Archive for the ‘Musique’ Category


Feu! Chatterton


A Parisian band namechecking a suicidal English poet who was honoured by Gainsbourg sure grabs my attention. Fierce French rock with classic chanson vibes. Bashung backed by Arcade Fire, anyone? They count Television, Suicide and Serge G. as influences, when I watch this clip I feel the same excitement way back when I first heard dEUS. Feu! Chatterton are fans of poets like Baudelaire and Aragon, and they dress like dandy’s, with suits and thin moustaches. Suave. More on Soundcloud. Nice French article here.


Mannekijn vs Stromae


Great discovery by Tess from Het Chanson Offensief: Dutch trio Mannekijn.
Two of the girls, Oukje and Camilla got to know each other via The Kyteman Orchestra (a big group of musicians led by producer Colin ‘Kyteman’ Benders, playing music bordering on jazz, impro, hip hop and even classical), pianist Vera joined later. Oukje sang in various langauges during her classical training, French strikes her as a very poetic language and one that bridges the gap between the days of yore and the modern age.
Mannekijn (Old Dutch word for ‘Little man’) entered the Concours the la Chanson competition in Holland, and sang a version of La Chanson de Vieux Amants (Brel) and a great rework of Stromae’s Papaoutai, shown below. Love those sweeping strings, it’s just as rousing as the original version.
As I understand it from the little interview, Mannekijn wants to sing in Dutch, not in French, but this version will stay on the setlist for a while.


Asteroids Galaxy Tour versus Jacqueline Taieb


That was then:

This is now:




It’s probably safe to say that Montreal duo Forêt’s 2013 eponymous debut album was incredibly (well reviewed) and garnering award nominations from Quebec industry associations ADISQ and GAMIC.

And now Émilie Laforest and partner Joseph Marchand are back with “Un secret”, available as a free download via bandcamp and which serves as a teaser for the band’s second album that the pair are busily working on in the studio.

Once again, the song paints a dark and disturbing aural landscape, yet one that is at the same time unnervingly reassuring and comforting – walking as does the tightrope between our subconscious dreams and nightmares.

Renowned poet Kim Doré again provides the ethereal lyrics, while Émilie’s haunting vocals adds the texture to which Joseph Marchand weaves an evocative soundtrack – all Staccato drums and high-hat over which are laid rich swirling synthesisers and guitar…


Monogrenade featuring Marie-Pierre Arthur


Yes, Marie-Pierre Arthur, star of many appreciative posts on this blog, teams up with one of Canada’s most prolific rock bands, Monogrenade. The result is here, and downloadable for free!




201407xx Magdalen Portrait 1

According to Wikipedia, the defining characteristic of Chanson is that it focuses on the French language as both vehicle and instrument. In which case it is fair to say that young Strasbourg-based singer-songwriter, Magdalen, is most definitely a Chanteuse.

“En vers et contre tout” is her crowd-funded debut album. It’s an intriguing and multi-faceted work, weaving together as it does electro-pop and electronica, alongside indie, acoustic pop and hip-hop beats.

The album’s title “En vers et contre tout” is a play on the phrase “envers et contre tout” (“against all odds”) – translated into English it becomes “In verse and against all,” which is very apt as this is a challenging, confrontational – and quite adult – an album. Even iTunes here in the States has managed to plaster a ‘Parental Advisory Explicit Content’ sticker on the front.

Magdalen manages to expertly craft rhythms with challenging and forthright lyricism, tackling sexism head-on; “Demi-molle” and “Pas dans ma bouche” need no explanation.

But it’s not all about confrontation; “Faveur d’exception” is simply a beautiful love song. The chorus could quite easily segue in and out of “Ouvre ton cœur!” from Catherine Leduc’s outstanding “Rookie”, while the haunting acoustic number; “Supplique à larmes” explores the futility and all-consuming nature of desire.

En vers et contre tout” is a very personal album and one that has been crafted without compromise… It’s also an album of Chansons in the truest sense. The lyrics – paroles – and Magdalen’s distinctive and transfixing vocals are the focal point throughout this impressive collection of songs.


Eva sur Seine


Warm summer evenings mixed with cool jazz. Throw-in a few French Chansons with fresh arrangements and add some re-vamped Django Reinhardt classics. What’s not to like?

That’s the premise of Eva Sur Seine, a collaboration of Dutch musicians, the jazz trio the Thomas Baggerman Trio and Chaunteuse Eva Scholten.

The foursome, whose repertoire comprises not only French Chansons and Jazz standards, but also contemporary songs as well as the aforementioned reworking of Django Reinhardt, released their first eponymous EP last year and followed up with a collection of their take on some Django Reinhardt standards, “Singin’ Django” earlier this year.

Their collaboration has been incredibly well received and the band are currently regarded as one of the most promising talents off the burgeoning Dutch jazz scene.

As befits a Jazz-singer, Eva Scholten has a both a voice and vocal range that is well worth listening out, for as can heard here on their reworking of Michel Fugain’s “Une Belle Histoire.”

Here’s a video of their take on Charles Aznavour’s “Je me voyais déjà” – it’s very enjoyable and makes me yearn for a trip to one of those renowned European jazz festivals, especially with Eva moonlighting in the vocal quartet YesSisterJazzSister.


New Coralie Clément single


5271-coralie-clement-pochette-album-la-belle-affaire-premier-single-extraitHappy Bastille-day! And to celebrate Quatorze Juillet, here’s the new single of the guardian angel of this blog. October 6 is the day every real Filles Sourires-fan should mark, ’cause then the new Coralie Clément-album drops. On it, she duets with her brother Benjamin (a reprise of A La Longue, from the HOME-album), and she obviously took some notes of her big bro while writing this new, reggae-tinged single.

Coralie Clement – La Belle Affaire


Barbara Carlotti at 40


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.

Meanwhile she has issued a EP of songs from her and Bain’s ‘Cosmic fantaisie’. Two can be heard here: ‘Les yeux au ciel’ and ‘Du mouvement’ .

Bonus clip:




Passiflora is a gypsy-folk band from Costa Rica, with mostly female members. I bumped into them while searching for music from Costa Rica for a weekly radio column (on the might KX Radio, every wednesday, 8.15 am Amsterdam time). As you know, the Dutch football team plays Costa Rica next Saturday, that’s what triggered my search.
Passiflora sing in Spanish, English and, yes, French. Coeur Privé is a quiet, multi-voiced track that’s in the vein of Emily Loizeau – the English tracks have a more American, almost poppy feel. Read a profile on the band HERE. Rather odd interview HERE. Listen to another version of the French track HERE.