Caroline Nin Performs Hymne A Piaf

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Caroline Nin Performs Hymne A Piaf


Australian’s and the world’s love affair with Edith Piaf and French culture seems to be peaking at present. Caroline Nin returns to Australia with her Edith Piaf show.

Australian’s and the world’s love affair with Edith Piaf and French culture seems to be peaking at present. Caroline Nin returns to Australia with her Edith Piaf show. With faultless English and French, Nin takes her audiences on a journey through Piaf’s conflicted existence.

Nin was first invited to the show at Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2003. Since then she has thrilled crowds with her storytelling and singing. "The show is a personal homage to Edith Piaf," she says, "It’s my own version and vision of the woman. My strength I suppose is that I’m perfectly bilingual and having travelled in many, many places I tell quite a few stories. I really engage the audience and tell jokes and dramatic things so people are just taken on a journey with me and that’s the magic of the show. People can understand me when I sing 80% of the songs in French, they know what I’m talking about."

Over the years the songs in the show and Nin’s understanding of them has changed. "There were songs that I wouldn’t do ten years ago. I suppose with me being more mature now, some of the songs I can relate to much more, so there’s some really strong songs in there."

Growing up in France, Nin can’t remember a time Piaf wasn’t around. "We’re born and bread with Piaf in France," she says, "She’s just a part of the furniture. Everywhere you go you can hear a Piaf song somewhere. As a child she’s a bit scary because she’s sort of got this growl in her voice. I was more between the punk and the new wave generation, so that was more my cup of tea. I kind of came across her when I moved to London in my twenties because I guess I was nostalgic and I could relate to French culture more, funnily enough. I’ve been listening to her pretty much all my life."

Although Piaf’s music is quite romantic, her life wasn’t as enjoyable. Nin has gotten to know Piaf over the years. "Because of the show I’ve done a lot of research and discovering one thing after another. I was interested, so I had a lot of books and the movie as well, when it was released, was a big discovery for me as well because the movie is very hard. It’s not, there’s no romance in there. It’s very rough and it shows how much of a junky and drug and alcohol addict she was and I just wanted to really push that."

It seems that so many stars of the past and present turn to addiction. Nin says, "I think you’re exposed to a lot of people who see you on stage and they think that’s who you are, but it’s not who you are. People think they know you so they come up and say, ‘hi mate’ and it’s like, ‘well actually, no’ that, the fame [is difficult]. I mean, I’m not as famous as Piaf and it’s very tiring when you perform and you tour. You can get very easily find addiction because of the adreneline as well, so at the end of a show you’re high up there and you just need something to come down, that’s how I explain it. And with the fame you can get anything, so you just become unbearably capricious."

So it seems the old adage that it’s lonely at the top is true. "Very lonely, oh yeah," says Nin, "My God, people love you, but they don’t really love you. I’m thinking about Piaf, because I know she was surrounded by a huge amount of people. She had this flat in Paris it was like 200 square metres, there was not one piece of furniture in there, but there was just people hanging around. She had a little clique around her who were just a bit greedy. I’m sure it happens to a lot of stars."

Nin has an exciting year ahead, moving back to Paris after over 20 years, writing music with the assistance of Melbourne singer Wendy Lee Taylor who also works in Paris. There’s also perhaps a few more trips to Australia on the cards. We certainly hope so.

Caroline Nin performs her show Hymne A Piaf at The Melbourne Recital Centre on Friday June 24 at 8pm. Knowing how much Melbourne loves Piaf, it’ll sell quickly, so head to to buy tickets – they range in prcie from $50 to $65.