Thursday, July 08, 2010
Martha sings Édith
In celebration of the Tour de France finally entering France, today I'm going to share Martha Wainwright's latest release, Sans Fusils, Ni Souliers, A Paris. Martha Wainwrights Piaf Record. What is the connection you might ask? Well, Martha's latest album is a tribute album on which she sings the songs of the great French singer Édith Piaf. Your next question might very well be, well who is Édith Piaf, which is certainly a fair question to ask and one which I had to ask myself.
The answer to that question is one full of twists, turns, and sordid moments, so I won't even try to boil down her life into a paragraph or two here. Read about it on her Wikipedia page and I promise you that you won't regret taking the time. Piaf was born in 1915, raised in part by prostitutes in a french brothel, was accused of being an accessory to murder, and stumbled from one romantic disaster to another. Along the way she grew to become one of France's most popular singers. Really, the details would make excellent material for a Lifetime Channel movie, heck possibly even a mini-series.
So how does Martha Wainwright tie into all this? Well in 2009 she recorded the 15 songs that would eventually comprise this album live over the course of three nights in New York at the Dixon Palace Theater. All of them were sung by Piaf, who Wainwright has listened to since she was eight. And as a disclaimer for those of you who it might turn off, all the songs are sung in their native French. Don't let that discourage you though from listening to their retro cafe bistro air that will make you feeling like you're sitting in Van Gogh's Cafe Terrace at Night some time in 1940. For a perfect example of this, listen to La Foule (the crowd) below.
and the original: