Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Jacques Brel

You will be pleased to hear that Jacques Brel is alive and well and living in New York. I heard there were Klimts to see for a brief time only, and off I went to the Big Apple. I had already booked before I realized I was going to NY on 9/11.

I arrived on a Monday so the pickings of shows were slim. I chose Jacques Brel..., only he's supposed to be living in Paris. Only he's dead. Since 1979. I was familiar only with the "Sons of" song, a song about children growing up and going off to war. "Sons of tycoons, sons from the farms, All of the children run from your arms." I don't know why I know this. If anyone has a clue, please tell me.

His songs are all very serious, full of ironic twists, and are about the human condition--that we are brief, fragile and unaware. He is the Sartre of song composers. I heard hints of Satie, Piaf and the soundtrack of Amelie. Very French.

The show is four singers in a set rather like a living room, with an accompanying three piece band of piano, bass and drums.

The most difficult part was sung by a standin, Jayne Paterson, who sang in French, English and Flemish. She was fabulous. Natascia Diaz was Timid Frieda who walks around between two suitcases. Most theatrical in his performance style was Robert Cuccioli--really more of an actor than a singer.

I liked it a lot--more than the over-amplified distortion of most shows.

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