Renaud Pierre Manuel Séchan, known as Renaud, born in Paris on 11 May 1952, is a popular French singer, songwriter and actor. His father comes from a Protestant southern-french family (from the Cévennes), and his mother is the daughter of a coalminer from the poor Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. Renaud dedicated part of his work to his familial roots, singing traditional songs in the regional picard language and acting in Germinal, a film based on the famous Emile Zola novel. His early work is characterized by a volatile temperament, innovative use of French, and edgy, dark, left-wing social and political themes. Raised in an educated milieu, the son of an intellectual, Renaud adopted the looks and attitude of working-class youth in the 1970s, and reflected this in his lyrics. A recurrent theme is his disgust for the average French people with petit-bourgeois preoccupations and right-wing leanings (see beauf). His music focuses on the disparity between classes, the abuse of political power, overbearing authority and disgust for the military, with rare glimpses of tenderness for his fellow humans, the planet earth, and art. His song Miss Maggie praised the kindness of women with the markedly ironic exception of Margaret Thatcher. Renaud's later work is distinguished by "softer" subjects such as his wife (later ex-wife) Dominique, his daughter Lolita and his friends, as well as the late comedian and singer Coluche for whom he wrote the tribute "Putain de camion" ("Bloody Lorry") after Coluche's death in a road accident. He has also ventured into regional music and language, such as the language of Marseille in La Belle de Mai, the north with Renaud cante el' nord and even Corsican polyphonics in "Lolito lolita". After a dry spell marked by an addiction to alcohol, he made a comeback hit with his album Boucan d'enfer in 2002. He also tackled current issues by drawing a parallel between a victim of the 9-11 attacks in New York and an Afghan girl, both victims of a war they don't understand "Manhattan-Kaboul" (in duo with Axelle Red). Several of his songs can be classified as long-lasting hits in France, including the sea tale "Dès que le vent soufflera", the irreverent "Laisse béton", the ballad "Morgane de toi" and the nostalgic "Mistral gagnant". With the possible exception of franglais recording of It is not because you are, his work is almost unknown outside the French-speaking world. In 2006 Renaud married Romane Serda, the mother of his son Malone. In 2007 he announced to the press his intention to move his family to London citing a love for British society and expressing disillusionment at the current state of France.
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