On "Radio London", Axel Bauer talks about his roots and the resistance

On “Radio London”, Axel Bauer talks about his roots and the resistance

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French singer Axel Bauer is back with a new album called “Radio London”. A tribute to his father, Franck Bauer, who was one of Radio London’s announcers during the Second World War and uttered the famous “The French speak to the French” 517 times.

Axel Bauer questions the meaning of the word “resistance” by summoning the memory of his father, one of the voices of Radio London, in his new album: “Just an angry same left for England on an old rusty freighter”, thus sings the French artist revealed by his hits “Cargo de nuit” (1983) and “Turn off the light” (1992).

Franck Bauer was the last surviving speaker of Radio London before his death at the age of 99 in 2018. It was he who largely inspired the name of this opus, “Radio London”, as well as two titles entitled “Ici London” and “The day flies away”. We also hear the voice of Axel Bauer’s father at the beginning and at the end of “Ici Londres”.

Franck Bauer belatedly told his son about the time of Radio London, when he was 22, talking to him about the bombings, the resistance, explains the singer to RTS. He then called on the lyricist Boris Bergman, who worked with Alain Bashung, to create the text for this piece opening this disc which oscillates between an acoustic frame and electric flashes.

>> To see, the clip of “Ici London”:

Franck Bauer, character “with a thousand lives”

“My father was the anchor of this album which was actually born over the years. He had detailed to me, among other things, how he modulated his voice, forced his medium to pass above the jamming of the Germans. And at the same time I recorded his voice that we hear on the song”.

Character “with a thousand lives”, Franck Bauer was also the subject of an autobiography subtitled “40 in London: the spy who came from jazz”: “My father did a thousand jobs, it was a kind of He was secretary general of the Comédie-Française, war correspondent, spy, announcer, concert organizer, professor at the University of the Sorbonne, drummer alongside jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and even inventor of ‘a machine that made pictures on the plates by polymerizing the resin,’ explains Axel Bauer.

An unrecognized figure in Free France, Franck Bauer had gone to the United States to spy on the relays of the Vichy regime during the day and frequent jazz clubs at night. After the Liberation, Franck Bauer worked as a war reporter for the Morning News, then for the AFP (Agence France Presse), and entered the Ministry of Culture.

The importance of the Who for Axel Bauer

It was Axel Bauer’s father who participated in his musical training, notably by offering him a Who record when he was 13 and a ticket to their concert, while his mother gave him his first guitar. The English singer Roger Daltrey, founding member of the Who, will adapt the famous “Cargo de nuit” by the Frenchman in “Take Me Home” in 1987. “I met him on a television set in Belgium in 1984. He had lost his guitar and lent him mine. Roger Daltrey had stayed to see what I was doing and he had flashed on ‘Cargo de nuit’ which he then took over. This was even more symbolic for me since the concert of the Who I had seen young had transformed me and made me decide to become a guitarist in life. It is as if spiritually he had given me his permission”, comments Axel Bauer.

>> To see, the clip of “C’est malin”:

“Radio London” also addresses the theme of resistance to the enemy within, a malignant tumor fought by the sixty-year-old singer, mentioned with a significant distance in “C’est malin”. A title written by him that evokes the loss of a feeling of invincibility. The album is completed by two covers, “Is this how men live” by Léo Ferré based on a poem by Louis Aragon, and “A qui n’a pas liked” by Gérard Manset

Interview by Anne Laure Gannac

Web adaptation: olhor

Axel Bauer, “Radio London” (Label Fontana).

Axel Bauer in concert at Francomanias of Bulle, September 2, 2022.

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