Graeme Allwright

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Graeme Allwright in 2012.

Graeme Allwright (born 7 November 1926) is a singer-songwriter. Born in Wellington, New Zealand, he moved to Great-Britain to become a comedian, but then moved to France in 1948. Here he worked as scene-man, comedian, beekeeper, wine grower, English teacher, nurse in psychiatry, etc... and began to perform and write folk songs a several years later in left bank's Parisian cabarets. He was eventually signed by Sonogram. In the 1960s, in addition to his own protest-songs, he translated into French a number of songs written by Leonard Cohen, Tom Paxton and Pete Seeger. He became famous through the 1970s, but voluntarily escaped from the showbiz universe by travelling the world. His life parallels this of one of its great inspirators, Woodie Guthrie; he introduced protest-song in France, and in spite of himself became iconic with the may 68's atmosphere. Some of his songs are now part of the French folklore ("Le Jour de Clarté", "Jolie Bouteille", "Les retrouvailles", etc...). He performed until the 2010s to spread his non-violent message - i.e., working in our consciences to change this inegalitarian society. In the 2000s, together with Sylvie Dien, he wrote new lyrics to the French national anthem, "La Marseillaise", making it a song of peace rather than a song of war.[1][2] A movement is afoot in France to get the government to support the changes.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

He is also well known for his French lyrics adaptation "Petit Garçon" for the Christmas song "Old Toy Trains" by Roger Miller. In 2014, the song was adopted as the official song for the annual French charity event Téléthon 2014 and was recorded by the campaign's sponsor (parrain), the Canadian French singer Garou accompanied by a young singer Ryan. It also appeared in Garou's Christmas new album It's Magic released 1 December 2014 in France.[4]


  • Le trimardeur, 1965, BAM.
  • Joue, joue, joue, 1966, Mercury.
  • Le jour de clarté, 1968, Mercury.
  • Recollections, 1970, Mercury.
  • A Long Distant Present from Thee ... "Becoming,", 1971, Mercury 6459 100
  • Jeanne d'Arc, 1972, Mercury.
  • Graeme Allwright chante Leonard Cohen, 1973, Mercury.
  • À l'Olympia, 1973, Mercury.
  • De passage, 1975, Mercury.
  • Questions..., 1978, Mercury.
  • Condamnés?, 1979, Mercury.
  • Graeme Allwright et Maxime Le Forestier enregistement au Palais des Sports, 1980, Mercury.
  • Ombres, 1981, Mercury.
  • Lumière, 1992, EPM.
  • Live, 1994, EPM.
  • Graeme Allwright & The Glenn Ferris Quartet, 2000, EPM.