Sunday, 17 March 2013

St Patrick's Day - Renaud: La ballade Nord-Irlandaise

In previous years I've marked St Patrick's Day in the blog, in a way celebrating he celtic links between France and Ireland.

Apart from the obvious celtic link with Brittany, France has always been sympathetic to Ireland and its music has played a large part in bringing the countries together.

One singer who was captivated by Ireland and shared his love with his audience was Renaud.

Renaud Séchan is a hugely popular singer in France and very much a "chanteur engagé". He has always been politically engaged and his songs have regularly articulated social criticism in a voice that's attracted criticism for its lack of sophistication, in a way similar to Bob Dylan, criticism that's usually rejected on account of his songwriting skills.

One song by Renaud remains well-know in the UK, with his song Miss Maggie attracting a huge amount of attention in 1985, during mMrgaret Thatcher's term as Prime Minister.

Renaud would be influenced by Ireland and recorded La ballade Nord-Irlandaise originally for his 1991 album Marchand de cailloux, which he recorded in London.

He would continue his exploration of folk music with his following album that came out in 1992, a collection of folk songs from the north of France entitled Renaud cante el'Nord.

Renaud toured pubs in Ireland in '97, his only publicity being a sign in the pub window saying he was playing that night.

His interest in Ireland would reach fruition with the 2009 album Molly Malone – Balade irlandaise, a collection of irish songs that were translated into French.

Recorded in Dublin with Pete Briquette, formerly of the Boomtown Rats, producing and Terry Woods from The Pogues among the musicians, the album would go straight in at number one in the French album charts.

(Clip) Renaud - La Ballade Nord Irlandaise by Cannibal-rouge

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