Friday, August 1, 2008

Mano Solo, the Last French Great Song-writer

"I've got two news, a good one and a bad one. The good one is that I'm not HIV positive anymore, the bad one is that I have AIDS." Mano Solo, 1995.

Mano Solo is often introduced as as a depressive singer haunted by death and his disease but he's much more than that. His song are about love, about life, about the struggle against the whole world. He seems shouting with anger and passion, maybe I look weak and sad, but I'm still alive and I will enjoy my life until the last moment and I will fight for it. As he says in his song With giant steps, "Its not that I love mine, but for sure I love life".

His first three solo albums released from 1993 and 1997 (La marmaille nue (The Naked Rabble Of Kids), Les années sombres (The dark years) and Je sais pas trop (I Don't Really Now) are some of the greatest masterpieces of french chanson, alongside with those of Brel and Brassens. He does not just copy the old masters but he expresses a new way of writing and singing: deep, violent and passionate. He's influenced by chanson, but blends it with rock, gypsy and latin musics, african rythms... He even sang in a punk band, Les frères misères (Misery Brothers).

Here are two videos with english subtitles and three awesome mp3.

From La Marmaille Nue, 1993
Mano Solo - Allo Paris

From the live album Internationale Sha La La, 1999
Mano Solo - Tu t'envoles (You Fly Off)

Mano Solo - Le drapeau (The Flag)

Lyrics of The Flag

It has been months
That I'm waiting for you
So much and so long that I wasn't waiting anymore
I was almost dead
I painted 1000 times in my head
The Picasso of your portrait
One eye here, one ear there
You seem from an other world
But I was far from doubt
This color on your skin
The same that when we close the eyes
Because everything is fine

Colors that men like me wear
Colors of anarchy, of pirats
You'll be the flag, and I'll be the skull
And we'll flap in the breeze
Among birds' calls
In this life which is schrinking
We will resist until the last rag
You're so beautiful!

I dont know what to tell you
I've in my mouth
A cockroach's colony
And if I open it
They will jump on you
To eat in your eyes
To the least light of hope
Your are so beautiful
And I am so dark

Behind my skin, there's a cold night
But fuck, thought I got fever
I've seen myself, very close to you
Darken my mouth on your skin
But maybe you just see
A little white toad attracted by you
Full of venomous pustules
And smoking so much that it'll blow out

But I've seen you in the dark, like a cat
That you were beautiful to die
But I haven't seen your heart jumping
Neither your skin shouting toward me
You're so beautiful
You're so beautiful
I don't know what to tell you

Links: buy on Mano solo - wikipedia


Wouter said...

you're welcome... it's Dutch actually
Nice blog!

Anonymous said...

is there any other way to send my comments to you, instead of showing it on this page?
:p just joking
honestly i have no idea 'bout french songs-chansons. It is tres bon to read all articles here :D

Boebis said...

Happy that you like it. I will try to write much more to "spread good french vibes" :P

Diego said...

I like your blog.. I'm wondering how you put the tiny mp3 song player.. Its beautiful, just a click and you are listen to the song.. did you get it from a website..??

Boebis said...

I used the code found there: