Saturday, January 22, 2011

Vive la mixité! Dalida and Lara Fabian--2 Culturally Mixed, Wonderful Singers!

Dalida 1956


French singer Dalida (January 17, 1933-May 3,1987) was born Iolanda Cristina Gigliotti in Shoubra, Cairo, Egypt, where her family lived as part of the longstanding Italian Egyptian community. Her own family's origins were in Calabria, Italy (the toe of the boot)--a southern region, with a population genetically more Middle Eastern and North African than Western European (based on Y-chromosome haplotypes). Like others of the Italian Egyptian community, Dalida attended Italian Catholic schools, and spoke Italian first, then Cairene Egyptian. She learned French as an adult in Paris, and eventually recorded in 10 languages, most often in French, Italian, Arabic, Spanish, and German.

Dalida in 1974, "Paroles Paroles", with Alain Delon

As a singer, a performer, and a composer, Dalida transformed French music, and was one of the first to fuse Western and Eastern music as well as having cross over appeal. Though her initial success was in France, she became an international star, and much loved in Egypt as well as Italy, in particular. The list of her hits and accolades over her 30 year career, and posthumously (the most recent in 2009), is truly impressive.

Dalida, "C'est fini la comédie"

Dalida for Arabophones/ Arabophiles

Dalida, age 20, in 1954, the year she was crowned Miss Egypt, just before she moved to Paris

Singing Desiderio in Italian, in the 1950's Egyptian film 
Sigarah Wa Kas/ سيجارة و كاس/ A Glass And A Cigarette/ Un verre, Une Cigarette

Dalida performs the song she composed, "Helwa Ya Balady" ("Egypt My Beautiful Home Land"), a popular tribute to Egypt, as seen in 2 other videos where it serves as the audio for visuals of the treasures of Egypt and its culture, here and here.

In 1977, on a visit to her original home in Egypt

"Salma ya salama", Dalida's most famous Arabic language song, 
an early fusion hit, recorded in 1978 and based in part on an Egyptian folk song.
Two other major Arabic hits for Dalida were "Gamil el soura", and especially "Akhsan nass".

Lara Fabian

Lara Fabian (born Lara Crokaert, January 9, 1970) began her singing career in Europe, just as Dalida's was coming to an end. Italian is also her first language, as she lived to age 5 in her mother's native Catania, Sicily before the family moved back to her father's country, Belgium, where she had been born.  Lara was raised in Brussels and started her career there, then in European song competitions. In 1988, representing Luxembourg, she lost out to Céline Dion, representing Switzerland, for the 33rd Eurovision Song Contest.

Two years later she toured Quebec, and then immigrated in 1991. Quebec is where her career really took off, before success in France. Since the early 90's, she has had multiple hits in French, Italian, Spanish, and English. Lara Fabian is popular in Latin America and Eastern Europe as well as Western Europe and North America. She is now living in Belgium.

Lara Fabian on her cultural identity(-ies), then singing "Perdere l'amore" in her mother's first language: Italian

Lara Fabian singing "J'y crois encore" in her father's and her primary language: French

Lara Fabian on singing in Italian, and her sensitivity to it as the language of her mother and her grandmother, followed by "Caruso"

In Spanish she is at her best here,

A major hit in French:

"Je t'aime" from the Album "En toute intimité"

A well-received live duet with Italian singer Laura Pausini:

"La Solitudine" ("Loneliness") was Pausini's break out hit; her original version is here with lyrics in Italian and English,
telling about the singer's loneliness for her boyfriend Marco,
whose family have sent him away in an effort to end their relationship

As the ophthalmologists say: "Better 1? or Better 2?"

"Je suis malade", interpreted by Dalida, her most celebrated version;
a different version by Dalida, subtitled in Arabic, is here

"Je suis malade", interpreted by Lara Fabian

"Take your time...better 1? or better 2?"
Your favourite song of any of those above?
Any other favourites by the same singers?
Other comments, thoughts, impressions?

1 comment:

jaraad said...

I so much like Dalida's Arabic songs. "Helwa ya balady" has a special meaning to me. It is very dear to Arabs in expat, the meaning of the song makes one very emotional. I used to hear for Lara Fabian when I was in Jordan but she is unknown to Americans, I guess.
Thanks for this lovely post. I have to come here again and watch all the videos.


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