Norman Warwick reads
CHANSON: A photographic tribute
to France’s most lyrical, romantic, and poetic musical tradition
All (both) our readers will know that my first love is Americana music and my second is English folk, (with pop music being my bit on the side). Since moving here to Lanzarote seven or eight years ago I have fallen in love wioth the timple instrument and the folk-lore songs of the sea and the volcanoes. I have a love of flamenco music these days, too, without knowing too much about it, and I´m becoming increasingly aware of Fado, a musiuc so important in Portugal. French? Not so much. I never got past the sentence ´ferme la fenetre at school, and never learned the words to Claire de la Luna or Ferro Jacques. However, on my 2023 quest fill a new bookshelf with tomes about music and musicians I have just selected my latest addition to the row of books, Chanson is already engaging me with more than a certain je ne sais quoi?
we´re gonna need a bigger bookshelf for book 8
Author Olaf Salie
Publisher Prestel Publishing
Publish Date February 01, 2022
Dimensions 9.8 X 12.1 X 1.1 inches | 4.1 pounds
Virtually no other musical discipline is as closely linked with the culture and essence of a country as the chanson with France. With roots in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, this secular, lyric-driven form of song has been reborn throughout French history–and continues to influence today’s pop artists. Featuring the work of such celebrated photographers as Robert Doisneau (left), this fascinating history of the chanson profiles some of its most beloved artists, their music, and the cultural moments they represent.
Readers will learn about Aristide Bruant (right) — the red scarf-wearing subject of one of Lautrec’s most recognizable posters. It recounts the lives of Josephine Baker, Maurice Chevalier, and their contemporaries as it peeks inside the Folies Bergère and the Moulin Rouge. It introduces readers to the “Piaf Generation,” which produced the likes of Yves Montand and Georges Moustaki. And it explores the bohemian enclaves of post-war France, when revolutionary artists remade the chanson in their own melancholy image.
In addition, this volume shows how classic songs of the all American song book, such as “My Way,” or “September Morning” have their roots in the chanson tradition. Illustrated with 200 lavish photographs, the pages of this beautifully produced hardback are edged with the French tricolor. Whether you’re a fan of 1920s torch songs or prefer the electronica of ZAZ (left) , you’ll learn how the chanson is important to just about every French musical tradition–and why this genre is the perfect expression of the country’s history and culture.
The contents of Chanson have been loviongly collected and carefully presnted to tell a narrative that is probably about as linear as it could be
Somehow the inclusion of black and white photographs lends a drama, a tension even, to the story they depict.
Olaf Salié is a journalist and publisher specializing in media, design and culture and his love for his subject and its practitioners is clearly evident throughout
He is the author Artists to Keep Rising: Young an Eye on and lives in Berlin, Germany.