Guestposter Mark has an update on Juliette Gréco this summer:

juliette-greco-jpg_10297Juliette Gréco does not do retirement. ‘Retraite, c’est un terme militaire pour moi’ she retorts. And she can suddenly lose 40 years, as here at the Festival de Ramatuelle on the Côte d’Azur on 7 August.
At the end of a typically sharp performance of Leo Ferré’s ‘Jolie Môme’, the white light on her fades and for a second she loses four decades from her face – looking not 86 but perhaps 44, La Grande Sophie’s age today. Freeze the Youtube film and click forward slowly from 2min 42sec and what no still photograph could capture is on Filles Sourires.

Juliette also sang ‘La Javanaise’, and we can see the stress that caused her to retire after an hour suffering from heat stroke, as reported in ‘Le Figaro’ the next day.

In her heyday JG only sang for 45 minutes plus encore. So to perform for hour in August heat would tax anyone at 26, let alone 86. Yet a week later she was back on stage at the Festival Musicalarue de Luxey, in Les Landes.

One impressive yet little-known Gréco song, difficult to do on stage because it needs an orchestra, is now on the web : ‘Et là, t’y crois’, from a 1993 album. The magnificent arrangement of Etienne Roda-Gill and Julien Clerc’s lyric is by Jean Claude Petit. The lyrics are not long, but stretch wonderfully for 4 minutes. I have used my Youtube channel to put them into two comments boxes below the Youtube screen picture.

Written by guuzbourg

French girls, singing. No, sighing. Making me sigh. Ah.

This article has 2 comments

  1. marksl

    Another interesting and quite new Juliette Gréco song is ‘Les beaux temps reviennent’. This lively number was written for her by Bénabar in 2004 and is on the album issued that year. There are no lyrics on the internet for it. The film of her recording it in the studio (when she was 77) is well worth watching. See

  2. marksl

    Juliette Gréco herself said that, in her heyday (the 60s and 70s) she sang for just 45 minutes in her heyday of the 60s and 70s, presumably excluding the rappel (encore):

    “You must seduct?… seduce them. You’ve got forty-five minutes to make them fall in love with you. It’s a short time.”
    British interviewer: “You’ve found the secret. You can do that.”
    Juliette Gréco: “I did it sometimes”.

    (From interview with Juliette Gréco in English recorded @1980, included in the April 2013 BBC Radio feature about her, presented by Laura Barton – sadly no longer available on BBC website.)


    Lyrics of “Et là, t’y crois” (1993)

    Il suffit d’un peu de soie tendue D’un sourire en coin qui tue Et là, t’y crois…
    Toutes les rivières sont en crue, Et tout les hivers sont vaincus La souffrance a disparu…
    Et là, t’y crois…

    Ca prend la bouche, ça prend le nez, Les mains, le coeur et les idées Et t’es piégé.
    Un peu de mousse sur le café Comme un parfum qu’on a serré
    Et là t’y crois… Et là t’y crois…

    Ca peut se moucher avec les doigts Te dire souvent n’importe quoi
    Et là, t’y crois…

    C’est pas le diable, c’est pas le bon dieu Ca donne, ça prend, ça rend heureux
    Quand on y croit.

    C’est pas le jour, c’est pas la nuit Ça mord parfois quand ça sourit
    Et là, t’y crois… L’amour, t’y crois

    An imperfect English translation:

    A little taut silk A smile in the corner of the mouth that kills
    And you believe it

    All the rivers are in flood All the winters have been conquered Suffering has disappeared
    And you believe it

    It grips the mouth, it grips the nose, The hands, the heart, and the mind’s ideas
    And you are trapped

    A little cream in the coffee Like a smell which you have captured
    And you believe it And you believe it

    It can wipe the nose with fingers Tell you anything often
    And you believe it

    It’s not the devil, it’s not the Almighty It gives, it takes, it makes you happy
    When you believe it

    It’s not the day, it’s not the night It bites sometimes when it smiles
    And you believe it It’s love, you believe it.