Jane Birkin – Live at Barbican Hall

Jane Birkin – Live at Barbican Hall, Saturday 21 February 2009 / 7:30

Barbican Centre
Silk Street
London EC2Y 8DS
Tickets £15/£22.50/£25 from 020 7638 8891 / www.barbican.org.uk

Jane Birkin performs at the Barbican for the first time since her sold out show there in 2003. This is the London premiere for a brand new show, which showcases songs from Jane’s new album Enfants d’Hiver as well as reinventing the songs that Serge Gainsbourg created for her as his muse. Jane says ‘The poets do not die if one carries their words’.

Enfants d’Hiver was released last November to wide acclaim and, for the first time on one of her records, Jane wrote all the lyrics. The music was composed by Alain and Pierre Souchon, Alain Lanty, Hawksley Workman, Pierre-Michel Sivadier, Bertrand Louis and Franck Eulry and produced by Edith Fambuena.

“spellbinding” **** Sunday Express
“an organic set of 11 essays in nostalgia” Word
“oozing a worldly sophistication” Q
“the Anglo-French ambassador par excellence.” Record Collector
“quietly intimate album.” Mojo

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A Jane Birkin show is a unique musical experience due in no small part to her considerable skills both as a raconteur and as an actress. She is accompanied by a virtuoso band* with the skill and subtlety required to embellish Jane’s voice as she moves through both Serge’s and her own, increasingly impressive, repertoire. She bravely displays an open and honest vulnerability wedded to a fierce and unyielding inner belief in both herself and her political projects leaving her audiences with an experience encompassing passages of beauty, anger and laughter; simultaneously educating and motivating while self-deprecating and earthy humour are never far away. Unadulterated live magic.

Jane’s first film role was in Richard Lester’s The Knack in early 1966 but she was dramatically unveiled to the world later that same year in Antonioni’s seminal celluloid mystery “Blow Up” playing the ultimate 60s swinger alongside Vanessa Redgrave, David Hemmings and Sarah Miles. This in turn led to her auditioning for Pierre Grimblat’s “Slogan” where she, fatefully, met Serge Gainsbourg with whom she went on to record the notorious “Je t’aime (Moi Non Plus)” in 1969. Jane says that to this day she is still blamed, especially by London Taxi drivers, for numerous unplanned pregnancies.

By this time Jane was already the mother of Kate after a short unsuccessful marriage to Kate’s father John Barry of film soundtrack legend. Jane went on to have 2 more daughters: Charlotte with Serge and Lou Doillon with director Jacques.

Jane continues to make films. Her most recent, Jacques Rivette’s 36 Vues Du Pic Saint Loup taking the total to over 60 but her current priority is taking Enfants d’Hiver to the world. Enfants d’Hiver is sung en français other than ” Aung San Suu Kyi” where she sings, in English, about the rightful Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi who has been imprisoned or under house arrest for 12 of the past 18 years. Jane has been vociferous in her support of Aung San Suu Kyi, imprisoned for her defiance of the military regime in Burma. Jane invites visitors to her website to sign a petition demanding the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and her fellow activists.

Jane Birkin has maintained her political commitments throughout her career while her humanitarian interests led her to work with Amnesty International, on immigrant welfare and AIDS issues. She has also visited Bosnia, Rwanda and Palestinian Territories, often working with children. She was awarded an OBE, in 2001, and has also been awarded the French Ordre National du Mérite.


*Piano : Fred MAGGI – Cello : Dominique PINTO
Contrabass, bass : Helene SZANTO – Guitars, keyboards : Nicolas DUBOSC
Percussion, guitar : Sheyla COSTA