Ginette Reno is the Habs’ secret weapon

Posted: April 22, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

leolo

(The photo montage above comes courtesy of Captain K, @CaptKyslap on Twitter.)

Sure it was a great sound-and-light show before the game Sunday night at the Bell Centre but all the pyrotechnics were nothing compared to Ginette Reno’s emotional rendition of Oh Canada. It blew everyone away – from the 21,000-plus fans in the barn to all of us watching at home to the Canadiens themselves.

Reno announced Tuesday that she will indeed be back to sing the anthem Tuesday evening – now that she has the green-light from her cardiologist. According to TVA Sports, she had a heart attack in Florida in late January and she didn’t agree to return until she’d met Tuesday morning with her cardiologist.

She made the announcement Tuesday afternoon on her Facebook page:

Chers amis….
Je vous confirme que vous m’avez eu avec cette vague d’amour… Je vous rassure donc; mon coeur va bien et mon cardiologue me donne sa bénédiction!

Je suis ravie et touchée… Sincèrement….
Je serai donc des vôtres ce soir…!

Merci pour ce nouveau logo
Ginette XX

Ginette CH

Classic!

I’ve always had tremendous admiration for Ginette Reno. So I’m not just jumping on the Ginette bandwagon this week. I first interviewed her in March, 1992, a Montreal Gazette profile timed to coincide with her run of 16 sold-out shows at Theatre St. Denis that month. I wrote of the affection that Quebecers have for the singer:

“And she thrives on that affection. Reno owns a Rolls-Royce and a Bentley, but she much prefers driving around town in her little Toyota van, because it has her name painted on the side.

People wave as she drives by, or stop to say hello. A truck driver recently pulled his 18-wheeler to the side of the road and jumped out to greet the singer.”

That month, Chatelaine magazine had named her the woman that Quebec men most admire.

Here’s Reno’s reaction to the poll:

“It was a shock,” Reno says, in an interview at a downtown restaurant.

“I look at my body and say, `Why me? Why not someone more sexy?’ But I’m finding out more things about men. Men do want a strong woman, they like to have a courageous person next to them. Some men, not all. There are still some men that go for the Barbies.

“With all the feminists, women don’t know what they want anymore, and they’ve mixed up the men; they want to cry too, and they want a shoulder to cry on.”

When we talked it was just a couple of months before the late great Jean-Claude Lauzon’s Leolo would premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and garner the kind of international acclaim that Quebec films at the time almost never achieved. Reno is just amazing in the film, playing Leolo’s mother, and it was clear it had been a trying experience for her shooting such an intense film.

“I thought the film was too violent and rough,” Reno said at the time. “I told Lauzon: `There’s no hope in your film.’ ”

That’s what I’ve always loved about Reno. She always calls it like it is, straight from the heart, with no b.s. And clearly this week is proving that I’m far from the only one who feels that way about Reno.

Maybe her biggest fan is Rene Bourque, who took inspiration from that gusty interpretation of the anthem and scored 11 seconds into the game. ‘Miracle Man’ Bourque, who hails from Lac La Biche in Alberta, doesn’t speak French, in spite of his last name, and he admitted he’d never heard of Reno before Sunday.

But he liked what he saw – and heard. And it was Bourque who asked the team to invite her back Tuesday!

That’s the beauty of the great uniting force that is the Habs – turning Rene Bourque and the rest of Canada on to the charms of the singer who taught Celine Dion everything she knows.

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