Saturday, 20 December 2008

19.12.2008 Friday – Starac - Gregory Lemarchal

Today’s blog was supposed to be a brief note about a TV talent show, but as you will see, it turned into something else.

Perhaps one of the best ways to learn about a nation and its culture is to listen to the music that they make. It can also help you to pick up some of the language.
Last night was the final of Star Academy, or Star Ac as we locals call it. This year it was a contest between the beautiful, fragile Alice (pronounced Aleece) and the much stronger vocally young man Mickels (Michaels).
After 3 months in the Starac house, getting to sing with the top French artistes including the veteran (Belgian) star Jonny Halliday, as well as James Blunt, Tom Jones, Beyonce (all of these sang live), the aloof, miming (badly) Britney Spears etc, the viewers’ votes would decide the winner.
Mickels won with 52.?% of the vote. Unlike Alice, he managed to sing in key for most of his songs.
The programme dragged on for ages and included a segment about the previous 7 winners.
It was pretty mediocre stuff, then a young man called Gregory Lemarchand winner of Starac 4 appeared on the VT screen. Now here is a voice worth listening to, I thought.
Then the anchorman said “We will never forget you Gregory”
That’s a strange thing to say, I thought, he can’t be dead.
Unfortunately he is. Gregory died tragically of cystic fibrosis aged 23.

He now has a charity in his name researching the disease and supporting sufferers and their families.
It seems that In 2006 they played a segment in the final show, celebrating his life and raising awareness of the charity. The show was watched by 10 million people, and as a result 6.5 million euros were raised.
Last night a similar segment was shown and one of his musical contestant friends is selling his latest CD to raise funds for Gregory’s charity. Incidentally he won his final with over 82% of the vote!
Hearing Gregory’s clear voice singing, it was very sad. Such a waste of life and talent. It was an emotional moment for the viewers and the academy students and teachers who had been involved in his academy year.
So be thankful for what you have folks!
He only had time to make about 3 CD’s but I shall be buying them from in the new year. If you don’t listen you won’t know what you missed!

There are many links for Gregory on YouTube
Here is one of him singing a duet with Lucie Silvas (in English and French)
with nearly 1.5 million views

There is even a video of Robbie Williams singing a tribute to him

That’s it for today.

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