France Pays Tribute to Late Singer Charles Aznavour

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France paid tribute to Charles Aznavour on Friday (Oct. 5) in a solemn and subdued ceremony that contrasted sharply with the singer’s joyful character. One of France’s most well-known personalities, Aznavour died earlier this week at 94.

On a light, sunny morning in Paris, politicians and celebrities gathered close to the location of Napoleon’s tomb within the courtyard of Les Invalides, the place French president Emmanuel Macron welcomed Armenia Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Former French Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande and actor Jean-Paul Belmondo have been amongst these attending the ceremony.

Aznavour, born to Armenian mother and father who fled to Paris within the 1920s, turned one of many Armenian diaspora’s most acknowledged voices and a vocal defender throughout a performing profession spanning eight many years.

Covered by a French tricolor flag, Aznavour’s coffin arrived within the courtyard carried by army private to the sound of a conventional Armenian tune. A sprig of purple, blue and orange flowers — the colours of the Armenian flag — was then laid near the casket.

“Every Armenian sees him as a detailed relative,” Pashinyan mentioned. “Because Aznavour is the one who lifted Armenia to the roof of the world.” Born Shanoun Varenagh Aznavourian, the singer minimize the Armenian suffix from his stage title however by no means forgot his Armenian roots.

He based Aznavour and Armenia, a nonprofit group created after the devastating earthquake that hit Soviet Armenia in 1988. His film credit embody Atom Egoyan’s 2002 Ararat, a movie that handled the 1915 massacres of as much as 1.5 million Armenians underneath the Ottoman Empire. Aznavour campaigned internationally to get the killings formally deemed a genocide.

Speaking after Pashinyan, Macron mentioned that “for thus many many years, (Aznavour) has made our life sweeter, our tears much less bitter.”

“His songs have been for tens of millions of individuals, a balm, a treatment, a consolation,” Macron mentioned, praising Aznavour for the standard of his lyrics and the promotion of France.

“French language just isn't solely the cement of a nation, it’s additionally the catalyst for freedom and hope,” mentioned Macron, who in contrast Aznavour to French poet Guillaume Apollinaire.

The ceremony ended with a rendition of Aznavour’s hit “Emmenez-Moi,” which was performed as his coffin was carried away. 

Aznavour began his profession as a songwriter for French chanteuse Edith Piaf, who took him underneath her wing. Like her, his fame finally reached effectively exterior France. The crooner typically in comparison with Frank Sinatra bought greater than 180 million information and was one in every of France’s most acknowledged faces overseas.

He sang to sold-out live performance halls till the top and wrote greater than 1,000 songs, together with the classics “La Boheme” and “She.” A love ballad, “She” topped British charts for 4 weeks in 1974 and was coated by Elvis Costello for the movie Notting Hill.

Friday’s ceremony in Paris marked the second time in a 12 months that France paid tribute to one in every of its musical icons after a whole bunch of hundreds gathered on the Champs Elysees in December to mourn the demise of Johnny Hallyday.