Singing Poets: Popular
Music and Literature in France and Greece (1945-1975): Reading
Brassens, Ferré, Theodorakis and Savvopoulos.
This thesis is based
on a comparative examination of popular music in Greece and France
in the 1950s and 1960s. Its central claim is that the concept
of the 'singing poet' provided a crucial framing of the field
of popular music in both countries and led to a reassessment
of the links between literature and popular culture.
Adopting a Cultural
Studies approach, the thesis outlines the role played by literary
prestige and an idealized view of oral poetry in the conceptualization
of high-popular music. It questions the presentation of certain
singer-songwriters as 'poets in their own right', as folk poets,
auteurs, poet-composers, bards and troubadours.
Books, special editions
and articles published in France in the 1960s are extensively
examined to reveal their traditionalist consensus about the poetic
value of the work of certain Auteurs-Compositeurs-Interprètes.
The second part focuses on Greek popular music and reviews how
the field of Entehno Laiko (Art-Popular) has been performatively
shaped, especially by Mikis Theodorakis's project of 'Sung Poetry'.
The resulting cultural divide between 'high' and 'low' popular
music spheres is reassessed by examining the 'dislocating' performance
of singer-songwriter Dionysis Savvopoulos. Through readings of
his songs, performances and interviews, popular music emerges
both as the space of a re-constructed utopia and as a subversive
'other' to high cultural forms.
This page last modified
26 September, 2012