Laurence Helié


Mark Sullivan writes:

Live film of the charming country-folk writer-singer Laurence Helié is rare, so her appearance on the CBC’s Acadian channel in New Brunswick is a welcome chance to appreciate her skill. She guested 9 November on the weekly show ‘Méchante Soirée’ which is filmed in a gastropub in the capital, Moncton.

Laurence has a particular skill in taking a middle-of-the-road song and reviving it by giving it her country tang, this time with ‘Allô maman bobo’ by the seventies songwriter Alain Souchon.

And here is her own hit ‘De tout et de rien’

Another elegant TV appearance, this time in duo, is here

To recall her best-known cover, Patrick Norman’s ‘Quand on est en amour’, I have posted a new slide-show on Youtube here.


Nadine Shah


Nadine  ShahIn the UK, Nadine Shah has often been compared by music journalists with the likes of P J Harvey and Nick Cave – not exactly artists that you would usually associate with this blog – but I’m indebted to “Gypsy, Death and You” for tweaking my inner indie demon and introducing me to her.

Born on Tyneside to Pakistani-Norweigian parents, as a teenager Nadine moved to London to carve out a career as a jazz-singer. Possessing a voice of frightening intensity (and a haunting style that is at least part-based on her father’s interpretation of traditional Ghazal and religious Sufi songs), she has wowed with her own unique style that conjures up stark, brooding aural landscapes.

Last year she released her critically-acclaimed debut album, “Love Your Dum and Mad” and an EP “Dreary town”, an incredibly poignant and moving song that charts the unravelling of a relationship, as it stales and spirals into the depths amidst recriminations, jealousy, empty wine bottles and cigarette butts…

Earlier this year Nadine re-recorded the song in French as “Ville Morose”, with new lyrics that provide an even darker attraction. This version received rave reviews amongst French Bloggers (here and here); even Nadine was moved to comment that the French lyrics not only gave the song a a different flavour but that it sounds even better in French than in English…

“Ville Morose” demonstrates that not only is Nadine Shah an exceptional songwriter in either English and French, but also adds further proof that a great song will always transcend a linguistic divide. More importantly it demonstrates that not only is she a fantastic singer with the most mesmerising of voices, she’s also a Chanteuse.


De Staat goes Serge


Dutch leftfield rockband De Staat released Vinticious Versions, an EP with radical different versions of their own songs. On one track they sound like D’Angelo, on this one they channel Beastie Boys and on the one below they re-create a Gainsbourgian atmosphere. On female vocals you hear Janne Schra. THIS is the ‘official’ version.


French Band Aid


With Vanessa Paradis, Carla Bruni, Louane, Zaz, Amandine Bourgeois, Les Plastiscines and Benjamin Biolay. And it’s for a good cause (anti-Ebola). So there.


Heidi Happy


Missed this in February, but now’s the good season for this video:

More on Swiss singer Heidi Happy HERE


One year. One track. One album


bestofthebestofthebestcoverThe end is nigh, so we’re ranking up the best of the best. Albums, tracks, videos…it’s listing time.
Instead of making Top 100s, 50s or 10s, here on FillesSourires we’re picking one. One French track, or one French album. That knocked us off of our feet in the past year. One album that we will treasure, defend, love, for the rest of our lives (probably).
With ‘we’, we don’t mean just the writing staff of FillesSourires (Guuzbourg, Maks, FransS, Steve, David, Sky) or regular contributors, no, we mean ALL of us. And you. Yes, you, reading this. You come by every now & then to check what’s up in the French-speaking pop world of FS. You fell in love with that one song, that one album in 2014. So write that up. One sentence is enough. Email us (guuzbourg at gmail dot com) before Dec 12.
We’re looking forward to the end.


Janne Schra sings Gainsbourg


IMG_1559Remember that one night, where the lovely Janne Schra sang various Gainsbourg songs together with Mick Harvey? No? You weren’t there? Well, miss Schra just uploaded a bunch of tracks recorded that night in Tilburg. Pictured above: Xanthe Waite (left) and Janne Schra, the back-up singers (with solo spots) during the tribute show. Pic by Gert Gering.
Have a listen:




Guestpost! Joris Stereo on Slowdance:
It’s always a bit disappointing when you think you’ve found a brand new band to get all excited about and then it turns out they’ve broken up already. And I wás getting pretty excited by Slowdance and their wave-y indiepop. They hail – or maybe rather: hailed – from Brooklyn but have a Filles Sourires-worthy singer in Quay Quinn-Settel (pictured). Even though they are no longer a band they still put out a self-titled debutalbum recently. In fact, they are giving it away for free HERE. The two songs especially relevant in the current context, the only two sung in French, are Trio and Disco D’ete. The latter being my current favourite. You can see the band do a third French-language song that’s slightly older and not on the record, called Les Loups, HERE.


Catherine Valéry


20141123 Catherine Valery ArtworkCatherine Valéry is yet another graduate from the production line that is Quebec’s l’École Nationale de la Chanson de Granby (Laura Babin, Véronique Bilodeau and Geneviève Racette have all featured in this very blog) who released her eponymous EP through Bandcamp back in May.

The EP is short and sweet (there’s only four songs here) but it’s full of beautifully crafted and seemingly effortless sensual, bitter-sweet chansons that are a perfect vehicle for Catherine’s crystalline yet velvety smooth voice, as the video for the haunting “Dors” shows.

In her native Quebec, Catherine is already beginning attract favourable reviews for her music. Hopefully Francophone Europe will begin to take notice.




20141123 A-Marie ArtworkAnne-Marie Pelletier (who goes by the name A-Marie) is an aspiring blues singer from Québec who recently released three tracks via Bandcamp that serve as a taster for her debut album, scheduled for release in the spring of next year.

The trio of tracks features two blues-influenced numbers “L’envie” and “Mon nord est au sud”, both of which enable A-Marie to demonstrate her rasping, honeyed vocals that I suspect were honed on the old whiskey and razor gargle trick.

The third song, “Maintenant” is very much in the slow-rock vein, the type of song that should allow a singer to highlight and flex their vocal muscles. It’s a test that A-Marie passes with considerable ease as the song is perfectly arranged for her voice, allowing her again to demonstrate her vocal dynamics and effortlessly ability hold a note during the soaring refrains.