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Martin Verret 
Violinists from father to son!

Martin Verret, representing the fourth generation of a Canadian Heritage tradition of Quebec violinists, has music in his blood. In his case, the expression is perfectly appropriate when we know that the musician is the worthy representative of the fourth generation of a family of violinists of Lac-Saint-Charles and of a more than enviable reputation. He transmits to his two boys this magnificent musical passion.

Practically born with a string instrument in his hands, Martin Verret learned the rudiments of the violin at the age of four from his father Jean-Marie Verret, a renowned folklorist whose family often received the Arthur Leblanc of this world at supper. It was also at the age of 4 that Martin gave his first concert. Admitted at the age of 9 to the Conservatoire de musique de Québec, Martin Verret later had the chance to refine his technique with the prestigious teacher Claude Létourneau.

Five years later, the young musician participated in the recording of his first album in duet with his father named «Reflet du passé». The following year, France opened the doors of music to him as a performer. A remarkable passage on the European continent that earned him a second presence, this time in Portugal in 1997, where he was able to highlight traditional Quebec music in front of a conquered audience. At the age of 16, Martin Verret was already making a living with music by performing in the opulent salons of the Château Frontenac and teaching the violin and string ensemble to the students of the Ursuline Monastery of Quebec. A little more than ten years later, the young virtuoso pursued a brilliant career as a violinist whose talent constantly oscillated between classical, popular and folklore. 'I have been in the hotel network for over 20 years,' he said. That’s why I’ve learned to please audiences in various circumstances, such as conventions and special events." Martin Verret’s various contracts have sometimes led the musician to perform at V.I.P dinners in front of personalities from the most diverse backgrounds rubbing shoulders with well-known personalities from the cultural, sports and business world in Canada, the United States and Europe.

 

Among these original performances, there is a concert for the national holiday in Quebec City on the Plains of Abraham, the first part of a show by Louis-José Houde, by Ginette Reno, several television programs including a participation in the program "Courir la pomme" Annie Brocoli, a performance at the "Cocktail of Heads of State" of the Quebec Summit of America in 2001. Countless music requests for major companies and government agency Parks Canada, 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney, Honda, Toyota, l'Oréal, Pfizer, Mutuals of Canada, GM Motors etc.

 

He is recognized for his musical versatility, sensitivity and qualities as a performer and manager. He is a musical partner with Quebec City’s funeral centres and major hotels and collaborates with the organization of Les Clefs d'Or Canada.

 

For now, the violinist divides his time between event management, musical direction and concerts. Hosted by the Comité des Arts du Cercle de la Garnison, of which he is a member, Martin Verret enhances with his music many events sheltered by the prestigious institution of the old capital. His Electro World style "Ground Cherry" CD was nominated in Hollywood (Hollywood Music in Media Awards) in the category "Best Music in the World". His music is antenna and praise throughout the world.

Various Collaboration

Jean-Marie Verret pays tribute to Jos Bouchard 2017

With participation of Martin Verret

Jos Bouchard, a violinist from the Charlevoix region, was born on May 6, 1905 in Pointe-au-Pic. He died on Île d'Orléans on June 12, 1979. Grand master of the “True Quebec Game”, he began his career at the age of 12. He had only one teacher, his uncle Élie Sioui, an Indian from the L'Ancienne-Lorette reserve. Like most of our great violinists, it was impossible to earn a living with music at that time. He remains a reference for his style and sensitivity. In 1934, he won a violin competition held at the parish hall of Limoilou. He also performed with the Montagnards Laurentien and accordionist Théodore Duguay on C.H.R.C radio station in 1948. Colorful and flamboyant, he used a strong vibrato and a specific ornamentation combined with a unique fingering! He has left many recordings of 78 and 33 laps that have greatly influenced the musicians of his time, both in Canada and the United States. During the 1970s, he gave several performances on stage at festivals. His compositions will remain immortalized by violinists and accordionists!

Stéphane Landry. Transition. 2007.Stéphane Landry is undoubtedly one of the great masters of the small accordion in Quebec. Renowned virtuoso, his style is smiling, animated and endowed with a wild rhythm. His work in recent years with the Cirque group has earned him recognition outside Quebec. Surrounded by a plethora of experienced musicians, he made the "tour du jardin" to present us all the facets of his repertoire, all the personalities of his music. From the classics of the repertoire, from Gérald Lajoie to Philippe Bruneau, from the compositions to the Irish medleys, Stéphane wanted to have fun, to give us pleasure. He invited, in turn, his musician friends with whom he has shared his music for many years. The list is long and speaks for itself. For all those who love traditional music, for lovers of the accordion and for those who would like to discover the instrument through the right window...

Line Tremblay. Premier Rendez-vous. 2007

Born in Quebec City, endowed with a natural and self-taught talent, Line Tremblay began singing at a young age, motivated by a family environment that was very focused on singing and listening to the tunes that rocked the Belle Époque. Strong of this musical heritage and passionate for vocal art, she participates in amateur competitions and as soloist in several choirs including the famous Vlà l'bon vent. In May 2007, she made a dream come true and launched her first solo album entitled "Premier Rendez-vous", at Espace Félix Leclerc on Île d'Orléans.

Sonia Bertrand. Bohémiens. 2004

After 12 years on stage, Sonia Bertrand of Quebec City realized her dream of recording a record with the help of a couple of fans. On "Bohémiens", the performer uses, with his intense voice, classics by Charles Aznavour and Léo Ferré in addition to offering four original pieces written by an author of the Old Capital, André Laverdière. Among the new creations, we will especially remember Mon bel amour with its pretty Arabic sounds. In general, the music is quite discreet. Punctuated here and there with gypsy accents, they emphasize the voice. And it is the quality of interpretation of Sonia Bertrand that constitutes the main interest of the album. The singer has a warm, supple and muted voice. Also, her maturity allows her to inhabit her songs. The resumption of With time, a difficult piece, makes shudder so much emotion is palpable. For the moment, the artist has no distributor and the album is only available on Sillons and Archambault (Québec and Sainte-Foy).

Qualité du plaisir. VHS. 1998

How can we account for the various manifestations of Quebec culture, its unique character and its integration into modernity? How can the artistic, literary and media events of this culture be translated into a documentary series adapted to the world of television and audiovisual? This is the double challenge that this series of 18 broadcasts produced by the consortium Synercom Téléproductions, in collaboration with the Institut national de la recherche scientifique and its centre INRS-Culture et Société

Jean-Marie et Martin Verret. Quadrille du XIXe et XXe siècle. 1997

Jean-Marie Verret’s first CD, Quadrille du Xixe et Xxe siècle is certainly one of the most beautiful in the Quebec collection. The musicality, the virtuosity of the instrumentalists, the quality of the recording, the originality and the beauty of the repertoire place this production among the jewels of the fiddle. The 1997 vintage of Quebec traditional music productions was already strong, but with the arrival of the "Verretteries", it must now be considered as one of the most important. Martin Verret has now reached a musical maturity and his play comes solidly support his father Jean-Marie who is found here in a splendid form, at the top of his art. With the passion of a Jos Bouchard whom he frequented for many years, and the finesse of his father Jules, he reinvents Quebec violin music. It is a pure delight for any lover of the violin, a record that is continually put back in the reader and enjoyed from beginning. to end. It is difficult for me to hide my enthusiasm for this realization, while humbly hoping to share it with you.

 

Jean-Marie et Martin Verret. Reflets du passé. 1993The Verret family is known to all traditional musicians in Quebec. Jules and Yves (his father and uncle) were two of the dominant figures of their time. Through their unique repertoire and virtuosity, they have marked and influenced most of Quebec’s violin and accordion players. Jean-Marie is one of the sons of Jules Verret. He holds, as they say, the family secrets and the musical genius of Verret. Virtuoso violinist and talented composer, many rightly see him as the most Quebec of our violinists. His repertoire is immense and highlights the quadrille airs of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. His distinctive style and ornamentation have made him one of the great masters of the Quebec violin

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Martin Verret
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Many Quebecers born before the Quiet Revolution remember Saturday night vigils with the sounds of the violin and accordion. Four generations of Verret de Lac-Saint-Charles, who were privileged witnesses of this era rooted in popular imagery, have perpetuated a musical repertoire that carries tradition. In 1952, Jean-Marie Verret, at the height of his seventies, listened to his grandfather Jean-Baptiste (1894-1955) and his father Jules (1916-1982) give the evenings a folkloric atmosphere. He becomes fond of this music transmitted from generation to generation by mouth, without writing or music. Today, Jean-Marie is the guardian of an important repertoire of pieces from our Quebec heritage, many of which have never been recorded or transcribed. In the days of Jean-Baptiste and Jules, the only way to save the pieces was through auditory memory, the transmission of folk repertoire based on orality and learning by ear. Jules Verret could perform more than 500 pieces, mainly from the paternal repertoire. Jean-marie inherited this musical baggage. He believes he knows some 2000 pieces, also drawing from other sources and creating his own compositions. Virtuoso violinist and talented composer, many see him as the most Quebecker of our violinists. Its repertoire is immense and highlights the quadrille tunes of the 19th and early 20th century. His bold style, embellished with vibrato, ornaments and chromatic notes, made him one of the great masters of the violin in Quebec. Named in 1998 by the renowned Fiddler Magazine as one of the best violinists in the world, in 2004 he won the Aldor Trophy at the Festival La Grande Rencontre in Montreal, highlighting his exemplary contribution to Québec music from traditional sources. He has recorded six albums and collaborated on three documentaries: Hommage aux Montagnards des années 50 (1983), L'héritage de Marius Barbeau (1984) and La culture dans tous ses états (1998). Designated in 1998 by the renowned Composer at his time, his compositions remain in the purest style of the family and authentic repertoire, such as Le reel à Jean-Marie Verret that can be found on the CD-ROM entitled La traversée de l'Atlantique de La Bottine souriante. Internationally recognized, Jean-Marie Verret has exported his family repertoire throughout Quebec, the United States and Europe. In particular, he was invited to the Seychelles Islands in 1992 to represent Quebec. He appeared at the Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp in New York State from 1995 to 2000 and at the Smithsonian in Washington in 1995. In 2009, the City of Quebec awarded him the heritage award "Laureate for the category bearers of tradition". He also received the "Coup de coeur Desjardins" award from 50 winners of the third edition of the National Capital and Chaudière-Appalaches Heritage Awards. Having inherited the knowledge of his grandfather and father, he is the current link in the chain of transmission of the folk repertoire that he transmits to his son Martin, worthy of the fourth generation of virtuosos of the Verret family. No doubt our ears will vibrate for a long time to the sound of the violin of Jean-Marie Verret, an authentic bearer of tradition.

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Prix du patrimoine de la Ville de Québec Édition 2009
Pour l'ensemble de son oeuvre de violoniste traditionnel dans la catégorie porteur de tradition

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Jean-Marie Verret
Jean-Marie Verret 
"The pope of Quebec Folklore"
Jules Verret
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Jules Verret 
1916-1982

Born in 1916 in Lac-St-Charles, Jules Verret comes from a family where music is very present. His father, Jean-Baptiste, played the accordion and his uncle, Roméo, was a renowned violinist. The young boy thus learned to handle the bow from the age of ten, initiated by a friend of his father, Pierre Verret, nicknamed «Pit Jornoch». A woodcutter by trade, this excellent violinist from Saint-Émile also transmitted him a unique repertoire of French quadrilles. It was with this repertoire that Jules Verret began his «public» career, around the age of seventeen, playing in the dance evenings of Lac-Saint-Charles for about twenty years. Overwhelmed by his work in construction and by his family obligations- thirteen children were born of his marriage to Simone Rhéaume, he decided, at the age of thirty-five, to no longer play in public. From now on, we can only hear him at his home, in his village road house, now Avenue du Lac-Saint-Charles.

Although Jules never toured, his fame extended far beyond the limits of Lac-Saint-Charles, thanks in particular to the release of a record in 1974. His reputation is such that many musicians travel to hear him, including Jos Bouchard and Ti-Jean Carignan, who are still «very moved by Jules’s play».

Considered one of the greatest violinists in Quebec, Jules Verret died in 1982, at the age of sixty-six. One of his sons, Jean-Marie, took up the torch by playing, among other things, the exceptional repertoire that his father had given him. His son Martin, violinist by profession, also ensures the continuity of the family heritage.

Main sources: Interview with Jean-Marie Verret, August 31, 2006; Éric Noël, Lac-Saint-Charles, 1964-1996. Lac-Saint-Charles, Société historique de Lac-Saint-Charles, 1996.

The mayor of Quebec City, Andrée Boucher, had the honour of unveiling 18 commemorative plaques “Les gens de Québec se souviens” in memory of personalities who have lived in Quebec City and distinguished themselves in different fields of activity, on Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 4:30 pm, in the Municipal Council Room.

« The people of Quebec city remember »

This series of epigraphs was produced thanks to the support of the Cultural Development Agreement between the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications and Ville de Québec.

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Jean-Baptiste Verret
Jean-Baptiste Verret 
1894-1955

Many Quebecers born before the Quiet Revolution remember Saturday night vigils with the sounds of the violin and accordion. Four generations of Verret de Lac Saint-Charles, who were privileged witnesses of this era rooted in popular imagery, have perpetuated a musical repertoire that carries tradition. In 1952, at the height of his seven years, Jean-Marie acquired a taste for music. He listened to his grandfather Jean-Baptiste (1894-1955) and his father Jules (1916-1982) give the evenings a folkloric atmosphere. Long before the birth of Jean-Marie, grandfather Jean-Baptiste, the one by whom the taste of music would come, met a certain Pierre, dit Pit-Jornoche (1863-1937). Already broken to the accents of the accordion, it is on the hour captivated by the sounds of the violin of Peter. This shared enthusiasm soon gave rise to a lasting friendship between the two men. From the logging yards where they worked as loggers to Jean-Baptiste’s, they carried one his violin, the other his accordion. Jules, son of Jean-Baptiste and father of Jean-Marie, later acquired his first violin by swapping a wooden string. Like how the forest and the music are intimately linked for these men. The flame for the violin and the French quadrilles that Pierre had lit in this part of the country called Lac St-Charles was perpetuated thanks to these men animated by the taste of traditional music. Other influences have been added to this musical lexicon, including those of Jos Bouchard de Charlevoix, Théodore Duguay de Québec and the «vieux» de Stoneham. At eleven, Jean-Marie adopted the violin, as his father Jules had done before him, and took the privileged route of the Verret family. Folk music becomes the inevitable place to turn to, not only because it is popular and appreciated, but because it responds to an almost innate inclination. Jean-Marie could not have considered the practice of a musical genre: «When I had heard my father play, I did not want to play anything else». This knowledge, this know-how and this natural taste were spontaneously transmitted from generation to generation. When a child finds interest in the music of his parent, that he shows abilities, the heritage is bequeathed. The people of the village, if they hear of this disposition of the child, consider that as soon as the family tradition continues, the succession is assured. The young musician’s talent and his emerging passion will do the rest.

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Le violoneux Jean-carignan et l'accordéoniste Yves Verret lors de "La veillé des veillées" à Montréal en novembre 1975.

Music in the soul

In the days of Jean-Baptiste and Jules, the only way to safeguard the pieces is through auditory memory, the transmission of folk repertoire based on orality and learning by ear. In this regard, Jean-Marie recounts that his uncle Yves asked to listen to a 78-turn when he went to see St-Cyr, a record store on Rue Saint-Joseph in Quebec City, and that he performed the piece on his violin back home! Thanks to this clear skill demonstrated by the musicians of the Verret family, the repertoire has been constantly enriched. Despite the fact that several of Jean-Baptiste’s pieces «were brought to the earth when he died», Jules could perform more than 500 pieces, mainly from the paternal repertoire. Jean-Marie, who inherited this musical baggage, estimates that he knows some 2000 pieces, drawing also from other sources and creating his own compositions. This combination of traditional musical repertoire is made possible thanks to a new and very valuable tool: the tape recorder. Jean-Marie was the first of the Verrets to obtain one, which served him to preserve and reproduce the pieces once played by his father. The tape recorder allows him to discern the most delicate, subtle variations as well as the precise harmony. Recording and listening in slow motion facilitates correct interpretation. The family now has enough to guarantee the restitution of its music to its own members. In fact, many are inclined to practice music. Brothers, sisters and children grow up among the instruments, the accents of folklore, the musical style they esteem before all others. Lise, Jean-Marie’s younger sister, accompanies her family on the piano, both in show and recording. From her piano, she sees through her nephew Martin a fourth generation of seasoned musicians.

Tradition continues

In turn, Martin did indeed follow in the footsteps of his father, Jean-Marie. Already, at the age of four, he played the spoon during dance evenings. Carried by the traditional family musical universe, he ventured some notes, some voices on the violin of his older brother who, although curious, did not show a marked enthusiasm for the violin. On the other hand, Martin, who is talented, is committed to perpetuating a three-generation tradition. At the age of five, his father enrolled him in private classes. Then, in 1988, he studied at the Conservatoire de musique de Québec. The two paths, classical and folk, make it versatile. He wanted to learn the technique and notation to perfect his game and have access to all forms of music, but his true passion remains the folklore that bathed his childhood. It retains the taste of this music without partitions, which is transmitted and which we learn orally. What I have kept from the heritage is still done orally. It is not written music. The soul, the harmony we listen to, is not just a matter of notes. It is the way to interpret that we cannot write. This music, you really have to see it. There are no writings that can explain how it was played.” Even though folk music is transmitted in the same way from father to son, Jean-Marie believes that the change of generations, the experience of each and the different ways of living have a fundamental importance on the rendering of the pieces. Bringing its nuance certainly enriches folklore. Each one, according to his own ways and his particular feeling, gives the pieces different looks while keeping alive the typical accents of a unique repertoire whose family is depositary. This family patrimony, carefully preserved, jealously preserved, is invaluable within the lineage. His transmission seems to be on track. Martin has faithful and profound intentions, «he arrived with continuity», he is now a figure of this continuity.

The Quadrille

Quebec’s traditional pieces are divided into various musical genres, often associated with a type of dance, the most common of which are: the reel, the march, the jig, the six-eight, the waltz and the quadrille. The quadrille, which appeared in France at the beginning of the 19th century and was taken over by England, was formed by the gathering of popular cotillons danced at the end of the 18th century. The word “quadrille” also derives from the name used at the time by the dancers of the opera Escadrille. Then called pot-pourri, it is developed in several phases whose name differs from one region to another. The one in Lac St-Charles evolves into six parts: "La chaîne du reel", "Les quatre coins", "Le salut", "L'homme à deux femmes", "La galope" and "La bistringue". Started by a six-eight, the quadrille continues under variable rhythms marked by a certain lyricism. Mainly widespread in eastern Quebec, the quadrille is found from Portneuf to the Saguenay and from Lotbinière to the Gaspé.

Presse - Martin Verret
Press
Martin Verret
Juillet 2023
Reportage publié dans le journal Autour de l'Île
23 juin 1993
Saint-Jean-Baptiste on the Plains of Abraham
22 juillet 1993
Auvergne, France
AQLF
50 years of traditional music
Décembre 2001 - Janvier 2002
Prestige, Le Magazine de Québec
16 décembre 2006
Journal L'Actuel - Le violon dans le sang 
1996
Lac-Saint-Charles 1946-1996, Éric Noël, Book published on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Lac-Saint-Charles, Société Historique de Lac-Saint-Charles
24 novembre 2008
Journal de Québec - Interview with Martin Verret on the occasion of his 25 years of musical career
Hiver 2001-2002
Continuité, Le Magazine du Patrimoine au Québec
Jean-Marie Verret
13 juin 2009
Prix Coup de coeur lors de la 3e édition des Prix du patrimoine des régions de la Capitale-Nationale et de la Chaudière-Appalaches
Presse - Jean-Marie Verret
10 mai 2009
Prix du Patrimoine 2009 de la Ville de Québec
27-30 mai 2004
La Grande Rencontre, Montréal  
2003
Carrefour Mondial de l'Accordéon, Biographie, Montmagny 
9 novembre 2000
Le Soleil  
6-8 Août 1999
Champlain Valley Folk Festival, University of Vermont, Bulrington, VT
8-12 octobre 1998
Festival International des Arts Traditionnels, Québec 
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19-24 juin 1998
La Grande Rencontre, Montréal
28 février - 2 mars 1997
Musique dans Frontières. Internationaal Workshopweekend voor harmonikaspelers en violisten, Amsterdam, Pays-Bas
30 septembre - 2 octobre 1994
Festival des Violons d'Amérique, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield
25 juin 1994
Soka University of America, Los Angeles, Californie
24-26 juin 1994
14th Annual Summer Solstice Folk Music, Dance & Storytelling Festival, Calabasas, Californie
1993
Le Journal de Québec
22-25 juillet 1993
Festival des Arts Traditionnels, Québec 
2-3 juillet 1993
Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Port Townsend, WA
20 décembre 1992
Le Peuple Côte-Sud
27-31 octobre 1992
Festival de la musique Kréol, Îles Seychelles
Été 1990
Musée de la Civilisation, Place Royale, Québec
11 novembre 1989
Symposium de Folklore de Lévis-Lauzon
13 décembre 1980
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Montréal, La Presse
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27 mars - 2 avril 1977
La Grannnnde Semaine, Cégep de Limoilou, Québec
23 juin 1974
Journal de Québec, Comment fêter la Saint-Jean !
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