Robert Malo


D’origine franco-manitobaine, Rob Malo est auteur, interprète et animateur communautaire. Il partage sa passion de l’histoire et de la culture en utilisant la musique traditionnelle, le conte et la chanson. Puissant dans son expérience de l’interprétation et de la programmation éducative et ayant aussi recours à la danse et à des accessoires, il comble les enfants et les adultes dans les écoles sous le nom de TiBert le voyageur. Artiste du spoken word, improvisateur et musicien d’expérience, Malo comble les fossés culturels et sensibilise les gens aux préoccupations et aux plaisirs partagés. Il vit à Winnipeg avec sa conjointe et deux chats.

Raised in a franco-Manitoban family, Rob Malo is a writer, performer, and community-builder who shares his passion for history and culture through traditional music, storytelling and song. Drawing on his background in interpretation and educational programming, and using storytelling, song, dance, music, and props, he delights kids and adults at schools and festivals as TiBert le Voyageur. An accomplished spoken word artist and French language improv artist as well as musician, Malo bridges cultural divides to generate an awareness of shared concerns and pleasures. He lives in Winnipeg with his wife and two cats.

Pardon my French

I do understand that as long as I keep my mouth shut, I can walk around stores or in the streets incognito… à la chuchotte. I can learn your language and your ways so that I may, you know; express myself the way you think is right.
Non, mais quand même, c’est sans raison! N’inquiétez-vous pas les amis franco, j’ai décidé de me rendre d’une autre façon!
Oh! So sorry les anglos… I’ll do my best to explain:
J’ai été élevé au Manitoba, that province in the middle of our bilingual country. D’une Maman et d’un Papa… When I grow up, my parents day taulk in Anglish like diss; without apology.
Moi; j’ai pas bien parlé l’anglais avant l’age de 12 ans. I played on a baseball team, I was known as the French kid sur le banc…
On first game day while I ran for a base, the monolingual coach screamed: ‘Run! Run!’ But that’s not what his hands were saying, up in the air they were waving! I stopped dead standing in place, till an immersion kid from the bench screamed: ‘Run means cour!  Run means cour!’ at least that day, I was able to save face.
J’me suis aussi déjà fait dire, and I’m paraphrasing bien sur… ’Stop speaking in your mothers tongue. You should speak in the only language I understand.’ This from bosses and politicians asserting dominance over the land.
Difficile d’ignorer tous c’est petits cas ingras; I mean up until my parents generation, teaching French in the West was against the law.
Il faut dire que la communauté s’est toujours bien débattue, certains piliers ont beaucoup risqué… on peut même dire sacrifier.
My friends Dad, the eventual principal of my French-Manitoban high school… he was fighting the pro-franco political fight; when he received a personally delivered bullet, dropped in his home mail box, with his name scribed upon it. I only found out much later why that family disappeared for six months and moved to a new house when they came back later that year. They were out of province, without return address, due to racial fear.
So if I challenge the word ‘race’; I don’t do it lightly. I know I come from a different place; ou mon people aussi, has been put to the test through trials of various tortures thrust upon us by oppressive imperialistic structures.
Mais avec la joie de vivre comme armure and by keeping the inherent worth of every human being within my sights, I will continue to remind us all of our individual ethnic, language and cultural rights!

  • Robert Malo (written for and performed during the 2014 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam)
Check out Robert performing: