Listen to Harmonium for a harmonious vacation in Canada

More than 100 artists will gather on May 24 in an amphitheater in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, to perform orchestral reinterpretations of groundbreaking 1970s songs by Serge Fiori and his former Canadian progressive rock band Harmonium. It’s quite a tribute to Fiori who resides about 240 miles north of the concert hall, has an endearing love for his home province and shares tips for visitors.

Fiori lives in Saint-Henri-De-Taillon, adjacent to Lac Saint-Jean, a large lake about a 5 1/2 hour drive north of Montreal. He wrote or co-wrote almost every song on Harmonium, including all five from the 1975 album. If We Needed A Fifthwho rolling stone put on his list of the 50 greatest progressive rock albums of all time.

“I’m right on the beach at the lake,” says Fiori, who celebrated her 80th birthday last month. “Imagine a beautiful, beautiful beach – it looks a lot like Maine. The first time I came here, I was like, ‘Okay, if I have to leave Montreal, I have to be somewhere that’s absolutely beautiful. Looking out the window now, I can’t believe how beautiful it is. It’s just heaven.

Montreal, where Fiori grew up, remains dear to her heart.

“There’s something in there,” he said. “Everyone says it’s a mix of Paris and New York, and it is. And then there are the people. They’re so receptive to music, it’s crazy.

During the summer 2020 pandemic, 68 musicians from the Orchester symphonique de Montréal recorded Stories Without Words – Symphonic Harmonium, a symphonic reinterpretation of Harmonium’s music for a two-CD set released in 2020 and a four-vinyl, two-CD set released last year.

“We had to respect the distance between the musicians because of COVID,” Fiori recalls of the recording sessions held at 1,900 places in Montreal. symphonic house. “To maintain social distancing between all players, we had to build and add an additional 20 feet in front of the original stage. It was an incredible effort.

Fiori says he’s in love with Old Montreal, a must-see neighborhood for American travellers. Old Montreal, located between the St. Lawrence River and downtown Montreal, has a European flair with its cobbled streets and 17th and 18th century architecture.

“Saint-Laurent and Saint-Denis are such diverse and intriguing streets, and the Sainte-Catherine Jazz Festival is the best in the world,” says Fiori.

It’s hard to identify exceptional restaurants in Montreal, he says, because there are so many good ones. A favorite, however, is The New World Cafea French bistro New World Theater.

“It’s located in the middle of the jazz festival,” says Fiori. “You eat food, you have the best wines in the world and you have a crowd that is so happy to hear music and be in this environment. You have live bands outside. A meal, wine and good music, it’s very Montreal.

Quebec City is also a special place for Fiori.

“Quebec City is Old Montreal everywhere,” he says. “It’s Quebec, it’s Paris, it’s little Paris. It’s so beautiful, warm and rich, with little shops and little bistros. It’s so French, so Latin. Americans and others I know who go to Quebec book it for three days and after being there don’t want to go home. Every corner of this city is completely beautiful.

Fiori has seen many special places in his life and he offers a special message to the world.

“Everyone has to believe in themselves, because you never know what can happen,” he says. “Look what happened to me. I wrote the music for Harmonium when I was 21 to 25, and now, years later, it’s hard to believe my music would become symphonic. It’s a dream come true. So believe in yourself and be grateful.

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