Monday, February 8, 2010

Musical interlude with Charles Trenet

"When we're short on idées, we say  la la la la la lay..."
Or so it goes in the song L'ame des poetes. And from someone who was never short on ideas or clever words. So - since I've been waiting for the right moment to share some wonderful songs -the time has come to  propose a musical interlude with songs from Charles Trenet, the singer song-writer who said
Je fais mes chansons comme un pommier fait ses pommes.
I make my songs like an apple tree makes its apples.

The nearly 1000 songs he wrote and performed over his 75 year career were joyful, fresh, and full of poetry. This be-hatted music hall legend was known as the Fou Chantant and his repertoire often included use of onomatopoeia and tongue twisters in lyrics as well as soulful poetry sung in his rich, round voice. He insisted on performing mostly his own songs at a time when this was rare. He did also perform songs he had composed with lyrics by the poet Verlaine.

photo alain2x

Charles Trenet was born in Narbonne on the 18th of May 1913 in this "dear old house with the green shutters" where "there are memories lying in every drawer."  The house was undoubtedly one of his great sources of inspiration and haunts some of his more nostalgic works. He said of his first home,
je dis toujours de mes autres maisons qu'elles m'appartiennent, mais celle de Narbonne, c'est la seule à laquelle j'appartiens...
I always say that my other houses belong to me, but the house in Narbonne is the only one I can really say I belong to...

You knew I would get something in about the HOME if I could, didn't you?

Here's a sampling of songs, some from films others that are simple recordings like this first one that is especially beautiful.

L'ame des poetes 
Longtemps, longtemps, longtemps
Long, long, long ago
Après que les poètes ont disparu
After poets are no more
Leurs chansons courent encore dans les rues
Their songs echo still through the streets
La foule les chante un peu distraite
The crowd sings them absent mindedly
En ignorant le nom de l'auteur
Without knowing the author's name
Sans savoir pour qui battait leur cœur
Without knowing who made their heart pound
Parfois on change un mot, une phrase
Sometimes we change a word, a phrase
Et quand on est à court d'idées
And if we're short on ideas
On fait la la la la la la
We say la la la la la la....

Romance de Paris   - le jeune et beau garçon !

Le soleil a rendez-vous avec la lune

Quand j'étais petit

Que reste-t-il de nos amours?

For more,  follow to  Mam'zelle Clio and click on animation flash.


  1. seriously.
    i love his voice, and i am going to download some of it.
    this means a great deal to me....
    i love music THE MOST....
    and it is rare for someone to turn me on to someone that i really go for.
    and i go for charles trenet.

  2. LA - I changed the intro - seemed like a slight to such a great artist!

    Renee - so glad you took the time to listen. His voice is heavenly.

  3. Everyone loves his "La Mer", but for a good laugh, I have always enjoyed "L'Heritage Infernale".

    Michael en la Caroline du Sud

  4. M en Caroline du Sud - you are right, L'heritage Infernal is one of the best - a real mouthful too!