Thursday, January 1, 2009
Raquel Bitton....The Great Escape
Raquel Bitton performing J'm'en fous pas mal(I shouldn't care)
Whenever Dan and I get the urge to mentally and emotionally escape to the Paris of yesterday, the "Raquel Bitton Sings Edith Piaf" CD is the perfect choice for us. The entire CD is terrific. However, our favorites are 1)Hymne a l'amour(A hymn to love),2)Non,je ne regrette rien(No, I have no regrets) and 3)Les Amants d'un jour(Lovers for a day). Listening to the CD with a bottle(or two)of red, a tray of fromage frais and some Parisian bread by candle light is perfectionne l'évasion à Paris(I hope that came out right). Her French accent just flows beautifully.
Phil Elwood of the San Francisco Examiner/Chronicle wrote:“MAGNIFICENT, EMOTIONAL, MESMERIZING…. Musically stunning' Bitton’s impassioned delivery has a trance-like effect on a listener. Piaf and Billie Holiday share a poignancy that few others have mastered; Bitton, here, is one.”
“BITTON’S VOCALS…HONORED PIAF’S STYLE without strictly imitating it. No one could live up to a legend so inflated, but a bright interpreter like Ms. Bitton certainly can illuminate it.”
The New York Times
French jazz singer and recording artist Raquel Bitton is recognized as the foremost singer of French music in America today and has been internationally reviewed as the greatest interpreter of the music from the Edith Piaf repertoire.
Born in Marrakesh, Morocco, Ms. Bitton was already enthralling audiences at the Casino de Marrakesh (where the classic film Casablanca was partially shot) at the age of 11. When she was a teenager, Raquel and her family moved to San Francisco where she began her American career, focusing on the songs from the French l’Age d’Or. She discovered her French repertoire by dusting off her father’s old records that he brought with him to America.
Raquel was drawn to the passionate melodies and lyrics of the romantic period of the 1930’s and 1940’s and quickly mastered many of the songs from the era of Charles Trenet, Jean Sablon, and Josephine Baker, to name a few. Raquel’s insatiable appetite for songs of the heart led her to the Edith Piaf songbook. Raquel became not only an expert historian on the life and songs of Edith Piaf, but also a renowned interpreter of her music, singularly able to capture the complete essence of one of the great vocalists of the 20th Century.
Raquel performed her hit show, Raquel Bitton sings Edith Piaf, her story…her songs, at notable concert halls throughout North America. The tour opened in January 2000 with 3 sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall(Capacity 3000 seat theater).
In the presentation, Bitton celebrates the extraordinary life of the legendary Piaf through her songs. A 20-piece orchestra backs Bitton’s one-woman tribute to the “little sparrow.” Elegant orchestrations are arranged by long-time collaborator Bob Holloway. Bitton tells stories of Piaf’s life that mirror the timeless songs that catapulted Piaf from singing in the streets of Paris as a child to becoming the highest paid entertainer in the world at the time. Bitton’s unique, heartfelt renditions (sung in French) and her powerful delivery take her audience on an intensely moving and emotional journey.
Singing in French and English, Raquel has developed a variety of additional elegant French-themed presentations including “Pops goes to Paris,” “Postcards from Paris,” “Chansons d’Amour,” and “In a Jazzy Mood.”
Raquel Bitton has recorded 6 albums to date: “I Wish You Love”, “Changes”, “Dream a little dream” and “In a Jazzy Mood” (in collaboration with the legendary composer Paul Misraki), and most recently, Raquel Bitton Sings Edith Piaf: The Golden Album. Liz Smith, Syndicated Columnist, said, “RAQUEL BITTON’S CD TRIBUTE TO EDITH PIAF IS TERRIFIC!”
This recording can be found on the OMTOWN label of Higher Octave Music, a division of NARADA records.
And “Dream a little dream”
Critics unanimously agree that passion is at the core of Raquel Bitton’s extraordinary talent. Her powerful delivery is deeply moving and an unforgettable experience for her audience.
“BITTON OFFERS TOUCHING TRIBUTE TO PIAF. Bitton delivered a performance that would surely have been touching even to someone who’d never heard of Piaf. Classic pieces such as Sous le ciel de Paris; Milord; Non, je ne regrette rien; and, of course, La vie en rose triggered ecstatic applause from a packed crowd.” Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times
“THERE IS THE UNMISTAKABLE PASSION Ms. Bitton brings to her invocation of the Piaf vocal spirit.” Barry Singer, The New York Times
“PIAF IS BORN AGAIN – RAQUEL BITTON BRINGS A LEGEND BACK TO LIFE. Raquel Bitton went straight to the audience’s heart like Piaf before her…. [Carnegie Hall] was packed with people far as the eye could see. Raquel Bitton’s show was well and truly sold out! This singer doesn’t simply imitate, she performs in her own right and performs with the same burning passion of the one and only Madame Piaf! That Saturday night, another star was born.” Myriem Wong, France Amerique/Radio France International/Figaro