Belfast Telegraph

Fitting tribute to legendary French singer Edith Piaf

By Heather McGarrigle

Legendary French singer Edith Piaf is as well-known for her tragic life and premature death as she is for her music.

So it takes a very special performer to create a show that brings you the songs of 'The Little Sparrow' and leads you through a potted history of the troubled chanteuse's life whilst also making you smile.

Christine Bovill is that performer.

Originally from Glasgow, the former teacher and jazz singer describes Edith Piaf as "an old friend" and her genuine affection for the singer is palpable.

Each song is introduced with an explanation of its subject matter and roots, for those of us whose French was a little rusty.

Bovill's voice is remarkable, note-perfect and deftly achieving the husky, trembling vibrato needed to carry these songs.

Her smoky eyes and black dress were a nod towards Piaf's style, but at no point did the show feel like an attempt at impersonating Edith Piaf, nor was it meant to be - a tribute act in the true sense of the word. We were taken through tragic love stories such as L'Accordeoniste and L'Hymne a L'Amour, lighter numbers such as Je N'en Connais Pas La Fin (The Merry-Go-Round) and the classics she is best known for.

La Vie En Rose was my highlight as it's my favourite Piaf song, but I suspect La Foule (The Crowd) is Bovill's favourite as she performed it with such depth of feeling. Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien was the perfect song to end the show with. Thanks to Christine Bovill, the memory of her "old friend" lives on.

Belfast Telegraph

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