Richard Lupien

Artist of the Month | May 2011

 

Biography :

As far back as he can look, music has always been a part of Richard Lupien’s life. For some strange reason that is kind of hard to explain (or maybe his mom just didn’t want him getting into drugs!!) he only started to play guitar at the age of seventeen. In his early teen’s, Richard’s cousin Michel Robidoux, a well established guitarist-composer-arranger- performer working with Robert Charlebois, Jean-Pierre Ferland, Claude Dubois and Renée Claude, would often bring him to those concerts!!…Of course, beeing back stage with Québec pop stars drew Richard’s attention and the day finally came when Michel helped him purchase his first guitar at Anton Wilfer’s Music Store in Montreal in 1971.

After a couple of guitar lessons to learn the basics of fingerstyle practicing Leonard Cohen’s « Suzanne » and Shawn Phillips « The Ballad of Casey Deiss », he was on his own practicing more than 3 hours a day with a close guitarist friend, soaking his fingers in icy water if need be to cool the fingers down and keep on practicing!!…He kept that rhythm going for 3 years non stop!!…From then on, he started composing intensively, experimenting with alternate tunings on the classical guitar and then with 6 and 12 string acoustic guitars.

He was listening to a lot of Beatles, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Genesis, Zappa, J.J. Cale, John Mayall, Jean-Luc Ponty and also a lot of europeen prog bands. Even more inspiring musicians to him where Steve Hackett, Ralph Towner, Steve Tibbets, Jaco Pastorius, Egberto Gismonti, John McLauglin, Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Miroslav Vitous, Sergio Mendes, A.C. Jobim, Oscar Castro-Neves and many other jazz giants!!…This beeing said, he was mostly trying to find « his » own way, using that musical energy to drive him forward, never trying to copy great musician’s playing or learning standards of any kind but just composing and stretching the limits of harmony by using and exploring innovative guitar tunings!!

At the age of 22 he began writing music for many singer-songwriter friends and started playing professionally around town with his own bossa-jazz quartet but also doing recording sessions as band leader or guitarist-arranger for the CBC in Ottawa. At one point, he was offered the opportunity to play bass guitar in a big band so he picked up the bass and started to learn how to play electric bass and how to read bass charts, this with a three month deadline ahead of him!!…That went pretty well so he started playing bass for a while but then came the revelation in 1984 with Michael Hedges and Andreas Vollenweider!!…From then on he came back to his first and only love, the acoustic guitar, and never looked back!!…

He then left his home town for Montreal and did some recording sessions with his cousin Michel Robidoux for singers Renée-Claude and Pierre Létourneau. Of course that was quite an exciting and inspiring experience, being in the studio with his cousin that had helped him buy his first guitar some 20 years before!! He also joined Michel in other musical projects and they played together on stage for a few years. After that musical journey, he started playing his original material for solo guitar and sometimes as a duo with saxophone players.

Then came a second important revelation in 1995, here again under the influence of his cousin Michel Robidoux, when Michel invited him to listen to the Riverdance DVD!!…The center piece was the uilliann pipes solo by Davy Spillane!!…From then on, Richard started doing reseach to learn more about that musical genre. He then met long time friend Gilles Garand that was leading the traditional québécois music session at the bar « Le Verre Bouteille ». A high intensity session that would group together about thirthy musicians once a week. Richard attended the session regularly for three years to fully integrate the québécois repertoire,. He then turned to the irish sessions to get more familiar close hand with irish music and learn the basics of DADGAD guitar accompaniment with renowed guitarist Peter Senn .

World music if ever there was one, celtic music covers a vast territory which brought him to discover the music of Asturia, Galicia and Scandinavian countries with yet another long time friend, cello player Mario Giroux. His main influences became « The Chieftains », « The Bothy Band », « Solas », « Altan », « La Bottine Souriante », « La Volée d’Castors », « Garmarna », « Vartinna », « Harv », « Vasen », André Marchand, Paddy Glackin, Gerald Trimble, Ale Moller, Alasdair Fraser and more specially Donal Lunny, just to name a few!!

A trip to the Maritimes then got him to discover the music of Cape-Breton. He will long remember the dance he attended in Glencoe Mills featuring the McMaster family with Nathalie leading the way on piano and violin!! His implication in celtic music festivals as stage manager got him to meet and sometimes play along (in open sessions) with musicians like Pascal Gemme, André Brunet, Olivier Demers, Paddy Keenan, Jerry Holland, Brenda Stubbert, J.P. Cormier, Melissa Emmons and more recently with Mick O’Brien and Patrick Ouceau at the 2011 edition of « La Grande Rencontre ».

He started doing some serious home recording and producing CD’s with celtic musician friends around 2003 and a close collaboration with singer Myreille Bédard landed him a few compositions on her two CD’s. In 2010, he produced the first « Tarcolen » CD with composers Laurence Beaudry on violin and Robin Beech concertina. With close to two hundred unedited compositions and arrangements, Richard is still moving forward with composing and presently exploring the world of baritone guitars.

Main accomplishements on CD :

Self-produced CD :

Richard Lupien : Keltic Phenix (2005)

Philippe Duberger : Larry the Beer Drinker (2006)

Tarcolen : Tarcolen (2010)

Mainstream productions :

Myreille Bédard : Comme le vent (as composer)

Myreille Bédard : Éclats de vie (as composer)

Anael : Once Upon a Dream / guitar on « Réve d’été »

Renée-Claude chante Brassens / J’ai Rendez-vous avec vous

Pierre Létourneau : On a tous un rêve fou

Links :

http://www.reverbnation.com/richardlupien

http://www.reverbnation.com/tarcolen

http://www.tunecore.com/music/myreillebedard

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