By Ann Donahue
LOS ANGELES (Billboard) -
When Marion Cotillard won the
best-actress Academy Award in February for her portrayal of
singer Edith Piaf in "La Vie En Rose," Jil Aigrot, at home in
the South of France, became "very emotional."
"I was so very, very, very happy for all the team," Aigrot
says, speaking as her daughter, Caroline, acts as a translator.
"A lot of people worked hard for that movie."
Among them was Aigrot, who performed many of the vocals
that Cotillard lip-synched to in the film, under guidance from
the actress and director Olivier Dahan.
On March 11, Aigrot's new CD, "Words of Love," was released
domestically on LML Music. It features Aigrot singing 19 Piaf
songs, and to support the album, she has two tours planned in
the United States.
The first will take place April 4-10 in Borders bookstores
in New York; Chicago; Ann Arbor, Mich.; San Francisco; and Los
Angeles. (Borders is a nationwide distributor of the album.) In
July, Aigrot will return to the States to perform in jazz clubs
in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, according to LML
owner Lee Lessack.
"There's such a mystique about Piaf that people really want
to meet Jil, because her performance is eerily like a modern
embodiment," Lessack says.
Aigrot's resurgence started when she got the gig as Piaf's
voice for "La Vie En Rose" in a most serendipitous way. In her
tours around France and Europe, Aigrot had long performed some
of Piaf's songs, and she decided to prepare an entire concert
dedicated to the singer.
Within two weeks, Aigrot was in Paris recording Piaf's
songs for "La Vie En Rose."
The "La Vie En Rose" movie soundtrack, which was released
in May 2007 by EMI Classics, contains remastered original
recordings by Piaf, as well as score selections composed by
Christopher Gunning and a few select tracks performed by Aigrot
and Maya Barsoni. It has sold 42,000 copies in the United
States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
And while "La Vie En Rose" has renewed interest in the
singer among casual fans, Aigrot says that she's surprised at
the intensity of the core group of Piaf followers. One recently
gave her Piaf's medal of St. Therese, which Aigrot now wears as
a pendant onstage. "It's a consecration to record something for
Piaf," she says.