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Memories of Ahuntsic – “All along the river, the trees will have seen it all”

Concerts Ahuntsic en fugue, founded by its current artistic director Mr. Clément Canac-Marquis, have offered the citizens of the borough a legacy anthem entitled Mémoires d’Ahuntsic (memories of Ahuntsic). The lyrics were composed by Jacques Boulerice, with music by Kiya Tabassian; both residents of Ahuntsic.

On the evening of August 25, 2017, musicians gave the first public performance of the Mémoires d’Ahuntsic anthem. They were spread out over a multi-level stage. In the centre, the singer in a blue satin dress, holding the text written by Jacques Boulerice.

Musicians gave the first public performance of the Mémoires d’Ahuntsic anthem on August 25, 2017.


Mr. Canac-Marquis describes the context that led to the composition of this anthem on August 25, 2017, as part of the celebration of the City of Montreal’s 375th Anniversary and its significance:

I decided to elaborate the project around three poles: the first was to showcase the beauty of the banks of the Des Prairies River; the second was the integration of the area surrounding the new visitor centre of Parcours Gouin, built as a legacy project for the borough as part of MTL375; the third was the history of Ahuntsic’s territory. All this through a chamber music concert.

At the start of the anthem, skin drums evoke the presence of the First Nations on the banks of the river. Then, a nod to the overtures of ballets by composer Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632–1687) suggests the arrival of the French settlers and the sound of their determined footsteps. To evoke the tension of the meeting of these two civilizations, the piece then briefly contracts, only to flow freely once more with the first words of the anthem’s theme. Musically, we are travelling horizontally, as if gliding on the water, guided by the current past these “trees that will have seen it all…”

The lyrics and music describe a territory to signify the lives of citizens, places, and the notion of coexistence, all while bringing attention to an intermingling of musical modes inspired by the migratory cultures present in Ahuntsic-Cartierville.

The trees… to which this land belongs… will have seen it all…”.
This phrase was once spoken by Jacques Boulerice’s father.

Séverine Le Page recites the text of the anthem written by poet Jacques Boulerice
Video with transcript (EN). Subtitles available in English and French.

The Mémoires d’Ahuntsic anthem—Official video production for the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough
Video with transcript (EN). Subtitles available in English and French