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Friday, 11 January 2013

Friday's French music break - Garou, "Le jour se lève"

Friday's French music break this week this week is a song recently crowned "record of the year" 2012

It's ""Le jour se lève" taken from the album "Rhythm and Blues" in which the Canadian crooner Garou (real name, Pierre Garand) makes his growling mark on a number of standards in both English and French, as he covers remakes that he would have been best advised to leave well alone.

Now, how exactly Garou managed to walk off with the title "record of the year" with "Le jour se lève" remains something of a mystery.

Garou (screenshot from video clip for "Le jour se lève")

Perhaps it was the phenomenal commercial success of the track.

After all, even in these days in which singles aren't really a measure of popularity, "Le jour se lève" only managed to peak at 115 in the French charts.

There again, maybe it was all down to the success of the single in neighbouring Belgium - where it reached number 22.

Of course Garou's win could have been because of the low standard of the other artists in the running for the title: among them international no-hopers Rihanna ("Diamonds") and Birdy ("Skinny love") or a clutch of Francophone singers, including Matt Pokora, Jenifer, Shy’m, Tal, Marc Lavoine and Amel Bent - all of whom had achieved greater singles chart success in France during 2012.

But wait. Who was making the award?

Oh. It was France's largest private channel TF1, filliing up the schedules with a pre-recorded programme during the holiday period.

Isn't Garou also one of the judges in the second series of "The Voice" due to be broadcast on the very same TF1 in early February?

Well, what do you know. Yes he is. But of course that cannot possibly have played a part in a vote determined by the public from the list of nominees before the competition got underway.

Ergo all definitely very correct and aboveboard and 40-year-old Garou, who first shot to prominence in France for his performance as Quasimodo in the hit musical Notre Dame de Paris in 1998, walked away with yet another award to add to his collection.

What? You've never heard of the musical? Well maybe that's not surprising.

It ran and ran in France, made stars of several of its performers and transferred equally well to Canada. But when it opened in London, the welcome was less than enthusiastic with Independent going all Sun-like in its headlines and describing it as ""A load of old bells".

Anyway, back to "Le jour se lève", a truly wondrous remake of a song originally recorded by Israeli singer Esther Galil in 1971 - when it really was an international hit (sales of more than five million in Europe).

If you didn't like it first time around...the chances are that Garou's snarling interpretation won't do much for you either.

Have a great weekend.

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