Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cool as a cuke

Further to my ruminations some time ago on 'the concept of cool', here is Blossom Dearie (1924-2009) introducing and performing a satirical song (lyrics by Dave Frishberg) on the topic.

Three trivial observations. The curious way she articulates – no doubt in fulfilment of contractual obligations – the name of the sponsor's cigarette brand in her introductory remarks. Her headmistressy admonishment of the audience member who dared to snap a photo. And is that microphone slowly slipping down, or is she merely moving it closer in as the song progresses?

It was hearing her neat, jazzy version of 'Plus je t'embrasse' being played in a coffee shop recently which brought the singer to mind, and got me thinking about accents and language. Dearie sings French with a kind of flat, American accent which comes through mainly in various vowels and diphthongs, though she generally gets that beautiful liquid 'r' and some of the characteristic vowel sounds right.

Whatever 'right' means these days. (I'll be posting a few thoughts on languages, accents and cultural identity soon.)

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