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Thursday, October 16, 2008

JACQUES HIGELIN


JACQUES HIGELIN
PART 1

Jacques Joseph Victor Higelin was born in Brou-sur-Chantereine, a village to the East of Paris, on October 18th 1940. His childhood was marked by the war and the bombings. Born into a working class household, Jacques grew up to the sound of the piano, His father, a railway worker, spent much of his leisure time playing music. As a child he enjoyed singing and learned the great popular songs of the period, by everyone from Maurice Chevalier to Charles Trenet, musical influences which were to persist throughout his musical career. After the war, apart from popular music, Jacques' discovery of jazz was a revelation. Encouraged by his father, the young boy began little by little to sing in cinemas during the intervals. At the same time, he began to get noticed in débutant's singing competitions on the radio.
More attracted to the world of show business than to his studies, Jacques left school at 14. He began by working for a stunt man for a while. The contracts, small at first gradually got bigger, until he found himself in a musical, "Nouvelle Orléans", alongside Sidney Bechet. He played numerous bit parts in films and met Henri Crolla, a guitarist of italian descent who composed for Yves Montand and Edith Piaf. Crolla taught him guitar and, at the same time, he took piano and clarinet lessons.
At the beginning of the Sixties, he enrolled at the René Simon drama school. A brilliant pupil, he won the François Perier award. During this time, music sank into the background.
In 1961, Jacques Higelin, left to do his military service. During the two years, he spent six months in Algeria, where he met the Algerian musician, Areski Belkacem, with whom he became close friends. In Algeria, he continued to sing at parties and officers' dances.

Café-theatre
On his return, Higelin went back to working in the cinema ("Bébert et l'omnibus" by Yves Robert) and the theatre. He began to widen his repertoire from classical drama (Musset) to more experimental productions. In doing so, he met the troupe of Marc'O and became friends with actors like Bulle Ogier and Jean-Pierre Kalfon. He also began doing café-theatre, a more informal and more innovative genre that often nurtured young talent. Half musical cabaret half comedy, cafe-theatre allowed Higelin to express himself fully on stage. He accompanied Georges Moustaki and sang Boris Vian at the Trois Baudets. Then, at the end of 64, at the Vieille Grille, he took part in the extraordinary "Mélancaustique" and "Maman j'ai peur" shows with actor Rufus and, above all, with the whimsical and unpredictable Brigitte Fontaine. Both as crazy as each other, they became friends and began a fertile artistic collaboration.
In 1965, the audacious artistic director and producer, Jacques Canetti, spotted the duo and gave them the opportunity to make two albums, one straight after the other : "Douze Chansons d'avant le deluge" and then "Quinze chansons d'avant le deluge", both collections of revisited Boris Vian songs. Without giving up the theatre or the cinema, Higelin turned more and more towards his singing. A rebellious idealist, he launched into more political songs with Catherine Ribeiro and François Béranger. The student uprising and the general strike in May, 1968 gave him a new-found freedom with which to renew his inspiration. He refused to do interviews with the official media and became the idol of the students. Ever ready to rebel against institutions and the system, he established his image as a liberty-loving personality.
At that time, Higelin met up again with Areski. His friend became Brigitte Fontaine's partner and the three of them joined the Saravah label, still in its early days. A kind of musical laboratory and creative haven for artists of all kinds and origins, Saravah was started by Pierre Barouh, a composer of the world-famous theme song of Claude Lelouch's film "Un homme et une Femme". Recorded in 1969, with Areski, Higelin's first album on the Saravah label was the first time he gave free reign to his composing talents.

Happening
In the late Sixties there were numerous creative initiatives. At the Vieux Colombier theatre, Higelin often took part in "happening" concerts. He also improvised with the Art Ensemble of Chicago and with the Wild Angels and the Pretty Things, and acted in the play "Niok" with Areski and Fontaine at the Petit Théâtre du Lucernaire.
Extremely active in the artistic underground in Paris at that time, Higelin threw himself passionately into a variety of performing arts. A consummate improviser and a poet of extraordinary imagination, Higelin also channelled his enormous creative energy into social and political militancy. In May 1971, he sung a version of the Internationale at the celebration of the centenary of the Commune, the violent Nineteen century working class revolt in Paris. The public was beginning to discover the full scope of Higelin's talent and above all, the fascinating craziness that overcomes him on stage. The stage is his life, his universe. The concerts organised by Saravah at this time sometimes took unexpected turns, and Higelin established a unique bond with his following. His concerts at the Ranelagh theatre, which, sometimes finished in the street outside, were the beginning of a long love affair between the artist and his audience.
1971 was also the year Higelin brought out his first solo album, "Jacques "Crabouif" Higelin". Entirely written and composed by Higelin, the release confirmed the quality of his music and his poetical and deeply moving lyrics ("Je suis mort qui dit mieux").
But after these crazy years, Higelin decided to leave Paris. From 71 to 73 he travelled and lived in communities in the Alps and the Luberon area in the South of France, but nevertheless continued to give concerts in small provincial towns villages. In 1972, he also played alongside Marthe Keller in Gérard Pirès's film, "Elle court elle court la banlieue".
In 1973, he played second bill to the reggae group Sly and Robbie at l'Olympia, appearing dressed entirely in white, alone with his accordion, like a kind of lunar Pierrot. But a few month later, he was to change direction radically, both musically and in his style.

Rock musician
The minstrel metamorphosed himself into a rock musician. Without losing his poetry and lyricism, he expressed himself differently. A new, more aggressive Higelin, harbinger of the punk movement that was about to explode. The year was 1974 and Higelin 34, was no longer a country hippie but a provocative and sombre urban rock singer. The shadow of David Bowie wasn't far away in the make up and ambiguity of Higelin's stage persona, but Higelin was creatively forceful enough to develop an entirely original type of image for himself in musical melting pot of the Seventies.
The explosion came with the release of the "BBH 75" on December 5th 1974. Record buyers were surprised and utterly seduced by his dark, biting brand of rock. With Simon Boissezon on guitar and as composer and Charles Benarroch on drums, he recorded the album in a week. "Chaud chaud bizness show" was a manifesto of his outspoken views on the music business and "Est-ce que ma guitare est un fusil" ? was an acidic, indignant political interrogation.
The same year, his second son Ken, was born. His eldest son, eight years old, who was already discovering his father's flamboyant imagination, went on to create his own extraordinary musical world under the pseudonym of Arthur H.
On January 14th 1976, "Irradié" came out. A more tender brand of rock than the previous release, the album was recorded in the Château d'Hérouville, to the South of Paris. Higelin, his partner, Kuelan, and his son lived on there afterwards, in the sheep barn of the chateau, feeling the need to extricate themselves from the Paris scene for while, where drugs were beginning to dominate the rock music milieu. He formed a new group, the Super Goujats, whose 21 year-old guitarist, Louis Bertignac, went on to found the group Telephone.

Tenderness
With the following album, his profound need for an optimist vision of existence came to the fore. "Alertez les bébés" was a happy record, recorded in happy circumstances during the heat wave of the 1976 summer. Higelin surrounded himself with new musicians, with Jacky Thomas on bass, Michel Santangeli on drums ad Pierre Chérèze on guitar. They were to carry on working together for ten years. Ranging from hope to blues, the ten tracks on this record reflect both the freshness and violence in Higelin, symbolised by the complementary tracks "Aujourd'hui la crise" and "Demain (ça sera vachement mieux)". Released in November, "Alertez les bébés" won the Academie Charles Cros award and won for Higelin both public and critical recognition.
On the road to success now, Higelin was at last recognised as a fully fledged recording artist. A lyric writer, a composer, he could at last devote himself entirely to his own compositions. But above all, he became an impressive and highly physical performing artist. He used his concerts to re-inforce his already strong rapport with his audience, for ever calling out to them haranging them, involving them. And it worked. Audiences adored being warmly welcomed by such a generous host. The decors, original and highly imaginative, are often sumptuous. The singer-actor loved to dress up in drag, to make himself up. No two of his concerts are alike. On tour or at festivals, Jacques Higelin, set the theatres and big tops of France alight.
In April 1977, Jacques Higelin took part in the first Printemps de Bourges festival, created to counteract the quasi-censorship of a certain new brand of French music, more rock, more independent, more alternative, of which Higelin was part.
From 15 to 30 September, the artist and his band recorded "No man's land" at the Château d'Hérouville. Profoundly poetical, the disc also revealed a certain sentimental morosity "Pars" , recorded in the middle of the night by candlelight, was Higelin's first really big hit. As well as singing he played the bass and accordion as well as the mellotron. This instrument, which imitates the cello, was specially created for David Bowie.


INEDITS 1970 (1970)
320 KBPS

1. Sa Derniere Cigarette
2. Buster K
3. Nini
4. Seul Dans Notre Chambre
5. L'idiot
6. A Moi Les Monstres



CRABOUIF (1971)
320 KBPS

1. I Love The Queen
2. Tiens J'ai Dit Tiens
3. Je Suis Mort Qui, Qui Dit Mieux
4. Aujourd'hui Blues
5. Musique Rituelle Du Mont Des Abbesses (XXe siècle - XVIIIe arrondissement)



BBH75 (1975)
320 KBPS

1. Paris-New York, N.Y. Paris
2. Cigarette
3. Mono Lisa Klaxon
4. Chaud, Chaud, Bizness Show
5. Est-Ce Que Ma Guitare Est Un Fusil
6. Une Mouche Sur La Bouche
7. Oesophage-Boogie, Cardiac' Blues
8. Boxon



IRRADIE (1975)
320 KBPS

1. Rock In Chair
2. O Fais Moi L'amour
3. Mon Portrait Dans La Glace
4. Un Oeil Sur La Bagarre
5. Irradie
6. L'ange Et Le Salaud
7. La Fille Au Coeur D'acier
8. L'hymne Aux Paumes
9. Le Courage De Vivre
10. Ballade Pour Un Matin



ALERTEZ LES BEBES (1976)
320 KBPS

1. Le Minimum
2. Géant Jones
3. La Rousse Au Chocolat
4. Je Veux Cette Fille
5. J'Suis Qu'Un Grain De PoussièRe
6. Aujourd'Hui La Crise
7. Rien
8. Coup De Blues
9. Alertez Les BébéS
10. Demain çA S'Ra Vachement Mieux



NO MAN'S LAND (1978)
320 KBPS
1. Banlieue Boogie Blues
2. Pars
3. Denise
4. Un Aviateur Dans L'Ascenseur
5. Lettre à La P'Tite Amie De L'Ennemi Public NuméRo 1
6. L... Comme Beauté
7. Les Robots
8. L'Amour Sans Savoir Ce Que C'Est


password: MOODSWINGSmusic

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

quel plaisir de réécouter ces albums !
lilac

Mr Moodswings said...

C'est vrai qu'il y a de bien jolies choses... Mais, comme tu as pu t'en rendre compte, il me manque l'album avec Areski et celui ave Brigitte Fontaine... Peux-tu m'aider ami Lilac ? :)

Anonymous said...

"chauffe la soupape marcel..."

hélas je ne les ai pas
je vais p'tet les glaner.. je te dis ça si je trouve.
best
lilac

Val Diakonov said...

non so parlare francese, ma questi sono troppo importanti! mi piace Higelin, lui e' un cantautore secondo dopo Gainsbourg!

Anonymous said...

password doesn't work for me.. please help!!

Anonymous said...

Effectivement, le password pour Alertez les bébés ne marche pas.

Merci pour tout le reste !

En marge said...

Je confirme : ne marche pas pr Alertez les bébés.

Le disque avec Areski/Fontaine serait génial (depuis le temps que je ne le trouve pas...).

Mr Moodswings said...

The password for all those albums is at the bottom of the post, it's MOODSWINGSmusic

Le mot de passe pour tous ces albums se trouve au bas du post, c'est MOODSWINGSmusic

En marge said...

C'est ce que j'ai fait et cela a bien été pr Inédits 70 mais pas pr Alertez les bébés - ça charge mais le fichier est vide.

Mr Moodswings said...

J'ai fait le test et ça fonctionne parfaitement. Tu devrais télécharger le fichier de nouveau ton problème étant sûrement dû à un bug lors du téléchargement.

En marge said...

Yes! ça l'a fait cette fois.
Mille fois merci.

En marge said...

??? --->>> JE VEUX DES COUPABLES !!!

Toujours pas ?
J'ai fait des recherches, mais rien à faire.

Juste une vid You-Tube =

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wXn7AHPx8E&feature=related

+ Areski/Higelin, Remember =

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5h2s1qj9lc

+ ce bout de doc autour 1970 =

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdHtI6Alkt8&feature=related

Salut la compagnie !