Turlutage: Commissioned by the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre 2005.

An antique radio (1931) has been refurbished to play 3 short documentary pieces, each about an outstanding Québec woman of the 1930’s. A turn of the dial allows the listener to change from one documentary piece to another so that “all channels” represent the heroines of Quebec society from that era.

Mme. Thérèse Casgrain was responsible for attaining women’s suffrage in 1941, and also hosted a radio show on Radio Canada specifically for women called Femina. Various clips from the CBC archives are used, as well as an interview with Mme. Casgrain herself, to tell that story.

Lea Roback was an important union organizer in the 1930’s, and played an important part in the Garment Worker’s Union strike that had a critical impact on Quebec’s working history. She led a long and full life of activism, and the Léa Roback centre is now an important Quebec resource for issues of social inequality.

The third documentary piece is about Mary Bolduc, a typical Québecoise who became a major recording artist and rose to iconic status through her witty songs of everyday life.  The verb “turloter” refers to an Acadian style of mouth music which La Bolduc (as she is now called) usually broke into in many of her songs. No matter how hard times were, her advice to her countrymen was to keep singing.

© 2024 Kathy Kennedy