Edith Piaf

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The critic Jean Cocteau said that Edith Piaf was like the nightingale, who when he sings "...throws everything into confusion." To Cocteau, his friend Piaf was a force of nature, a chanteuse with the evocative power of falling rain, sighing breezes or the moonlight that envelops the world of the night. She was brave, gallant and tender -- much like the legionnaires of whom she sang -- but there was a haunting element of childlike sadness in every Piaf performance, a constant reminder of the stark unhappiness of her life away from the music halls and recording studios. Piaf herself admitted as much, explaining that in singing she "cried without tears."

Passionate and uncompromising, Edith Piaf is the defining voice of 20th Century France.

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