Bernard Lavilliers in concert tonight – one of the more compelling voices, who has been around for a while, but of course who is well known in his native France – here, not so much (pity).
Some background via French Wikipedia (gist translation, so . . . ):
Bernard Lavilliers (Ouillon) was born on October 7, 1946 in Saint-Étienne 1 . His father, former resistance during the Second World War , and union later was director of human resources at the national weapons factory (MAS) and his mother is a teacher 4 . He started boxing at the age of 13. His education plays a big part in his approach to music. He explains that his parents gave him a passion for tropical rhythms, Puerto Rican jazz , classical music and poetry. He also enjoys, at his four years, music through the turntable offered to him for his birthday. He suffered from pneumonia during his childhood and his parents moved to the suburbs to get away from the pollution of Saint-Etienne.
According to the official historiography, at the age of fifteen, he makes a stay in a correctional house . When he was released, he started working and became at the request of his father apprentice metal turner at the MAS . He writes later: “At that time of my life, I was looking for myself: I did not know if I would be gangster , boxer or poet …”
In 1963, he joined the French Communist Party . At the age of 18, he participated in Saint-Étienne at Nocturne , a first montage (texts-songs) created by the troupe Duk (directed by Pierre-René Massard), alongside another young Stéphanois, Alain Meilland , future co-founder of the Printemps de Bourges, to which he will participate on numerous occasions.
At twenty, he left for Brazil , where he returned a year later. He is then considered rebellious and is interned at the fortress of Metz for a year (although no trace of this passage exists in the military records of the time).
This entire period of his life, often repeated in different ways by the media , is controversial, focusing on the concordance of dates and the veracity of facts.
On leaving the correction house, Bernard Ouillon began singing in the 1960s in the cabarets of the left bank in Paris : at Jacky Scala, rue Lacépède ; He is also present at the Court of Miracles in Bordeaux , with Gilles Elbaz , Germinal and Gérard Ansaloni . In 1967 , he released his first singles and won the prize for the Golden Rose of the song in Montreux with La Frime .
His first album, Chanson pour ma mie , was released in 1968 , with his first name and an enigmatic “Lavilliers”, which became his stage name . During the events of May 1968 , he sings in the busy factories of the Lyon region. Furrowing then France and experiencing difficulties in breaking into music, he plays a few months in provincial cabarets; in the month of June 1968, he goes to Brittany . He has several small jobs ( restaurateur , manager of nightclub in Marseille , etc.) and married in 1970 with Évelyne.
As early as 1968, Bernard Lavilliers became involved with factory workers and labor issues. In particular, he has been supporting steelmakers in Lorraine for over thirty years. He dedicates to them in 1978 the song Fensch Vallée . In December 17, 1991, he gives a symbolic concert on the U4 blast furnace site in Uckange , for employees of the Lorfonte factory threatened with closure. Twenty-years later, in 2011, he is back to support the “metallos” of the ArcelorMittal factory in Florange . He dedicates to them the song Les Mains d’or 13 , from the album Stop sur image (2001).
He gave several concerts in support of the anarchist federation , especially in 1980 at the Jean Richard racecourse and in 1983 at the Olympia , which will allow this organization to buy his bookstore, at 145 rue Amelot in Paris in 11 e arrondissement 14 [ref. insufficient] .
He is also seen singing in 2002 at Labor Fight 15 , where he publicly supports the position of the Trotskyist organization not to call in favor of Jacques Chirac in the second round of the presidential election against Jean-Marie. The Pen [ ref. desired] .
In 2008 and 2009, he signed petitions and strongly committed himself to the Hadopi law aimed at suppressing the illegal downloading of music on the Internet 16 , 17 .
In 2011, he officially supports Chief Raoni and the Amerindians in their fight against the Belo Monte Dam .
The same year he publicly supports Jean-Luc Mélenchon , candidate of the Left Front in the presidential election of 2012 18 , for which he also vote five years later 19 .
He also sings for the alterglobalists and, without being a companion of the French Communist Party, for which he always said he had an affinity.
Since gist translations are sketchy at best, it shouldn’t turn you off to enjoying this concert by an important and essential French artist. The music is what’s important here and there is a lot to absorb.
Oh . . .and there are the occasional break-ins by a very enthusiastic French announcer and the mix is strange in spots. Can’t be helped – can’t be ignored – shouldn’t prevent you from turning this one up and enjoying the hell out of it.