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A second musical giant is mourned in France

Georges Moustaki is gone. He was 79.

I tried to record him two years ago for a BBC documentary about Barbara, whose lover he had been, but he sent messages back to say he was not well enough. He had turned a little shy with the passing of years.

Egyptian born, to Greek-Jewish parents, Sarah and Nessim Moustaki, Georges made his way to Paris in 1951 and was soon writing songs for Edith Piaf and a host of other singers. His amours were as legion as his chansons.

The most celebrated and enduring of his creations is Ma Liberté.




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  1. Cedric Peachey says:

    Sad news indeed. I have a DVD made recently which shows him frail but as clear and as sharp as ever. His songs are some of the most poignant, imaginative and perceptive I’ve had the pleasure to discover. I saw him perform in Manchester some twenty years ago. The concert was being televised and the cameras moved back and forth between him and the audience. He stopped playing and refused to continue, to loud applause. After some discussion, he reached an uneasy compromise with the producer and the cameras were limited to a radius on his far right and left. The sense of communicating directly with every listener was palpable. He ended the concert with a waltz and asked each ‘cavalier’ to partner a lady so that most of the audience were dancing in the aisles and on stage. While the remainder of his group continued playing, he joined in the waltz, partnering one delighted lady after another. A great poet, musician and singer has gone but, by gosh, what a legacy remains!

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