A Wandering Canadian

A Wandering Canadian


Engraved on a wax cylinder around 1905, this rendition by Joseph Saucier (1869‒1941) and an accompanying orchestra is one of the oldest known recordings of Un Canadien errant (A wandering Canadian), a folk song written in 1842 by Antoine Gérin-Lajoie and sung to the tune of J’ai fait une maîtresse (I have found a mistress). With the Lower Canada Rebellion of 1837‒38 as its theme, the song became one of the most popular songs of the late 1800s in French Canada. It has been recorded on many occasions ever since. This phonograph cylinder is part of the collection of Jean-Jacques Schira. The precursor to the disc record, the phonographic cylinder was the earliest medium for audio recording and listening. Born in Montreal, Saucier was a Canadian baritone and choirmaster who trained as a pianist with his father before choosing to pursue a career as a singer.  He performed as a soloist at different churches in Canada and with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, studied voice in Paris, and performed to audiences in France, Britain, and the United States. He was the organist and choirmaster at St.-Louis du Mile-End Church in Montréal and later choirmaster at St.-Louis-de-France Church. He is believed to have been the first French Canadian singer to make a recording in Canada, which he did circa 1904, at around the time this recording was made.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Columbia Phonograph Company, New York


Title in Original Language

Un Canadien errant

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 cylinder ; 2:17 minutes in duration

Last updated: March 30, 2016