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Marc-Aurèle Fortin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is not as old and firmly rooted as Flamenco, but la Chanson française is an institution.  It was particularly alive after World War II.  The legendary Édith Piaf surrounded herself with singers and songwriters some of whom, Charles Aznavour for instance, owe their career to her.  Canadian Claude Léveillée wrote songs for Piaf and she nurtured Yves Montand briefly.  It would appear that she started looking upon him as genuine competition.

Jacques Brel, a Belgian, also moved to Paris and wrote a song not for Piaf but for Juliette Gréco.  He never looked back.  As for French-Canadian / Québécois singer Félix Leclerc, his career as a singer began in France (c. 1950).  The French made him known to French Canada.  Like Yves Montand, he has a mellow voice.  I like his Notre Sentier. 

But I am featuring Brel and Montand.  Brel’s greatest success was Ne me quitte pas. As for Montand, we will listen to his Feuilles mortes, based on a poem by Jacques Prévert.

Jacques Brel  Ne me quitte pas
(8 April 1929 – 9 October 1978; aged 49)
Yves Montand: Les Feuilles mortes
Lyrics (Jacques Prévert)
© Micheline Walker
5 July 2012