Francos de Montréal: tears and smiles for Karim Ouellet

The Francos did things in style and in style for the ultimate tribute to Karim Ouellet, this Sunday evening on the Place des Festivals. The musician, who left much too early last January at only 37 years old, was celebrated in tears and smiles by several of his friends in the company of thousands of spectators. “Mom, look how people loved Karim,” said his sister Sarahmée.

Karim Ouellet will have succeeded in bringing people together both in life and in death. For this concert in his memory, many artists wanted to salute him, including Claude Bégin, Ariane Moffatt, Hubert Lenoir, Alaclair Ensemble and Valaire.

We realized from the first seconds of the show that we would experience a very special evening. The ratings of The mists first sounded through the loudspeakers. Karim’s voice could be heard there.

On stage, a spotlight illuminated only Karim’s guitar and the fox mask he wore at his concerts. The moment, sober and powerful, gave us our first chills.

“His name is Karim Ouellet. We are his friends. Les Francos, on three, I want to hear all your first names, 1-2-3!” launched the show’s master of ceremonies, Luis Clavis, in a very sympathetic nod to what Karim did at the start of each concert.

“We are here for Karim, our brother, our friend, to honor him, to never forget him. We are here to cry and sing. Thank you for being here. Welcome to his vigil, ”continued the one who was present with his companions from Valaire.

Longtime friend of Karim, Amélie Nault was guest artists.

Photo QMI Agency, Thierry Laforce

Longtime friend of Karim, Amélie Nault was guest artists.

The director of the concert, Ines Talbi, had taken care to mix the festive moments with those more touching. At the beginning of the evening, we were thus entitled to the dynamics There is no point runningthen poignantly Marie-Jo.

Soon enough came the biggest success of the singer in his career: love. Delivered with energy by “the thin gang” of Alaclair Ensemble, including his longtime accomplice Claude Bégin, the piece made the crowd jump.

In addition to the ten or so artists who were permanently on stage throughout the concert, a gigantic slideshow of photos of Karim could be seen projected onto the UQAM building behind the stage. As if watching us from above.

Halfway through, we were treated to two effective and surprising duets each featuring Hubert Lenoir, an artist who rarely lends himself to this kind of exercise. The first, with Claudia Bouvette for Oh! Nope. The second, with Ariane Moffatt for Unrealizable.

Spectators were numerous at the Place des Festivals to pay tribute to the singer.

Photo QMI Agency, Thierry Laforce

Spectators were numerous at the Place des Festivals to pay tribute to the singer.

This string of catchy tracks showed us once again just how much Karim Ouellet had a sense of melody. The songwriter knew how to write very catchy songs and despite his early departure, they will continue to resonate for a long time.

Absent until then from the show, Sarahmée only made a short appearance on stage. The rapper was supposed to perform songs, but she finally limited her presence to a few seconds at the microphone, the time to thank the artists present. “They are friends who have been there from the start,” she said after receiving a warm ovation from the crowd.

Karim Ouellet would no doubt have been very proud of this tribute paid to him by his friends. The concert will have been in his image: joyful, sensitive and unifying.

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