World celebrates Edith Piaf centenary

Edith Piaf.
Edith Piaf.

Saturday 19 December marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary French chanteuse Edith Piaf whose voice was immortalised in songs such as La Vie en Rose and Je ne regrette rien.


Piaf’s songs gained popularity the world over because of her passionate singing style. The songs, many of which had traumatic undertones interspersed with hope, were a manifestation of the singer’s tragic life.

Piaf, who was born Edith Giovanna Gassion in the working-class Belleville district of Paris, was nicknamed La Mome Piaf (The little sparrow).

The French capital held a special place in Piaf’s life and her voice came to be described as the soul of Paris.

She rose from poverty to the heights of success in a relatively short time, even managing to achieve fame in the American market in the 1950s. She is one of the few French singers who have managed to remain an icon across the Atlantic.

Piaf’s tumultuous life was the subject of the 2007 French movie La Vie en Rose which won plaudits, including an Oscar for the French actress Marion Cotillard who played the singer.

Piaf died in 1963 from exhaustion and liver disease at the age of 47. She is buried at the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris’ 20th arrondissement.


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