The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #67071   Message #1118800
Posted By: Frankham
18-Feb-04 - 08:48 PM
Thread Name: Jacques Brel - what's it all about?
Subject: RE: Jacques Brel - what's it all about?

I think that Brel defines a European point of view about the
struggles in life. Many of his songs carry a sub-textual meaning.
He is a commentator on a personal level but also on a political
one. There is a kind of world-weariness in his songs that may
not reach some folks who haven't experienced a lot of suffering or grief. The songs are passionate and not in the least pretentious
but I can see that there is a possibility that they can be
misinterpreted by some performers and as such come off as phony.

They are cabaret songs in the manner of Edith Piaf. I think of them
as songs that might be sung by jazz singers such as Billie Holiday
in the tradition of "Lush Life" or "Strange Fruit".

The French expression "tranche de vie" comes to mind. Slice of life in the way you see a Gorky play or hear a down and out blues
about the inequities of life.

Brel is an acquired taste and when he is interpreted well, the
impact is unmistakeable.