I recently heard on a french radio that in his youth Charles Aznavour used to visit very often the manouches in the zone, to listen to their music, especially Joseph Reinhardt. He was an unsuccessful songwriter at that time and he was considering stopping his artistic career and looking for a 'serious' job, and it was Django's mother, Negros, who foretold him that he would eventually meet the success. She did not used the lines of the hand (she did not believe in that) for that, she told him he was like the god Mercure, the god of thieves, but that he was not a thief, just a smart fellow and that he will succeed. Of course, shortly after he had his first hit. Charles Aznavour wrote a few songs for Edith Piaf too.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2003 11:29 PM
Subject: GJG News Re: Edith Piaf Hymne à l'Amour
François: You tell a breathtakingly good tale. Thank you.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Utilisateur1"
> Hi John (aka Momo)
> I don't know if Django and Edith Piaf were "close" or not. I
believe that if Django
> has accepted that the central subject of this photo could be his
crippled hand, it shows in some way
> a certain degree of confidence in Edith Piaf. I think both had more
in common that you may think.
> First they both were born very poor and had to maintain their
family since they were kids, Edith Piaf
> used to play some banjo (while singing) in order to get something
to eat just like Django did
> (and Stéphane and Henri Crolla had to play in the backyards too).
> Remember that Edith Piaf (born Giovanna Gassion, daughter of a
street acrobat) was born in the
> street, on a policeman's cape, (on the steps of what is now a
Turkish Take-away restaurant
> at n° 72, of the popular rue de Belleville).
> Django and Edith did not have to play a part in front of each
other, they knew exactly where they both were coming from
> (and did not want to go back there).
> It is easy to guess what would have been Edith and Django's lives
without their incredible gifts for music :
> probably Edith would have become a prostitute and may be Django a
little thief or a pimp or a chair bottomer.
> Instead they both could afford the best places in Paris. For
instance Edith Piaf hired the 'Balajo' to organize a huge
> birthday party for Marcel Cerdan. Django was also a regular
customer of the 'Balajo' where he spent money
> in Champagne just like if the money ("les lovés" in manouche slang)
was burning his fingers and if the dreamed duo
> between Edith and Django ever happened it possibly was there.
> Edith's musical interests ranged from jazz (she sang a french
version of Night and Day and a thrilling
> "blues" called "Je t'ai dans la peau") to ethnic folk (vals criollo
from Argentine "La Foule") [OK I agree no swing]
> If you ever heard the beautiful waltz by francis Alfred Moerman
(called "Petite Valse Manouche") it is exactly
> the same song as Edith Piaf's "Fais-moi Valser". She had Matelo
Ferret to back her on guitar on her first recordings.
> Edith's main musical genre was derived from the "Chanson réaliste"
a tradition of sad songs about the ones who have
> gone wrong, who have gone to the bad. Such songs are often
ridiculous, but when they are sung by Edith Piaf
> they are not. Because of her sincerity, because that could have
been the story of her life for real.
> Personally I feel the same kind of emotion when I hear Edith Piaf
singing that when I hear Billie Holiday.
> I believe she was more identified with the resistance than with
collaboration, and helped some jewish people
> like songwriter Michel Emer to escape from the nazis.
> It is true that she sang songs about the 'Légion étrangère' ("Mon
Légionnaire", "Le Fanion de la Légion") and
> the "Colonial (troops)" in the fifties that now have some
unpleasant colonialist flavour (but let us be honest, it
> was a general feeling then in France except among the communists,
and in these songs the colonialist soldiers
> in a most premonitory way always loose in the end).
> Now Edith Piaf liked the soldiers, especially the ones from
the "Légion étrangère" and the "colonial (troops)".
> It has nothing to do with politics, it traces back to the days when
her acrobat father was performing near the
> Versailles barracks where they stationed. These soldiers used to be
generous when her father and her were
> going round with the hat. This knowledge of the good places for
begging was a trick leagued by her father
> (certainly the only thing he left her).
> So she developped a taste for the soldiers (especially from the
Légion and the Coloniale).
> Edith had no interest in politics, her main interests wer music and
love (she was a maneater).
> I believe that you cannot blame people who have suffered from
extreme poverty and finally got through and made
> a wealthy position for not wanting to share their money with
everybody. Django who had the same background
> felt as little concerned as Edith about politics.
> Edith Piaf came to New-York various times with Marcel Cerdan
(including for the world championship against
> US boxer Tony Zale on 20 sept 1948). She was in New-York when
Marcel Cerdan's plane crashed (28 oct 1949).
> When she heard of his death she did not cancel her 'tour de chant'
and sang this very night at the'Versailles' in NY.
> Edith Piaf died on 14 october 1963. The day after, Jean Cocteau a
long time friend of her died while he was
> preparing to eulogize her on the radio. Edith was buried in the
Père-Lachaise cementery, followed by 40 000
> parisians. Marlene Dietrich who was there gazed at the crowd and
said "How they loved her!".
> François RAVEZ
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: westsidemaurice
> To: email@example.com
> Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2003 4:27 PM
> Subject: GJG News Re: Edith Piaf Hymne à l'Amour
> I doubt Piaf was "close" with Django simply because the hand
> so obviously contrived (just look at it). If they were "close" I
> doubt they'd have posed that way, though he clearly did for
> reasons...she was a bigger star than he was. Kind of like the
> pictures of Nixon shaking hands with James Brown :-)
> Not much evidence of his range of musical interests in her music
> either, from what I've heard: no swing, jazz, ethnic folk. On top
> that, she seemed more sympathetic toward the "right" ...I've seen
> hint of interest by her in Eastern Europe's music or the
> gypsies or Jews by Vichy.
> In the early fifties she was identified popularly with the
> paramilitary that moved to seize Paris by force. She was an
> nativist/nationalist (LePen, Pat Buchanan, and other right-
> rely on people with that sentiment)... by definition gypsies are
> 180degrees from that.
> I think her music is fun, but it's mostly sappy emotional
> stuff. Like most popular music.
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Roger Baxter"
> <rogersbaxter@b...> wrote:
> > I have seen film footage that indicates Piaf was in New York
> > Cerdan at the same time but it is unclear whether she actually
> > Django whilst she was there.
> > There is no indication that Django and Piaf were ever in any
> > close; the hand inspection photo was almost certainly a
> > shot. However, it is quite possible Django accompanied her on
> > hoc basis in a night club somewhere in paris at some time.
> > Roger
> > --- In email@example.com, "Utilisateur1"
> > <Francois.Ravez@w...> wrote:
> > > Salut Momo,
> > >
> > > There is a link between Django and Edith Piaf, and this link
> > musical at all.
> > > This link is a man named is Marcel Cerdan (a well-known
> > Some of you certainly recall
> > > that during his US Tour, Django missed the beginning of the
> > with Duke
> > > Ellington because he had met Marcel Cerdan in New-York.
> > > Marcel Cerdan was Edith's great love from 1945 to 1949 when
> > in a
> > > plane crash in the Azores islands.
> > > She dedicated him a song that is considered as may be one of
> > most beautiful
> > > french love songs (it is one I can't hear without having a
> > shiver going down my back)
> > > which is called 'Hymne à l'Amour' (Anthem to Love) :
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