Chanson and Immigration in France
Pat Harvey is publishing a blog looking at the numerous talents who immigrated to France
and became big names in French Chanson.
She starts with the epitome of French Chanson, who happened to be Armenian:
MC Solar, Richard Anthony, Enrico Macias and Slimane Azem, Guy Béart
and a tribute to Paris in November 2015!
You will also fin Marcel Mouloudji, Marie Dubas, Yves Montand,
Léo Ferré for his 100th anniversary
She has now published a new article about Rachid Taha who shot to fame in France with his pastiche of a Galllic classic,
Charles Trenet’s Douce France; but has since established himself as the standard-bearer of immigrants world-wide.
Here is a short autobiography by Pat Harvey
I am not sure where my love of France and all things French stems from. Possibly from having French forebears on both sides. But I do know that when, aged seventeen, I heard David Frost’s choice of Edith Piaf’s Non, Je ne Regrette Rien on Desert Island Discs, I was electrified, and embarked on a love affair with that country — and particularly its popular music, known as the chanson — which continues to this day.
What I did not know then was that 30 years later I would end up marrying the man who produced that compilation for EMI, the record collector and French specialist Ralph Harvey, and that together we would embark on an extraordinary collaboration. This involved high profile television programmes like Hear My Chanson (1996), a South Bank Show starring Juliette Greco and Charles Aznavour, and Singing Her Life (2007), a bio doc about Edith Piaf in the BBC4 series ‘Legends’; and a series of record and CD albums commissioned by EMI and others for which Ralph produced the sleeve-notes and I produced the artwork. They included The Extraordinary Garden: The Very Best of Charles Trenet (1990); Pianos With Braces (1991), (subtitle:‘The garlic and gauloises world of the French accordionists and singers’); Paris Blues Vols 1 and 2, celebrating French ‘realist’ singers’ like Piaf, Damia and Frehel; and Yves Montand (1996).
In 2012 Ralph had a stroke which effectively ended our collaboration. Could I carry on? I decided to take a solo trip to Paris (weep Apply ing as I boarded the Eurostar). The result was an extraordinary series of encounters which led to annual trips to ‘the city of lights’ and, eventually, with the help of well-known French journalist and broadcaster Helene Hazera, the emergence of the idea for this blog – Chanson and Immigration in France. Sadly, I lost Ralph in April 2014, but my desire is to help his legacy live on: an incalculable treasure trove of knowledge about French chanson.
Pat Harvey 12.7.15