French singer Jean Ferrat dies at 79

French singer Jean Ferrat dies at 79

A file picture shows French singer, author, and poet Jean Ferrat in 1965 performing in Bobino theater in Paris. Jean Ferrat died on March 13, 2010 in the French Rhône-Alpes region. AFP "He died in hospital in Aubenas," where he had been admitted a few days earlier, the sub-prefecture in Tournon-sur-Rhone told AFP.

As prolific as he was discreet, Ferrat wrote and performed about 200 songs which reflected his political views, his affection for the poet and novelist Louis Aragon, and his love for his adopted Ardeche region.

Born in a Parisian suburb as Jean Tenenbaum, the moustachioed Ferrat traced his left-wing sympathies to a communist resistance fighter who saved him during the Nazi occupation of France in World War II.

His father was not so lucky: a Jewish emigre from Russia, the elder Tenenbaum was deported to Auschwitz when his son was 11, never to return.
Ferrat sang with a deep, soft voice, but songs like "Potemkine" (Potemkin) and "Ma France" (My France) were banned from the airwaves in the 1960s, a period when the French government kept a firm hand on radio and television.

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