“I see it as a public and intimate funeral at the same time. Close friend of Karim Ouellet, whom he had however lost sight of for more than a year, Claude Bégin foresees a festive and moving goodbye, tomorrow evening at the Francos, in the great concert tribute to the artist who died at 37. .
It was first with the team of the Festival d'été de Québec that the entourage of Karim Ouellet had discussed, in the spring, about a concert tribute to the musician.
“Since Karim comes from Quebec, we had started the process with them, mentions Olivier Beaulieu, drummer for Karim and musical director of the show Bye Bye Bye Karim. But in the end, they decided to cancel for this summer. As the process was already well underway, there was no question for us of putting it off until next year. »
Quick phone call to Laurent Saulnier and the organization of the Francos. The festival team, where Karim played for several years, quickly accepted the project.
“I think their lineup was already full, but they made room for it,” says Olivier.
Sunday's show will include several musician friends who rubbed shoulders with Karim during his too-short career. Of course, there will be his sister Sarahmée and also Claude Bégin, who has produced his three albums.
The latter will sing several songs by his late friend, in addition to also accompanying his companions from Alaclair Ensemble on stage.
“When I arrived at rehearsal, I realized that I had more songs than I thought I had to learn! “says Claude with a smile.
For the atmosphere of this evening, Sarahmée, Olivier Beaulieu and the director Ines Talbi wanted it to recall the energy of the last concert that Karim had given, three years ago.
“It will be a very festive show, says Olivier. But for sure there are going to be very emotional moments too. For example, we gave way to Ariane Moffatt and Fanny Bloom for piano-voice songs. »
Because very few people were able to attend Karim's funeral, this show will also be a way for his friends to see each other again, says Claude Bégin.
“We will be able to be a good fifty who were very close friends of Karim to reconnect. We're going to mix the party and the goodbyes. That's a super positive way to look at it all. I think it's gonna be a great night. »
“He had cut the bridges”
When the news of Karim Ouellet's death began to spread last January, those close to him were in shock, but not greatly surprised either.
“The mourning was a little started, says Olivier Beaulieu. Karim, for two years, he had cut a lot of ties with his friends and his family. We had no news at all. It seems that, quietly, without saying that I expected it to happen one day... The little news that we had here and there was that he was not well. »
"He had a lifestyle that meant that he gave no news to anyone," says Claude Bégin. I wasn't surprised, but I was obviously sad. It's been a good year since I had any news, maybe even a year and a half. It's super special as a disappearance. It's kind of a long crescendo. Six years ago, we were inseparable. »
Having met “around 2006 or 2007”, Karim Ouellet and Claude Bégin quickly developed professional affinities. The two recorded several songs in the studio and Karim entrusted Claude with the production of his three albums.
“We were really used to working together,” says Claude. We were the two Sagittarians, it went without any mistake. We were a hell of a duo. »
What will they remember of Karim Ouellet?
"He was an extremely generous guy," says Olivier Beaulieu. He was very loyal to his musicians. He was a very hard-working, meticulous, very brilliant guy. He was also very calm and very gentlemanly. »
"He made big melodies with striking words," says Claude. He has become an iconic person in music. It'll just make the legend grow. »
The show Bye Bye Bye Karim: the vigil of friends will take place tomorrow evening, at 9 p.m., on the Bell Stage, as part of the Francos. It will stage Sarahmée, Ariane Moffatt, Valaire, Hubert Lenoir, Alaclair Ensemble, Claude Bégin, Fanny Bloom, La Bronze and Claudia Bouvette.