentiens

* The words and music for popular songs had been appearing for several years in periodicals such as Le Passe-temps, the Lyre, Montréal qui chante, Panorama, Le Canada qui chante and the Ouimetoscope magazine; Eddie Prévost is one of the first to set local lyrics  to original music, in Le Passe-temps; in the past, Quebec texts were often sung to traditional melodies or to the airs populaires de France ou d’Amérique.

* In 1935, record sales slowly began picking up.

* Lionel Daunais and Charles Goulet found Les Variétés lyriques in 1936.

* Radio-Canada radio begins broacast of L’Heure symphonique starting in 1938.

* >From 1941 to 1956, as part of "Radio - Collège", talks on Quebec musical history are broadcast; many composers, including Jean Vallerand, Lionel Daunais and Claude Champagne aim to introduce the public to the modern classical music repertoire.





Operetta and variety:

  • Fernand Perron

  • Jacques Aubert

  • Trio lyrique

Trio lyrique
  • Lionel Daunais

  • Grenadiers impériaux (folk and "bonne chanson")

 Popular song:

  • Eddie Prévost

  Country :

  • Soldat Lebrun (Roland)

  Traditional music:

  • Ovila Légaré (folklorist and actor)

Ovila Légaré

Minuit Chrétiens, by Louis Chartier



  *Note: the materials cited below are available in French only.

The following interviews relating to the sound history of this period may be consulted at the Phonothèque:

Excerpts of interviews relating to this period of the history of records in Quebec: Real One

Popular songs:  

Perception de la chanson québécoise au début de la radio- Lafrenière, Claire, (44” / 273K) enregistré le 27/06/2002

Les directeurs artistiques et les arrangeurs à l’aube de l’industrie musicale - Normandin, Steve, (1‘ 07” / 419K) enregistré le 25/04/2002

Traditional music:

Avènement de la spécificité de la musique traditionnelle québécoise avec la famille Soucy Bélanger, Jean-Claude, (43’’ / 269K), enregistré le 30/05/2003

Évolution des techniques de jeu et d’enregistrement dans la musique traditionnelle et influence de l'émission Les Montagnards laurentiens– Bourque, Benoit, (55’’ / 339K), enregistré le 30/05/2003

Spécificité de la musique traditionnelle québécoise de Grosbois-Garand, Alexandre / Reeves, Francine, (1’01’’ / 252K), enregistré le 30/05/2003

Influence de l’émission radiophonique «Les Montagnards laurentiens» diffusée à CHRC-Québec - Labbé, Gabriel, (1’ 17” / 475K) enregistré le 12/03/2002 

Music industry (production and recording techniques):

Différence entre l’industrie musicale québécoise et canadienne au XXe siècle - Green, Richard, (1‘ 29” / 553K) enregistré le 19/07/2002

Conditions de travail chez RCA– Roback, Léa, (28’’ / 177K), enregistré en 1993 

* Hyperlinks will take you to photographs or sound clips



1930 - 1945



*From the collections of the Phonothèque québécoise, the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec and the Archives nationales du Québec 

Marius Barbeau Marius Barbeau
Starr Discs
Brunswick Labbe-Brunswick 
Isidore Soucy
*From the collections of the Phonothèque québécoise, the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec and the Archives nationales du Québec

 (download the free RealOnePlayerGold plug-in!).

Link to the virtual exhibition:*

History of Montreal's independent record labels (in French)*
Click on the link http://www.museevirtuel.ca/, then choose "Histoires de chez nous" from the menu on the right,
then "Recherche d'expositions", under "Explorez" and then type in
Phonothèque under the heading.

The Phonothèque Inventories and Databases Projects


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© 1997 Phonothèque québécoise / Musée du son
Last update June 17, 2004


URL http://www.phonotheque.org/Hist-Maisons-ind/hist-maisons-ind-1930-eng.html