FAME Review: Raquel Bitton - Rhythm of the Heart
Raquel Bitton - Rhythm of the Heart

Rhythm of the Heart

Raquel Bitton

RB 4302-2

Available from Amazon.com.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Feel like a night at the theatre? Good! Put the tux, tie, plunging neckline slinky dress, high heels, top hat, and monocle back in the closet, pour a couple glasses of cabernet, turn the lights down, and sit back while putting Raquel Bitton's Rhythm of the Heart in the player, 'cause she just got off the road from a sold-out tour of her Raquel Bitton Sings Piaf—Her Story, Her Songs, from which a PBS docu-concert has been drawn, and now graces one and all with this tribute to the legendary Tino Rossi, who sold—good Lord, is this right?!?!—yep, over 600 million records, not to mention recording 1200 songs. Yow, goodbye Pink Floyd and Michael Jackson! When did the guy ever get a chance to sleep?

Fronting a 20-piece orchestra and an Afro-Cuban band, Bitton strolls through a dozen tangos, boleros, merengues, cha chas, bossas, and more, singing entirely in French and Spanish (the transcriptions and translations of each cut are included in a 19-page booklet three times each: French, Spanish, and English!), Forgive Me a particularly intriguing set of lyrics. Bonjour Tristesse, though, is my sonic pick of the litter. There's something about it, a je ne sais quoi, something that belongs to my parents' generation, something that's since gone missing—no, not in the spoken middle section but in the entablature of the singing itself, that gets to parts of the heart left previously untouched.

Ah, but then, during Tango Melodie, you're going to feel like indulging some Apache dancing as well, but hold back (here's why:


'cause this is a love disc, not a psychotic break, and you'll ruin the mood, not to mention a hipbone or two. There is, though, always a certain élan present, even in the closing laconic Tout Bleu (So Blue), which manages a regal hauteur as it slides across the slo mo dance floor, eyes cast down but gait steady. The entirety of Rhythm of the Heart, in fact, is a cabaret path back to a time of Copa Cabanas, Rudy Valentinos, and Maurice Chevaliers that somehow manages to breathe new life within the jet age. Them Frenchies even had a maxim for it—Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose!—but, for us, 'Everything old is new again!' will do just as well.

Track List:

  • Il Pleut Sur la Route (It's Raining on the Road) (Himmel / Chamfleury)
  • Le Secret de tes Caresses (Tell Me the Secret of Your Caresses) (Ala / Varna / Cab / Moretti)
  • Un Violon Dans La Nuit (A Violin in the Night) (Bixio / Cherubini)
  • Merci Pour tes Fleurs (Thank You For Your Flowers) (Ithier / Seracini)
  • Pardonne Moi (Forgive Me) (Ithier / Lalande / Sarra)
  • Guitarra Mia (My Guitar) ((Ithier / Mariotti)
  • Bonjour Tristesse (Good Morning Heartache) (LaRue / Fiorelli / Ruccione)
  • Plus Je Vous Aime (The More I Love You) (Osvaldo Farres)
  • Tango Melodie (Tango Melody) (Belmonte / Havet / Guitton)
  • J'ai Garde Ta Photo Sur Mon Coeur (I Kept Your Photo On My Heart) (Harvet / Guitton / Denoncin)
  • Il Est Trop Tard (It's Too Late) (Coli / Bonifay / Visconti)
  • Tout Bleu (So Blue) (Hornez / Boutayre)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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