Myriam Jacob-Allard

Une voix me rappelle toujours, 2016
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

Drawing on the legacy of Québec country music, Myriam Jacob-Allard’s practice encompasses various facets, interweaving video, performance and installation, and often making use of a practically DIY production process. Through her own family history, in which this musical culture is a heritage passed down from mother to daughter, the artist takes a deliberately ambiguous position that blends autofiction with a more documentary style. Québec country, which pays particular attention to so-called family values and everyday stories, offers a means of examining the notion of this legacy and, by extension, the difficult tension between memory and forgetting.

The powerfully personal Une voix me rappelle toujours demonstrates this focused approach. Before producing her project, Jacob-Allard first met with a number of singers in Québec bars, who agreed to take part in the game of performing, a cappella, the local country song that meant the most to them. The artist next located those same songs on websites like YouTube, where she selected certain videos. These then became key components of her project, which entailed reinterpreting each performance by reproducing not only the songs, but also the costumes, staging and general atmosphere of the recordings. At the same time, the artist’s strategies of repetition, accumulation and reconstruction echo the principle of covers that is inherent in country music.