E2S1 Dee Dee Bridgewater

Dee Dee Bridgewater is a star in France. With three Grammys and a Tony Award under her belt, she represents the quintessential American jazz singer in my country. This talented singer-songwriter and actress came over to my apartment on a Sunday afternoon––exhausted from rehearsals, though you never would have guessed it––with her fluffy dog Daisy. We talked about Marseille (27:15), her favorite French songs (24:20), feminism (14:56), and racism on both sides of the Atlantic (09:05).

Show Notes

The below notes are designed to enrich the listener's experience by further explaining the more obscure French references mentioned throughout the show.

2:21 Citroën

The French automobile company that has been manufacturing iconic French cars since 1999.  It’s logo is a recognizable two-layered, bottomless triangle.

9:40 Ta-Nehisi Coates & Festival Albertine

Bénédicte de Montlaur refers here to the 2016 edition of the Festival Albertine.  Festival Albertine is a five-day long event in which a wide range of American and French writers, artists, thinkers, and scholars are brought together to facilitate a French-American exchange around books and ideas.  Curated by Ta-Nehisi Coates, the 2016 Festival explored the changing nature of identity and how the arts interrogate national, social, and cultural labels in both France and the US.

23:24 Spirit of protest

Dee Dee Bridgewater is referring here to the strong sense of fairness and equality in the French that manifests in frequent exercising of their right to protest.  With major protests and strikes happening around once a year, France comes in second place as the European country that strikes the most.  

24:32 Édith Piaf

One of France’s most well-known singers, Édith Piaf made her singing debut in Paris in the 1930s. Typically touching on subjects such as love, loss, and sorrow, Piaf’s songs include French classics such as Non, je ne regrette rien, Hymn à l’amour, Milord, and perhaps her most famous song, La Vie en Rose.

24:58 Johnny Hallyday

Regarded as a French cultural icon, Johnny Hallyday has been credited for having brought rock and roll to France.  He produced over 79 albums throughout his career and is considered one of the best-selling artists in France and in the world.

25:24 Taratata with Claude Nougaro

Taratatawas a French TV show showcasing live and pre-recorded footage of current rock acts from 1993 to 2013. French signer Claude Nougaro has been featured multiple times on the show singing his top hits such as Toulouse and Nougayork.  

26:19 Père Lachaise

One of the most well known cemeteries in the world, Père Lachaise is located in Paris’s 20th arrondissement and serves as resting places for the late Jim Morrison, Édith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Frederic Chopin, Molière, and many more notable historical figures.

27:33 Marseille

Marseille is the second-largest city in France and is situated on the French Riviera.  It has been a city since its founding by the Greek colony of Massalia in 600 BC.  Since then, it has served as a Roman city and a link between France and the rest of the Mediterranean.

The below Spotify playlist features some of Dee Dee Bridgewater’s favorite French songs and songwriters!