On “Radio London” Axel Bauer talks about his roots and the resistance

French singer Axel Bauer is back with a new album called Radio London. A tribute to his father, Franck Bauer, who was one of Radio London’s announcers during the Second World War and uttered the famous ‘The French talk to the French’ 517 times.

Axel Bauer questions the meaning of the word “resistance” by evoking the memory of his father, one of the voices of Radio London, on his new album: “Just an angry same left for England on an old rusty freighter,” he sings The French artist revealed himself through his hits “Cargo de nuit” (1983) and “Turn off the light” (1992).

Franck Bauer was the last surviving presenter of Radio London before his death at the age of 99 in 2018. It was he who was instrumental in naming this work ‘Radio London’ as well as two tracks entitled ‘Ici London’ and ‘Der Tag fly away”. We also hear the voice of Axel Bauer’s father at the beginning and end of “Ici Londres”.

Franck Bauer later told his son about the time on Radio London when he was 22, talked to him about the bombings and the resistance, the singer explains to RTS. He then turned to lyricist Boris Bergman, who was collaborating with Alain Bashung, to write the lyrics to this piece that opens this disc, which oscillates between an acoustic frame and electric flashes.

>> To see the clip of “Ici London”:

Franck Bauer, figure “with a thousand lives”

“My dad was the anchor of this album that has actually been born over the years. Among other things, he explained to me in detail how he modulated his voice, forcing his medium to go beyond the jamming of the Germans. And at the same time I recorded his voice that we hear in the song”.

Character “with a thousand lives”, Franck Bauer was also the subject of an autobiography subtitled “40 in London: The spy who came from jazz”: “My father did a thousand jobs, it was a kind of general secretary of the Comédie-Française, War correspondent, spy, announcer, concert promoter, professor at the University of the Sorbonne, drummer alongside jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and even the inventor of “a machine that made pictures on the records by polymerizing the resin,” explains Axel Bauer.

Franck Bauer, an obscure figure in Free France, had gone to the United States to spy on Vichy regime relays by day and visit jazz clubs by night. After the liberation, Franck Bauer worked as a war correspondent for the Morning News, then for the AFP (Agence France Presse) and entered the Ministry of Culture.

The meaning of the Who for Axel Bauer

It was Axel Bauer’s father who took part in his musical education, notably by giving him a Who record and a ticket to their concert when he was 13, while his mother gave him his first guitar. English singer Roger Daltrey, founding member of the Who, will adapt the Frenchman’s famous “Cargo de nuit” in “Take Me Home” in 1987. “I met him on a TV in Belgium in 1984. He lost his guitar and lent him mine. Roger Daltrey stayed to see what I was doing and flashed “Cargo de nuit” which he then took over. This was all the more symbolic to me since the Who I had seen young concert had changed me and made me want to be a guitarist in life. It’s like he gave me his mental permission,” comments Axel Bauer.

>> To see the clip of “C’est malin”:

“Radio London” also deals with the resistance against the inner enemy, a malignant tumor that the sixty-year-old singer, who is mentioned at a clear distance in “C’est malin”, is fighting against. A title written by him that evokes the loss of the sense of invincibility. The album is rounded off by two cover versions, “Is this how men live” by Léo Ferré based on a poem by Louis Aragon and “A qui n’a pas liked” by Gérard Manset

Interview by Anne Laure Gannac

Web customization: olhor

Axel Bauer, “Radio London” (Label Fontana).

Axel Bauer in concert francs by Bulle, September 2, 2022.

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