Edith's Been an Inspiration. for Me and for Paris; HEATHER GREENAWAY Jazz Singer Christine Bovill Tours the World Performing as Famous French Singer Edith Piaf and Says the Star's Music Is Now More Poignant Than Ever

Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland), December 13, 2015 | Go to article overview

Edith's Been an Inspiration. for Me and for Paris; HEATHER GREENAWAY Jazz Singer Christine Bovill Tours the World Performing as Famous French Singer Edith Piaf and Says the Star's Music Is Now More Poignant Than Ever


As the first bars of Edith Piaf's Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien echoed around the concert hall, singer Christine Bovill knew this performance was going to be one of the most emotional she had ever given.

It was the night after the Paris attacks last month and the thoughts of not only the audience but the whole world were with the families and friends of the 130 innocent people who had lost their lives.

As she predicted, Christine's rendition of the Piaf classic brought the Derry Playhouse to tears - just like Celine Dion did when she sang Edith's Hymne a l'Amour at the American Music Awards in LA.

The 43-year-old musician, who has been performing Piaf classics for more than 20 years, said: "I had just arrived in Northern Ireland when the news came through about the attacks in Paris. It was beyond shocking.

"When I took the stage the following evening at an event in Londonderry, I knew the song I was about to sing was going to be more poignant than ever before.

"I could feel the emotion ripple round the room as everyone came together in collective sorrow at the horrific events that had unfolded in the French capital."

She added: "Edith Piaf's No Regrets has become an anthem of defiance for the French people following not only the atrocities of Friday, November 13, but also the Charlie Hebdo shootings back in January.

"I happened to be singing in Belfast just at the moment one million folk descended on Paris after the massacre at the satirical magazine.

"It's another performance I will never forget. The hairs on my arms were standing on end and I had to battle hard to control my emotions.

"Edith Piaf's songs perfectly sum up the feelings of the country in the light of the attacks. They are all about resilience and not giving in to fear. Her life reflects the courage and the dignity the French are showing."

Christine - who has travelled the world with her Piaf show - admits hearing Edith's voice when she was 14 changed her life and ended up shaping her future.

The singer/songwriter, who grew up in Mollinsburn, near Cumbernauld, said: "I was practically a drop-out at school and I hated French with a passion. I was terrible at it and would fall asleep in class. The teacher hated me and at one point made me sit in a different room.

"Then one day it all changed. I used to collect jazz records and a family friend gave me a record by this strange woman Edith Piaf.

"The minute I heard her voice, I was transfixed. I started living, eating and sleeping French so I could understand what she was saying and could sing her songs. …

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