Barbara Images from Lebrecht Music & Arts

Continuing our newsletter's French theme, we bring images of the iconic singer, Barbara (Monique Serf 1930 -1997), one of the French 3 Bs. Together with Jacques Brel and Georges Brassens, she revived the art of French chanson as a bastion against the onslaught of 1960s pop music. Her greatest hit, L'aigle noir, sold a million copies in 12 hours. When she died, thousands stood for hours at her grave singing, Dis, quand-reviendras-tu (so, when are you coming back)? She was the first female singer to write her own material and the first to address the scourge of aids. In France she is a legend, abroad she is forgotten.

On Sunday 18th December Norman Lebrecht presents a Radio 3 documentary on Barbara, demonstrating how a wartime childhood and an abusive father helped create the most powerful French stage performer since Sarah Bernhardt. Taking part are Nana Mouskouri, Roberto Alagna, Martha Wainwright, the head of the French prime minister's office, the last of her lovers and the dressmaker who only used black. For more information, visit To view a selection of images, click on the picture below: 





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