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Mick Harvey Sings Gainsbourg

What is your connection to Serge Gainsbourg’s work? I came to Gainsbourg as an outsider – listening to his songs in a language I didn’t, for the most part, understand. I was still captivated by much of what I heard so when I started out with the idea of translating some of his songs it was from curiosity.

How have you chosen your band? J.P. Shilo and I have worked on many recent projects together. He suggested using Hugo Cran and Glenn Lewis for the basic tracks on what became ‘Delirium Tremens’ and ‘Intoxicated Women’ as they’d been playing together in The Cambodian Space Project. Xanthe Waite, Sophia Brous and Jess Ribeiro all sang on the recent recordings and Xanthe has been doing the shows both here and in Europe. Local legend Dan Luscombe has recently been deputising as the organist.

What can we expect? Lots of great and entertaining music. We’ll be drawing from all four albums and the diversity of the music is very exciting and engaging. As well as the band and guest singers, we’ll have six violinists presenting the wonderful arrangements by Bertrand Burgalat.

What is Serge Gainsbourg’s work like? His music is very diverse. He was primarily a songwriter and gave over the arrangements and production of his recordings to hired hands to make his music commercially viable. It runs the gamut from ‘50s jazz through Latin appropriations to late ‘60s rock experimentations and even early ‘70s concept albums – almost always with his tongue firmly in his cheek.

Mick Harvey Sings Gainsbourg will play at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Thursday July 12.