Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Balada para un loco - Julien Clerc

I believe today's video of Piazzolla accompanying Julien Clerc in a performance of Balada para un loco (Ballade pour un fou) is new to YouTube. The video is apparently from a French television broadcast and is probably from 1974 or 1975. According to an impressive Clerc discography, Etienne Roda-Gil created French lyrics for Loco in 1974, and Clerc released the song as a 45 rpm single which spent several weeks on the French hit parade. His cover of the song was an important opening for Piazzolla into the European music market and biographies of Piazzolla frequently contain a quote along the line of, "Libertango has been recorded by such famous artists as Julien Clerc, Grace Jones and Yo-yo Ma." Clerc still retains Loco in his repertoire: a relatively recent (and better) performance with Richard Galliano on the bandoneón can be seen here.

To my knowledge, Piazzolla never made a studio recording of the song with Clerc - this video may be the only example of the two of them together. In contrast to some of the Italian television video, I believe the music is performed live here. Piazzolla, who looks a bit uncomfortable in the video, glances a couple of times to his right as if picking up cues from an orchestra and at one point rotates his bandoneón to place the treble face adjacent to the microphone for a short bandoneón solo. But the star of this show is very much Julien Clerc and the camera does not spend much time on Piazzolla.

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