FRENCH GUITARIST TO ROCK DELHI AUDIENCES AFTER THE POLL ‘FEVER’

By

B.B. Nagpal

Louis Bertignac an Algeria born French guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. An ex Shakin' Street member and a founding member  of the rock band Téléphone, formed Bertignac et les Visiteurs after Téléphone split in 1986. Tony Visconti produced his first solo album, Elle et Louis (1993).

New Delhi, May: After rocking to a completely different kind of ‘fever’ – the General Elections – for the past few weeks, Delhi audiences are keen to unwind with something lighter and not so serious as political mayhem.

Aptly timed, the French guitar hero Louis Bertignac and his band Live Power Trio are all set to help the young and the young-at-heart unleash their energies in a rock concert sans heavy metal.

The Pop-Rock Concert by Louis Bertignac - former guitarist of Téléphone, the best French rock band in the 70’s and 80’s - who is presently on a World Tour will be performing live on 19 May at F Bar in Hotel Ashoka, in an event organized by the Alliance Francaise de Delhi.

Beginning on 17 April in London, the tour which has brought Louis Bertignac to Delhi will take him to Nepal, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and the Honduras before reaching New York and Canada in November.

This is not the first visit to India by this eminent guitarist/singer. In fact, he has very pleasant memories of the time he visited Nepal and India sixteen years earlier in 1993. Speaking about that trip, Bertignac says: ‘It was even better than expected in the sense that I discovered a new “I”. There in India, I tried to integrate myself to what was happening. I learned much more while playing music there than doing tourism. The Indian people have a different vision of what is life, death, nature, human being, and they manage to combine all these things better than we do’.

He therefore feels the “Richness of music is infinite... each note is calling for other ones.”

During his long and turbulent career, he has established himself as one of the greatest French guitarists of all time and has in many ways been the French guitar hero from the 70’s to the present day.

When Louis was 20 in 1974, renowned French poet-singer Jacques Higelin was so impressed with his talent on guitar that he asked Louis to accompany him on his 1975 tour, later joining Higelin in the studio to play on one of his albums, “Irradié”.

After several experiences with different bands, Louis Bertignac formed Téléphone in 1976 with singer Jean-Louis Aubert, drummer Richard Kolinka and bassist Corinne Marienneau. Over the next few years Téléphone became France’s leading rock group and Louis Bertignac quickly established a reputation as one of the hottest French guitarists.

Téléphone was the French equivalent of The Rolling Stones and Bertignac was the Gallic version of Keith Richards. His music is inspired by Anglo-Saxon bands, as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, etc.

When Téléphone split in 1984, Louis Bertignac created the band Les Visiteurs with Corinne Marienneau. He turned then from guitarist to guitarist/singer.

With the split of Les Visiteurs in the early 1990’s, Louis Bertignac took a complete break, trekking around India and Nepal.

He then returned to Paris and decided to launch a solo career. As a solo artist, he recorded the album “Elle et Louis” in 1993 with the help of the American producer Tony Visconti, the voices of French pop star Vanessa Paradis and drums of talented musician Manu Katché.

His second personal album, “96” – released in 1996 –, was recorded in New York with the renowned producer and sound engineer Chris Kimsey (famous for his work with, among others, The Rolling Stones). This disc appears as a loud and vibrant homage to his favourite instrument, the guitar.

At the end of the 1990’s, Bertignac considered reforming Téléphone but this never happened due to contractual difficulties.

However he decided to become producer and released an album by Corinne Marienneau, and later “Quelqu’un m’a dit” by former model and singer Carla Bruni in 2002 which was a huge success, selling two million copies.

After this successful cooperation, Louis asked Carla Bruni to write the lyrics of his new solo album. “Longtemps” (“A long time”) was released in February 2005 and Carla was the lyricist of the text of ten out of the twelve tracks of this solo album.

During the tour, Louis Bertignac is accompanied by renowned drummer Felix Sabal-Lecco. Also known as “Mister Groove”, he is an exceptional internationally renowned drummer who has performed with stars like Sting, Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Paul Simon, Janet Jackson or Peter Gabriel.

 

 

Editor: Manohar Khushalani

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