Wednesday, 10 April 2013


A most excellent programme on BBC Radio 4 is this one on a French "chanteuse".  This lady, born in 1927 and still alive, has a dusky, 2 am singing voice  and lived in Paris among the writers, artists and musicians in St Germain des Prés in the days when it was rich with intellectual and creative activity.

The radio programme is on iPlayer here: click on this link

 The BBC blurb states that

"Juliette Greco emerged in post-war Parisian society as an embodiment of the bohemian ideas and ideals that gripped the Left Bank.

A shy girl from the provinces, she had been part of the Resistance, before pursuing a career as singer and actress. Jean-Paul Sartre described her voice as containing "a million poems". Miles Davis famously fell for her, but wouldn't marry her, saying he "loved her too much to make her unhappy"!"

The programme was presented by a music journalist, Laura Barton who, as the blurb states:

"has always been drawn to what Greco represents - that voice, her black-clad kohl-eyed image - and presents a sequence of sketches, impressions, portraits of the octogenarian singer."

The contributions are from Ginette Vincendeau, Philip Sweeney, Pascal Grierson (presenter of French Radio based in London) and others. 

It was produced by Alan Hall. and is a Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

The discussion was not just about this woman and her singing but also about the nature of French chanson style. Excellent contributions and observations.  Even if there were no clips of Greco's voice the programme was worth it for that on its own!



I am as I am.
It's the way I am made.
When I want to laugh
I laugh right out loud.
I love him who loves me
And it isn't my fault.
If it isn't always the same him
That I love every time
I am as I am.
What more do you want?
What do you want of me?

I am made to please
And I can't change a thing.
My heels are too high.
My waist too arched.
My breasts much too hard.
And my eyes too dark
And then what is more
What can that be to you?

I am as I am.
I please who I please.
What can that be to you?
What has happened to me?
Yes I've loved someone.
Yes someone has loved me
Like children love each other.
Just know how to love
Love to love.
Why ask me questions?
I am there to please you
And I can't change a thing.

Vienna, 2009 [Wikipedia]

1 comment:

Vagabonde said...

Yes, this was a good program and I thank you so I could listen to it. To me, she made St Germain des Prés famous. It was the way to look at things, the way to act and what to wear. These were strong women – Juliette Gréco, Françoise Sagan and Simone de Beauvoir in literature and Brigitte Bardot in movies – all different but all so special. I have been away from France for too long to know if there are any new strong women there now but I hope there are some, not like here in the US, the “celebrity” types.