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Graeme Allwright

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Biography

Graeme Allwright was born in Wellington, New Zealand on 7 November 1926. He came to France in the early 1950’s and married Catherine Dasté. His son Christophe Allwright, is a French comedian.

In the early ’60s, Graeme sang at a number of clubs in Paris, folk music that was very big in the 60s. He wrote his own music, and created the French language versions of many songs by US and Canadian artists like Tom Paxton (“Sacrée Bouteillée” “Qu’as tu appris à l’école?”), Leonard Cohen (“Suzanne”) and Pete Seeger (“Jusqu’ à la ceinture”).

His earlier music focused more on social protest songs. As he matured as an artist, his songs became more personal, and his choice in material included more funny songs, songs with a mystical bent (“Garder le Souvenir”, “Lumière”), and songs about the complexities of relationships (“No Man’s Land”). Some of his songs are in English, but the vast majority are in French.

He has travelled extensively, to the Himalayas, Réunion Island, and Madascar, among other places. He was strongly influenced by the Indian master and teacher Sri Aurobino, which is reflected in the mystical qualities of some of his songs.

In 2005, he wrote new lyrics for the French National Anthem, “La Marseillaise”, which are much more life-affirming. There is a movement afoot to get his lyrics officially adopted as the new national anthem.

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