Monday, June 6, 2011

Dear Gerard

We don't get a lot of entertainment here in Tana. There's no movie theater, no opera house, there are no international sports matches, or things like that.

So when I saw on billboards in Tana that a famous French singer would give a concert, I jumped at the opportunity. I am talking about Gerard Lenorman, whose hits were huge in the seventies, even in Holland. I say even because it is not common that French chansons reach beyond francophone boarders. But hits like 'La Ballade des Gens Heureux' and' Voici les Cles' are firmly ingrained in my song repertoire since childhood.

I started asking French friends here to join me to the concert, but got mostly negative replies. Why were they not in for an evening or nostalgia? Some remarked that he's now un vi couillon - an old fart. Well, he's 66 but should that mean the man can't sing anymore? I mean, did Frank Sinatra sing poorly at his tender old age?

Okay. I understand now. After the first song it became clear that he could not quite hit the high notes, or keep the long vowel sounds. Sorry Gerard, but your singing is not what it used to be. Your three musicians were not very energetic either. They seemed slightly embarrassed even...

Bonsoir Madagascar!
But you see, Gerard, this is not a problem! We, the audience will still enjoy your songs. I believe that a Malagasy audience is easy to entertain. We love to sing and are very receptive. But you have to entertain us! Shout: 'Bonsoir Madagascar', or say something in Malagache. Ask us to sing along. Engage us. Put up a show. Sitting on your bar chair is not enough...reinvent yourself!

Was our clapping not as long or as loud as it used to be? I am sorry you felt like that. You were complaining weren't you? Were you disappointed in us, the audience?  It was probably mutual...

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