Serge Rezvani traces the thread of his songs in his new album

Serge Rezvani traces the thread of his songs in his new album

Every day, a personality invites herself into the world of Élodie Suigo. Today, the painter, author, composer and performer, Serge Rezvani. The author of “Tourbillon de la vie” by Jeanne Moreau is releasing this Friday, March 24, 2023, an album entitled “Chansons pour Lula”.

Serge Rezvani is a painter, writer, author, composer, performer, but also a playwright who devoted himself to composing songs for a large part of his career under the pseudonym Cyrus Bassiak. He has authored more than 40 novels, 15 plays, two collections of poetry, more than 50 songs including The vortex of life (1962), interpreted, and even immortalized by Jeanne Moreau in the film Jules and Jim by Francois Truffaut. There was also, I have a failing memory (1963) and many others.

An album titled Songs for Lula released this Friday, March 24, 2023. It is an album that pays tribute to his wife with the participation of great artists such as Dominique A, Vincent Dedienne, Cali, Philippe Katerine, Jeanne Moreau and Léopoldine HH.

Franceinfo: This album comes out the day after your 95th birthday. How do you feel at the release of this one which salutes and underlines your work with essential artists of French song?

Serge Rezvani : I come from another landscape. I was a painter for a very long time and song was my Ingres violin. As I get older, I realize that these do not age and I am very, very moved by the interpretation of all these young people in this album. Really really.

You were born in Tehran, Persian Empire, in 1928 to a Russian Jewish mother and an Iranian father. He was a magician. Your mother was unfortunately affected by cancer suddenly, she gave you the time to heal, but unfortunately, she will die of it. Three years later, your father comes to pick you up. What do you keep from this childhood?

I wrote a song which is my identity card, Jeanne Moreau sang it by feminizing it, “I am no one’s son, I am not from any country. I claim men who love the earth like a fruit“. I maintain. My identity is there. It is very fuzzy, very vague and then I am at the crossroads of several extremely different civilizations. The French language is my homeland. I have adopted the French language and the readers French adopted me. It’s miraculous.

Impossible not to ask yourself how you experience this conflict between Ukraine and Russia today.

I wrote several plays including one played by Maria Casarès, Polar Mantisand then another that Laurent Terzieff played on Russia precisely, on the sources of Stalinism and I think Stalin is not dead. What is very serious is that the Russian people are all the same, whatever one says about it, thinks about it and hopes for it, a people of slaves. And Vladimir Putin plays it. And it’s awful. It’s hopeless. One has the impression, as Marx said, that History stutters. There, I find that she stutters seriously and it is very serious. It is that the Russian people have not evolved.

That a tyrant could exist in Russia means that the people were ready to receive him. But perhaps, as Dostoyevsky said, “the people love those who have a firm grip and bloody hands”, alas!

Serge Rezvani

at franceinfo

Certainly, you had this childhood, but I have the impression that it made you much stronger. This feather came very quickly into your life. Did it allow you to imagine, to also create a better world?

The better world is the one I created around me, in my bubble with Lula. For 50 years, I loved the same woman. Unfortunately, she died of Alzheimer’s disease, she left on tiptoe. Without that, if she had died suddenly, I don’t think I could have survived.

You wrote My memory is failing this song is also a declaration of love.

I wrote it before she had this disease. Unfortunately, afterwards, I wrote one to make her understand that she was sick. She didn’t understand.

Your first songs started when you were still quite young, it’s 1950. It’s true that this writing, you will first make it heard with a guitar. And you make listen to your songs with your friends, among whom Jean-Louis Richard, the husband of Jeanne Moreau, it is really your first public.

When he listened to one of my songs, he said to me: “But it’s great, it’s you who composes?“Yes, but I compose like that by ear because my mother was a musician and I told him: you can sing it. I showed him the two chords and he started singing right away. This song, Truffaut heard it and Truffaut was very fond of my songs.

It’s going to be a turning point because he’s going to ask you for permission for his film Jules and Jim to borrow one. It is the famous whirlwind of life. What does this song represent for you?

I wrote it very quickly to make fun of Jeanne Moreau and her husband who were separating, who were coming back, who were separating…

‘The whirlwind of life’ was really a gift that I gave to Jeanne Moreau and her husband. A friendly but mocking gift!

Serge Rezvani

at franceinfo

You are 95 years old. What makes you always stay with this poet’s gaze to contemplate the world with this curiosity?

Creation and then putting myself aside. I’ve been on the sidelines all my life. It allows you to look at the world in a different way, a little sideways. And then, not always receiving preconceived information, to inform oneself, to reflect on everything. It simply keeps the mind awake and above all to create. The only problem with age is realizing that you’re going to die soon. We never actually believed it, “And then after me what will happen? The universe will end“. I’m very upset to die. I wish there was a place up there where you could lean on the railing and say to yourself: “Ah well, they are there, really? That’s a shame !


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