Henri Salvador (18 July 1917 – 13 February 2008) was a French Caribbean comedian and singer.
Salvador was born in Cayenne, French Guiana. His father, Clovis, and his mother, Antonine Paterne, daughter of a native Carib Indian, were both from Guadeloupe, French West Indies. Salvador had a brother, André, and a sister, Alice.
He began his musical career as a guitarist accompanying other singers. He had learned the guitar by imitating Django Reinhardt’s recordings, and was to work alongside him in the 1940s. Salvador recorded several songs written by Boris Vian with Quincy Jones as arranger. He played many years with Ray Ventura and His Collegians where he used to sing, dance and even play comedy on stage.
He also appeared in movies including Nous irons à Monte-Carlo (1950), Nous irons à Paris (Jean Boyer’s film of 1949 with the Peters Sisters) and Mademoiselle s’amuse (1948).
He is known to have recorded the first French rock and roll songs in 1957 written by Boris Vian and Michel Legrand — “Rock’n Roll Mops”, “Rock hoquet, Va t’faire cuire un oeuf, man” and “Dis-moi qu’tu m’aimes rock” — under the artist name of Henry Cording (a play on the word “Recording”). Despite this historical aspect, he never ceased to claim that he disliked rock and roll and even refused to talk about this subject later on.
In the 1960s, Salvador was the host of several popular television variety shows on French TV. In 1964, he scored a hit with “Zorro est arrivé”, which was inspired by The Coasters’ U.S. hit “Along Came Jones”. He is also famous for his rich, catchy laugh, which is a theme in many of his humorous songs. In 1969, Henri Salvador recorded a variation of “Mah Nà Mah Nà” entitled “Mais non, mais non” (“But No, But No” or “Of Course Not, Of Course Not”), with lyrics he had written in French to Piero Umiliani’s music.
Henri Salvador and his song “Dans mon île” (1957) were thought to be an influence on Antônio Carlos Jobim in formulating the Brazilian bossa nova style.
Caetano Veloso, a famous Brazilian composer and singer, made Henri Salvador famous to Brazilian audiences with the song “Reconvexo”, in which he says “quem não sentiu o swing de Henri Salvador?” (“who hasn’t felt the swing of Henri Salvador?”). Veloso also recorded a version of Salvador’s song “Dans mon île”.
At the age of 70, Salvador was the voice-over of the crab Sebastian in the 1989 French dubbing of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Recordings of “Embrasse-la” (“Kiss the Girl”) can be found on YouTube.
Salvador discovered singers Keren Ann and Art Mengo.
He died of a ruptured aneurysm at his home in the early hours of 13 February 2008. He was 90 years of age. He was buried next to his wife Jacqueline in Père-Lachaise Cemetery.
He was known as a supporter of Paris Saint-Germain F.C. He obtained four seats for life in the Parc des Princes.
Henri Salvador continues to be popular today among French communities in Canada. In 2000, Virgin Records released a CD featuring popular hits such as “Jazz Mediterrannée”, which continues to receive regular air play. In 2002, his album Chambre avec vue sold over two million copies. In 2005, Salvador was awarded the Brazilian Order of Cultural Merit, which he received from the acclaimed singer and Minister of Culture, Gilberto Gil, in the presence of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for his influence on Brazilian culture, particularly on bossa nova, to whose invention he contributed. That same year he took 52nd place in the election of Le Plus Grand Français (The Greatest Frenchman).
He was also a commander of the French Légion d’honneur and of the French National Order of Merit. In 2007, he released Révérence on V2 Records, featuring Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso. He then went on to perform the track “La vie c’est la vie” from that album on an episode of the BBC programme Later… with Jools Holland aired on 4 May 2007. (by wikipedia)
At 88 years old, Henri Salvador has been a popular figure in the French music world for quite a while (he started there in 1945). In 2000, he reinvigorated his career and reintroduced himself to the public with Chambre Avec Vue (re-released as Room with a View two years later) and since then has been going quite strong, coming out with Ma Chère et Tendre in 2003, and now Révérence in 2006. Recorded mostly in Brazil under the direction of Caetano Veloso’s — who makes an appearance here on a new version of “Dans Mon Île” — longtime producer and arranger Jaques Morelenbaum, Salvador continues his legacy as singer of the sweet melancholy. The quiet, breathy strings and soft bossa nova rhythms that are incorporated into many of the pieces on the album add to the overall poignancy of Salvador’s voice, which shows no sign of aging, still smooth and clean, reflecting the warmth of his native French Guyana.
It works especially well on the francophone version of the classic Vinicius de Moraes/Antonio Carlos Jobim song “Eu Sei Que Voi Te Amar,” retitled “Tu Sais Je Vais T’Aimer” here (it appears twice on Révérence actually, once as a solo track and once as a duet with Gilberto Gil), where the longing and suffering of love come through in the timbre of his voice, the hesitation in his phrasing. In “Italie (Un Tableau de Maître),” he riffs on a familiar Italian melody as he reminisces about the country, talking about it like a woman he loves, even slipping into its own language for a line or so, and in “Cherche la Rose,” one of three older tracks on the album, and done with Caetano Veloso, there’s a bittersweet hesitancy to the way he sings the song 40 years after its initial release that comes only from the experience and understanding he’s gained as he’s gotten older.
This is where he’s best, and most comfortable, and it’s what sounds the best, too, so it makes sense that most of Révérence stays in the adagio, in the reflection. In fact, it even seems a little out of place when Salvador moves into faster, jazzier pieces like the gospel-inspired “Alléluia! Je l’Ai dans la Peau” or the Frank Sinatra-esque “L’Amour Se Trouve au Coin de la Rue,” adding saxophones and bright drums and coming across slightly forced, albeit exuberant. Salvador has aged nicely, and settled down into his years, and the best bits of Révérence convey this perfectly, the life of an artist who has truly been inspired, and inspired countless others. (by Marisa Brown)
Henri Salvador is an 89-year-old with an extraordinary history. Born in French Guyana, he moved to France as a child, joined a dance orchestra as guitarist, and ended up working in Brazil, where his songs would later influence the work of the great Tom Jobim – the greatest composer of the bossa nova era of the late 1950s. Salvador also became a celebrity, and a TV personality back in France, and he now seems poised for unlikely international success. This new set was recorded in Paris, New York and (of course) Rio, where his producer was the great Jacques Morelenbaum, who has worked with everyone from Jobim to Mariza; they were joined by Brazilian stars Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. It’s remarkable for Salvador’s effortlessly clear, perfect vocals and equally unexpected range. Many of the songs are gently charming laid-back ballads, but there’s also a swinging French-language treatment of Ray Charles, with Alleluia! Je l’Ai Dans la Peau. Alleluia, indeed. (by Robin Denselow)
Patrick Artero (saxophone, trumpet)
Marcelo Bernades (flute)
Bernardo Bessler (violone)
Paulinho Braga (drums, percussion)
Denner Campolina (bass)
Mino Cinelu (drums, percussion)
Michel Coeuriot (clarinet, keyboards, oboe, synthesizer)
Thomas Coeuriot (guitar, mandoline)
Marcelo Costa (percussion)
Guy Delacroix (bass)
João Donato (piano)
Phillip Doyle (tuba)
Claude Egéa (trumpet)
Laurent Faucheux (drums)
Michel Feugère (saxophone, trumpet)
Frederic Gaillardet (piano)
Luis Galvão (guitar)
Gilberto Gil (vocals)
Alain Hatot (flute, saxophone)
Didier Havet (rombone)
Jorge Helder (bass)
Denis Leloup (trombone)
Eduardo Morelenbaum (clarinet)
Jaques Morelenbaum (cello)
Katia Pierre (flute)
Hugo Vargas Pilger (cello)
Iura Ranevsky (cello)
Rob Reddy (saxophone)
Saul Rubin (guitar)
Marcello Isdebski Salles (cello)
Henri Salvador (vocals, percussion)
Paulo Sérgio Santos (clarinet)
Eric Seva (saxophone)
Billy Jay Stein (organ)
Caetano Veloso (vocals)
Jean-Christophe Vilain (trombone)
André Villéger (flute, saxophone)
Ricardo Amado – Rick Amado – Paul Prates Barbato – Michel Bessler – José Alves Da Silva – Daniel Guedes – Antonella Pareschi – Eduardo Pereira – Paschoal Perrota – Felipe Prazeres – Rogério Rosa – Maria Christine Springuel – Ricardo Taboada
Jerry Barnes – Stephanie McKay
01. La Vie C’est La Vie (Salvador) 2.24
02. Mourir à Honfleur (Salvador) 3.48
03. Dans Mon Île (Pon/Salvador) 4.56
04. Cherche La Rose (feat. Caetano Veloso) (Salvador) 4.57
05. L’ ‘Amour Se Trouve au Coin de la Rue (Salvador) 3.27
06. Tu Sais Je Vais T’Aimer (Jobim/de Moraes) 4.04
07. J’Aurais Aimé (Salvador) 2.37
08. Italie (Un Tableau de Maître) (Martinico/Salvador) 3.11
09. D’Abord (Salvador) 2.57
10. Les Amours Qu’on Delaisse (Salvador) 5.17
11. Alleluia! Je l’Ai Dans La Peau (Salvador) 2.50
12. Les Dernières Hirondelles (Salvador) 3.21
13. Tu Sais Je Vais T’Aimer (feat: Gilberto Gil) (Jobim/de Moraes) 4.05
Henri Salvador (18 July 1917 – 13 February 2008)