Wednesday, January 1, 2014

"Duel" - A song by Brigitte Fontaine (feat. Jacques Higelin)

Brigitte Fontaine has been at the forefront of the french avant-garde from the early 1960s until today. During her long career she has mostly divided her talent between theatre and music. Her latest album (dating March 2011) consists mainly of duets. It is entitled "L'un n'empêche pas l'autre". From that album allow me to propose an extraordinary track which she sings with her old pal Jacques Higelin. The name of the song is "Duel".

When I first listened to this song I was captivated by the very theatrical atmosphere that slowly builds into the theme. From the lyrics, one understands that this song is about a duel. The two duelists, a man and a woman, meet under the orange tree blossoms and cautiously measure each other whilst at the same time trying to intimidate and destabilize their opponent. Almost at once, I had this image of samurai warriors circling each other while orange blossoms are falling all around them. It could very well have been a scene by the famous Japanese director Kurosawa. Then, you realise that it's not samurai warriors but a magician and a witch locked in mortal combat. A Merlin against a Morgana duel to the death, bronze against steel. The fight begins and the duelists change forms and exchange insults and threats. But soon we discover that there is an admiration and even a secret love between these two, for when the battle reaches its peak, the insults are transformed into erotic words and the two warriors are consumed not by their weapons or their magic tricks but by their passion for one another. So after all, not samurai warriors, not witches and magicians, but just a man and a woman and their erotic passion. In eight minutes, Brigitte Fontaine manages to combine music and theatre in one truly beautiful song.              

Listen to:

Brigitte Fontaine (featuring Jacques Higelin) - Duel

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