Macias, Enrico (1938)

Enrico Macias is a French singer, musician and composer born in Constantine in Algeria, the 11th of December 1938. His real name is Gaston Ghrenassia, and he is the son of Sylvain and Suzanne Zaouch, a Jewish family of malouf musicians.

In parallel to a normal education, he also plays a lot of music, and in particular guitar.
Firstly teacher in 1956, he joins Cheikh Raymond Leyris’s orchestra, great master of malouf music in which his father played the violin.
The death of Cheikh Raymond, killed in June 1961, brings him to leave Algeria with his wife Suzy (Cheikh Raymond’s daughter). It’s on the "Ville d’Alger"’, name of the ship that brings them to France, that he wrote with his guitar the song «J’ai quitté mon pays, j’ai quitté ma maison » (I left my country, I left my home). He settles with his family in Argenteuil.

In Paris, Enrico works irregularly, with small jobs and performs in cabarets, until he is noticed, and does the first part of a concert of Gilbert Bécaud.

Among the several lyricists who wrote the songs of Macias’ repertoire, Jacques Demarny accompanied a great part of this performer’s carreer (from the 1960’s to the 1980’s) and was the main author of his repertoire (around 100 songs).
In 1962, he is seen on the television in the show «Cinq colonnes à la une» to illustrate a coverage on the repatriates from Algeria. His performance of the song «Adieu mon pays» (Farewell my country), becomes the symbol of the exile of the Pieds-Noirs. He chooses then the nickname Enrico Macias. Pathé Marconi releases his first album in 1963, with the hit song «Enfants de tous pays».

Aknowledged worldwide, he receives the title of Singer for peace of Kurt Waldheim in 1980.
In 1985, he receives the Légion d’honneur given by the Prime Minister Laurent Fabius. He becomes Officer in April 2007.

Sources :

look at his discography

Discover the discs ans music sheets of Enrico Macias, from Maurice Arouasse’s fonds

Listen to the playlist dedicated to Enrico Macias

Look at our archives about Enrico Macias
Consulter nos collections

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