Last night, I was one of three hundred extremely fortunate fans to spend a couple of hours with International Superstar, Daniel Lavoie. The recipient of dozens of distinctions and awards once again graced the old neighbourhood with his amazing talent and passion. I am still high from the experience, one that I will carry with me for a lifetime.
I know this to be true because he has remained with me since he first graced the very stage he occupied last night, back in 1970 (?), which turned out to be only the first of several Daniel Lavoie performances I would attend.
My first reason for sharing this is about my continuing desire to help define the Artist in a positive light, despite the nasty branding and beating this title too often carries. Yes, I am talking about that artist, the pretentious alcoholic prone to fits of rage who always manages somehow to make front page news. I wish it were only Mr. Harper who believes this to be true of most artists, but sadly it isn't.
My second reason for sharing is all about going home again . . . On one of many visits I've made to Margaret Laurence's home, which has long since been turned into a library, I came across the speech she delivered the last time she visited her hometown of Neepawa, Manitoba. In her speech, she responded to Thomas Wolfe's "You can't go home again" by saying:
"I think you must go home again, not necessarily to go back and live in the same town in which you were born, but simply to come to terms with the past . . . one has to try to come to terms with the past in such a way that one assimilates it without rejecting it because, after all, our past, both good and bad parts of it (it's always mixed) form our mental baggage which we carry along with us all our lives. If we manage to come to some kind of terms with it, so that it is not a stultifying influence, but that is something that we can accept and assimilate, then, it seems to me, this is a kind of Homecoming."
Last night, the multi-talented artist honoured his hometown with a show that marvelled and inspired. As part of "Coup de Coeur Francophone", a yearly festival aimed at highlighting the creative spirit among the francophone community in Canada, the man not at all befitting Harper's artist, shared his true passion and voice with a small audience of 'ordinary people', mainly relatives and friends, for whom the show was made EXtremely affordable.
In accepting the most difficult of performances, the one offered to those one knows and loves, Daniel surely had his reasons for coming home again. And despite how difficult it was for me to enter the community theatre in my hometown of Saint-Boniface last night, I had my reasons too.
It just might be that again and again, we armour ourselves as best we could from the ghosts of our past, so that again and again, we might keep going home. It would seem that last night was all about assimilation, of one kind or another. . .
For filling up 'my well', Daniel, I thank you, and hope that yours was also filled.