Faire une rentrée

French singer and songwriter Claude Nougaro was born in Toulouse on September 9, 1929. His musical ability was genetic: his father was an opera singer and his mother was a piano teacher, and his musical inspirations were the classics: Glenn Miller, Édith Piaf, and Louis Armstrong.

After failing his bac, he got jobs writing for various papers by day, and by night he wrote songs for various performers of the late 40s, including his former inspiration, Édith Piaf. In 1959, he started performing his own songs in the mythic Montmartre club, le Lapin Agile. Some of his big hits were Le jazz et la java, Armstrong dedicated to another one of those childhood idols, and Toulouse dedicated to his hometown.

By the mid 80s, it seemed like his time had passed and his label did not renew his contract. Nougaro left France to New York. While there he wrote, recorded, and financed a new album, Nougayork, for which he won Best Album and Best Artist at the Victoires de la Musique in 1988. He recorded three more albums before his health began to give way. Rather than recording, Nougaro focused on live performances at concerts and festivals during his final years. He died of cancer on March 4, 2004.

Today’s expression, faire une rentrée (fare oon rehntray) litereally means “to make a re-entry,” but is used to mean “to make a comeback,” the way Nougaro did. You can also say faire un come-back, but I like the fully French expression better. It’s an appropriate one for right now, since la rentrée is the key word in France every September, when life re-starts after the summer holidays.

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About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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