I influenced Carla Bruni with my melodies: French rock star Bertignac (With Image)

May 19th, 2009 - 1:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Led Zeppelin New Delhi, May 19 (IANS) Leading French rock guitarist Louis Bertignac, who says Indian melodies have influenced his music a great deal, recalls how French First Lady Carla Bruni and he jammed together when they were in love many years back.
Carla, the rocker said, just floated “into my life when I was young”.

“We were in love with each other for a year. We jammed together - played numbers by Rolling Stones and Beatles. I guess I gave her a sense of direction and influenced her with my melodies. Then we went our own way,” Bertignac, whose band Telephone was the French equivalent of The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and the Led Zeppelin, told reporters here Monday evening.

Bertignac also produced an album, “Quelqu’ un m’a dit” (Someone told me), for Carla.

“In return, I asked Carla to write the lyrics of my solo album, ‘Longtemps’. She penned 10 of the 12 tracks for my album,” the lanky grey-haired rocker with a stubble recalled with a shy smile.

Telephone split in 1984 following which Bertignanc formed Les Visituers in the early 1990s.

Continuing his journey down memory lane, Bertignac said: “One day after many years, Carla returned. She just knocked on my door and I said come in. She walked in to say that she wanted me to produce an album for her. In exchange, she wrote songs about me, about the way I am and how I play. She touched me in a strange way.”

Carla, the French rockstar said, is very intelligent with her lyrics. “Her style is very poetic and she uses the right words. She knows her poetry and literature very well. We have remained very good friends over the years.”

Bertignac, who is back in India after 16 years, says the country is a land of complex but inspiring music.

“I have returned to India after 16 years to perform and I realise the country has evolved musically. I see a new Indian identity,” said Bertignac, who is in the country to perform with his pop-jazz-rock band “Live Power Trio”.

“Indian melodies and sitar have influenced my music though Indian music is a lot more complicated than western pop, rock and jazz music. Indian people have a different outlook to life,” he said.

India is one of the band’s key stops in the world concert tour of nearly 40 countries that include Nepal, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras before reaching New York and Canada in November. Last time, the band played in Mumbai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.

The rock star, who has grown up listening to musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, George Harrison, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, loves to improvise.

“These days, my influence is jazz, though I work on my music my own way. I was born in North Africa and have a Spanish mother,” said Bertignac, explaining the diverse influences on his music.

He has also played with sitarist Vijay Vaidya, formerly known as ‘Sur Sudha’. “I have learnt a lot from him - especially that you can play one chord for two hours at a stretch and yet manage to sound different,” Bertignac said.

The musician shot to the limelight in 1974 at the age of 20 when renowned French poet-singer Jacques Higelin, impressed by his talent, asked Bertignac to accompany him on a tour. Later, he joined Higelin in his studio to play on one of his albums, “Irradie”.

Since then, Bertignac has had a chequered road to fame, battling a crippling disease that forced him to become a producer and adding to his skills.

He intends to return to India in the near future for “more inspiration and influences”.

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