She had set the greatest poets to music. The singer, songwriter and poet Hélène Martin, friend of Louis Aragon and Jean Giono, died Sunday at the age of 92 in Cordemais (Loire-Atlantique), her entourage announced.
Born in December 1928 in Paris, she had started singing in Parisian cabarets. At the start of the 1960s, she had the idea of setting poets to music by adapting works by Jean Genet, who encouraged her in this direction. She continues this path by singing the texts of many other poets including René Char, Pablo Neruda, Louis Aragon, Jean Giono …
His own poems
We owe him for example I love you by the black roads or the Black Song, adapted from poems by Louis Aragon.
But it’s probably On my neck the adaptation of a text by Jean Genet taken from Sentenced to death, which is his most famous creation. The song had experienced a second youth after being taken over by Etienne Daho in 1999.
At the head of her own production house, Hélène Martin has created shows around poetry for television and radio. She also performed her own poems. Among her multiple albums, she notably signed Freedom Woman, inspired by her feminist commitments.