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Love and Anarchy: bringing chanson to the UK

19 February 2013

A new recording of English language versions of songs by Léo Ferré, made by a researcher, Dr Peter Hawkins at the University of Bristol, aims to brings the work of this famous chanson artist to a wider audience in the UK.

A new recording of English language versions of songs by Léo Ferré, made by a researcher at the University of Bristol, aims to brings the work of this famous chanson artist to a wider audience in the UK.

Chanson – a song tradition dating back to the Middle Ages and the troubadours of the 12th and 13th centuries – is part of the texture of everyday life in France, part of the national identity and a barometer of popular taste. Léo Ferré (1916-1993), anarchist poet, musician and singer-songwriter, was a prominent figure in the world of French song throughout the second half of the 20th century.

To mark the 20th anniversary of Ferré’s death next year, Peter Hawkins, Senior Research Fellow in the Department of French, has recorded English language versions of many of Ferré’s key songs – available on a double-CD early in 2013.

He will also be performing these songs at a concert at Colston Hall 2 in Bristol on Thursday 7th March, at Jacksons Lane Theatre in London on Thursday 28th March as well as at the Lantern Theatre in Sheffield on 11th April.

Alongside these concerts, he will run two-hour songwriting workshops focussing on the concept of personal expression in songwriting and encouraging broader discussion about cross-cultural songwriting trends. In particular, the emphasis of French chanson on political commentary, poetic lyrics and personal storytelling will be explored and developed.

"The songs of Charles Aznavour, Georges Brassens, Jacques Brel and Charles Trenet have all been successfully interpreted in English versions by figures as diverse as Marc Almond, Bobby Darin, Jake Thackray and Scott Walker, and enjoy a cult reputation. Yet the work of their equally successful contemporary Léo Ferré remains little known in the Anglophone world. To illustrate his significance in the context of French popular culture, even the newly-elected French President Francois Hollande has identified himself as one of several generations of admirers of Ferré’s music.

My project, Love and Anarchy: the songs of Léo Ferré’, aims to make this remarkable singer-songwriter a household name in the UK, and to underline his significance as an artist through people hearing, recognizing and re-interpreting his songs."

Further information is available on the One Man Chanson website.

Concerts

Thursday 7 March at 8.30 pm

Colston Hall 2, Colston Street, Bristol BS1 5AR

Tickets £10 (£8 concessions) available from the Colston Hall box office (0117 922 3686) or from their website www.colstonhall.org or by e-mail: boxoffice@colstonhall.org

Thursday 28 March at 8.00 pm

Jacksons Lane Theatre, 298a Archway Road, Highgate, London N6 5AA  (near Highgate Underground station)

Tickets £10 (£8 concessions), available from box office (020 8341 4421) or from their website www.jacksonslane.org.uk or by e-mail: reception@jacksonslane.org.uk

Thursday 11th April at 8.00 pm

Lantern Theatre, 18 Kenwood Park Road,  Sheffield S7 1NF

Tickets £10 ( £8 concessions), available from box office (0114 225 1776) or from their website www.lanterntheatre.org.uk .

Workshops

Saturday 9 March, 10.30 - 1.00 pm

Colston Hall 2, Colston Street, Bristol BS1 5AR

Saturday 30 March (Easter Saturday), 1.30 - 4.30 pm

Jacksons Lane Theatre, 298a Archway Road, Highgate, London N6 5AA  (near Highgate Underground station)

Saturday 13 April, 10.30 - 1.30 pm

Lantern Theatre, 18 Kenwood Park Road, Sheffield S7 1NF

 

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