Could this be the French discofied summer hit we’ve been waiting for? Camille and Siegried, together Poom (from Paris) make a great case:
Listen to their discofied covers of Boris Vian and Brassens (or Francoise Hardy, if you prefer her version):
Congratulations Carlotti! Mark Sullivan looks back at the career of that other Barbara:
Barbara Carlotti, who is 40 today, has one of the most beautiful voices on the planet. Lovers of francophone popular music are fortunate that she has chosen chanson in its 21st century form rather than classical music or the theatre. In any of these arts Barbara would excel; to listen to her talking or singing makes one realise how wonderful the human voice can be. Guuzbourg’s interview with her in Amsterdam in 2008, the only known one in English, is here.
Barbara Rose Carlotti, born on 2 July 1974, developed her singing talent at the Conservatoire Niedermayer at Issy-les-Moulineaux in the western Paris suburbs.
With her voice, style and mane of blonde hair she has an elegant, positive, open nature which makes everyone love her. This goes with what Telerama’s popular-music critic Valérie Lehoux calls her ‘subversive nonchalance’ – a laid-back style which conceals something deeper.
Barbara Carlotti has produced four albums since 2005. The first,‘Chansons’ with her sometime musical collaborator Bertrand Burgalat, is little known. There followed Les Lys brisés (2006), which brought her to public notice. Her song ‘Cannes’, which portrays the annual Film Festival, was used by Canal+. See her live version and as matched to film of the Festival.
This was followed by L’Ideal (2008), with some excellent songs. ‘Mademoiselle Opossum’, her entry for the Prix Constantin in 2008, in a typically elegant live performance:
She spent three years on her 2012 album, L’Amour, l’argent et le vent which Filles Sourires welcomed in April 2012 as ‘elegant, detailed and classy’.
This included time living in Japan, Brazil and India to seek influences. Valérie Lehoux wrote in her review: ‘Her songs, which remain as French as a Saint-Laurent dress, have picked up some of those sounds, creating a distinguishing foreignness.’ See the atmospheric video for ‘L’amour, l’argent et le vent’:
She has made some intriguing appearances in films, of an artistic rather than commercial type. See her in the short film ‘L’Italie’ here and as the world’s most glamorous tram conductor in a clip from ‘Après la rêve’, filmed on the Grenoble tramway system.
Barbara Carlotti’s concerts have a light-hearted atmosphere, in which the audience feels it is being taken on a journey of exploration, and wonder what she will do next. Typical is her October 2012 concert at La Cigale, Paris – the intriguing song ‘Ouais ouais ouais’ where she put on a mask, and an excellent version of ‘Dimanche d’automne’.
A longer ‘concert privé’ filmed about 2009 for a small invited audience in Paris, ‘Mezzo voce – Barbara Carlotti’ is now available here. This includes two short songs in English – between 30m00s and 35m00s in the 50-minute film.
Carlotti is not just an auteure-compositeure-interprète and occasional actress, but a creator of sounds and words, mixing voices with tones – a producer of and a voice for radio programmes, and is always in demand for that. So she does not need to focus on writing songs or performing all the time.
Recently she has worked with Christophe Blain, a creator of Bandes Dessinées, producing mixed shows of art and music, notably ‘La fille’. She has just finished producing and appearing in a long-running radio series on France-Inter, ‘Cosmic fantaisie’.
What can we look forward to from Barbara now that she is 40? She wrote on her facebook page on 25 June, as the ‘Cosmic fantaisie’ series reached its end, ‘Après 10 mois de fantaisie radiophonique on revient à la chanson’. We can hope for some new songs in the next few years. Interestingly, she shares a manager with La Grande Sophie – the experienced and highly-regarded Judith Levy.
She made a film in Amsterdam, but never performed. But yesterday, Vanessa Chantal Paradis conquered the Amsterdam Paradiso. As we knew she would. With 20 or so strong songs under her belt, with a stellar band (including Benjamin Biolay on keys, slide trombone, guitar and violin, plus Dutch producer/pianist Reyn Ouwehand) and her magnetic presence, VP gave a show that ranks among the strongest French performances I ever saw.
Vanessa doesn’t need fireworks or costume-changes, a simple video-wall and her red leather pants and red-and-black top were quite sufficient. And of course, her voice. Now, VP is no Aretha. But, as her live albums proved before, she can really sing. Confident in L’incendie (one the few songs she played from the masterpiece that is Divinidylle), sensual in La chanson des vieux cons (Paradiso fell silent, bar one heckler), flirty in Sunday Mondays.
The dub-reggae vibe of New Year was followed by an irey version of Joe le Taxi, ‘a song that is very special to me’, she said. One of the few ad-libs, but she did make contact with the audience (that consisted of ex-pats, 40-somethings, gays, even a father with his young daughter); high-fiving, smiling, making us sing along.
The encore ended with a festive version of one of my favourite Love Songs-tracks, the African-influenced Tu vois c’que je vois. Merci, she said, when it was over. ‘Lekker!’, Biolay tweeted, Dutch-style.
Paradis in Paradiso, ‘t was paradise.
From a tribute to Renaud, earlier I posted the Mistral Gagnant cover by Coeur de Pirate. More here.
Claire Denamur was one of the brightest shining stars of francophone pop from 2008 to 2012, and was justly celebrated by Filles Sourires. Indeed we called her ‘Our Claire’, so much was she liked at FS. So, where’s our Claire? She has disappeared from the music scene.
She was married in September 2013, as she told us on her Facebook page . Will she make a third album, promised in a facebook entry on 1 January 2013 ? We can only hope.
Meanwhile Mark offers this retrospective on the career of a most attractive and talented writer, singer and bandleader on stage.
Claire Denamur stands out among French writer-singers for her American style. She looks and sounds different from both her French compatriots and the Quebecoises who feature so often on FS. Born in 1984, Claire spent 10 years between the ages 5 of 15 living in the USA where her father was working. Bilingual, the American upbringing is very evident, yet her writing offers lyrics which are well ahead of the typical US songwriter. Claire explained how American rock bands have influenced her music, how she developed her skills, and what she aims to do in her songwriting, in an interview for Canal+ in 2012.
Claire’s first album was issued in 2009 – the annus mirabilis which also saw a number of other auteures-compositrices-interprètes who lead bands on stage, notably La Grande Sophie and Coeur de Pirate, first reach the top.
Here is an early hit, ‘Prince Charmant’
Her second album, ‘Vagabonde’, was recorded in Montreal in 2011, and soon after it came out she appeared on ‘Taratata’ to sing its hit single ‘Bang bang bang’ .
The best studio performances by Claire are from 2012, on Acoustic TV5 Monde – see the mesmeric ‘34 Septembre’ here
Claire has not sung much in English, but her remarkable cover, solo with her own guitar, of Lana del Rey’s ‘Video Games’.
A dramatic Denamur performance, showing her at the height of her powers, was at the Fête de Wallonie concert at Liège on 18 September 2011.
On Françoise Hardy’s 70th birthday, 17 January 2014, Swiss Radio played at hourly intervals 11 parts of an interview with her which had been recorded by Valérie Ogier of RTS specially for the day. In the first section, in which Françoise discusses how she won her first recording contract in November 1961, she reveals that her model was the electric guitar style of the Shadows. Her dream of being the guitar-playing lead singer of a band like the Shadows she never quite achieved, as she was soon working with orchestras and arrangers. But Claire Denamur at Liège, fronting a male band, tall and slim with long hair and wearing a trouser suit – a look largely invented by Françoise – seems to represent Francoise’s original ideal, fifty years on.