Showing posts with label songs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label songs. Show all posts

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Simon and Garfunkel “Sounds of silence”

Click here to listen to a 1966 presentation by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel in the French city of Provins. Christine and I were living in Brussels at that moment, and our daughter Emmanuelle was born towards the end of that year.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bluegrass music in Belgian movie

The Texan singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt [1944-1997] gave the world a fabulous song, If I needed you, which used to be sung by Joan Baez.

It is presented here by the Flemish singer/actress Veerle Baetans accompanied by the writer/actor Johan Heldenbergh.

If I needed you
Would you come to me,
Would you come to me,
And ease my pain? 
If you needed me
I would come to you
I'd swim the seas
For to ease your pain

In the night forlorn
The morning's born
And the morning shines
With the lights of love
You will miss sunrise
If you close your eyes
That would break
My heart in two

The lady's with me now
Since I showed her how
To lay her lily
Hand in mine
Loop and lil agree
She's a sight to see
And a treasure for
The poor to find

Bluegrass music played a central role in the splendid movie whose English title is The Broken Circle Breakdown (in French, Alabama Monroe], directed by the Flemish producer/screenwriter Felix Van Groeningen.

I've often expressed my admiration of the great Belgian singer Jacques Brel [1929-1978], whom I've always looked upon as one of the major vocal artists of all time. In the case of the Flemish-speaking individuals behind the Alabama Monroe phenomenon, I'm astounded by the extent to which they've successfully assimilated and then beautifully enhanced a musical culture that would appear to be so different to that of their "flat country".

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Next week: an earth-shaking TV moment

In less than a week, Australia has been invited to perform actively and directly in the Eurovision Song Contest… though not strictly as a contestant. Truly, this is the biggest planetary media happening since the marriage of our queen in 1947. History—as they say—is in the making.

Click here for an exciting article on Australia’s presence at these Olympic Games of song. Above all, there’s a great possibility for the victory of an outsider such as France. This year, for the first time since the Abba epoch, the odds are stacked against all those nasty ex-Communist nations who always get in the way of good music. No doubt for the first time ever, next week, Russia is unlikely to vote massively for Ukraine, and Ukraine is equally unlikely to vote massively for Russia. The world will be turned upside down, and victory in the contest is truly up for grabs.

One point, Australia!

And here, to get you in the right spirit: “Vutta Loe” (as the lovely lady in pink put it).

PS Maybe I’m weird, but whenever I see the tall blonde Agnetha Fältskog prancing around in her shiny blue kitsch costume, she reminds me immediately—at least from the knees down—of the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. Worse still, I have the disturbing feeling that the lower section of one of her slender silver legs might get disjointed and snap off. And how can I possibly enjoy their award-winning song when crazy thoughts like that are going through my mind?

Shame on me: I almost forgot to sign off with the great old Eurovision theme music from my former employer, ORTF [French Radio-Television Broadcasting System], the Te Deum of Marc-Antoine Charpentier [1643-1704].

Friday, April 11, 2014

Extraordinary performance

The Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel [1929-1978] composed the celebrated song Ne me quitte pas [Don’t leave me] in 1959. Click here to access a video of an extraordinary performance of this masterpiece by Brel himself. This performance was recorded in Paris on 10 November 1966. A week earlier, in Brussels (where I was working as a computer programmer), Christine had given birth to our daughter Emmanuelle.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Beatles nostalgia

There’s no particular reason why I might be nostalgic concerning the Beatles, apart from the trivial fact that their phenomenon erupted at about the same time that I arrived in Europe in the early ’60s. I never went out of my way to see them perform, and I haven’t even gone on a pilgrimage to Liverpool. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never looked upon any of their stuff as particularly brilliant, let alone awesome… although I consider Imagine by John Lennon as a nice poetic masterpiece. Consequently, I don’t really know why I’m moved by this mindless old-fashioned song, This Boy, on the flip side of the original disk of I Want to Hold Your Hand.

It all sounds to me like a naive black-and-white vision of silly superficial sentiments that illuminated the Old World at that time. My personal existence went through Beatlemania rapidly, like an icy knife through warm English pudding. To mix metaphors, they were never my kettle of fish. Mostly, their songs bored me completely. And I still can’t understand why these four juvenile dandies became so universally popular. I’m convinced that the phenomenon of hordes of screaming female fans played a major role in their celebrity, much more than their actual musical talents.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sad London bye bye bye

Lovely mysterious Amy Winehouse, you told us you were trouble. But how come you couldn't get past 27 years?

Monday, May 9, 2011

French Eurovision candidate

Maybe, in proposing Amaury Vassili—a smart young good-looking candidate with a marvelous tenor voice—France is playing with fire. If ever we were to win, it would be disastrously expensive for the République. [The winning nation has to organize, host and foot the bill for the following year's contest. Consequently, observers have often said that France has always been quite content not to win.]

Here is my rough English-language version of the lyrics, based upon a translation of the Corsican into French:

I dream of those lips
of that soft pure voice
Above all, I remember you
And that night beside you

I dream, I weep in sorrow
In my heart, spring has gone
In my life, I await tomorrow
Kneeling, gazing at the sea

I shared the world with you
But you did not wish to join me
I would have sung in victory
Far away from you, I still find you
close to me, and I dream of you

I would have sung, it was your song
The song of you and me
I am so weary now that
I ask the heavens to let me die
on a summit, where I would be facing you
where I would awake from this dream
If you die, then take me with you

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Joan Baez sings an Australian song

The ballad entitled And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda was written in 1971 by Eric Bogle, a Scotsman who had emigrated to Australia in 1969. I heard it soon after, and often used to sing it, late of an evening, accompanying myself on the guitar, at Le Petit Gavroche in the Marais district of Paris. The Joan Baez version dates from 2008.

The haunting female voice is surprising in the case of a soldier's song, like certain illustrations in the video, but the overall result is impressive.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Two singers, two different versions of a song

Here's the original version of Fuck You from the US singer whose stage name is Cee Lo Green:

Click the following image of a 22-year-old student named Anna to watch her performing a sign-language version of this song in playback:

Apparently Anna is not at all speech-impaired or deaf. She simply decided to learn sign language as a personal endeavor, to enhance her communication skills and to broaden her contacts with others.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mélanie's song

For old-timers like me, this remains a memorable song:

Melanie shouldn't complain about what YouTube has done to her song.

If the people are buying tears, I'll be rich some day.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

All the way from the Sun

Old-timers of my generation still have a slight moral problem adjusting to Germany. If my parents had told me an unbelievable bedtime story (which they never did, because they weren't that kind of parents), it might have been about Auschwitz. Memories of Hitler still alarm me viscerally, and prevent me from opening up my heart spontaneously to any and all messages that might be designated as Teutonic. Having said that, I must talk of today. It goes without saying that we can now listen—we must listen—to sounds that are infinitely removed ("all the way from the Sun") from the Nazi era. The Scorpions, for example:

The pure Germanic voice (in English!) of their vocalist Klaus Meine is surely that of Goethe, before the Fall. He might be Young Werther. In any case, Klaus Meine and his Scorpions are surely Young Europe. And they're about to set out on a final world tour.