Friday, March 2, 2007

Reason #284 American radio is missing out

I'm going against my own expectation about leaving literary stuff out of this blog here, but this item from the Times of London certainly falls under the category of Music.

The Paris-based but Italian-born supermodel-turned-singer Carla Bruni has recorded an album that sets poems by W.H. Auden, W.B. Yeats, Walter de la Mare, Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson, and Dorothy Parker to pop music-- or more specifically, to pop music in the vein of smoky French chanson. Sounds like fun to me. This year is the centary of Auden's birth, and surely releasing an album of his songs (so many of his poems are really songs) isn't a bad way to honor the man. The impressive thing about all this is that Carla Bruni's album of renditions isn't considered some fringe, pretentious nonsense in France. In France and in Germany her album went Top Ten; her first album, Quelqu'un m'a dit, sold more than two million copies in France, Italy, and Spain. Despite the fact that she uses the lyrics of some great English-language poets, she hasn't really been heard from in the UK. Not her fault, of course; the Brits haven't put the lady on the bloody radio yet. The cultivated folks at Radio Three might dig her, but she's yet to go mainstream here. And as for breaking through in the US...well, I think she can forget about it.

Bruni sounds like a classic French chanteuse in the tradition of Edith Piaf and Monique Serf; her voice is sultry and breathy, and her guitar-playing conjures up some late-night cafe version of Django Reinhardt. So, in short, she's a French-Italian model with a passion for great poetry and a voice that will melt you. Watch this short documentary on her and tell me she's not the ideal woman:

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