Hello Monaco magazine Winter 2018 - issue HM02 - Page 87

Famous Monegasques © youtube.com © cavesdumajestic.canalblog.com O eng n August 24, 1916 a boy was born into the family of a Monaco casino director, on the avenue Saint-Michel. The new parents named him Leo. He lived in the Principality up to the age of 9 and was then sent to St. Charles boarding school in Bordighera (Italy). Upon his graduation in 1934, Leo asked his father for permission to enter the conservatory. The future of the young man was seen differently, however, and a year later he went to Paris to study law. Leo enrolled in the Institute of Political Sciences. At the same time, he never missed an opportunity to go to the cinema and take his piano lessons. Life in Paris The young Leo Ferre was then called to join the army. Only in 1943 he returned back to Monaco and was employed by Radio Monte - Carlo. He thus got an In 1961, Ferre and his wife took a chimpanzee named PÉPÉE, who, according to Leo’s stepdaughter, THEY used to cherish as their own child. opportunity to write poetry and music. At the age of thirty, he wrote his first text in prose for a Monegasque newspaper. Over this period, he met Edith Piaf who s t r o n g l y r e co m m e n d e d t h e yo u n g musician go to Paris and try his luck there. Leo Ferre’s path to fame was difficult and full of obstacles. For almost seven years, the musician had neither a contract nor a chance to release his album. He was living from hand to mouth and working part-time at the Saint-Germain-des-Prés cabaret. That’s when he wrote his song «La vie d’artiste». As to his private life, Leo divorced Odette Shunck whom he married back in 1943. Only at the age of 37 did the musician manage to release his first album and sign a contract with the «Odeon» music company. In the early 50’s, the musician was finally lucky enough to sign a contract with «Le Chant du Monde» and recorded 12 tracks. The song which made the composer famous was «Paris Canaille» performed by Catherine Sauvage. It’s success spread as far as the USSR where it was renamed «Under the Parisian Roofs». In 1960, Leo began working with music producer Eddie Barclay. During this period, the popularity of Ferre increased thanks to the songs «Paname» and «Jolie môme», and a year later the musician released an album dedicated to the work of Louis Aragon, «Les Chansons d’Aragon». From then on, it seems that success pursued Leo Ferre. He gave a concer t in the Grand concer t hall of Alhamb r a; th e p ub lishin g h o us e Livre de Poche asked him to write an introduction to the «Saturnian verses» by Paul Vrehlen; the publisher Françoise Sagan showed interest in his manuscript «Benoî t Misère»; and Pierre Seghers included Ferre in the famous series «Contemporary Poets». Interestingly, in 1961, Ferre and his wife took a chimpanzee named Pépée, who, according to Leo’s stepdaughter, they used to cherish as their own child. In 2013, Annie Hello Monaco – Winter 2018 / 85