Described by the former French Prime Minister François Mitterrand as ‘our Baudelaire, our Apollinaire’, Serge Gainsbourg was an amazing creative genius. From his 13 years long relationship with Jane Birkin were born some of the most beautifully written songs ever written in French.

More than 25 years after his sudden death in 1991, Gainsbourg’s former muse, Jane Birkin, is touring with a philharmonic orchestra, bringing those musical pieces of art back to life. Last Tuesday, she stopped at the Barbican to perform the songs she performed with her lover Serge Gainsbourg so many years ago.

Under the artistic direction of Philippe Lerichomme, Jane Birkin sang all the biggest hits she shared with Gainsbourg and the ones he wrote just for her like Jane B.
Thanks to Nobuyuki Nakajima, playing the piano and responsible for the arrangements, the Ballade de Johnny Jane became this eerie and very nostalgic balad and Fuir Le Bonheur De Peur Qu’il Ne Se Sauve turned into a melancholic reflection on life and how it should be lived to the fullest. Pull Marine got an ever so delicate start and finished on a high, with an intense instrumental ending; an outstanding performance from Geoffrey Styles and his Heritage Orchestra.

Jane Birkin talked briefly about Serge; she thanked him and she said that he was so terribly sad and so terribly funny at the same time. She explained that she is often asked; “What would Serge say?” and she feels that, on this very occasion, he would have been moved to tears.

Ending the one and a half hour concert with La Javanaise, Jane Birkin received a long and sincere standing ovation. The audience was simply delighted to hear those magnificent songs, to go back to a different place and era and to rediscover those musical poems. Charged with emotion, the whole concert was simply a holy communion and a heartfelt homage to Serge Gainsbourg, his creative flair, his talent that we miss so much. But it was mostly an ode to one of the most iconic and creative couples that we’ve ever seen: Serge and Jane, Jane and Serge.

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