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La Bolduc

From Academic Kids

Mary Rose-Anna Travers, born June 4, 1894 in Newport in the Gaspé region of Quebec, Canada – died February 21, 1941, was a Quebecois singer best known as La Bolduc.

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La Bolduc

Born in the Gaspé, she was the eldest of twelve children. The daughter of an Irish immigrant, Lawrence Travers, and a French-Canadian mother, Adeline Cyr, she moved with her family to Montreal in 1907. Mary and her eleven siblings spoke English at home, but also spoke French fluently.

In 1914, she married Édouard Bolduc. A self-taught musician, she began her professional career in 1927, quickly becoming Quebec's most popular singer; she was the first Quebec woman to make a living as a singer. She wrote over 300 songs inspired by the Quebecois and Irish folk traditions. Some of her songs, which tended to deal with the everyday concerns of ordinary people, were considered so racy that radio stations would not play them.

Mary Bolduc's lyrics are predominantly French, but frequently include a few words or lines in the English language, reflecting the reality of her Gaspé home and her life in Montreal. She is also known as Madame Bolduc (especially among English Canadians), and as Mary Travers.

About 100 of her songs survive (many which did not survive were written for special occasions). Perhaps the best known today is "Si Vous Avez une Fille qui Veut se Marier" (If You Have a Daughter who Wants to get Married).

On her passing in 1941, she was buried in the Cimetière Notre-Dame-des-Neiges in Montreal, Quebec.

In 1994, she was honored with her portrait on a Canadian postage stamp.


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