Marie Lafor?t, born Ma?t?na Doumenach to Armenian parents on 5 October 1939 in Soulac-sur-Mer, is a French singer and actor. Biography The 1960s Her career began accidentally in 1959 when she replaced her sister at the last minute in a French radio talent contest Naissance d'une ?toile (birth of a star) and won. Director Louis Malle then cast the young starlet in the film he was shooting at the time, Libert?, a project he finally abandoned, making Lafor?t's first appearance on screen opposite actor Alain Delon in Ren? Cl?ment's 1960 drama Plein Soleil.
Her career began accidentally in 1959 when she replaced her sister at the last minute in a French radio talent contest Naissance d'une ?toile (birth of a star) and won. Director Louis Malle then cast the young starlet in the film he was shooting at the time, Libert?, a project he finally abandoned, making Lafor?t's first appearance on screen opposite actor Alain Delon in Ren? Cl?ment's 1960 drama Plein Soleil.
After this film she became very popular and interpreted many roles in the 1960s. She married director Jean-Gabriel Albicocco, who cast her in some of his own works, including La Fille aux Yeux d'Or (The Girl with the Golden Eyes), based on the Balzac story, which would become her nickname.
In her second film, Saint Tropez Blues, accompanied by a young Jacques Higelin at the guitar, she sang the title song and immediately started releasing singles, her first hit being 1963's Les Vendanges de l'Amour. Her songs offered a more mature, poetic, tender alternative to the light, teenage y?-y? tunes charting in France at the time. Her melodies borrowed more from exotic folk music, especially South American and Eastern European, than from contemporary American and British pop acts. Lafor?t worked with many important French composers, musicians and lyricists, such as Andr? Popp and Pierre Cour, who provided her with a panoply of colorful, sophisticated orchestral arrangements, featuring dozens of musical instruments and creating a variety of sounds, sometimes almost Medieval, Renaissance or Baroque, other times quite modern and innovative.
At the end of the 1960s, Marie had become a rather unique figure in the French pop scene. Her music stood out, perhaps too much for her new label CBS Records, which expected of her more upbeat, simpler songs. She was interested in making more personal records, but finally gave in. Although her most financially successful singles (Viens, Viens, a cover of a British hit, and Il a neig? sur Yesterday, a ballad about the break-up of the Beatles) were released in the 1970s, Marie progressively lost interest in her singing career, moving to Geneva, Switzerland in 1978, where she opened an art gallery and abandoned music more or less altogether.
1980 to Today
In the 1980s, Marie concentrated on her acting career, appearing in a few French and Italian films. Some music singles were eventually released, but were not popular. She made a comeback, however, in 1993 with an album (her last) for which she wrote the lyrics. In the 1990s, she again continued to work as an actress, both on screen and on stage. She has performed in a number of plays in Paris over the years, acclaimed by audiences and critics alike. In September 2005 she sang once again, going on tour in France for the first time since 1972. Every concert was sold out. Lafor?t still currently resides in Geneva and has obtained Swiss citizenship.
Marie Lafor?t, the folk singer
Lafor?t has been fond of folk music ever since she began recording in the early 1960s. She helped popularize the Bob Dylan song Blowin' in the Wind in France with her 1963 interpretation. On the B-side of the same EP she sings the classic American folk ballad House of the Rising Sun. Other folk recordings include: Viens sur la montagne, a 1964 French adaptation of the African-American spiritual Go Tell It on the Mountain, recorded by American folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary the previous year, Coule doux (Hush-a-Bye), another Peter, Paul and Mary song, 1966's Sur les chemins des Andes, a French version of the traditional Peruvian song El Condor Pasa, and La voix du silence, a 1966 cover of American duo Simon and Garfunkel's first hit, The Sound of Silence.
Marie Lafor?t, the rocker
She also recorded some rock songs in the 1960s, her most famous being Marie-douceur, Marie-col?re, a 1966 cover of the Rolling Stones hit Paint It Black. Another popular recording was 1965's girl-groupish A demain, my darling, known by English-speakers as The Sha La La Song and recorded by Marianne Faithfull on her debut album.
Marie Lafor?t, the pop singer
Some of her most memorable pop songs are those written or arranged by French composer Andr? Popp, such as Entre toi et moi, L'amour en fleurs, Les noces de campagne, Manchester et Liverpool, and Mon amour, mon ami.
Popp made one-of-a-kind space age instrumental recordings during the 1950s and by the early 1960s had built quite a good reputation in the music recording industry and was in demand as an arranger. He did wonderful orchestrations for Rive Gauche legend Juliette Greco that were jazzy, urbane, vibrant, quirky, even cartoonish at times, but always very enjoyable. His scores really brought songs to life, but nonetheless demanded somewhat of the listener. The arrival of Rock & Roll in France and, consequentially, y?-y? music, dramatically changed the expectations of French audiences and record-buyers, especially the younger ones, who were more interested in singers like Johnny Hallyday than Jacques Brel, although chansonniers such as Brel ultimately remained just as popular as they had been in the 1950s.
Popp had to adapt to these new trends. He worked almost exclusively with female singers during this period, preferably the Lolita types, such as Chantal Goya, but also with Fran?oise Hardy. Love is Blue, a song Vicky Leandros performed at the Eurovision Song Contest 1967 on behalf of Luxembourg, also recorded by Claudine Longet, became internationally popular. In these recordings, Popp does not sacrifice the sophistication of his 1950s orchestrations, but rather than animate the songs, he seems to set the tone, the mood, painting a colorful picture. Sometimes there are silky, smooth strings; often there is harpsichord and oboe and flute; elsewhere adventurous brassy fanfares; occasionally an ethereal soprano chorus; always some magical musical final touch, like the faint, quavering harmonica in Manchester et Liverpool. Marie Lafor?t's voice fit perfectly in Andr? Popp's 1960's soundscapes and he created more of them for her than for her contemporaries.
Other important records
The quiet, bittersweet and minimally arranged ballad Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes (1966), composed by Francis Lai, often appreciated for his film scores, is a Marie Lafor?t favorite. Homage was paid to the song in the 1980s when French pop superstar Myl?ne Farmer added it to her own concert repertoire.
Marie's 1977 hit Il a neig? sur Yesterday, perhaps her most well-known recording, was penned by experienced lyricist Michel Jourdan, famous for his work with, among others, pop singers Dalida, Nana Mouskouri, Michel Fugain and Mike Brant, and who had written the words for earlier Lafor?t songs, such as Les vendanges de l'amour and L'orage, and musician Jean-Claude Petit.
The 1973 hit Viens, viens was in fact a cover of a British song Rain, Rain, Rain performed by Simon Butterfly.
Marie Lafor?t's first film, Plein Soleil.
1960 : Plein Soleil : Marge Duval, Ren? Cl?ment
1961 : Saint Tropez Blues : Anne-Marie, Marcel Moussy
1961 : La Fille aux yeux d'or (The Girl with the Golden Eyes) : the girl, Jean-Gabriel Albicocco
1961 : Les Amours C?l?bres : Mlle Georges, Michel Boisrond
1962 : Le Rat d'Am?rique, Jean-Gabriel Albicocco
1962 : Leviathan : Ang?le, L?onard Keigel
1963 : Cherchez l'idole, Michel Boisrond
1963 : ? cause, ? cause d'une femme : Agathe, Michel Deville
1964 : La Chasse ? l'homme : Gis?le, ?douard Molinaro
1965 : Cent briques et des tuiles : Ida, Pierre Grimblat
1965 : La Soldatesse, Valerio Zurlini
1965 : Marie-Chantal contre le docteur Kha : Marie-Chantal, Claude Chabrol
1967 : Le 13?me caprice : Fanny, Roger Boussinot
1967 : Jack of Diamonds : Olga, Don Taylor
1972 : Le Petit Poucet (Tom Thumb) : the queen, Michel Boisrond
1979 : Flic ou voyou : Edmonde Puget-Rostand, Georges Lautner
1982 : Les Dipl?m?s du dernier rang : Dominique, Christian Gion
1982 : Que les gros salaires l?vent le doigt! : Rose, Denys Granier-Deferre
1984 : Les Morfalous : H?l?ne Laroche-Fr?on, Henri Verneuil
1984 : Joyeuses P?ques : Sophie Margelle, Georges Lautner
1985 : Le Pactole : Greta Rousselet, Jean-Pierre Mocky
1985 : Tangos, l'exil de Gardel : Mariana, Fernando Solanas
1987 : Sale destin : Marthe Marboni, Sylvain Madigan
1987 : Fucking Fernand : Lotte, G?rard Mordillat
1987 : Il est g?nial papy! : Louise, Michel Drach
1995 : Dis-moi oui... : Mme Villiers, Alexandre Arcady
1996 : Tykho Moon : ?va, Enki Bilal
1997 : H?ro?nes : Sylvie, G?rard Krawczyk
1997 : C'est la tangente que je pr?f?re : P?tra la v?rit?, Charlotte Silvera
2000 : Jeux pour mourir, Bruno Romy
2001 : Le Syndrome de l'adh?sif
1960s singles and EPs
1960 : Saint-Tropez Blues / Tumbleweed
1963 : Tu fais semblant - Les vendanges de l'amour / Mary Ann - Les jeunes filles
1963 : Blowin' in the Wind - Flora / House of the Rising Sun - Banks on the Ohio
1963 : Au coeur de l'automne - L'amour en fleurs / Qu'est-ce qui fait pleurer les filles - Mais si loin de moi
1963 : La vendemmia dell'amore - E giusto / Una noia senza fine - Che male c'e
1964 : Viens sur la montagne - Les noces de campagne / Un amour qui s'?teint - L'amour qu'il fera demain
1964 : La tendresse - La playa / Apr?s toi qui sait - L'arbre qui pleure
1965 : Katy cruelle - Entre toi et moi / La bague au doigt - Ma chanson faite pour toi
1965 : Ah ! Dites, dites - Julie Cr?vecoeur / Viens - ? demain my darling
1965 : La plage / Apr?s toi, qui sait
1966 : La voix du silence (The Sound of Silence) - Siffle, siffle ma fille / Je t'attends - L'orage
1966 : Marie-douceur, Marie-col?re (Paint It Black) - Toi qui dors / Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes - La moisson
1966 : Manchester et Liverpool - Pourquoi ces nuages / Prenons le temps - Sur les chemins des Andes
1966 : Mon amour, mon ami - S?bastien / Je suis folle de vous - Mon village au fond de l'eau
1967 : Ivan, Boris et moi - Je ne peux rien promettre / Pour celui qui viendra - Tom
1968 : Le lit de Lola - Qu'y-a-t-il de chang? / Et si je t'aime - A la gare de Manhattan
1968 : El polo - L'air que tu jouais pour moi / Le tengo rabia al silencio - House of the rising sun
1968 : Que calor la vida - Mais mon coeur est vide / La valse des petits chiens blancs - Requiem pour trois mariages
1969 : Au printemps - Roselyne / Feuilles d'or - D'?tre ? vous
1969 : Pour une ?toile - Ton coeur sauvage / Vin de l'?t? - En plus de l'amour
1969 : Ah ! Si mon moine - On n'oublie jamais / Tourne, tourne - La fleur sans nom
1969 : Tu es laide / Toi, nos enfants et moi
1964 : Marie Lafor?t
1965 : Marie Lafor?t Vol. 2
1967 : Marie Lafor?t Vol. 3
1968 : Marie Lafor?t Vol. 4
1968 : Que calor la vida
1969 : Marie Lafor?t Vol. 6
1970 : Marie Lafor?t Vol. 7