A very influential singer/songwriter to this day, Richard Desjardins was born in Rouyn-Noranda, Québec, in 1948. From 1975 to 1982 he was the composer, pianist, and lead singer for the rock band ABBITTIBBI. In 1988, Desjardins releases his first solo album, Les Derniers Humains, which sells rather poorly but which will set him apart from the mainstream artists, notably for his powerful lyrics. His reputation will build slowly through inconditional fans who assist to his concerts in modest halls accross the province of Québec, accompanied only by his piano. In 1990, Desjardins' talent is more widely recognised when he writes the music for the film Le Party, by Pierre Falardeau, and releases his second album, Tu m'aimes-tu. The songs Tu m'aime-tu, Le bon gars, and Quand j'aime une fois j'aime pour toujours, later covered by french singer Francis Cabrel, are aired provincially.
That year Desjardins is awarded the Prix de la chanson francophone (french song prize) at the summer event Festival d'été de Québec and participates in a number of music festivals in France, such as the Georges Brassens festival in Sète. In 1991 he performs at the Festival de La Rochelle and his song Tu m'aimes-tu reaches number two in the french radiophonic community referendum. In the fall, he receives two Félix, the most prestigious award given to a french-canadian artist, for best singer/songwriter and pop album of the year.
In 1992 Desjardins played at the Bataclan in Paris, where he was critically acclaimed by the french press. He continued to perform throughout Québec in the nineties and released four other albums, two of them with his former band ABBITTIBI.
Richard Desjardins has a very particular musical style, his voice might be compared to that of Tom Waits', perhaps a bit more nasal. He has always been very political and his lyrics are never to be taken at face value, despite his very strong quebecois accent which lead some people to believe he is just a regular joe. In a particularily poignant song about the mining industry, a worker who has spent his life underground tells his family: Le jour où c'est qu'on m'trouvera mort,
enterrez-moi debout, la tête dehors... au Soleil! (The day I die, bury me standing up, my head outside... in the sun) This is one of the many examples of the singer's involvement and concern for human issues.
Desjardins has also co-directed with Robert Monderie the following films:
Comme des chiens en pacage (1977)
Mouche à feu (1983)
L'erreur boréale (1999)
Les derniers humains - (1988)
Tu m'aimes-tu - (1990)
Richard Desjardins au Club Soda - (1993)
Boom Boom - (1998)
Chaude était la nuit - (1994)
Desjardins / Abbittibbi Live - (1996)
Le Party: Bande Originale (soundtrack) - (1989)
Unreleased movie scores:
La nuit avec Hortense (1988)
Richard Desjardins still lives.