In 2010 we premiered our first French chanson show at The Shedd, simply called, La Vie en rose. This evening showcased songs we Americans love dearly, songs that are heavy with nostalgia, emotion, victory, and romance. As I’ve continued to perform these heart-anthems the past four years, time and again, I’ve been struck by how powerfully listeners of our day and age respond to the music--in particular how ardently they love the voice and the memory, the idea, of Edith Piaf.
Like a splash of red paint against a clean white wall, Edith Piaf’s voice leaves a singularly vivid impression--it is the impression the world holds of all of France and its music. Her voice is not only a sound, but a vessel which carries in its strain the echoes of loves, losses, the quiet desperations, the boundless passions, the stories of a people. Her voice has reached through the last century into the 21st with a reverberation and a power to haunt and grip. Like many great artists, Piaf paid a price for her bright star; she carried a burden of sorts, the burden of possessing the voice who sang--who spoke--for every human heart: “It’s not only my voice which sings, it is a crowd of voices...”
Despite her voice or because of it, Piaf was warrior and a tramp. She lived large--dangerously and fearlessly, spiritually; on the edge of all the blessings and tragedies one life could hope to experience in 47 years. We celebrate both her life and her artistry, and the voice which spoke for so many.
With her 100th birthday coming December 2015, we are narrowing our original look at mid-20th century French songs to honor the voice who truly and very literally is the voice of France, the voice of the German occupation of World War II, and the voice of love won and lost. While we will reprise a bit of our original program with some of her greatest hits, the show is new in concept, will include a few more of the greatest of her successors, Charles Aznavour, Michel Legrand and Leo Ferré, and of course will feature the best, most iconic Piaf songs: "Milord", "Hymne a l’amour", "La Foule", "Non, je ne regrette rien", "Padam", "L’Accordeoniste", "Mon Legionnaire" and "La Vie en rose" among many other great chansons.
-- Siri Vik
March 6, 2015
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Siri Vik: "la môme: Piaf 100"
In 2010 we premiered our first French chanson show at The Shedd, simply called, La Vie en rose. This evening showcased songs we Americans love dearly, songs... More info at www.oregonfamily.com/events/55977/siri-vik-la-mome-piaf-100
The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts 868 High Street , Eugene, OR 97401