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Jane Birkin has always been a muse and performer, but has rarely been known as an author. Etienne Daho approached her to record her own text based on the play ‘Oh ! Pardon tu dormais…’, which she wrote 20 years ago. Jane’s powerful text inspired a musical composition by him and 20 years later, they finally met in a recording studio to record the album.
Jane Birkin was born in London; the daughter of actress Judy Campbell and David Birkin, an officer in the Royal Navy. At the age of twenty, Jane attracted attention in Blow-up, Antonioni’s scandalous film that received the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. In France, Pierre Grimblat was filming Slogan and was looking for an actress to play opposite Serge Gainsbourg. The artist was already famous and was still grieving after his break up with Brigitte Bardot. Jane went for a screen test and got the part, and their mythical love story began. They became inseparable – and a legend when they recorded Je t’aime moi non plus. Censorship went wild, the Vatican banned it, and the BBC refused to play the original.
Di Doo Dah, her first solo album, was released in 1973. After Gainsbourg’s death in 1991, her fans urged her to carry on ‘singing Serge’ to them. In 1996 she recorded Versions Jane, on which various artists like Goran Bregovic and the Senegalese percussionist Dudu N’Diaye Rose re-orchestrated 15 tracks from the repertoire of Gainsbourg. In 1998, Jane recorded A la légère, for which she invited 12 composers to write 12 original songs. In 2002 Jane decided to record Gainsbourg’s songs as Arabesque with the Algerian violinist Djamel Benyelles. Rendez-Vous, her album of duets with Françoise Hardy, Bryan Ferry, Etienne Daho, Brian Molko, Miossec and Beth Gibbons, was released in 2004. It was followed by Fictions in 2008 for which she collaborated with songwriters such as Neil Hannon, Beth Gibbons, and Rufus Wainwright, and the album Enfants d’Hiver. In 2013, Jane Birkin, Michel Piccoli and Hervé Pierre created a reading inspired by sixty texts from Serge Gainsbourg’s work.
‘Oh ! Pardon, tu dormais…’ (the Album) is a musical project created by Etienne Daho, written by Jane Birkin and Etienne Daho, and composed and recorded by Etienne Daho and Jean-Louis Pierot.
‘She has made the album of her life’ Mojo
This performance is subject to prevailing government guidelines in relation to Covid 19
Presented in association with the Barbican