Death of Graeme Allwright, French humanist singer

Singer Graeme Allwright in concert. Bastien Brun / RFI

Text by: RFI Follow

The French singer of New Zealand origin Graeme Allwright, known in particular for having adapted many songs of American folk artists in French, died this Sunday February 16 at the age of 93 years.


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Singer, translator, guitarist, actor, beekeeper and English teacher, Graeme Allwright was it all. After a childhood spent in New Zealand, he went to theater in London and met the actress Catherine Dasté with whom he moved to France.

In the 1960s, he tried his luck in Parisian cabarets. He is spotted by Colette Magny and Marcel Mouloudji who pushes him to record his first album.

There will follow a contract with Philips and two discs which will make the French general public discover the protest song , these committed and pacifist songs born in the wake of the American counter-culture. Thanks to him, the French discover Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, but also Leonard Cohen .

Discreet notoriety

However, the adopted Frenchman also writes his own texts, is committed to non-violence or against nuclear tests and consumer society. Some of his songs have become classics such as " Pretty bottle ", " Little boy " or " I have to go ".

Very popular with young people, those who could have become a star prefer to distance themselves from the entertainment industry. Despite a discreet notoriety, Graeme Allwright remains an artist much appreciated in France by several generations for his commitment and his authenticity.

In 2010, the prestigious Charles Cros Academy awarded him a grand prize for his entire career.

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  • France
  • Music

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