b-guided > Barcelona

Jane Birkin sings Gainsbourg Symphonique

Primavera Sound 2018

By Sergio Pulido 06.05.18

As half of the coolest duo in the history of French music, Jane Birkin took on the status of official widow of Serge Gainsbourg, becoming executor and promoter of the work of her "non-husband" (they never married) after his death in 1991. She has never stopped reinventing, transforming and reworking these classics like with the tour she did in 2002 together with a band of Arab musicians who reinterpreted Gainsbourg’s back catalogue. Now to mark her 70th year Jane has decided to provide a symphonic orchestra musical arrangement of 50 musicians of the songs that Serge composed for her, and other songs in the composer’s canon. Considering that some of those songs are based on Brahms tunes ("Baby alone in Babylone") or Chopin ("Jane B."), applying the orchestral treatment was a no-brainer, given it was already a part of its DNA.

The idea for this orchestral treatment was suggested by a French-Canadian journalist and began to take shape at the end of 2016 with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the arrangements of the Japanese Noboyuki Nakayima, who first met Jane at a tribute to the victims of Fukushima in 2011. It was eventually recorded in 2017 with the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra and began touring around the world, which is very likely to be the last great tour of the actress and singer. The contrast between Jane’s petite voice and the glorious melodies produced by the orchestra is very particular and exhilarating, and was received positively by the critics, who praised these new versions of the refined classics of pop history. An unmissable event for fans of the Gainsbourg-Birkin family, that will be doubly represented at Primavera Sound with Jane and Charlotte. Will there be a mother-daughter duet as a surprise? Let's hope so.

  • Jane Birkin by Nico Bustos