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Henri Salvador

About this Artist

HENRI SALVADOR (born July 18, 1917) is a French singer. His father, Clovis, and his mother, Antonine Paterne, daughter of a native Indian from the Caribbean, were both from Guadeloupe, France. He has a brother, André, and a sister, Alice. He is a musician and comedian.

Born in Cayenne, French Guiana, he began his musical career as a guitarist accompanying other singers. He had learned the guitar by imitating Django Reinhardt's recordings, and was to work alongside him in the 1940s.

Salvador recorded several songs written with Boris Vian, with Quincy Jones as arranger. He is known to have recorded the first French rock 'n' roll song in 1956, written by Boris Vian and Michel Legrand.

In the '60s, Salvador was the host of several popular television variety shows on French TV. In 1964, he scored a hit with "Zorro est arrivé" (which was inspired by the English song "Along Came Jones"). He is also famous for his rich, catchy laugh, which is a subject in many of his humorous songs.

Henri Salvador and his song "Dans mon île" (1957) was one of the influences for Antônio Carlos Jobim in formulating the Brazilian bossa nova style. Caetano Veloso, a famous Brazilian composer and singer, made Henri Salvador famous to Brazilian audiences with the song "Reconvexo," in which he says "quem não sentiu o swing de Henri Salvador? (who hasn't felt the swing of Henri Salvador?)" Later, Salvador discovered singers Keren Ann and Art Mengo.

Henri continues to be popular today among French communities in Canada. In 2000, Virgin Records released a CD featuring popular hits like "Jazz Mediterranée," which continues to receive regular airplay. In 2002, his album Chambre Avec Vue sold over two million copies. In 2005, Henri Salvador was awarded the Brazilian Order of Cultural Merit, which he received from the acclaimed singer and Minister of Culture, Gilberto Gil, in the presence of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for his influence on Brazilian culture, particularly on bossa nova, to whose invention he contributed. He is also a commander of the French Légion d'honneur and of the National Order of Merit. In 2007, he released Reverence on V2 Records, which features Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso. He then went on to perform the track "La Vie C'est La Vie" from the album Reverence on the BBC program Later...With Jools Holland, which aired on May 4th, 2007.