Céline's Band

This page of our site is dedicated to nine very gifted musicians:
Mégo, Marc, Paul, Yves, André, Dominique, Barnev, Élise and Julie!!!

Claude 'Mégo' Lemay

Claude Lemay, commonly known as Mégo, has been the piano player and music director for Céline for 13 years. Yet he didn't always like her music! When first asked to be her music director, he did not know about the new image that came with Incognito and said he wouldn't work with her.

In 1987, Claude "Mégo" Lemay was the head of orchestra of the Festival of the song of Granby and also worked with Jean-Guy Moreau lorse that the producer Jean-Claude the Hope proposed to him to direct the musicians of Céline within the framework of the new tour which the singer was going to undertake. " I spontaneously answered him "no", because the fact of associating to me to the interpreter of the song "Une Colombe" did not correspond to my image, which was more rock' roll. He then suggested that I watch the TV special Incognito, which was on a few days later... After having seen the program, I wanted the job! My first meeting with Céline took place at her house in Laval. When she started to sing during the show, I had shivers... But, at the time, who could suspect that Céline would become the engine of such a gigantic machine? With the wire of time, I became a little like her big brother, and her, my little sister. What characterizes our relationship, is that on scene we do not need to say anything to understand each other. Céline allowed me to carry out great dreams, like playing on the Wembley stage in front of 65 000 people, where we were the last to produce there before its demolition. My partner, Dominique Géraldo, also works with the tour team as the choreographer, because we needed a person appointed to recruit the dancers in various cities which we visit. I have just finished the music of the tour of Daniel Lemire and that of a theatre in Saint-Sauveur in summer. Moreover, I currently work on the new album of Breen Leboeuf. In the autumn, I will be the head of the orchestra of the new program of Marc Labrèche, who will be introduced to network TVA."

André Coutu

Before being the guitarist of Céline, André played with Mario Pelchat and Franck Olivier as well as on the TV show "Les Démons Du Midi". "When, in 1988, I temporarily replaced one of the musicians of Céline, I already admired the singer who she was. At the time of our first meeting, her and René treated me with much respect. A few months later, he made it possible for me to accompany Céline in all her concerts. I like the way in which Céline and René direct the musicians: that enabled me to be exceeded... The symbiosis of the team was so exceptional that there never was the least small fight. My wife, Sophie, was always most understanding with respect to my absences during the tours. On some occasions, she even came to join me abroad. Our daughter, Pénélope, born on March 1 2000, was conceived last June after one of the two concerts at the Au Coeur Du Stade, in Paris. The sabbatical year arrived at a good moment: I look after my daughter while working for the new album of Isabelle Boulay, also for that of Lynda Lemay. I also compose the songs with Barnev Valsaint and I will be part of the new program of Marc Labrèche, in September, at the side of Marc Langis, Dominic Messier and Mégo."

Marc Langis

Marc Langis has played the bass guitar for Céline since August 6th 1995, at a festival in Alberta. He trained in Classical Music and Jazz at the University of Miami and before playing for Céline, he played for Sonia Benezra.

One of the last beautiful memories that Marc shared with Céline is the party that the singer gave last autumn, at the end of the Lets Talk About Love World Tour. "She had invited us all to Fort Lauderdale and she had even made us take a small turn in her new yacht which had been just delivered... Today, I am the person in charge of the artistic relations for Godin guitars, a Quebec company which became international. I work especially near the musicians of artists, like Ricky Martin and Marc Anthony, who are passing through Montreal and wish to get new instruments. Moreover, as a bass player, I accompany Isabelle Boulay for semi-private concerts in Quebec; then we will give shows at La Rochelle, in France, and Switzerland. I will not form part of his tour this autumn since I work with the new program of Marc Labrèche and I intend to give Bass lessons. I traveled a lot these last years; I want to be at home more. I must also deal with my small family: Rose, four years, Antoine, two years, and my wife, Domenica. We seem to have the perfect love."

Paul Picard

Paul Picard is Céline's percussionist. He first played for Céline when she recorded "Une Colombe" and was then in her band for her first tour in 1985. He then returned to playing in Quebec, with people such as Michel Rivard and Paul Piché. He rejoined Céline's team on August 6th 1995, for an outdoor festival in Alberta. He is described as a "musicians musician" and "a man with style and taste" so you can see why Céline wanted him on her team. About Céline he said she was one of the "most impressive things I've ever seen in show business. Fame hasn't gone to her head".

Paul Picard, who began his career in 1972, had already accompanied Céline on tour in 1984 before finding her again in 1995. " On meeting her again, my first words were: " You did not change! " She was the same girl who, all those years ago, sang "Une Colombe." She made is a genuine Tour De Force!"

Paul speaks of his many marvellous memories including two stays in Australia. " I also remember Halloween where we were on tour. All the team had been disguised." Since the beginning of January, Paul teaches Latin percussion at St. Lawrence and will probably work at Luc De Larochelière during the next months.

Dominique Messier

Dominique Messier is a very talented drummer who has been working with Céline for nine years. The first contact between Céline and Dominique goes back to 1991, at the time of the ADISQ awards ceremony. (Quebec music awards) "I accompanied Céline in her interpretation of "Les Blues Du BusinessMan". When in 1995, there was some discussion about finding a new drummer for the orchestra of Céline, my name was at the head of list. Mégo and me had been friendly since 1982 or 1983. Moreover, Rene and Céline knew already my girlfriend, the singer Marie-Lou Gauthier (Toulouse group). In fact, the public discovered me in the television series 'Épopée Rock'n'roll'. Thereafter, I joined the group of musicians in the TV program of Sonia Benezra. In parallel, I accompanied many big singers on their CD's."

Within Céline's team, Dominique played the drums: "Céline will say to you: "He is insane!" By making her laugh, I removed a little pressure for her. And as I had learned the techniques of massage, before the shows, in 1995, I massaged Céline to help her to release tension and relax. But, listen to me: I never claimed to be a pro on the matter! I undertook that until a masseuse joined the tour team, on the recommendation of Céline's doctor. During these voyages, I was made many friends, that unfortunately I do not see any more. It is certain that I miss the pace of life during the world tours. Since January, I announce to everyone that I returned to Quebec. I currently consider projects of writing of songs and realization with Yves Frulla. I am also joint owner of the studio of Piccolo recording and, in September, I will be part of the new TV program of Marc Labrèche."

Yves Frulla

Yves Frulla has been playing the keyboard for Céline since the 1990 Unison tour. He also recorded "All By Myself" on "Falling Into You" in 1996.He is currently writing songs with Dominique Messier.

Barnev Valsaint

Barnev Valsaint is one of Céline's backup vocalists and the "baby" of the team: " I accompanied Céline on tour only during the last year. Céline and Mégo selected me during a hearing. I then had to put out of pilot my career within the group 'No De Ja', which I had formed with two friends, Patrick Chevalier and Mike Corolian. When I worked with Céline for the first time, she affectionately said to me: " Make yourself at home; if you need anything, ask for it. Welcome to the family! " She became a friend. So that for a moment, I forgot that I was in the presence of an international megastar. Now, I took again the road with my partners of No De Ja. We will present several spectacles this years to Quebec, but also in Haiti, and we work on the composition of our second album."

Élise Duguay

Élise Duguay is one of Céline's backup vocalists and first worked for Céline in 1988, when she traveled with Céline during the 'Incognito' tour. She became a full-time member of the team in 1994. She has said that she would rather do her job than Céline's! Élise is married to Dennis Savage, Céline's sound engineer, who she met on the tour.

Élise Duguay has a solid reputation in the Quebec musical world: her voice, warm and rich, has led her to the largest cities of the world. The talented Élise Duguay acknowledges not being attracted to becoming a solo artist.. She prefers, to remain in the background and work with musical harmony. Chorus-singer with the small screen for the first time for the television show " RSVP ", and then in "Beau et Chaud " (1988-1992), Élise Duguay then took part, in 1989 and 1990, with the tour of Quebec rocker Roch Voisine. She sang and played of the cello for the Cirque Du Soleil, in Japan in 1992, and obtained several contracts as a freelancer.

She returned to work for Céline when she went to join her (now) husband Denis Savage, who had worked as sound engineer for Céline for several years already. On February 7, 1994, She went to join him in Los Angeles. They were not married at the time yet. And on her first day there, Claude Lemay, the bandleader of Céline, called "Mego", told her that one of the chorus-singers left the tour. He then asked her if she was interested in working with them. She accepted and a few weeks later, on February 25, she went to Céline's concert in Boston, where Mego gave her a tape of the show. So that she could learn the words, to know where to sing, to practice the choreography, etc. She had only one week to prepare for her first show. The first show of Céline's in which she took part took was in Toronto on March 5. Since then, she has performed everywhere in the world. At The moment Élise is enjoying a nice, long break. And maybe, like Céline, She'll will try to have a baby.

Julie Leblanc

Julie Leblanc is one of Céline's backup vocalists. She has been touring with Céline since the Memphis concerts in 1997. It is through Elise Duguay, already a back-up singer for Céline, that Julie Leblanc met Céline. "During the Falling Into You Around The World tour," says Julie, "before each concert, all three of us would spend half an hour doing singing exercises, and it sometimes happened to us déconner! I feel privileged to have these invaluable memories with Céline. We have all enormously progressed on both personal and vocal matters. Unfortunately, at the time of the last tour, Céline would do her sound check alone at 5pm but, during supper, we could all sit around a table for lots of girl talk." In March, Julie had the chance to sing again with Céline, during a golf tournament which was held in Orlando: "Céline was to sing five songs and wanted her three chorus-singers to be present. She took the chance to ask me for news on the members of the team."

Currently, I continue my trade, which consists in accompanying artists on tour, CD's and on television, interalia with the emission the pleasure grows with the use. Equally, my voice can be heard in *pubs*, and I took part in several official receptions, including which the evening of MétroStars. At the same time, I give private singing lessons." Julie is also working with Lara Fabian, a Belgian singer who has recently released an album in English in America.

Translation and photo's taken from:
Sarah Fennell's Behind the Star- Céline Dion's band Site