Moi m'aime Bwana (lost unreleased Serge Gainsbourg album demos; 1991)

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A picture of the late Serge Gainsbourg.

Status: Lost

Serge Gainsbourg (1928-1991) was a French singer, songwriter and actor, considered as one of the most important French singers of all times. On March 2nd 1991, "Gainsbarre" died from a heart attack, leaving several unfinished tracks that were intended to constitute a new album entitled Moi M'aime Bwana.

In Autumn 1989, a journalist interviewing Gainsbourg gave him an idea for a new album title:

- Is there any French singer you appreciate ?
- Moi-même. [Myself]. Write it "Moi m'aime" [Love myself, a play on word with "Moi-même"].

And the journalist replied with an over-the-top African accent: "Moi m'aime, Bwana!" in the hope to relax the atmosphere (Gainsbourg was at this time difficult to work with). Serge was suddenly interested by this sentence and asked how to spell it.[1]

Years later, the journalist learned that this would become the album's title (some magazines also called the album Christian's Name's Christian). Aude Turpault, one of Gainsbourg's closest friends, mentioned in a 2011 interview that prototype tracks of the album were recorded on tapes (Presumably on Microcassette) with piano music:

"Yeah, he played things on the piano, and most of the time there were no lyrics, except a few written on little pieces of paper [...] The main character was named Abigail. A couplet said "Abigail, telle qu'en elle-même" (Abigail, like in herself), and was talking about her soul getting off and coming back. Some things were really funky and a bit jazzy but, except that, I can't remember anything."[2]

It is also interesting to remember that Abigail is also the name of a character in his book Evguénie Sokolov [3]

Serge passed away about one week before his departure for New Orleans, where he intended to record his latest songs (the recording studio had been rented, and the Neville Brothers's [4] musicians paid). All we know about the album comes from the interview with Aude Turpault: it would have been a Blues album, with a concept-album (like in his earlier album "Histoire de Mélodie Nelsone" or "L'Homme à la tête choux"), and a funk musical style (probably like Love On The Beat/You're Under Arrest).                                                                       

Moreover, several songs had been written[5] :

  • A ma peluche tropicale
  • Moi m'aime bwana
  • Christian Name Christian
  • Requiem pour un con (Remix) (Published as a single)

An interesting detail is that a track would have been about the H.M.S Bounty mutiny in 1789, hence the name "Christian" (Christian Fletcher) being used. Until the tracks are released, the closest things fans can get are the lyrics for Moi M'aime Bwana imagined and written by a poet[6].

The demos were not released on the several anthologies that followed Serge's death. Charlotte Gainsbourg, Serge's daughter, got all the text that were written for this album, and promised to release them soon [7]. The tapes probably belong for now to Gainsbourg's manager Philippe Lerichomme, and might turn up for a future release.

Some researches made by Ataru Léandre Barreau, and re-wrote by Molitor.