Jacques Cousteau is television's most celebrated maker and presenter of documentaries about the underwater world. Setting the standard for such programmes for decades to come, he had a profound influence upon succeeding generations of television documentary-makers around the world. In 1985 Cousteau launched his most ambitious expedition since 1968 when he began the series "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau"– a five-year "Rediscovery of the World" excursion that circumnavigated the globe.
Known for the elegance and complexity of their decorative art, Marquesan artists were described by Paul Gauguin as possessing "an unheard of sense of decoration" in all they created. The extraordinary ways in which Marquesans adorned their world are reflected in virtually every type of object they made and used—from sacred figures of gods and ancestors to items that were purely functional.
In 1973, after he stopped his acting career, Jacques Brel decides to travel around the world. On his boat, the Askoy II - bought in 1974, he sails the tropical seas. But he knows his fate his scealed, he has lung cancer. In 1976, his doctors tell him that he cannot be cured. He then move to the Marquesas where he writes the songs composing this album. The album is released on November 17th of 1977, one million copies have been pre-ordered.
This testament album includes some of his best songs : Jaurès, an homage to the socialist politician murdered just before World War I; Knokke-Le Zoute Tango where he openly sings about sex and prostitution in Amsterdam - his descriptions of these women had never been that precise before; Les F… a song defending french speaking culture in Belgium and mocking Flemish speaking people (he is Flemish himself) on a slightly disco music which differenciates it from the other tracks of this album.
Five of the songs here are from the musical Vilebrequin : Voir un ami pleurer, Vieillir, Les remparts de Varsovie, Le bon dieu and Knokke-Le-Zoute Tango. These great songs alone make this album a must hear. Voir un ami pleurer and Vieillir are very melancholic which makes sense considering Brel knew he was doomed when he wrote it. Les remparts de Varsovie is more upbeat and cheerful though quite machist, it has to be told that Brel had never hidden he favoured man frienship over women's love.
The original album ended on Les Marquises, a hymn to his final home where Brel lived a simple and harmonious life awaiting his death. He died on October 9th of 1978, he had left the Marquesas two days before. He has been buried in the Marquesas in the same cemetery than French painter Paul Gauguin.
This 2004 remastered edition includes 5 bonus tracks of what might have been Brel's new album had he lived a little longer…
Jacques Brel was a Belgian singer-songwriter who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following, initially in Belgium and France, later throughout the world. He was widely considered a master of the modern chanson. Les Marquises (English: The Marquesas) is Jacques Brel's thirteenth and final album. This is a quirky, adventurous set to be sure, but it satisfies from top to bottom: Les Marquises is classic Brel.