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Charles Aznavour

Sometimes described as "France's Frank Sinatra",Aznavour sings frequently about love. He has written musicals and about a thousand songs, and made more than one hundred records. Aznavour's voice is shaded towards the tenor range, but possesses the low range and coloration more typical of a baritone, contributing to his unique sound. Aznavour speaks and sings in many languages (French, English, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian, Armenian, Portuguese, Neapolitan), which has helped him perform at Carnegie Hall, in the USA, and other major venues around the world. He also recorded at least one song from the 18th century Armenian poet Sayat Nova, and a popular song, Im Yarein Armenian. Que C'est Triste Venise, sung in French, Italian (Com'è Triste Venezia), Spanish (Venecia Sin Ti), English (How Sad Venice Can Be), and German (Venedig in Grau), is one of Aznavour's most famous multilingual songs.



In 1974, Aznavour became a major success in the United Kingdom where his song "She" went to Number One in the charts. His other well-known song in the UK was "Dance in the Old Fashioned Way".

At the start of autumn in 2006, Aznavour initiated his farewell tour, performing in the US and Canada, and earning very positive reviews. Aznavour started 2007 with concerts all over Japan and Asia. The second half of 2007 saw Aznavour return to Paris for over 20 shows at the Palais des Congrès in Paris, followed by more touring in Belgium, the Netherlands, and the rest of France. He has repeatedly stated that this farewell tour, health permitting, will likely last beyond 2010. At 89, Aznavour is in excellent health, although admittedly 60 years on stage have made him "a little hard of hearing".He still sings in multiple languages and without persistent use of teleprompters, but typically sticks to just two or three (French and English being the primary two, with Spanish or Italian being the third) during most concerts.On 30 September 2006, Aznavour performed a major concert in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia to start off  the cultural season "Arménie mon amie" in France. Armenian president Robert Kocharyan and French president Jacques Chirac, at the time on an official visit to Armenia, were in front-row attendance.

Since the 1988 earthquake in Armenia, Aznavour has been helping the country through his charity, Aznavour for Armenia. Together with his brother in-law and co-author Georges Garvarentz he wrote the song "Pour toi Arménie", which was performed by a group of famous French artists and topped the charts for 18 weeks. There is a square named after him in central Yerevan on Abovian Street, and a statue erected in Gyumri, which saw the most lives lost in the earthquake. In 1995 Aznavour was appointed an Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Armenia to UNESCO. Aznavour is a member of the Armenia Fund International Board of Trustees. The organization has rendered more than $150 million in humanitarian aid and infrastructure development assistance to Armenia since 1992. He was appointed as "Officier" (Officer) of the Légion d'honneur in 1997.

His musicality and fame abroad is present in many other areas of pop culture. Aznavour's name was used as the basis for the name of the character Char Aznable by Yoshiyuki Tomino in his 1979 mecha anime series, Mobile Suit Gundam. His song "Parce Que Tu Crois" was sampled by Hip Hop producer Dr. Dre for the song "What's the Difference" (feat. Eminem & Xzibit), from his album 2001. He is mentioned in The Psychedelic Furs song "Sister Europe" ("The radio upon the floor/ is stupid, it plays Aznavour").

He has often joked about his physicality, the most infamous feature of which is his limited height; he stands only 160 cm (5 ft 3 in) tall, and Aznavour has made this a source of self-deprecating humour over the years.

Aznavour has been increasingly involved in French, Armenian and international politics as his career has progressed. During the 2002 French presidential elections, when radical right-wing nationalist Jean-Marie Le Pen of the National Front made it into the runoff election, facing incumbent Jacques Chirac, Aznavour signed the "Vive la France" petition, and called on all French to "sing the Marseillaise" in protest. Chirac, a personal friend of Aznavour's, ended up winning in a landslide, carrying over 82% of the vote.

Along with holding the mostly ceremonial title of French ambassador-at-large to Armenia, Aznavour agreed to hold the position of Ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland on 12 February 2009:

"First I hesitated, as it is not an easy task. Then I thought that what is important for Armenia is important for us. I have accepted the proposal with love, happiness and feeling of deep dignity".

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