Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Traveling Gourmet TM
Copyright all rights reserved
The indomitable and irrepressible Travelling Gourmet TM recounts the profound meaning behind…
MY favourite song…Non, je ne regrette rien sung by la mome Edith Piaf, the sparrow of Monmartre. The lyrics are very meaningful and very POSITIVE and inspiring. Every time I hear it and sing it, tears come to my eyes.
On 24 October 1960, composer Charles Dumont and lyricist Michel Vaucaire visited Piaf’s home at Boulevard Lannes in Paris. Piaf received them in an unfriendly manner. Dumont had several times tried to offer Piaf his compositions, but she disliked them. and had refused them. Piaf felt the standard was too low. On that day she was furious that her housekeeper Danielle had arranged a meeting with the duo without her knowledge. Picques, Piaf made them wait an hour in her living room. Finally appearing, Piaf said irritatedly, “As you can see I am extremely tired”. “Hurry up, only one song! Quick to the piano, go ahead!” she commanded. Dumont sang the song nervously in a low voice. When he finished there was a big silence…”Will you sing it again?” asked Piaf sharply. When Dumont was hardly halfway through the song, la mome exclaimed, “Formidable!“[Fantastic!] “Formidable. This is the song I have been waiting for. It will be my biggest success! I want it for my coming performance at L’Olympia!” Vaucaire, delighted, replied, “Of course, Edith, the song is yours”.
Edith Piaf dedicated this immortal song to La Legion Etrangere, better known as the French Foreign Legion. At that time the French Foreign Legion was fighting a bitter and brutal war in Algeria (1954 to 1962). In 1961, the !st REP (Regiment Etrangere Parachutiste) backed the failed 1961 Putsch/coup d’etat against President Charles de Gaulle and the civilian leadership of Algeria. The leadership of the Regiment was arrested and tried but the non-commissioned officers, corporals and Legionnaires were assigned to other French Foreign Legion battalions.. They left the barracks singing “Non, je ne regrette rien”. The song became part of the French Foreign Legion heritage and is sung when they are on parade. The Legion also sing this song to honour Edith Piaf on every Camerone Day, 30th April, the most sacred day in the Legion. C’est profond, n’est pas.
Battle of Camerone 30 April, 1863 where 65 French Foreign Legionnaires fought over 3000 Mexican soldiers to the death.
Legio Patria Nostra