Thursday, 21 May 2015

The season of love


“La chanson française (French song) is a good lyric and, if possible, a good melody. La chanson américaine is a good melody and, if possible, a good lyric.”
Thus none other than the commanding figure of Charles Aznavour, creator of some of the finest works within the genre, summed up the cultural differences between the traditional French chanson and any other kind of song-style in the West.

With good reason, as the delightful documentary Je t'aime: The Story of French Song we watched last night explained - presented by Petula (not yet a Dame, but should be) Clark, whose own mega-successful career is largely based around such chansons.

Suffice to say it was everything we could want from a potted history of a beloved type of music; one that delights in "challenging" themes, such as prostitution, alcohol, homosexuality and politics. Everyone from Edith Piaf to M. Aznavour to "yé-yé" to Marc Almond to Stromae was featured, including Charles Trenet, Gilbert Bécaud, Jane Birkin, Jean Sablon, Georges Brassens, Anna Karina, Jacques Brel, Barbara, Léo Ferré, Brigitte Bardot, France Gall, Étienne Daho, Françoise Hardy and of course Serge Gainsbourg...

...and the très magnifique Juliette Gréco - here singing Si tu t'imagines [the lyrics of which translate as “If you imagine, my dear, that the season of love is going to last forever, you got it all wrong...”]



Vive “La chanson française"!

6 comments:

  1. What a great post! I so love all of the artists you mentioned. Looking forward to seeing this documentary!

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    1. I do hope it does get broadcast over there - you will love it. Jx

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  2. ' Vive la france ', Vive “La chanson française" .
    and YES Petula Clark should be made a Dame.

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    1. She was awarded "Médaille du Commandeur de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres de France", but it's not quite the same... Jx

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  3. Bank Holiday Monday the perfect time to watch this on catch-up x

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