By Dimitris Papanikolaou

Between 1945 and 1975, in either France and Greece, literature supplied the classy standards, cultural status and institutional foundation for what aspired to be a better kind of renowned track and the actual consultant of a countrywide renowned song. released poems have been set to renowned tune, whereas severe discourse celebrated a few songwriters not just for being ‘as solid as poets’ yet for being ‘singing poets’ of their personal correct. This hard and stimulating examine is the 1st to chart the parallel cultural methods within the nations from a comparative point of view. Bringing jointly cultural reports with literary feedback, it bargains new angles at the paintings of Georges Brassens, Léo Ferré, Jacques Brel, Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hadjidakis and Dionysis Savvopoulos.

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Extra resources for Singing Poets: Literature And Popular Music in France And Greece, 1945-1975 (Legenda Studies in Comparative Literature)

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Of these, the ones who had written their songs themselves could also be better marketed by an industry then rapidly gaining pace. Louis-Jean Calvet provides the ideal epilogue: In this way a certain image of the French chanson begins to circulate, one that we can relate symbolically to the equation: French chanson = guitar + poetry. ] And if it is possible to include the names of several dozen performers under this label, it is Brassens who will very quickly become its f lagbearer, and be perceived abroad as the star product of a new style [comme le produit vedette d’un nouveau style].

Through a brilliant analysis of Brassens’s first songs, Calvet makes a further startling observation: Brassens’s songs may have been written at the piano, but they were very skilfully constructed so as to support the idea that they were written on and for the guitar and, moreover, by someone who was not a very adept guitar player (Calvet 1991: 61–70). In songs like ‘Une Jolie f leur’, the melody is based on the simplest guitar chords possible. indb 27 5/1/07 17:21:02 28 Poetry and the Songs recognized as basic on the guitar.

These anthologies widened an ideological distinction that today we could identify as that between ‘folk’ and ‘popular’ culture — even though the word folklorique is not used in French as extensively as in English, and the French collectors of songs and tales from the rural areas in the nineteenth century still preferred the word populaire. The word ‘folklore’ came into the French language from the English relatively late (1887 is the date given by the Robert dictionary), but the concept of a rural popular art that would be analysed as ‘authentic and ancestral’, in direct opposition to what was seen as the debased culture of the cities, had appeared very early in the nineteenth century (see Klein 1995).

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