Sunday, September 07, 2008

Géo Voumard 1920 - 2008

This week the Eurovision community says goodbye to Swiss composer, pianist and radio maker Géo Voumard, composer of 5 Eurovision songs including the first ever winner, Refrain from 1956.
With lyricist Emile Gardaz (1931 - 2007) Voumard is responsible for half of the first 10 songs that entered Eurovision for Switzerland. Three of them finished in the top three.
In 1967 Voumard co-founded* the world renowned Montreux Jazz Festival of which the 42nd edition took place last july.

Géo Voumard / Emile Gardaz Eurovision songs:1956 - Refrain - Lys Assia (winner)
1957 - L'Enfant Que J'Etais - Lys Assia (8th)
1961 - Nous Aurons Demain - Franca Di Rienzo (3rd)
1962 - Le Retour - Jean Philippe (10th)
1963 - T'En Va Pas - Esther Ofarim (2nd)

EurocoversRefrain, one of two songs** that entered for Switzerland in 1956 is the most covered of the Voumard/Gardaz songs, followed by Esther Ofarims runner up that almost won *** T'En Va Pas from 1963.
Of the other three songs I only know about an accordion cover of Nous Aurons Demain by André Verchuren. L'Enfant Que J'Etais and Le Retour still have a big 0 in the 10.000 coverversions list. The original artists records are (also) among the rarest Eurovision singles.

Refrain was recorded by Lys Assia in French, German and English (pictured). An Italian coverversion was recorded by Flo Sandon's (her Refrain is in this Eurocovers post). I know of three versions in Portuguese recorded in Brasil (Carlos Augusto, Araci Costa, Arthur Murat) (all wanted) and La Esterella recorded a Flemish version.
We're deep into 78rpm territory here and the covers of Refrain are not the easiest to find. About half of them are instrumental and of course quite a few in French.

Two 1956 Eurovision singers that have recorded Refrain in French are Corry Brokken (who went on to win in 1957) and Mathé Altery (France). Both recorded the winning song but neither released their own entry of that year.
My favorite coverversion is by Jula De Palma ♫, who slows the song down even further than the original.

T'En Va Pas
Esther Ofraim recorded her Eurovision entry in French, German and Italian (pictured). A lovely English version is recorded by Dana Valery ♫. She's an Italian born singer from South Africa.
Her version Would I Love You Again is the b-side to This Is My Prayer, an English version of the 1964 wonner Non Ho L'Eta (Gigliola Cinquetti). (Decca F 11881).
Other coverversions were rcorded in Finnish (by Olavi Virta), Dutch (Corry Brokken), Flemish (Jo Leemans), Swedish (Majbritt Persson) and Danish (Ellen Winther).
T'En Va Pas also found its way to Brasil, but so far I've only found details on instrumental versions (The Jordans ♫, The Bells, Os Carbonos)



* with Claude Nobs and René Langel
** Each country entered two songs in the first contest, 7 countries, 14 songs. The contest, held in Lugano, Switserland, was only aired on radio and only the winner was announced.
*** Esther Ofarim was pipped to the post only after Norway re-casted their votes which differed from their initial ones. It gave Dansevise by Danish Grethe & Jørgen Ingmann the final victory.

1 comment:

Anastácio Soberbo said...

Hello, I like this blog.
Sorry not write more, but my English is not good.
A hug from Portugal