Saturday, May 02, 2009


First, a 1981 hit by Belgian singer Jo Lemaire, considered one of the best female singers of my country. "Je suis venue te dire que je m'en vais" [I have come to tell you I'm leaving - MFBB] is actually a cover from the original by Serge Gainsbourgh, the notoriously flamboyant French poem, actor, director and composer. Although active since 1979, this song catapulted Jo Lemaire to stardom in western francophone countries, Canada included. These are the early eighties, and you know what that means - synthesizer pop.

One of my all-time favourites, "Il est cinq heures, Paris s'éveille." [It's five o'clock, Paris wakes up - MFBB] by the dandyish French singer and composer Jacques Dutronc. In my heart I have always had a soft spot for this song, both for its simple yet incomparable lyrics painting an evocative image of the City of Lights beginning another day, and for its stirring flute (by Roger Bourdin) and bass play. Dutronc stands somewhat apart from the great French chansonniers Brassens, Bécaud, Ferré, Piaf, Dassin, and the sole Belgian one, Jacques Brel. Indeed, Dutronc's music, especially the early songs, show American and British infuences.


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