"Gens du pays" has been called the unofficial national anthem of
Quebec. Written by poet, songwriter, and avowed
Gilles Vigneault (with music co-written by Gaston Rochon), it was
first performed by Vigneault on June 24, 1975 during a concert on
Mount Royal at that year's Fête nationale du Québec
ceremony. It quickly became a folk classic, and it has been played
frequently at Fête nationale ceremonies since then. The chorus is by
far the most famous part of the song: Gens du pays, c'est votre tour /
De vous laisser parler d'amour, which, translated, says, "Folks of the
land, it is your turn to let yourselves be lovingly spoken to."
The song is also associated with the
Quebec sovereignty movement and
the sovereigntist Parti Québécois, which use it as a sort of anthem.
A famous instance of this took place at René Lévesque's concession
speech after the citizens of the province rejected independence in the
Quebec referendum. At the end of Lévesque's speech, the crowd
assembled to hear him speak stood up at the end of the speech and sang
"Gens du pays", which Lévesque called "the most beautiful Québécois
song in the minds of all Quebecers."
In Quebec, a modified version of the chorus is often sung to celebrate
a person, for example on a birthday (in the specific case of the
birthday, the idea was explicitly introduced by Gilles Vigneault, Yvon
Louise Forestier at the song's 1975 introduction):
Mon cher ami (or Ma chère amie), c'est à ton tour
De te laisser parler d'amour.
("My dear friend, it's your turn / To let yourself be lovingly spoken
Alternatively, "ami(e)" (friend) is replaced with the name of the
person being celebrated.
For instance, at René Lévesque's funeral, mourners outside the
church broke out singing "Mon cher René, c'est à ton tour, de te
laisser parler d'amour"
^ "Gens du pays". The Canadian Songwriters Virtual Hall of Fame.
February 2006. Archived from the original on 2013-11-10. Retrieved
^ "Gens du pay (St-Jean 1975)" on YouTube
This 1970s song–related article is a stub. You can help by