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Mr. D. James
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Nana Mouskouri, Memoirs
This Nana Mouskouri memoir (written in conjunction with Lionel Duroy and translated from the Greek) tells of the great singer's poverty-stricken childhood in Nazi-occupied Greece, her aborted singing career at the Conservatory, and her eventual rise to international fame. Beginning as a nervous teenager, performing folk songs in tavernas and nightclubs in Athens, Mouskouri's passion for music eventually prevailed against her deprived background, her father's compulsive gambling and promoters' prejudice against her lack of chic. Torn between her love of classical music and her addiction to popular songs, she kept a foot in both camps and had repeated tours throughout Europe, the United States, Australia and Japan. On the way up she was encouraged by such luminaries as Maria Callas, Harry Belafonte, Quincy Jones, Bob Dillon and Yves Montand.
This story of innocence rewarded is told simply, as childlike as Mouskouri's favourite book, The Wizard of Oz. That her rise to fame was an uphill struggle is an understatement. Fat, bespectacled and so terrified of audiences that she sang with her eyes closed, the singer had only her golden voice to recommend her. However, the voice alone was enough to cause the director of Never on Sunday to consider dubbing it over that of the film's star actress Melina Mercouri, for Nana, who lacked stage presence, had a voice to melt all hearts.
Infinitely adaptable, Nana was to learn and sing in English, French and German in order to please her hosts. Once she becomes an international celebrity, Nana's life becomes a hectic sequence of engagements - in New York, Paris, London, Geneva, Barcelona, Sydney and, of course, Athens. Her frantic life of jet-setting, hotel bookings, interviews, try-outs, performances and recordings inevitably puts a strain on her family relationships. Unsurprisingly, her marriage to George the traditional Greek husband ends in divorce and family disapproval.
But, in keeping with this simple and humble account of a life devoted to music, Nana Mouskouri's final tribute is to the audience (often literally unseen) who changed her from an ugly duckling into an enchanting princess. Here are her last words to her fans: `I didn't want to know what you thought of me as I first came on stage in my lace dresses and my butterfly glasses. So I shut my eyes tight, in exactly the same way I turned away from myself in the mirror... I would wait for the applause before I dared open my eyes, and what I then sensed from your expressions was like a miracle to me every time, like an apparition. You seemed moved, touched, sometimes even dazzled. Never mind my glasses, my figure - now it was as though you no longer noticed them! You loved me for what my voice said about the woman I am, you quite simply loved me, and little by little (I can say it to you today) it was through your eyes that I learned to love myself. You gave me the desire to live. You rescued me!'