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Charloun RIEU

Charloun RIEU
The most picturesque of all Provencal poets I have known – and he has in fact often tempted painters and sculptors from Henry to Elisabeth de Groux – has been the popular Paradou singer, Charloun Rieu. With his big broad face eaten up by a rough beard, his beautiful naive eyes, his forehead obstinately covered with a hunchbacked felt, his rather massive and jolting look of a man used to plowed land, he immediately caught the eye, but even more, when he sang his unforgettable songs which he punctuated with a monotonous gesture, but by the same obsessive and captivating.
The best moment I saw him was at the unveiling of the Mistral statue, where he really looked like one of the herdsmen of Crau who had come to pay homage to the poet who had sung them. He died one winter night lying on the land he had celebrated, coming out of the farmhouse where he had performed for the last time.

The popular poet Charloun Rieu:…., “… He was the familiar man, the child of the land that he sang so well, pushed into the wild ferigoules of Paradou. He was the man asking the furrow that he laboriously plotted his daily subsistence. Finally, it was the poet whose only educators were the larks who followed his plow, the nightingales he listened to, seated melancholically in the evening in front of his door and the Alpilles which loomed over there in the azure, ruddy in the morning, purplish in the mist “

1919 – Charles RIEU on the left – Emile RIPERT on the right
inauguration of the statue of Frédéric MISTRAL

Memories of the funeral of Frédéric Mitral: What these funerals were, in a word we can say that, if they were not national, they were popular. Alongside the official delegations, literary societies and the Félibrige, there were people of the people there, who spontaneously came from all the villages, women who knelt as the coffin passed by, carried in arms by the people of Maillane towards this tomb, which the poet, a few years earlier, had had arranged on the model of the pavilion of Baux, which is called the pavilion of Queen Jeanne, and on which he had placed, in the middle of the apple of pine, which crowns it at Baux, the Cross, a sign of belief, and on the cornice an Arlésienne head and a dog’s head, double symbol of his love for Provencal beauty and for humble domestic animality. But the most heartbreaking gesture that marked these days of mourning was undoubtedly that of poor Charloun Rieu, the popular
singer of Paradou and Baux, who, learning of the death of Mistral, set out on foot from his village and, arriving in front of the death bed, threw his staff and his hat on the ground and rushed crying over the body of the beloved master , hugged him in a desperate embrace that it was hard to release. It was with him the whole of popular Provence which expressed its love to the poet who had restored his nobility and his soul, by rehabilitating his language, by celebrating his labors.

Press articles
tributes: Paradou on April 28, 1935


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