New album: Catherine Durand had to tame loneliness

New album: Catherine Durand had to tame loneliness


After a serious questioning that lasted four years and a difficult breakup, Catherine Durand took advantage of the pandemic to do a lot of introspection. After 24 months of creation, which notably led her to Banff, here she is offering one of her most successful albums in her career with The Orphan House. “We made the album that I have dreamed of making since my debut,” says the 51-year-old musician.

For her first album of original songs in six years, Catherine Durand has is paid in full. She decided to hire the Cassiopée ensemble, made up of nine musicians. 

“We were at Studio Piccolo and I had goosebumps,” she recalls. The first time they sat down and played the first note, I think my eyes were watering. It was truly magical. It's something to see your songs come to life like this under the fingers of musicians playing them for the first time. It's powerful.”

This memorable moment contrasted sharply with the four years of “dry breakdown” that Catherine Durand experienced, from 2016 to 2019. 

“I didn't didn't want to write. I had nothing coming out. I had no juice. I was even wondering if I was going to do another album.”

In 2018, she decided to release the retrospective album Twenty to mark his 20-year career. 

“These were reinterpretations. It allowed me to stay active without necessarily having new material to offer.”

Perfect marriage

After slowly recovering from a breakup “which was very painful”, the musician gradually found inspiration. The arrival of the pandemic has been “very nourishing” for her. “It allowed me to focus a lot on myself, to work on myself, to welcome and tame loneliness,” she says.  

She began to write songs “of loss, loneliness, emptiness and abandonment”. For the production, she called on Vincent Legault (Dear Criminals). 

“I had heard his project Mille Milles without knowing it was him. Listening to it, I said to myself that it could become the perfect marriage, because I wanted something more accomplished, more orchestral.

When the album was technically finished, Catherine Durand was offered to do a writing residency in Banff, Alberta, last spring. “It was a residency that was supposed to take place in 2020, but it had been canceled due to the pandemic.”

The Banff Center for the Arts regularly welcomes artists from around the world. In the past, Safia Nolin and Matt Holubowski have been there. “It's also where Michel Rivard wrote The Origin of My Species,” says Catherine Durand.

Summer Camp

Surrounded by mountains, the place is like “a holiday camp for artists”, according to the author-composer. “You are taken care of. You are fed, housed. All you have to do is go to the studio in the morning and write. […] It's one of the most beautiful experiences I've had in my life.”

For the moment, Catherine Durand does not plan to tour with La maison orpheline . “I thought it was going to be a bit difficult to transpose on stage. […] The songs are so fleshed out musically that I would find it difficult to strip them.

She would however see herself making the album with the Cassiopée ensemble in a big event. “For example, at the Francos? I'm waiting for the invitation!”

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