Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mercoledi Musicale

When I bought this album back in the early '70s I was familiar with the well-known Edith Piaf - La Vie en Rose, Milord, Non je ne regrette rein - but this was a collection of songs she performed in her early days and mostly for her French public. There was one in particular that I played endlessly: L'accordéoniste. It had a drama and intensity that was thrilling and a little frightening also. How could an artist perform at that level without burning out? Sadly the Little Sparrow had burnt out by that time, she died in 1963 from liver cancer. The last years of her life had been haunted by car accidents, morphine and alcohol addiction. She was denied Christian burial by the Archbishop of Paris but that didn't stop people - over 100,000 - from attending her burial ceremony at Père Lachaise cemetery.

I wish I still had the album - it went to a second hand shop about 10 years ago - it had a translation but here is my own very rough version in English:

There's pretty little prostitute on the street corner over there.
She caters to the dreams and desires of her clients.
But when she finished for the evening goes to a local dance hall
in search of her own dreams.
Her man is a musician who plays there, an accordionist.
He's a funny looking little guy
who sets people dancing when he plays the Java.

She listens to the music he makes
but never dances.
She only watches her man, the
nervous play of his fingers on the keyboard.
She watches his whole body and
his music creeps along her skin
and enters her.
It takes her breath away
and her soul is entwined with his.

The little prostitute on the street corner is sad.
Her accordionist has gone to the war.
But when he returns they will buy a bar.
She'll work the cash, he'll be the boss.
And every night after they've closed
he'll take his accordion and play the Java
only for her.

She'll listen to the Java watching her little accordionist,
her eyes filled with love.
She'll watch the nervous play of his fingers on the keyboard.
She'll watch his whole body and his music will creep along her skin and enter her.
It will take her breath away and her soul will be entwined with

The little prostitute is alone on the street corner.
There are younger and prettier girls, no one wants her anymore.
Her man - he never come back from the war.
Adieu to all her dreams, her life is meaningless now.
She drags her tired body into a local dive.
There is someone else playing the Java.

She listens to the Java
She hears the Java
She closes her eyes and see his fingers nervously
running over the keyboard.
The music creeps on her skin, and goes into her body.
And to forget she begins to dance.
Alone she turns in circles to the music.

Stop the Music!

17 aprile - San Lamberto


DoraLong said...

She had such an intense soul..

Richard said...

The song is available: see

sageweb said...

That was beautiful. She looks a mess while she sings too. But her voice makes it all perfect.

Anonymous said...

Breathtaking! Thank you also to Richard for the link!!! I know where I'm heading to next...

Elizabeth said...

She makes it so intense and personal that it's almost hard to watch. Wow!