Véronique PESTEL

Home Page / Centre National de la Chanson/ L'Air du temps / Artists /

Véronique PESTEL was born in Paris in 1960, adopted Lyon for many years, and now lives high in the French Alps, far from the frenetic life of her native city. But fortunately, she comes down from the mountains to sing, to play piano--which she does extremely well--, and to share the songs which shehas written and composed "far from the madding crowd."

"Discovered" by the media at the major French festival, Le Printemps de Bourges, Véronique has been developing a faithful following throughout France and abroad. She has participated in three editions of L'Air du temps in 1993, 1994 and 1996 and won herself the admiration of all those fortunate enough to see and hear her. She has released three records, notably a live album, La Parole de l'autre, which faithfully reproduces the intelligence, coherence and emotion of her concert appearances, and a 1995 studio album of 17 songs, Laisser-courre, which was awarded the Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros, the French record industry's mark of quality and importance.

With the exception of an occasional poem by Louis Aragon or Tristan Corbière which she puts to music, Véronique both writes and composes all of her own songs. The music runs the gamut from walzes to blues, from boogy-woogy to seemingly ageless melodies which convey just what her powerful and poetic texts have to say. Her subjects include love, of course, in many guises and stages, but also those excluded from or on the margins of society, those left behind or ignored, like Jeanne Hébuterne, the wife of the great sculptor, Modigliani.

She writes of women, including herself, or her old grandmother, her "Mamie Métisse," whose black ancestry was carefully hidden by euphemism or circumlocution, but who no doubt passed on her passion and fire to Véronique. She writes about the plagues of indifference, intolerance or hypocrisy which afflict so much of society, but without platitudes or histrionics. All of her texts and melodies are deeply felt, and her she carries her audience through a wide range of emotions with passion and respect for both herself and those she addresses.

One cannot but be struck by the intelligence of Véronique PESTEL. She clearly has a broad and deep poetic amd musical culture, but she also did a degree in philosophy: she not only feels deeply, she thinks clearly and coherently. Her individual texts are gems, worthy of inclusion in poetry anthologies. But her whole concert, with its rollercoaster ride from passion to rage, from melancholy to joy, is composed just as carefully as an individual text or melody. There is in Véronique PESTEL an inner coherence, a harmony beyond the dissonances of day-to-day problems or struggles, and it comes across in the very manner in which she addresses her audience.

Home Page / Centre National de la Chanson/ L'Air du temps / Artists /