Almanac – February 19

1896 – André Breton  born. French writer and poet, known best as the founder of Surrealism. His writings include the first Surrealist Manifesto (Manifeste du surréalisme) of 1924, in which he defined surrealism as “pure psychic automatism“.

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1940 – Smokey Robinson born. American R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, and former record executive. Robinson was the founder and front man of the popular Motown vocal group The Miracles, for which he also served as the group’s chief songwriter and producer.

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1994 – Derek Jarman died. English film director, stage designer, diarist, artist, gardener and author. Films include Sebastiane, Jubilee and The Last of England.

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2001 – Charles Trenet died. French singer and songwriter, most famous for his recordings from the late 1930s until the mid-1950s, though his career continued through the 1990s.

In an era in which it was exceptional for a singer to write their  own material, Trenet wrote prolifically and declined to record any but his own songs.

His best known songs include “Boum !”, “La Mer”, “Y’a d’la joie”, “Que reste-t-il de nos amours ?”, “Ménilmontant” and “Douce France”. His catalogue of songs is enormous, numbering close to a thousand.

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