Saturday, February 13, 2010

La Question

Here's a recent read: a memoir by Françoise Hardy, Le Désespoir des singes et autres bagatelles.

Because there was so much information I was curious about, I devoured it in a few days. She's very honest and endearing in her writing. Self critical as well, and I realized she's had pretty low self esteem all her life. A strange thing when you think of the level of adulation she can be subjected to...

I always loved her 6os, girl-group style recordings - the ballads, the rock'n roll songs, the self penned country-esque French numbers - I learned she was buying import 45s whenever she could when she was a teenager, and got really into the popular american singers of the time, such as Brenda Lee (who I've also been listening to lately...). But as I was reading and got to the late 60s, early 70s, I was reminded of an album I used to have, La Question (1971). I remembered I really liked it- and was reading about its music being all written by a mysterious brazilian character, a woman named Tuca who didn't live long and seemed to be a force of nature...Anyway- I got online and (yes, used the internet) got it again, and it's as enchanting as I remembered it. Françoise herself said it was her favorite, even though it only had a succès d'estime. The orchestration is light and very tasteful, the writing brilliantly delicate. Some songs feature only one guitar and some strings alongside the clear vocals, or only vocals and guitar, like Même Sous la Pluie.

Here is a video of the title track, made back then:

I also really like the opening track, Viens, and the dreamy Doigts. This is all I could find on YouTube but I recommend the whole opus, which boasts other tiny masterpieces like Rêve, Chanson d'O, and Mer.
If you want more information - and plenty of visuals - about her, do visit the Françoise Hardy Virtual Museum, "Voilà!"

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