General Question

blenson's avatar

Was Charles Trenet charming or not?

Asked by blenson (22points) January 29th, 2008
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

9 Answers

blenson's avatar

Well, maybe. This was just an opening salvo of a question, my first here. I do find some of his songs (“Boum,” and “Je chante”) to be charming, but without some of the substance of the cabaret performances of, say Montand or Aznavour.

gailcalled's avatar

Don’t forget that Trenet wrote and sang “La Mer.” Charming, or cliché?

Montand certainly is at the top of my list. As a footnote, Edith Piaf gave both Montand and Aznavour their place in the sun (and for Montand, a place in Piaf’s bed.)

Montand was also gorgeous and a terrific actor (The Wages of Fear, for example.)

How about Georges Brassens – my all-time favorite French songwriter and singer?.

blenson's avatar

Thanks! I have never heard of Brassens, but I will check him out. Montand’s autobiography, You See, I Have Not Forgotten (you of course know where that line is from . . . ! Tu vois, j’ai ne pas oublie . . . ) is a terrific read. Lots of good early childhoom reminiscences in it. Plus, good behind-the-scenes stuff on when he did those films with Costa-Gavras. What a great life.

gailcalled's avatar

Lucky you – to have the chance to hear Georges Brassens for the first time. How’s your French? He uses a lot of slang, patois, elision, and earthy themes and has a voice of gravel. I took some courses at the Alliançe Française in the 1970’s. We spent one class translating the curses (many of them “minced oaths”)in the following song.

La Ronde des Jurons

I have a Montand CD in my car that I am listening to now
Chansons Populaires de France

And thank you for the Montand autobiog. tip.

blenson's avatar

Thanks again! Funny, both my wife and I studied at the Alliance in NYC in the 1970s. Small world. By the way, have you checked out the handful of Montand videos on youtube? He seems kind of curious as a cabaret performer – perhaps just an issue of styles changing in the years since. In his autobiography, he states that cabaret was really the crucible for him as a performer – the most challenging thing he did and the source he came back to, even during his movie career.

By the way, there are also a handful of Trenet videos on youtube, including a very aappealing version of “Boum”

One more interesting Montand story. As you probably know, his real name was Ivo Livi. When he was a kid, his Italian mom unsed to lean out their apartment window and yell “Ivo, monta!” (“Ivo, come up!”) when it was time for dinner. Apparently his friends heard that and started to call him Ivo Monta, which became Yves Montand. How cool is that?

His autobiogrpahy is also a good chronicle of what it was like to work as a laborer in occupied France. That is really where he came from – all that “I am a proletarian” stuff was not made up.

gailcalled's avatar

For better or worse, I still have dial-up (I live in a very rural area) so youtube doesn’t work. I have also a collection of vintage vinyl LPs, bought when I was une jeune fille en fleur, in Paris, summer of 1954. No more turntables, of course. (That summer I had a boyfriend named “Yves.”)

I lived on 77th and Third until 1972. Alliance was one of my favorite places. My teacher for an advanced course was an older woman w. 6 kids who taught at Marymount College also.

Welcome to the site; we are smart, charming, polite, idiotic, mature, immature, diverse, thoughtful, literate, moronic….ages ranging from 13 to 71 (moi). Consider filling out the short profile; inquiring minds want to know.


gailcalled's avatar

PS. After I finish the interminable MIDDLEMARCH, I will read Montand’s autobiog…probably try it in French.

blenson's avatar

Thanks again! I will fill out a profile within the next day or so. By the way, I have had some luck converting vinyl to digital by using my old Thorens turntable, run through a basic audio receiver, then dubbed into my CD recording component deck. But there are newer ways that allow a turntable to be plugged into a small device which, in turn, runs a cable into a computer’s USB port. My brother has one such device that he uses on his Mac. I’m in the PC universe, but I know there must be similar devices. I have tons of old LPs that it would be great to convert, if I ever have the time! Cheers!

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther