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25 Apr 2014 00:00

Garou In Lebanon!!


Garou around the world

Going on tour is always a huge source of pleasure for Garou and touring with the shows accompanying the release of his album, Piece of my soul, proved no exception. Accompanied by four musicians, Garou had a ball presenting his English-language repertoire to his fans in a show that had more rock to it than his previous ones. The singer even indulged his inclination to play to smaller venues in new territories, notably in Eastern Europe, where he was able to return to the spirit of what he was doing before Notre-Dame-de-Paris came along.

Garou makes a film

During 2008, viewers in Quebec had the pleasure of seeing Garou in cameo roles in two television programmes, namely Taxi-22 and Annie et ses hommes, a situation comedy and a drama respectively, both well received by the public. Encouraged by these experiences, during the following summer he acted in L’amour aller-retour, a film for television broadcast on TF1 early in 2009. Garou had been receiving scripts for some time but, for want of time, he had never accepted, apart from brief appearances as himself. So, for the first time since Quasimodo, the singer now took on a role, this time as François, a Québécois who has lived in Paris but has returned to the vast open spaces of his country of birth. He acted alongside Ingrid Mareski, directed by Éric Civanyan, a team he really liked. Garou admits he thoroughly enjoyed the experience and intends to repeat it when a good scenario comes up again at the right time.

Garou turns into a “Gentleman Cambrioleur”

Far from leaving his singing career on hold in favour of television, it was precisely when his film for television was broadcast, early in 2009, that the idea of making an album of cover versions of various songs he particularly likes took root in the singer’s mind. He started looking for ideas and wrote a list of 101 internationally-known songs that he would like to perform. This was when the theme tune from the television series that his parents’ used to watch, about a “gentleman cambrioleur” - or gentleman thief - Arsène Lupin, came back to him from his childhood. Buried in his subconscious for thirty years, the voice of Dutronc returned to haunt him and inspire him with the concept for the new album: Garou as a gentleman thief, borrowing from various performers works that have become part of the world’s musical heritage.

Treading softly on such hallowed ground, the charming thief very soon realized that it was he who was taken by surprise: “Apart from four or five of them, the songs on the album are not at all the ones that were planned initially. At this stage in my career, I felt that I had to move out of my comfort zone in order to evolve.” This is what Philippe Paradis, the producer of the album, has helped him to do with brio, particularly with his remarkable version of U2’s New Year’s Day, transformed into a song that is vibrant with emotion and tenderness, at a much slower tempo than the original. Captivated by the find, Garou asked for a microphone to be hooked up to make a recording even before he had finished listening to it once. Beautiful Day, another title by the Irish group selected by Garou, was now out. With Champs Élysées, exactly the opposite happened! Garou had to work unremittingly to convince his team that a blues version with a New Orleans flavour could work for this famous Joe Dassin song. To everyone’s great pleasure, the singer’s tenacity gave rise to a rendering that has an altogether unusual arrangement. Despite taking a mischievous delight in the entire process, Garou soon realized that it is often more difficult to reinvent a song than it is to create an entirely new one: “I spent hours with Philippe, taking my head in my hands and thinking about the best way to put across such and such a song and yet, usually, when faced with a new song, I know exactly what we are going to do with it and how it should sound.”

The choice of songs is always central to producing an album of cover versions and, albeit in the garb of a Gentleman Thief, Garou did not intend to snatch just anything. “For me it was important not to go for things that were too dated and not to choose from among songs I sang in bars in the past.” The pickings proved rich and so the album carries hits such as Sorry by Madonna or Je veux tout by Ariane Moffat, which has just been released in France. Garou also treated himself twice on the album, to I love Paris, a crooner’s song by Cole Porter, as well as to a Leonard Cohen cover that Garou recorded solo, live with his guitar. This last track follows The Sounds of Silence, which ends the album as everybody knows…

Garou Live In Lebanoooonn!!! 
Hell Yeahhh...
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