I’ve really been slacking off lately when it comes to posting about francophone artists. So I thought I’d get back on track with one of my favorite French artists.
Singer-songwriter and musician Georges Brassens is one of the most beloved figures of France’s cultural and musical history. His distinctive style features a warm voice, unique rythms on the guitar, and beautifully-written, witty and original songs. Not to mention his awesome wooden pipe, which is almost as famous as he is. Georges Brassens sang about freedom, love, and the kindness of simple people, but also about social oppression and human stupidity. He wrote hundreds of songs and I can’t recall a single really bad one (no kidding). His timeless music is loved by people of all ages.
If I had to compare him to an anglophone music figure, perhaps it’d be Johnny Cash, because of his independant thought, first and foremost. Georges Brassens is not afraid to laugh at the clergy, or politicians who send others to war, with a lot of humour and intelligence. While he becomes a thorn in some’s sides, overall, the public loves him. Aside from being a free thinker, he’s also a storyteller, and a poet. In 1967, he receives the Grand Prize for Poetry from the Académie française.
In Québec at least, if you sat around a camp fire and someone pulled out a guitar, there was a good chance of eventually hearing a Georges Brassens song. For the people of my generation, he is one of our all time favorite singers from France (even if he himself was born in the 1920’s). His songs have been translated in many languages and there’s been tons of tributes over the years, as France’s and Québec’s artists recognize his incredible contribution to music.
Thank you Georges Brassens for all those great songs that have accompanied me through happy and painful periods in my life. Let me, too, share them with the world (I’m getting overly excited now)!