more from
Forgotten Futures
We’ve updated our Terms of Use to reflect our new entity name and address. You can review the changes here.
We’ve updated our Terms of Use. You can review the changes here.

Charles Trenet et son Quartette Ondioline feat. Jean​-​Jacques Perrey - L'​â​me des Po​è​tes

from Jean​-​Jacques Perrey et son Ondioline by Jean-Jacques Perrey

  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    LP pressed on clear see-through vinyl. Deluxe gatefold jacket in the classic tip-on style from Stoughton Printing. 36 page booklet with never-before-released photos and an essay by Simon Reynolds.

    More information at and

    Includes unlimited streaming of Jean-Jacques Perrey et son Ondioline via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 3 days

      $33 USD or more 



By the start of the 1950s Charles Trenet had been one of France’s biggest singing stars for over a decade. Unusually for the time, he only sang songs he composed himself, though his lyrics and melodies had been made popular by other vocalists at various times, sometimes before his own versions were recorded.

In 1951 Trenet was looking for a special sound to complement a song he had written entitled ‘L’âme des poètes’ (‘The Soul of the Poets’). He heard tell of the Ondioline and Perrey - just 22 years of age, but already the virtuoso of the instrument and its tireless public promulgator - was urgently called home from a demonstration in Hamburg to present the instrument to the famous singer.

Trenet told Perrey he was looking for “the sound of a soul” and it seems that in the young Ondiolinist’s hands he found it. So taken with the instrument was Trenet that he dubbed his ensemble variously “son Quartette Ondioline” or “son Trio Vigouroux Ondioline” for months of activities after the recording of ‘L’âme des poètes’.

Trenet’s lyric is wonderfully poetic; “Longtemps, longtemps, longtemps après que les poètes ont disparu, leurs chansons courent encore dans les rues” (“Long, long, long after the poets have disappeared, their songs still flow through the streets”). It is an affecting evocation of the highly active life a song can enjoy after its writer has passed away, or when the lyric is disconnected from even the possibility of knowing what inspired it.

Perrey contributed Ondioline to a number of other songs with Trenet – among them ‘Ma maison’ (‘My House’) and ‘Mon vieux ciné’ (‘My Old Films’) - and he was subsequently invited to tour with the singer around France. Trenet urged Perrey to develop a show of his own to demonstrate his ambidextrous piano and Ondioline abilities. He introduced him to a writer to develop the show concept, resulting in Around the World in Eighty Ways: a musical variety show that allowed Perrey to showcase the imitative abilities of the instrument as well as its capacity for special effects, and to maintain a lighthearted mood with musical jokes and sonic tricks. Perrey performed this show countless times around France and other parts of Europe in the years leading up to his New York adventures of the 1960s, and in the extended demonstration recording of Ondioline timbres that is presented later in this compilation, we hear the fruits of this extensive road-testing of the instrument.

Here in ‘L’âme des poètes’ though, is the sound of a deft young instrumentalist bringing colour and texture to another great artist’s work.


Longtemps, longtemps, longtemps
Après que les poètes ont disparu
Leurs chansons courent encore dans les rues
La foule les chante un peu distraite
En ignorant le nom de l'auteur
Sans savoir pour qui battait leur coeur
Parfois on change un mot, une phrase
Et quand on est à court d'idées
On fait la la la la la la
La la la la la la

Longtemps, longtemps, longtemps
Après que les poètes ont disparu
Leurs chansons courent encore dans les rues

Leur âme légère,
C'est leurs chansons
Qui rendent gais,
Qui rendent tristes
Filles et garçons
Bourgeois, artistes
Ou vagabonds


from Jean​-​Jacques Perrey et son Ondioline, track released January 8, 1951
Charles Trenet - composer, vocals
Jean-Jacques Perrey - Ondioline


all rights reserved



Jean-Jacques Perrey Switzerland

Jean-Jacques Perrey (1929-2016) was an alternative pop visionary, pioneer of rhythmic tape-edit sampling techniques, and virtuoso of the rare French electronic musical instrument, the Ondioline.

contact / help

Contact Jean-Jacques Perrey

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Report this track or account

If you like L'âme des Poètes, you may also like: