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French Music: Dario Moreno

 

Born David Arugete 3rd April, 1921 to Jewish parents in Turkey, Dario Moreno as he became, was an actor, composer and singer who had a remarkable life and career in France.

When his father was tragically killed he spent time in an orphanage in Turkey until becoming reunited with his mother at the age of four. As a teenager he studied French by himself at the local library, acquired a guitar which he mainly taught himself to play and started singing and playing at bar mitzvah parties. During his military service in the Turkish army, his musical ability got him noticed by officers who encouraged him. He started singing in differently languages in military clubs in major Turkish cities and then around the world, singing jazz for American forces in Europe. He was talent spotted on tour in Europe and when he received a telegraph from a French agent – he leaped at the chance and moved to France.

His career flourished, although he continued to sing in hotels, clubs and cabaret he also started to appear in films. In the 1950s and ‘60s his popularity reached a peak. Awards in France, accolades from Turkey. A duet with the young Brigitte Bardot in 1961 called “Brigitte Bardot!” cemented his reputation – he had earlier appeared in a film with Bardot “Voulez-Vous Dancer avec Moi” in 1959 in which they danced a cha cha together!  He started to specialise in Latin American and French songs, very upbeat and very catchy – and his French was perfect.

Darío Moreno died of a heart attack in a taxi while going to the airport in Istanbul on 1 December 1968. He was 47 years old but his legacy lives on and his music remains ever popular in France.

French music experts at radio Paris Chanson have chosen “Quand Elle Danse” saying “One of Franc’s most famous singer of “operette”. He was Turkish originally but his musical career was in France. His songs are representative of a certain “joie de vivre”…

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