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Jane Birkin - youtube.com
2 分鐘 - 2009年7月8日 - 上傳者：ilfarodelguardiano
French icon Birkin sings her heart out for beloved Japan
BY SOPHIE KNIGHT STAFF WRITER
Jane Birkin performs in Tokyo on Wednesday. (Shoichi Kajino)
Framed in a window, flooded with Parisian sunlight, her hands clasped, Jane Birkin sends her love to Japan.
"We've been friends for more than 40 years. ... I'm thinking about you and I admire you so very much."
Her voice wavers as she speaks, but doesn't falter as she sings the emotional "La Javanaise."
Released online March 31, Birkin's video letter to quake-hit Japan was one of the most earnest and touching messages sent from abroad since the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake.
Just a few days later, she was in Japan in body as well as spirit, singing the very same song to a rapt audience at a club in Tokyo's Shibuya district.
With perhaps a few more lines on her famous face, but as effortlessly chic as always, the chanteuse and actress is dressed in a white shirt and black tie that may be a nod to the grieving.
Beloved in Japan as a European style icon and an influence on the "Shibuya-kei" music movement, Birkin has come a long way since her doe-eyed ingenue stardom of the 1960s.
With her obvious talent, one would expect to witness a diva's entrance. Yet this graceful woman exudes a natural warmth and generosity without a trace of ego. Her surprise visit to Japan is anything but a publicity stunt.
"I've never loved a country so much," she says. After more than 10 visits to Japan, she seems to care deeply for all those left homeless, hungry and grieving by the tsunami and earthquake.
Desperate to help, she bought her own plane ticket and pulled out all the stops to put on Wednesday's charity concert in association with the Institut Franco-Japonais de Tokyo. All ticket sales went directly to the nonprofit humanitarian organization Medecins San Frontieres, which also collected donations on the night.
Praising the resilience of the survivors, and noting how well they seem to cope with so little, she implores the audience, "If any of you do manage to go to the northeast, please tell the people how much we, the French, the English, admire them for showing us courage far beyond what we would be capable of."
That strength was in evidence at the concert, with both musicians and audience members surprisingly upbeat despite what they have been through since the quake. Pianist Takuma Watanabe, who plays with a supporting act, lives in Sendai.
"My house was fine, but we still don't have any gas--so please forgive me if I smell as I haven't had a shower in a while!" he says, drawing laughter from the crowd.
Akemi Kamata, 31, a Birkin fan, is also surprisingly cheerful despite her ordeal. Due to radiation fears, she was forced to evacuate from her home in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on March 15. She doesn't think she'll go home.
"I'm planning to go and live in Gifu Prefecture and learn to grow vegetables for a while. I'm already tired of living in an urban environment," she says. "I'm hoping that Jane will sing some of her passionate love songs for us tonight."
Birkin complies, running the whole gamut of emotions, from the melancholy "C'est Comme Ca" to the dramatic "Les Dessous Chic."
Though she enunciates each word crisply, her voice is soft and haunting. She slips in and out of French and English throughout her set, causing one audience member to whisper to a friend, "I feel like we're in a Parisian cafe!"
Ami Kono, of Meguro Ward in Tokyo, says: "I've come tonight because it's for charity, but also because we've been fans of Jane for a long time, particularly because of her humanitarian work around the world."
Many fans will remember how Birkin sparked controversy with her lascivious Serge Gainsbourg duet, "Je t'aime ... moi non plus" in the '60s.
English by birth, she has spent most of her life in France, where she seems to have assimilated that enviable age-defying Gallic grace. Most of her work, both as an actress and a singer, was inextricably connected to Gainsbourg, whom she married and had two children with. After their divorce in 1980 and his death in 1991, however, she broke out on her own and became an independent artist.
Birkin is also known for her tireless campaigning for democracy in Myanmar (Burma) and concerts in support of Amnesty International and the battle against AIDS. The day after Wednesday's concert, she visited an evacuation center in Tokyo, the Tokyo Budoh-kan, to talk with evacuees from the quake-affected areas.
Birkin is also auctioning her own personal "Birkin" handbag to raise funds for the quake victims. The "Birkin" bag was designed especially for her in 1984 by the French fashion house Hermes. The eBay auction sponsored by music label EMI includes other items donated by rock stars.
At last check, the bids for Birkin's "preowned" handbag had reached about 4,700 pounds ($7,666 or 655,175 yen). The auction runs until April 15.
Closing the night with "La Javanaise," Birkin tells the audience, "Please sing along with me if you know the song--I'd be honored." Her delicate voice is soon backed by a murmur of voices that swell to a chorus, filling the room.
As the lights go up, Birkin kisses her hands emphatically, thanks the audience for coming, and repeats, "Arigato!" and "Ki o tsukete!" (Take care of yourselves!) as she walks off stage to thunderous applause.