Singer-songwriter shares his story, French culture

Gilberto Galvez/Culture editor

A French singer-songwriter visited Linfield May 8. The event, hosted by French Club, promoted French culture, and singer-songwriter Eric John Kaiser performed his own songs throughout the event, telling his story and the stories of various famous French musicians.

Kaiser began by mentioning that he was born in Paris but has lived in Portland since Aug. 2006. The first song he sang was one of his own, “L’Odyssé,” which told his story.

The first famous French musician Kaiser described was Charles Aznavour, one of his favorites, and he sang “Emmenez Moi” by Aznavour.

Kaiser continued on by telling more of his story, mentioning that he left Paris for Portland because of a girl. He wrote a song about his trip to Portland.

“The day I left Paris, I had a cab waiting for me. In the rush, I forgot my guitar and chose to walk, so I wrote a blues song about it,” Kaiser said. The song he wrote about it was called “Le Pari.”

“Of course, it didn’t work out with the girl. I wrote a song about how men don’t understand anything about women,” Kaiser said about his song “Le Puzzle.”

Kaiser then told the story of Edith Piaf.

“Piaf means little bird, and the legend says that she was born on the streets. Her mom was a street singer. Edith’s grandmother worked in a brothel in Normandy,” Kaiser said.

He chose to sing “La vie en rose” by Edith Piaf.  After that, he introduced songs by Jaques Brel, Yves Montano, Serge Gainsbourg, Johnny Hallyday, Claude François.

Hallyday and François both took American songs and adapted them into French.

“He started playing music in the sixties, adapting American music into French,” Kaiser said of Hallyday.

“Claude François is kind of a French disco artist if you have to put him in a box,” Kaiser said.

Both of the artists didn’t neccesarily translate American songs. They adapted the melody with different lyrics and meanings in French.

The last song of his own that Kaiser sang was “Tandem.”

“I think a relationship is like riding a tandem bike. You have to be two to pedal, two to decide where to go, and if someone gets off, there’s no more relationship,” Kaiser said.

Kaiser introduced his last song, “Non, je ne regrette rien” by Edith Piaf with a personal story.

“One day, I met this beautiful lady, and she became my wife. And we sing together, so I’m going to play you our wedding song,” Kaiser said.

Readers can find Kaiser on Spotify as well as most of the other artists that Kaiser mentioned throughout his presentation.

Gilberto Galvez can be reached at [email protected]