Yves Duteil in Arlon to celebrate his 50 years of song

Preparing for my 50 years of singing, I’ve been singing for 50 years this year, we have a lot of projects like a complete CD, a book of all my song texts…

50 years of song, that puts a lot of old?

No, on the contrary it gives a youthful look, it forces you to stay in creation. That’s no way to look in the rearview mirror. It’s healthy to be, for once, the spectator of what we have been able to do. A great joy to revisit these precious moments.

When we look at your repertoire, in 1999 were you already talking about trees, forest fires?

At some point, I realized that I had to get involved as a man and not just as an artist. For causes such as the forest, the freedom of the Tibetan people, culture, humanism, research.

What brought you to politics as mayor for 25 years. Is that what brought you, politics?

It was not politics, but citizenship. There was not a partisan commitment but a human one. Being elected local is the basic commitment, almost not a political commitment, but a humanist one. The will to translate into facts what I defended in my songs. Poetry is much stronger when it is anchored in reality. Poetry is heard in the right words, not necessarily in the pretty words.

The director of the Maison de la culture d’Arlon is happy to welcome you. “Yves Duteil is a real nice guy,” he says. Is this image of sweetness heavy to bear?

It could have been to the extent that we confused softness and weakness. To assume our place in the world, gentleness requires a great deal of strength. What we are experiencing today is a form of absolute cruelty. This gentleness is an intimate force that allows us to react to the cruelty of the world. If there is not a mother’s gentleness for her baby, he cannot cope with the cynicism of the world. Take a child is the song that illustrated Christmas in Beirut when the intervention force was the victim of a horrible attack. The more cruelty there is, the more gentleness will be needed.

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