From ‘La Donna Summer blanche’ to ‘Bílá Donna Summer’

(That’s ‘The White Donna Summer’ in French and Czech)

GOTGE readers may have been aware of the mentioning, in the post relating to that other ‘project’, ‘The Radio Operators’, of Isabelle Morizet’s younger sister, Sophia, to whom, after I’d tumbled to the realisation that she had an identifiable E-Mail address back in early last year – when I was making a great raft of Isabelle/Carene/Karen-related discoveries – I perhaps gave an almighty shock when I called her sister ‘La Donna Summer blanche’, noting how – in the immediate aftermath of the Carene-to-Karen transformation – she really turned on the ‘smoulder factor’ in her photo shoots as the newly-dubbed ‘La Sexy Star du Disco Français’ (which doesn’t exactly take much translation!) very similar manner to Donna Summer’s famous raunchiness.

I was, just yesterday, trying to track down the Web page I once encountered with the exact date of Carene Cheryl’s live performance of ‘Ne raccroche pas, je t’aime’ on ‘Musique and music’, which I seemed to have lost for some months now and, in the process, to try and cross-reference any dates of TV appearances by Carene with those of Valérie Čižmárová, mentioned on Aleš Korábek’s fan site, to see if I could get an exact match – and indeed, I did, in the case of, respectively, Carene’s appearance on the Saturday daytime show, ‘Le samedi est à vous’ (a back then somewhat innovative show, whereby viewers phoned in with their choices of what to watch during the daytime schedule), performing ‘Samedi, dimanche et fêtes’ and Valérie’s appearance, later that day, on the celebrity game show, ‘Vtipnejší vyhráva’, performing ‘Jeho laskominy’, ‘Veterán’ and ‘Správnej hoch’, on 12th June 1976….

(Incidentally, here is an ideal ‘excuse’ to embed the collection of Valérie’s singles from 1974 to 1981 on Spotify, which features the first and last of those tracks performed on ‘Vtipnejší vyhráva’. It is quite a contrast in these female artists who both started their respective recording careers aged seventeen that Carene’s persona tended to be rather more smiling than that of the early days of Karen – all eye-narrowing directly into the camera – whereas the cover photo of Valérie’s earlier singles collection has that levelling of ‘those eyes’ into the camera, while that of the later singles collection shows Valérie breaking out into one of the most beautiful smiles ever captured in a Pop Music-related photo.)

….when, in the course of tracking the latter page down under the search term ‘Aleš Korábek Valérie Čižmárová’, I just happened to encounter a reference to my own Blog in the search listings. I wondered if just searching on Valérie’s name alone would also bring the GOTGE Blog up in the search listings, so did a search on that and found out that there was another very newly-uploaded video by ‘591010710’ (whom I now know to be Aleš Korábek) of a Valérie Čižmárová recording that I had hitherto not encountered – specifically, ‘Tikot všech hodin’, which, so it transpired, is a cover of what had been, to me, a completely unknown Donna Summer/Giorgio Moroder collaboration, ‘Wasted’ (I’m utterly mystified why a release like this should be so unfamiliar to me!). The Czech-language lyrics were written by R. Bergman and the accompaniment was from Pražské Smyčce, under J. Hrábek and it was recorded on 3rd January 1977.

Interestingly enough, had this beautiful (has there ever been a more beautiful song sung by a more beautiful woman than this?) almost mesmerising ‘mystery track’ not been falsely described as ‘Huascarán’ when I was, back in the Summer, getting together my Myspace GOTGE playlist, I would never have found out about Valérie’s tribute song to the deaths of the mountaineers of the Czechoslovak Expedition to Peru on 31st May 1970, so, in a way, I’m very glad about that error!

So, in short, it appears that, if one wanted to find a real ‘White Donna Summer’ from the 1970s (since I am now not sure that my epithet for the early ‘Karen’ really did apply) one should be looking in Czechoslovakia rather than France. In many ways, actually, I think Valérie’s voice was more ‘Soulful’ than Donna’s in their respective renditions. Maybe they’re having a sing-off somewhere in Heaven to determine who’s going to wear the ‘Soulfulness’ Crown…and what a heavenly song with which to do it!

It would also appear, therefore, that Valérie’s ‘Léta letí’ from some six years previously (recorded on 5th December 1970, music by Moroder/Rainford, Czech-language lyrics by Vladimír Poštulka and accompaniment from Taneční Orchestr Čs. Rozhlasu, under Josef Vobruba) had not been the only connection she’d had with Giorgio Moroder.


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