So it’s with bon plaisir to announce the celebration of La Piaf’s centennial and her oeuvre here on our humble boards ce soir. It will be an evening dedicated entirely to the «Sparrow of Paris» and her personnalite plus grande que nature. Led by the brilliant pianist Ralph Schoen (no tirez sur la pianiste, s’il-vous plait), who has an archival knowledge of the life and work of the iconic chansonniere with the gargantuan pipes and the even bigger emotions. He leads an ensemble that also features la extraordinaire Ines Florin and her voice, Musu Meyer’s voice aussi, Bruno Strüby on banjo, Alfons Schröter on contra bass and Boris Steiner on the drums.
It was this gigantic voice that came out of her fine boned and diminutive body that made La Piaf a legend in her lifetime. And her lifestyle. Because of it, the Bishop of Paris refused her a funeral mass. But heroines are not made in heaven they’re born in the gutter bars and seedy dance halls of Paris. Which is maybe why 100’000 Parisian fans participated in a ceremony at the cemetery, the only time ever when Parisian traffic was brought to a complete stop. It was rumored she devoured men like croissants with her café au-lait in the morning. Absinthe was her muse and the boxer Marcel Cerdan, the best middleweight in the world at the time, was the love of her life. And so was life itself.
It’s a pity they don’t make sultry torch singers like her anymore. Edith made us think and maybe cry when very late in her short life she said: «Every damn thing you do in this life you have to pay for». Yet her most famous song was perhaps her hymn to life in bohemian Paris: «No, rien de rien, no, je ne regrette rien.» Chapeau to Ines Florin and band for keeping Piaf’s legacy alive and eclatant.