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An evocative reinterpretation of Serge Gainsbourg
INTRODUCTIONGainsbourg Symphonic is a tribute to the legendary musician Serge Gainsbourg by his equally magnetic muse and partner Jane Birkin.
A fashion icon, singer and actress, Jane Birkin, whose Arabesque concerts at HKAF 2004 were sell-out successes, has recorded many Gainsbourg songs including the legendary Je t’aime… moi non plus, originally written for Brigitte Bardot.
Jane Birkin’s partner in music and life, Serge Gainsbourg (1928 – 1991), was a pianist, composer, poet, actor, film director, and French cultural icon; his countless hits covered every music genre from jazz to chanson, from pop to disco and new wave. French president François Mitterrand said at his funeral "he was our Baudelaire, our Apollinaire, he elevated song to the level of art".
25 years after Gainsbourg premature death, Jane Birkin has created the first ever symphonic concert in tribute to Gainsbourg’s legacy in pop music. Jointly created by artistic director/music producer, Philippe Lerichonne and Japanese composer, arranger and pianist, Nobuyuki Nakajima, this exceptional concert reveals the full range of Gainsbourg’s fabulous music.
Don’t miss Jane Birkin’s return, in concert with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and the timeless, unforgettable songs of Serge Gainsbourg!
Arrangements and Piano
with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
FURTHER READINGSongwriter, singer, novelist, actor, and film-maker, but known also for his provocative words and outrageous behaviour, Serge Gainsbourg remains a star over 25 years after his death in 1991.
For those outside of France it is often difficult to understand the scale of Gainsbourg’s iconic status in his home country, where he had an immense following. He was considered a musical genius because his output covered classical, chanson, jazz, rock, reggae, and more, but above all because of the ingenious wordplay in his lyrics. His songs were noted for their double and triple meanings, none of which were directly translatable into English, another reason for his less iconic status in non-Francophone countries. However, while he never achieved quite the same level of success elsewhere, he still achieved cult status and has been an inspiration for musicians across the world. De La Soul and Massive Attack are just a couple of the artists to have directly sampled Gainsbourg, while his musical legacy has also touched a range of contemporary artists including Beck, Pulp and Beach House.
Gainsbourg was also known for chain-smoking Gitanes cigarettes, his unrelenting thirst for a drink, and for his heavylidded bleary eyes, designer stubble, and less than handsome looks. He claimed that ugliness had more going for it than beauty because it endured. His love affairs played out very publicly, and many of his songs were written for women also very much in the public eye, such as Juliet Greco, Brigitte Bardot, Michèle Arnaud, Isabelle Adjani, but above all for Jane Birkin, who was his companion for 12 years and the mother of his daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Birkin, who previously brought Gainsbourg’s music to the Hong Kong Arts Festival with her sold-out Arabesque concerts in 2004, occupies a unique position as an interpreter of his music. While “unique” is a word often overused, Birkin’s collaborations with Gainsbourg, as his partner in both music and life, mean that there are few others who can lay claim to the same closeness and understanding of his artistic output. Indeed, Gainsbourg once wrote to her, “One thing amongst other things that you don't know, you had the very best of me".
Explaining the gestation of Gainsbourg Symphonic, Birkin’s original inspiration came from the fact that Gainsbourg had used classical music so often within his own music – so why not perform some of his most famous hits together with a symphony orchestra? Songs that date from the earliest moments of Gainsbourg’s career in the 1950s sit alongside those written especially for Birkin, such as Baby Alone in Babylone, penned after their separation. Her Gainsbourg Symphonic is the sound of an artist indelibly linked to the cultural consciousness of France over the course of almost half a century, a figure so important to the nation that François Mitterrand, the French president at the time of Gainsbourg’s death, described him as "our Baudelaire, our Apollinaire… he elevated song to the level of art".
By Tim Wong
ADDITIONAL INFONobuyuki Nakajima
Nakajima has been performing piano solo and chamber music shows as well as composing music for NHK drama series, "Yae no Sakura", "Kamisama no Boat" and so on, and for films "The Fallen Angel" and "The Mourner". Other works include the Jane Birkin world tour "Via Japan" (27 countries, around 70 performances) as musical director since 2011, and the world tour "GAINSBOURG SYMPHONIQUE" as orchestral arranger & pianist since 2016. His remix title, "Thinking of you (NN's Dreamy Mix)", has been included in the compilation, "Ibiza Sundowner" by the world-class DJ, José Padilla and sold worldwide. Solo works include "Ete, Palma", "MELANCOLIA", “Cancellare", "clair-obscure", "Broken Blossoms" and so on.
Official website of Nobuyuki Nakajima:
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