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France

French singer Georges Moustaki laid to rest in Paris

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-05-27

French singer and composer Georges Moustaki, one of the biggest names in French music, was laid to rest on Monday in the famous Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

Hundreds of people gathered on Monday in Paris’ famous Père Lachaise cemetery for singer-songwriter Georges Moustaki’s funeral. He died on Thursday at the age of 79 after a long illness.

Moustaki wrote songs for Edith Piaf, as well as other acclaimed singers like Yves Montand, Serge Reggiani and Barbara.

EDITH PIAF SINGS 'MILORD'

However, he is best known for his 1958 song “Milord”, about a lower-class girl who falls in love with an upper-class British traveler. The ballad was made famous worldwide by Piaf, with whom Moustaki had a short but passionate romance.

Moustaki was laid to rest in the same cemetery as The Doors’ singer Jim Morrison, writer Oscar Wilde and Piaf.

“Known for his poetical, lyrical and romantic style of ballad,” Moustaki was “one of the biggest names in French music during the past five decades,” said FRANCE 24’s Catherine Norris-Trent.

Buried in a Jewish ceremony under a cloudy Parisian sky, only government representatives - including Culture Minister Aurélie Filipetti - family and friends were allowed close to the coffin, while fans and the press were kept at a distance amid tight security.

End of an era

“Unconditional fan” Madir, 59, came to say goodbye to the man he admired “for his beautiful songs and for speaking out against the Greek military junta," he told AFP.

“His death marks the end of an era,” added 60-year-old fan Nadia.

Moustaki’s coffin entered the cemetery marked by a round of applause, while a Ravel concert played in the background, followed by some of Moustaki’s songs.

After speeches which hailed his “sense of humour,” “kindness” and “political commitment,” a message from French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was read out which paid tribute to his talent.

Born in Alexandria, Egypt to Greek immigrant Jewish parents, he arrived in Paris in 1951 under his real name Guiseppe Mustacchi. He later changed his name to Georges Moustaki in tribute to French singer Georges Brassens. Moustaki was awarded French nationality in 1985.

On the news of his passing, Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë remembered Moustaki as “a citizen of the world who was in love with liberty, a true rebel until his last days,” who had given France “unforgettable compositions and lyrics.”

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-05-27

  • OBITUARY

    French composer and singer Georges Moustaki dies at 79

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