“Claude Nougaro, in the beginning was the verb”, on LCP-National Assembly: the “enormous love of words” of the singer of “Toulouse”


Claude Nougaro, on stage, in the mid-1970s, in Beaune (Côte-d'Or).


” Two o’clock “ – more precisely 1 h 59 min – with Claude Nougaro by “the program that loves the song”, announces Patrick Cohen, presenter of this edition of “Rembob’INA” dedicated to the singer and songwriter who died on March 4, 2004, at the age of 74. A formidable interpreter, with whom the text always passed through a musical expressive force, that of jazz in particular. And, as Christian Laborde, novelist, poet, entertainer and friend of Nougaro said at one point, the latter wanted “always bring out the meaning (words) from within the sound ».

Read the obituary (in 2004): Article reserved for our subscribers Claude Nougaro, the syncope of words

Music, there is a lot in this “Rembob’INA”: “Claude Nougaro, in the beginning was the verb”, not by an accumulation of extracts of a few tens of seconds, treatment so often used in programs on the music, but showing, in most cases, the entirety of a song. To begin with, there are all those from the show “Une fois n’est pas custom”, which had been broadcast, specifies Patrick Cohen, “Sunday, January 12, 1969 at 10:20 p.m. on Channel 2”. With Nougaro, organist Eddy Louiss, pianist Maurice Vander, double bassist Luigi Trussardi and two drummers, Daniel Humair and René Nan. It’s not playback, but music that is created in the moment.

A marvelous moment, in a sober realization by Dirk Sanders, where the movements of the cameras are fluid, attached to remain on a face, the hands of the pianist, the striking of a stick on a cymbal. Nougaro is alone during four leather balls (1968), in a static shot of his gestures as a boxer-singer, at the center of the training for I am under (1964)… He talks about some of his songs, and his silences, his hesitations are not interrupted, his words take the time to rest.

The artist in majesty

There is the same attention on the part of Patrick Cohen when, during the returns to the set of the show, he asks Christian Laborde to evoke Nougaro, the artist, the man, the relationship he had with the dance, cinema, drawing – “Songs could sometimes arise from the encounter between drawing and words” –, and to talk about Nougaro the poet. And just as much when Agnès Chauveau, of the National Audiovisual Institute (INA) whose archives are presented, talks about this complicated relationship between Nougaro and what he considered to be a “cold, falsely warm, uninhabited media” which did not match “to the requirement, to the very intransigence that he has with his art”.

In this, we find a way that Denise Glaser or Pierre Bouteiller had, here with Nougaro during the “Discorama” shows, September 27, 1964, for one, and “From yesterday and today”, September 10, 1971, for the other. The artist in his words, in majesty. With Glaser he says: “I’m a pessimist but I’m also an optimist, it sounds confusing, I tend to see bad luck sometimes as the upside down face of luck. » With Bouteiller, he talks about his childhood, where there was already this “huge love of words (…) as if words were living objects for me”.

Other songs (beautiful dance on mein 1972, with Nougaro who dances during Maurice Vander’s piano solo), other interviews are on the program, building with the interventions of Christian Laborde and Agnès Chauveau a respectful and sensitive portrait.

Claude Nougaro, in the beginning was the verb (Fr., 2023, 119 min), as part of the program “Rembob’INA” presented by Patrick Cohen, on LCP-National Assembly. Available, in replay on Lcp.fr until March 24th.


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