The big Adventure in America

America makes dream a lot of people. It is big, multicultural and under constant development. Several of those who make career in the music business are eager to discover it, to learn and to succeed, in particular in the United States where Music has a worldwide influence. Nana crossed the Atlantic very often to perform for us. Few European artists can brag about having done so many tours. Let us remember here the outlines of her big Adventure in America, whether it be in Quebec and Canada, in the United States and in Latin America.


For several reasons, Quebec marked the beginning of that formidable journey. She had her first hits and her very first solo tour took place here. Undoubtedly also because Samuel Gesser, her main North American impresario, was Montrealer. Thanks to him, Nana did four tours through the province between 1967 and 1972. Then, she divided her visits between Quebec and Ontario, and from 1975, she added Western Canada to her itinerary. During years, every 18 or 24 months, Nana was touring in one or the other part of the country and she created bonds with a lot of artists. No wonder when she affirms that Canadians played an important part in her career.

In addition to that, it is important to underline that Canada is one of the countries where her discs got the best distribution in the world, with of course some periods of transition. Nana stayed with London Records until their closing in 1980, before signing with Cachet Records and Grand Records, two new companies which distributed everywhere in North America, but they didn’t survive. Meanwhile, Polygram Canada recovers London’s discography. In 1982, they ensure the release of her new albums and sign with Nana the world rights to her English recorded material. Since then, their head office moved to Toronto and Universal succeeded Polygram, but that did not have any effect on her discs distribution.

Consequently, Canadians got two complete discographies; the French and English ones. That undoubtedly contributed to her popularity through the country. Let us recall that in Quebec, during a certain time, 25 French albums of Nana were released in 25 years, phenomenon we don’t see any more nowadays. For thousands of Quebecers, it became an annual tradition to buy each new album.

At the turn of the 1990’s, the new generation of singers arrives and we start hearing her less on the radio. Nana releases less albums, but she keeps on performing regularly on tour until 2007.


The first American tour of Nana takes place in 1969. Samuel Gesser, who contributed to the organisation of it, is happy about the audiences’ enthusiasm and the local promoters who ask her to return. But he quickly realizes the lack of Mercury Records interest. He believes in her talent and elaborates plans to make her break through the USA; he suggests to her strategic TV Appearances and recommends experienced producers. But to do it, he must convince Louis Hazan, CEO for Philips France, to find a new record company. Following the cancellation of the American tour 1971, many letters are exchanged between him, Nana and Mr. Hazan. Before long Nana notices the devotion and effectiveness of Mr Gesser in his work and recognizes in him not only an impresario, but also a friend.

Nana between Samuel Gesser and Harold Leventhal.

So Nana signs with Bell Records and she's back on tour in 1972 and in 1973. For the first time since her beginnings, she appeals to an American producer, Snuff Garrett, for the realization of her new LP "An American Album". Following the death of her impresario Sol Hurok, Samuel Gesser ensures the continuity. In collaboration with Harold Leventhal, Folk Music manager settled in New York, Mr Gesser looks after the development of her American career. From his office in Montreal, he receives a copy of the contracts, the statements and press articles.

Nana starts touring again USA from 1977 and do it intensively until 1984. During this period, the main television stations present her concerts and Nana participates in talk-shows of Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin and of Dinah Shore. But the problem remains her discs distribution. They are available in branches like Tower that imports them from Canada or from Europe. This situation will last until the release of the album "Roses & Sunshine" under Cachet Records label. Her fans seem to appreciate her new country music style. According to the press releases, 600,000 copies would have been sold on the North America continent. While "Come with me" will come out under Grand Records and will reach 300,000 copies. Unfortunately, these two companies will go bankrupt.

In 1982, Polygram USA, established in New York, takes over her discs edition. Till the end of vinyl, they release six 33 rpm: four in English and two in Spanish. The transitional period turns out to be long, but her association with this multinational remains an asset for the final development of her American career.

During the intensive televised campaign of Beautiful Music Company, from 1988, 250,000 TV viewers order the compilation "Return to Romance". Conscious that a lot of Americans are discovering Nana, Polygram USA decides to publish her CD catalogue. There also, "Only Love" becomes her greatest hit and her American pressings with the German ones are the more imported through the world.

During the 1990’s, Nana chooses to work exclusively with Ed Kasses, her new impresario, and does five big sold out tours. The most memorable concert is undoubtedly "Concert for Peace" given in honor of Patriach Bartholomew 1st visiting New York. It appears on CD and video and it is broadcasted by the whole PBS television stations. From its release, the album reaches the seventh row in the Chart "World Music" in Billboard. Since 1993, Nana returns regularly to New York as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.  


The encounter with Latin America audiences took place in four big steps. The first one is when Nana performed at the Palacio de Bellas Artes of Mexico City in the context of her American tours in 1972 and in 1973. She presented her usual song recital and spoke English to her spectators. Her concert was recorded for television and the live album "British Concert", which includes most of the songs she sang, came out under the title "El Show presentado en México". During this period, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil are the only Latin countries that published her albums. On the other hand, between 1977 and 1982, Venezuela, Colombia and Uruguay did the same.

On Chilean TV with quartet Los Huasos Quincheros.

It will be necessary to wait until Nana records her first Spanish and Portuguese album in 1986 before her discs start again to be printed over there. The same year, she appears in some TV variety programs in Mexico, in Argentina and in Brazil to present "Libertad / Liberdade". She will do the same in 1992 in Chile and in 1993 in Mexico for the double album "Nuestras Canciones".

Even if her CDs are mainly imported from the United States, her discs are distributed on the whole Latin territory. Nana who has learned Spanish for already several years can speak the language of this public. Also, in 1994 and in 1996, she did two tours in those countries. Although her record companies don’t do much promotion, Nana performs in packed halls. Among all the Latin countries, Chile is where she is more popular with six golden and platinum discs.

The Latin repertory is beautiful and interesting. Moreover, Nana already declared to the press that she would like to record an album of Brazilian composers and another one with Mariachis. Unfortunately, none of these projects has been realized. She returned there for benefit concerts in 1999 in Guatemala and in 2006 in Dominican Republic. Several compilations came out and she gave a concert in Brazil in 2013.


The new continent is immense. The singers and musicians who have a dream about challenges will do something interesting here. In Latin America, Nana performed successfully. In the United States, she did wonderful tours and learned a lot. In Canada, she is considered as part of our cultural landscape and among one of the rare foreign singers for having such a constant relationship with Quebecers. In addition to that, her son decided to settle in Montreal and her grandchildren were born here. These are two additional reasons which only can strengthen her attachment to Quebec.