My name is Monique D´Agorne. I was born in Nantes, a city near to the Atlantic cost in France, an area which is well known for the "Castles of the Loire".
Since I heard French Chanson as a child for the first time I became inflamed with passion, my first big love.
It just happened. I took a fancy to sing these songs. It was my way to cherish this wonderful, poetical French language (even though I did not always get the meaning of the lyrics at those early days). It was my way to express myself.
Furthermore I admired these "Beautiful Ladies of Chanson" for their brilliance, their voice and their self-confidence.
The Chanson opened a new world for me. A world full of sensitivity.
Equipped with a tape deck and later with a turntable I started to learn songs. It was my favourite occupation besides playing with dolls. My dolls loved to sing as well!
This kind of "Learning" was a learning without compulsion, but with plenty of fun and pleasure.
I started to learn singing chansons like little children learn to speak by pure imitation.
Singing became part of the ordinary things of my everyday life.
At that time my idols were Barbara, Edith Piaf, Juliette Gréco, Jeanne Moreau, Henri Salvador, Jacques Brel, Georges Moustaki, Léo Ferré, Georges Brassens, Jean Ferrat, Mouloudgi, Yves Montand, Gilbert Bécaud, Aznavour, Reggiani,Nana Mouskouri, Maxime Leforestier, Francis Cabrel, Alain Souchon, Laurent Voulzy... just to mention my favourite French singers...Today I have lots of other examples from nearly every musical genre provided it is good.
I never dared to sing in front of other people. At scool I sang inside my head, just moving my lips in order imitate singing!
GERMANY - WERNER GROS
At the age of 17 I got my High School examination and moved as "Au Pair" to Germany for 6 months in order to improve my German language.
I kept staying in Germany much longer then scheduled!
However my voice attracted attention and I was asked to sing in a choir or in a band again and again, I always felt not being good enough, because I had no musical education or singing lessons.
It´s like you are learning a language by pure imitation, but never being at school. There is a lack of grammer and education
Due to lots of changes in my life and considerable obligations within the family I had no real opportunity to apply myself to a further musical development for a long time.
However there was always space for singing. when all others had left the house at length Monique had time to rage herself oüt with singing.
Singing always has been and still is the red thread in my life, my highest spirits, soul-fullness, my getaway to happiness.
In Germany I discovered Zarah Leander, Marlene Dietrich, Hildegard Kneff, Alexandra, Udo Jürgens..
and was deeply pleased in delving into "German Chanson".
In 2002 I met the theatre author "Werner Gros" which finally led me to the stage, the stage of "Dorftheater Ketternschwalbach".
We met first at a barbecue party in the neighborhood and Werner was impressed from my speech voice and he asked:" Can you sing as well?"
I sang "La vie en rose" and he was so enthusiastic that he asked me if I would like to participate in his next stage play.
I heard me saying "YES" and repented this next day. But it was too late.....A new stage play came into being :"Die franzesische Verwannschafd - fast ein Musikel) in 3 Aufzügen"(The French Relatives- almost a musical) in 3 acts (mind you in dialect!)
A delightful, exciting, charming and witty stage play with chanson.
Werner Gros was partly inspired from my life history.
I never would have thought that I ever could sing in front of so many people and then that applause....
The highlight: At the end I had to sing a part of "La Marseillaise" and the audience stood up. As I then began to sing "Pigalle" from Bill Ramsey the audience joined in singing.
From that moment on, I knew that I would love the stage and the magic to sing in front of an audience.
I was healed from that terrible fear to sing in front of "somebody" actually it pleased me enormously.
I owe this to Werner Gros forever.
The play was a vast success (8 performances with 3000 visitors) Request for further performances came up.
I had to look after a piano accompaniment.
I asked the piano teacher of my daughter (Ulrike Hanf) who not even knew that I could sing.
After a short presentation she was very enthusiastic about building up a repertoire together with me.
In the year 2005 appeared a new droll story "Dorschenanner" ("Dog´s Dinner") again 3 acts in dialect. Once again with singing and 8 performances.
This time I performed songs from well known musicals.
Werner Gros died unfortunately much too early 4 of April 2009 at the age of 70 after serious disease. You will find more about Werner Gros und Dorftheater Ketternschwalbach next time on my homepage.
He was the first important person for my musical career. He said: " I have sent you on stage. because I knew, that you will love it, you just needed a kick"
After several successful small performances I got to know that my husband had to move to Vienna for Job reasons next year.
When I informed my piano player about this, she felt that it would make no sense to continue our common activities.
one year passed off without any music...and than the move.
October 2006 - Together with my family I moved to Vienna.
VIENNA - AMIRI
Altough I was really pleased to move to Vienna at the beginning, after some time it neither felt like holiday anymore nor like my life I was used live before.
At the beginning it was really hard to leave my old life behind me. On one hand it was thrilling on the other hand it was painful to find a new orientation.
The "new life" hat to be built up like a puzzle together with my family. It had to be mourned over the "old life" .... until the "new life" could be born"!
However after one year all sadness was gone, my husband and I got to know a few nice people at the old town in a pub at the 13th district of Vienna.
We chated and exchanged lots of information about family, job and hobbies. I mentioned that I love to sing. I was asked to perform a song, with great success.
I was introduced to an excellent guitar player.I visited his next concert in "Piccolino" a nice pub at 13th district.
I was deeply impressed on this fantastic musician, Gerhard Kiennast, a crucial meeting.....
Gerhard on his part was very enthusiastic about my voice and led me to the second VIP concerning my musical development: Amiri
Gerhard told me that Amiri would perform prevailing music from Latin America together with excellent musicians from these countries, but he would also organize concerts with French Chanson.
When I called Amiri in order to introduce myself he invited me to one of his concerts in "Haus der Musik" ("House of Music") in Vienna.
I was deeply impressed on Amiri and his soloists from Latin America, and I could not imagine at that time that I would be together with them on this stage one year later.
I knew that Amiri wouldn´t have enough time for me that evening as he had to welcome so many fans while the concert break. Therfore I just shortly handed him out an amateur CD which my husband recorded 2004 in his home studio during sessions with my former piano player.
When I gave Amiri again a call to order 2 new tickets for a forthcoming concert, because I had so much fun with the first one, he said; By the way Monique you are engaged for our concert at "Wiener Konzerthaus" (Concert hall Vienna) next March.
For me this was an unbelievable feeling of joy and recognition but it also had a taste of awe.
The collaboration with Amiri and his musicians was a tremendous enrichment and honour for me.
To perform at "Wiener Konzerthaus" may be nothing exceptional for experienced long-time professionals, in any case it was an overwhelming event for me!
It was a big challenge for me to act together with these ambitious excellent musicians.
The recognition from the audience was a wonderful gift for me.
A dream from my childhood came true!!!
I was special guest of Amiri at "Wiener Konzerthaus" at his Chanson programs 2008 amd 2009. Both were a great success (see: My Videos).
In the meantime I have singing lessons since about one year given by a wonderful singing teacher Mrs. Mag. Susanne Just in order to improve my breathing
technique and to optimize my voice.
MONIQUE AND JAZZ
Meanwhile I got attention from some Jazz musicians, because in their opinion my voice would fit excellent to Jazz demands. Thomas Gulz, a brilliant Jazz piano player, who received several awards, motivated me to build up a Jazz repertoire.
At the moment my main focus besides Chanson is for that reason Jazz and Blues.
Together with Thomas Gulz, Gerhard Kiennast und Helmut Posch, as well an excellent piano player I had meanwhile several smaller performances.
I have still lots of plans and dreams, but I think for the moment I have said enough.
Thanks to all the people mentioned above and my audience for the given backing and last but not least, thanks to you dear readers for your interest.