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Serge Fiori - Serge Fiori CD (album) cover


Serge Fiori


Prog Folk

3.45 | 13 ratings

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3 stars I've written a review of Harmonium's "Si on avait besoin d'une cinquième saison" years ago, speaking mostly of his social influence for a whole generation of young quebecois at that time... So , apart of repeating myself about his well deserved rank amongst the greatest prog achievements, quite uncommon for it's "obscure small area origin" amongst the UK , US and other RPI ones, i wish to add this time great news for those who fell in love for the band and don't know yet.

You may know that, after a third record, Harmonium disbanded. Some, still more informed, have heard that it was mainly caused by mental fragility of their charismatic leader, Serge Fiori. Recently he has publicly discussed the fact that a specific drug experience had caused a still damaging kind of paranoia which prevented him to perform on stage. Very sad story indeed. After a duo, and a solo album, less and less interesting ones, that was it for him. Years of inner errance, ashrams, meditations had led him to a kind of peacefullness. Now here are the great news.

In 2014, having in his mind sufficiently recover,with a bunch of songs about his inner experiences, mortality or illness of his parents, overall matters of an aging life, and helped by one Marc Perusse, a musician / producer responsible of some of the best pop/ crossover quebecois records of the last twenty years, he just came back with a solo album simply titled "Serge Fiori". For years the only way to discuss the record here was by inter acting on the forums. Which at that time was a shame in due respect to the administrators. Then the Serge Fiori entry has been added, with the advent of "Fiori Seul Ensemble" un double cd set of classic Harmonium songs reworked for a circus show purpose (See my review, actually the only one...)

While "Fiori" is not prog at all, it still has all the ingredients that made Serge's music great. First song ,"Le Monde Est Virtuel" is a tribute to the classic Harmonium sound, acoustic guitars, that typical line of bass, more in line with the first record, or the happier, upbeat moments of "Les cinq saisons". Then the fifth song is simply a gift of heart: Serge duets with Monique Fauteux, member of the third incarnation of the band; on "L'Heptade" that's her who is featured on "Le Corridor", apart of all her work as back vocalist all along the record. The song, entitled "Jamais", is simply gorgeous, shivers guaranteed. "Seule" adresses his mother's alzheimer in such a sensible and moving way, you are bound to endless tears. Same goes for "Laisse moi partir" (let me go), about his father death. All very sad matters but in true Fiori's fashion, hope is there and the best is kept for the end: "Si bien" (so fine) and his coda "Epilogue" close the record in true uplifting fashion.

And how is his singing will you ask? Because true Harmonium lovers mainly enjoyed Fiori's vocal charisma. One of the nicest, most moving voice in prog or any genre for that matter. To the point that many of you, english speaking, don't give a damn about not understanding the lyrics, not even mentioning that there's always much wordless vocalising in Fiori's music. Here's the true magic: he hasn't lost anything! As an aging sixtygoer, think Peter Gabriel, his voice had lowered a bit, his comfort zone has narrowed, but he still can nail any of the falsetto pitch he is praised for. And the converted know how much it is part of the most beautiful aspect of his music.

Those are great news from the front. The 2010's are good for classic prog lovers. Fiori's Harmonium music truly deserved these last stands to close a career in great fashion. Many thanks for that. Hopefully these are not Fiori's last words. As prog counts, three stars, but if one's a great music lover, he can easily add a fourth star.

bertolino | 3/5 |


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