Our spokespersons’ voices are in perfect harmony for the 2021 Rendez-vous de la Francophonie! Although each has followed their own path, both have built careers in music. Together, we’ll learn about Acadians through events, stories and many surprising facts! The RVF is proud to count on these two musical artists, who are just as interested as we are in learning more about Acadians.
Artist Jill Barber will be a spokesperson for the 2021 Rendez-vous de la Francophonie.
Born in Port Credit, Ontario, Jill has lived all over Canada. She spent six years in Halifax, Nova Scotia, before settling in Vancouver, British Columbia, which is where she currently resides.
As a teenager, the singer-songwriter was exposed to music when her brother started playing the guitar. He was like a hero to Jill. She decided to follow in his footsteps by learning to play the guitar and then writing her own songs. Years went by, and music continued to be part of Jill’s life. She has now turned it into a full-time career. Music is what led her to explore Halifax and Vancouver and discover their music scenes.
Jill Barber is Anglophone, but is committed to speaking French. Her English-speaking parents, who are unilingual, decided to enroll her in French immersion when she was young. She dropped out of the program after two years, but after a trip to France as an adult, she developed a renewed interest in learning her second language. Since then, she has tried to speak French whenever she has an opportunity to do so.
Jill released a second album in French in the summer of 2020. It was initially supposed to feature only cover versions, but it evolved into an album of original songs. This type of project has helped Jill to continue to improve her French. She has even revealed that music makes it easier to express herself in her second language. What a perfect example of what music can do!
When I began to sing “en français,” I began to use my voice
in a totally different way…
This year, artist YAO will be a spokesperson for the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie. To that end, we’d like to briefly introduce you to this great singer who has taken his art to new heights. You’re bound to fall in love with his personality and music.
Originally from Côte d’Ivoire, Yaovi Hoyi arrived in Canada when he was 13 years old. His family chose to settle in Ontario, and more specifically, in Canada’s capital city. Although life could have taken YAO to another part of the country or the world, his home base has remained the same since then. To this day, you might run into him in the streets of Ottawa—when he’s not on tour, that is!
YAO could be described as an explorer of the arts. He’s not only a singer-songwriter, but also a poet, slam artist, writer, comedian and entrepreneur. Basically, his résumé is probably at least 20 pages long! His artistic side emerged rather early in life. He was interested in theatre and creative writing as a teenager. However, he studied business at university and then found a job in finance.
Yet, art wasn’t completely out of the picture. After a few years, music became his full-time job. His solo career took off in 2011 with the album Généris, which was followed by Perles et Paraboles in 2013 and Lapsus in 2016. Thanks to this latest album, he was able to go on tour across Canada. YAO earned many nominations at the 2019 Trille Or Awards Gala, where he won awards for “Best Solo Artist,” “Best Live Show,” and “Media Favourite.”
We can say “yes” in response to his song titled Dis-moi que tu m’aimes encore [Tell me that you still love me]. We’ll always love him!
...it’s you and your emotions, your fears and your vulnerability and
everybody’s there to listen to you…
Introduction to Acadian expressions
If there’s one thing that sets Acadians apart, it’s their expressions! We challenged our spokespersons to guess the meaning of different Acadian expressions. Some expressions are easier to guess than others, but you’ll nevertheless find it a challenge and learn about Acadian culture. We encourage you to jot the expressions down so that your friends, family and even your colleagues can take a guess! Fun and laughs guaranteed!
RVF 2021 Special Guest
Laurent Paquin, comedian and radio host
From his living room, Laurent talks about his experience as a comedian during the pandemic and reminds us all how important it is to laugh a little — especially in these challenging times.