Film & Music

Published on July 11th, 2014 | by Isabelle Karamooz, Founder of FQM


La Bohème or the nostalgia of the past

I am taking you on a musical promenade with Charles Aznavour, nicknamed in America “the French Frank Sinatra.” He will perform on September 13 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.

Charles Aznavour was born May 22, 1924 to a family of artists. His father Micha Aznavourian, Armenian born in Georgia, is the son of a cook for the governor of Armenia. His mother, Knar Baghdasaryan, comes from a family of Armenian merchants in Turkey.

It is when his parents were in Paris waiting for a visa to the United States that little Charles was born in France. Micha, a former baritone, opened a small Armenian restaurant in Paris, where he sang every night. With his wife who was an actress, they raised their two children, Charles and Aida, in an atmosphere of music and theater in the middle of the many artists who frequented the small restaurant in the rue de la Huchette. At the age of nine, the young Aznavour fell in love with music and comedy.

Duet Pierre Roche and Charles Aznavour. Photo by

In 1942, after changing from his real name “Varinag Aznavourian,” Charles met a very talented self-taught pianist, Pierre Roche, with whom he sang at the beginning of his career and composed songs for duets. Then, the Armenian immigrant chose the stage name “Charles Aznavour,” and decided to continue singing solo, while Pierre Roche accompanied him on piano. His career really began in 1946 when the duo was spotted by the singer, Édith Piaf. She then asked them to accompany her on a tour of France and the United States in 1947 and 1948.

But it is precisely in 1956 that, following a concert in Casablanca, Charles became a star. During his first appearance at the Olympia, he wrote “Sur ma vie”, which became his first success.

During the 60’s, Charles Aznavour was a major artist of the French song. It never ceased to produce one hit after another. He recorded “Je m’voyais déjà” in 1960, “La Mamma” in 1963, “Hier encore” in 1964 and “La Bohème” in 1966 (taken from his musical comedy Mr. Carnaval).

This song is without a doubt one of the most famous songs by the artist and no doubt the “Frenchies” attending the concert on September 13 will hum this song. And you, will you be part of it?

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About the Author

was born in the royal city of Versailles, France and have lived in the United States since 1996. After earning a Bachelor's degree in History from the University of California Berkeley and studying for a Master program in education at the University of Southern California, she went on to teach French to aspiring UNLV and CSN students in Nevada. When she is not teaching, she is writing, interviewing people in a wide range of circumstances, pitching story ideas to writers and editors, taking pictures, traveling, painting or trying delicious foods.

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