Monday, 16 February 2009


When I am watching any French singer I always like to see the audience reaction. Are they singing along? How interested do they look? Do they show any emotion? You don’t need to ask any member of the audience if they can recommend any French singer as you just need to look at their faces.

Monique Andrée Serf, better known by one name, Barbara, was a great French singer who died on 24th November 1997. I was in France on Saturday the 24th November 2007 and the main event on prime time television was a tribute to Barbara. A top performer in England would not get this attention. Just think what would happen if Ant and Dec were taken off air so that a programme about a fifties and sixties singer who had died ten years earlier could be shown.

It is interesting to note that she knew both Georges Brassens and Jacques Brel, both great singers, and she used to sing their songs. I have played guitar and sung the songs of all these singers with French people and I have been amazed at their emotion and their gestures.

Search for the name Barbara on the internet. Listen to her songs. In particular listen to a song called L’Aigle Noir. If you translate the song literally then it is very strange but your vocabulary should increase. Learn the chorus and sing along with it. At the end of the song Barbara misses out more and more words and you become the singer. Is this the first karaoke? If you have enough emotion then you might even add the gestures.

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