|Origin||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
Lead vocalist and guitarist Serge Fiori met Michel Normandeau (vocals and guitar) in a theatre music meeting in November 1972. Later on, in 1973, they met bassist Louis Valois and formed Harmonium. In November 1973, the group performed their first air play on CHOM-FM. They played 3 tracks: "Pour un instant", "Un musicien parmi tant d'autres", and "Un refrain parmi tant d'autres". The first 2 songs were later recorded professionally to be put on their self-titled debut album. The last song was a sequel to "Un musicien parmi tant d'autres", but never made the album cut, staying unreleased. A single was also released at the time with the hit "Pour un instant" on side A and "100,000 Raisons" on side B, the latter only included on the CD version of the album nearly 20 years later. This album was a huge success and a sold out tour was staged all over Quebec and in French Canada.
Their second album Si on avait besoin d'une cinquième saison, better known as Les Cinq saisons, was an immediate success. This concept album included five songs, each one representing a season with the last song being a long instrumental representing a fifth and imaginary season. For this album, the band recruited two new members, Pierre Daigneault, playing the flutes, sax, and clarinets and Serge Locat, handling the piano and synthesizer. The group also invited two guests to play on the sessions: Judi Richards, who handles the vocalizations on the instrumental "Histoires sans paroles" and Marie Bernard performing the theremin-like sounds of the Martenot waves. In 2015, Rolling Stone magazine listed this album at number 36 of the best 50 progressive rock album and declared it the best progressive folk album.
Finally, the double album L'Heptade, was released in 1976 after months of recording in Serge Fiori's own house in St-Césaire, Québec. The songs describe seven stages of consciousness in a person's daily life. The first and the last songs are named "Comme un fou" and "Comme un sage", indicating a progression towards wisdom; from a fool to a sage.
The group was invited to Los Angeles, where the performance of old and new material was filmed by a team from the National Film Board of Canada and released as Harmonium en Californie in October 1979. The new songs were published on the album Deux cents nuits à l'heure, a side-project headed by Serge Fiori and Richard Séguin under the name Fiori-Séguin in mid-1977. Harmonium's last concert is said to have taken place at the Centre de la Nature in Laval, Quebec, in late 1978. Harmonium en tournée, a live version of L'Heptade recorded in Vancouver, was released in 1980.
In 2007, all three of Harmonium's studio albums were named among the 100 greatest Canadian albums of all time in Bob Mersereau's book The Top 100 Canadian Albums. They were the only francophone albums from Quebec named to the list besides Jean-Pierre Ferland's Jaune.
L'Heptade XL, a remixed version of the album, with a few minutes of new recordings, was released on November 18th 2016 to celebrate its fortieth anniversary. It was accompanied by the release of an extra song recorded live in 1977, called C'est dans le noir, available on iTunes. This song was recorded at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa during the tour for the album.Viens voir le paysage, a film of one of these performances, was also released on DVD for the same occasion.
In 2018, the group were awarded honorary Prix Félix at the 40th annual Gala de l'ADISQ. Despite being one of the most influential bands in Quebec music history, the band never won a Félix as they had broken up by the time the awards were launched.
|Album||Harmonium||Si on avait besoin d'une cinquième saison||L'Heptade|
|Lead Vocals, Guitars||Serge Fiori|
|Guitar||Michel Normandeau||Robert Stanley|
|Woodwinds||Pierre Daigneault||Libert Subirana|
|Lead Vocals||Monique Fauteux|