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World Music CD Reviews North American


Published April 19, 2006


Montreal’s Yves Desrosiers’ solo album, Volodia, combines a warm voice, unique acoustic instrumentation, a tinge of je m’en foutisme and ballad-like atmosphere to create what must be a musical first in Canada. Desrosiers (whose voice sounds somewhat like French legend Renaud) presents a kind of tribute album to the poetry of Vladimir (Volodia) Vissotsky, whose songs circulated on audio samizdat in Soviet Russia in the ’60s-’80s. Although totally unacknowledged by the Soviet government during his lifetime, Vissotsky (who died at age 42 in 1982) managed to attract hundreds of thousands to his funeral. Desrosiers, using French translations of Vissotsky’s poetry (with his own adaptations plus one by Vissotsky’s widow, French actress Marina Vlady and another by Maxime Le Forestier) is able to give a full glimpse into this Russian chansonnier/poet/actor who lived a life of emotional highs and lows, burning the proverbial candle at both ends. Fans of Montreal’s world music scene will recognize Desrosiers’ style and instrumentation: echoes from both Lhasa de Sela and Jeszcze Raz (whose work Desrosiers produced) are evident, including his innovative lap bass guitar.