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Ghost Canyon

Win The New 'Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited' CD!

In the past few years, a new name, albeit an unpronounceable one, has appeared on the lips of English-speaking musicians – Serge Gainsbourg. When speaking to the French, the speaker is often asked to repeat the supposed neologism until those who continue to say “Ze Bitulz” finally grasp that is in fact an inadvertently mangled proper noun. But what a name!

Serge Gainsbourg, the singer-songwriter-Pygmalion-actor-filmmaker-author-entertainer-agitator-gambler-ladys man, a man whose many facets reflect in each other to form one of the most dazzling prisms in twentieth-century French culture, and whose sparkle now spreads well beyond both France and the century.

A few years ago both the superstar Madonna and the underground prophet John Zorn declared their admiration for Gainsbourg – separately, but with the same zeal. The English group Portishead lifted the heady atmosphere of Cargo culte from the Melody Nelson album for their stunning remix of Massive Attack’s Karmacoma. De La Soul sampled Gainsbourg, Beck borrowed wholesale (Paper tiger), and countless artists cover his songs. In France and worldwide (from Air to Sonic Youth) artists by the dozens claim him as an influence, to the point that the first proper Gainsbourg biography in English, A fistful of Gitanes by the journalist Sylvie Simmons ended up establishing Gainsbourg on the international scene both as a musician and cultural icon.

When a cover album was planned by Jean-Daniel Beauvallet, Christian Fevret and Timothée Verrecchia for the fifteenth anniversary of his last lungful of Gitane smoke, it quickly became obvious that only foreign groups and artists could give new life to a repertoire so ingrained in French culture. Invitations were sent out and the overwhelmingly positive responses returned like boomerangs. Everyone rushes for Gainsbourg, and the cast list speaks for itself – some of the most prominent British and American artists of the last ten years are featured. From Tricky to Franz Ferdinand, from Cat Power to The Rakes, from Placebo to Michael Stipe (REM), from Portishead to Marianne Faithfull, from Jarvis Cocker to The Kills… “Pas dégueu !” (not too rotten), as Gainsbourg would have said. Maintaining the links with the past, some of the best known original singers also agreed to appear: Françoise Hardy, Dani, and above all Jane Birkin!

If you would like to win a copy of this new CD, just answer this easy question: As this album neared its starting point, one last hurdle remained – the language barrier; a risky business with Gainsbourg. An exercise in high precision, poetically and semantically, entrusted to two word-jugglers with a worldwide reputation, Boris Bergman and Paul Ives. They were chosen based on their adaptation set in a depressing working-class London, but what was the name of that adaptation?!

Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these new CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before July 1st with your answer and the subject title 'GAINSBOURG CDs to: