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Artist biography: Bénabar

Bénabar (aka Bruno Nicolini) is a French singer-songwriter and actor, born in Thiais, France on 16 June 1969. He began his career in film, and directed three shorts: Nada Lezard (1991), José Jeannette (1992) and Sursum Corda (1994). As a musician he is influenced by French artists such as Georges Brassens, Renaud Séchan, Jacques Higelin and American singer-songwriter Tom Waits. Instrumentally, his songs are particularly inspired by the piano and the accordion, and French fanfare. In fact, the pseudonym Bénabar is derived from Barnabé, the French circus clown. Bénabar also learnt to play the trumpet at the age of eight, and he is still enthralled by the magic of the circus. His songs are witty, wry and overtly ironic. Catering for all musical needs, Bénabar has the ability to transpose genres, deftly hopping from jazz to folk, to rock and cabaret.

For years Bénabar toured small venues in France, Belgium and Switzerland, and gradually grew in popularity. His first album, La p'tite monnaie was released in 1998, but it was his second album Bénabar, released in 2001, which gave him notoriety, and the opportunity to open for the late Henri Salvador. Bénabar's third album, Les risqué du metier was awarded Album of the Year in 2004.