His first experience of theatre was life itself, seeing a succession of political regimes. The Brezhnev era, with its fill of absurdity and lack of surprises, in a provincial Soviet town. The Gorbachev period, that smashed the country, its history, the daily life of millions of people, and their mentality, to smithereens.
Vadim Piankov began studying theatre in the town of Saratov at a time when most young people of his generation were dreaming of becoming a businessman or gangster. But he did not stop there, going on to the Russian capital to attend the best cinema school in the country, the VGIK. It was then that he made an encounter that would transform his life. The work of Jacques Brel opened a new poetic world to him – rebellious, sarcastic, full of love and compassion, disdain and protest.
Thanks to the songs of Brel, Vadim became a Francophone and Francophile. He sang his first Russian translations of Brel before intrigued audiences on the Old Arbat, the Moscow street that in the days of “perestroika” became a place of uncensored artistic expression. Singing allowed him to continue his studies, to deepen his talents as a cultural go-between, and to encounter new audiences.
Next came the Yeltsin era, brimming with opportunities for those prepared to venture out. Vadim went off to discover the mist-filled country of Jacques Brel, singing in Brussels coffee shops and appearing on the Belgian stage. By translating the rebel of the “flat country” into the language of the steppes, he fused in his profoundly Slavic soul two different cultural heritages: passionate and poetic, Russian and French.
He did not go unnoticed. In 1999, the Belgian television network RTBF chose him to sing Brel’s « Ne me quitte pas », on the programme « Song of the Century ».
Vadim Piankov’s repertoire became richer, and he recorded CDs based on the texts of Alfred de Musset, Louis Aragon, Gérard de Nerval, Paul Verlaine, Jean Cocteau, Paul Eluard, Guillaume Apollinaire, Brassens et Barbara, Vissotsky et Okoudjava... and, of course, his own compositions.
Belgium became too small for this artist-without-borders, so he transferred his home base to France and travels constantly… PARIS-MOSCOW-BRUSSELS....