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Friday, 22 July 2011

Friday's French music break - Daniel Lévi, "Là bas"

Friday's French music break this week is surely a lesson to any aspiring singer to learn the lyrics and, if performing a popular modern standard, try at least to stick to something resembling the original tune.

Daniel Lévi (screenshot from video of July 14 SOS Racisme concert)

Sadly that's something French singer-song writer Daniel Lévi must wish he had done at the July 14 concert for equality organised by the French anti-racist non-governmental organisation SOS Racisme at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The soon-to-be 50-year-old (he was born on August 26, 1961) was just one of a host of French singers to perform live in front of tens of thousands crammed on to the Champs de Mars, and the many millions watching the event live on France 2 television.

A chance for Lévi to shine and show-off that exceptional and powerful voice which won him so much acclaim when he performed as Moses in Pascal Obispo's 2000 musical "Les dix commandements" (The ten commandments).

But it wasn't to be, as Lévi took to the stage with Indonesian-born French singer-songwriter Anggun and Judith, a former contestant on the TV talent show Star Academy.

The trio were to interpret Jean-Jacques Goldman's "Là bas" in a manner which can only be described as awful.

Now even if you don't like Goldman - and there are plenty who don't - there's no denying the immense talent of the man and the impact he has had over the years on French music.

Many of his songs have become modern French standards and perhaps one that stands out is "Là bas", the 1987 hit he sang with the late Sri Lankan-born British singer Sirima.

It has been covered by many artists throughout the years but none can have been quite as embarrassing and appalling as Lévi's in what turned out to be surely the worst rendition - ever.

During the performance the teleprompter reportedly broke and that - to put it mildly - rather threw Lévi.

The true professional that he clearly wasn't under the circumstances appeared lost without the prompter and, forgetting the lyrics, la-la-la-ed his way through great chunks of the song.

Worse still he was out of tune in both his solos and harmonies and even though he grinned inanely throughout, nobody listening and watching could have been impressed.

Anggun and Judith didn't fare much better and couldn't have been too chuffed about their own performances, but in comparison to Levi, their voices were tunefully angelic.

If you're feeling exceptionally brave and feel those lugholes are up to it, then you might - repeat, might - want to click on the accompanying video to listen and watch.

Be warned though. It really is terrible.

Perhaps you would be better advised to listen to the original which is, quite simply, beautiful.

EXTRAIT : Là-Bas - Daniel Lévi , Judith et... par PARADISPOP


Anonymous said...

Easy to blame but the task was difficult. Let me tell you that he repeated in the afternoon, only a few hours before the show (see the report on NRJ France website). Daniel Lévi sang about 4 or 5 songs with different other artists, among them an amazing "Gangsta's Paradise" where his voice is exceptionnal and groovy as ever ! In fact, this guy is one of the best french singer and musician I know. Better forget your post.

France Today said...

Thanks for your comment Anonymous. Levi might well have "excuses" for forgetting the lyrics of a song he has sung on a number of occasions, but there's no getting away from the fact that this performance was dire. He's a professional, so I guess he wasn't too pleased about it either. So no, the post won't be forgotten, nor will the reaction of many on the Net.

Anonymous said...

How awful! I've been a Jean-Jacques Goldman fan since the 80s and Là Bas is one of my favourite songs. I don't understand how he allowed it to be massacred by Lévi (who does have a good voice when he sings in tune and he knows the lyrics) and those two stupid dolls miming by his sides. Singing for a noble cause should not be a justification for slaughtering songs, it's completely disrespectufl towards the general public.

Anonymous said...

Awful, indeed!
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