Richard Desjardins was born in 1948 in Noranda (now Rouyn-Noranda) in the heart of Quebec’s Abitibi-Timiskaming region. Its sweeping landscape of forests, mines and roads has had a profound influence on his work as a pianist, singer/songwriter and film director.
He launched his musical career in 1975 with the country-rock band Abbittibbi. The group stayed together until 1982 and released three albums - Boom Town Café, Chaude était la nuit, and Abbitibbi Live.
Also in the 1970s, he codirected two films with Robert Monderie, Comme des chiens en pacage (1977) and Mouche à feu (1983). Film became an inextricable part of his artistic practice, and he has been involved with various film projects throughout his career, working as a researcher, composer (credits include the soundtrack for Noranda  and La Nuit avec Hortense ), director (L’Érreur boréale, 1999) and even actor—witness his memorable performance in Pierre Falardeau’s Le party, for which he also wrote the score.
In 1998, with the support of a core of faithful fans, he released a self-produced debut solo album, Les derniers humains. With poetic lyrics shaded with humour and realism, the album was an instant hit, and Desjardins never looked back. He has since received numerous awards and established himself as a major figure on the Quebec music scene.
In 2000, Richard Desjardins moved to France for a year to concentrate on his writing and to give a series of performances in and around Paris. While there he helped found L’Action boréale, a group dedicated to overseeing forest management in Quebec.
Soon after his return to Quebec he released Kanasuta (2003). The word, meaning “where the devils dance,” comes from the name of a forest in the area where he was born, which was protected through the efforts of Action boréale. In early 2004 Richard Desjardins launched his Kanasuta tour, which lasted two years. Desjardins and his musical partners from the Kanasuta Project gave more than 120 performances in Quebec, Canada, France and Switzerland; the tour was also captured on disc.
Source: Radio-Canada Espace Musique, www.radio-canada.ca/radio2 (transl.)
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