Claire Keim

No shortage of gorgeous French actresses who moonlight as a singer. Claire Keim has an impressive filmography (here), and sang before, for instance en duo with Marc Lavoine (here). The mother of one (and girlfriend of footballeur Bixente Lizarazu) recorded an album that will be released in November. The first single is a pleasent strummer, that fits Claire’s fragile voice. There’s a Francis Cabrel-song on the album, but most songs she wrote all by herself. See the video for ça depend here. Oh, and the next French actress to start a recording career is Mélanie Laurent. Her album will be out next spring.

Claire Keim – ça depend

Lou Doillon

Jane Birkin’s youngest daughter Lou Doillon in a video for French fashion designer Vanessa Bruno. Shame they did not use French music, though Efterklang is a great band.


Madjo named herself after two former owners of the house she was raised in,  Madeleine and Joseph. There’s an African bloodline in her family and although she’s from France (Evian), she’s just not that into chansons. She likes dusty rootsrock (Calexico, Iron and Wine), moody electronica (Massive Attack, Anja Garbarek) and the grand dames of soul (Billie, Nina). She made an impression with her first EP, released last year, sporting a Leadbelly cover. On her first album, just out, she sings in French and English, with a voice that reminds me of Yael Naim. The music is a mix of the influences just mentioned, but because of her remarkable voice and the great production (Sebastien Lafargue, who also worked with Valerie Leuilliot), Trapdoor is an album you really would want to hear. Of course I wish she sang in French some more. But, contrary to other French singers, the English songs are as good as the French ones.

Madjo – Cracheur de feu

Stephanie Lapointe

Canadian hottie Stephanie Lapointe revisiting Eileen’s French version of These Boots are Made for Walking. You watch the video. You check the mp3, for sale in the Canadian iTunes store. You listen close: the mp3 sounds flat. As badly mastered as the sound in the Youtube-video (the song was done for Canadian tv-show Les Rescapés). There are words for this: Odd. Cheap. Shameful.  Rip-off. All of those word apply. But seeing Steph in a short dress and cowboyboots… so nice. So we’ll let is pass. This time.
Our Canadian correspondent Ralph send great links to other Canadian singers doing Ces bottes. See Dominique Michel, Marie-Mai and Gabrielle Destroismaisons.

Stephanie Lapointe – Ces bottes sont faites pour marcher

5 Years of Filles: Mr. A Balladeer & Mme. Flora Dolores

Five years ago, I started blogging about sweet sighing French chanteuses. What I’ve learned so far is that you can go to jail for that. That Google can delete your blog because you post mp3s of artists very few people have heard of. That almost all of those chanteuses are drop dead gorgeous, and if you meet them, they want you to kiss them. On the cheek. Several times. I’ve learned that fans of sweet sighing chanteuses live all over the world. Those fans send nice, appreciative emails. They help you build your blog. They send you fantastic music. They visit your dj-gigs with their mistresses. I’ve learned that blogging about French music costs money. That you forget about that the second Coralie, Carla, Camille or any of the girls opens her mouth. I’ve learned that there are labels and artists out there who love and understand blogs and bloggers.
And I have learned that if you ask nicely, artists are prepared to fulfill your wildest fantasy. They write and record Christmas-songs for you. Or, in the case of Mr A Balladeer and the ultra-charming Mme Flora Dolores, they will record a gorgeous duet, especially for you. And all the readers of your blog.
Joyeux anniversaire!

Mr. A Balladeer & Mme. Flora Dolores – 10 Things to Win You Over (10 façons de te rabaisser)

Credits: recorded and mixed by Arno Dreef. French translation by Natasha Cloutier and Marianne Dissard. Listen to the original version here. Cover made by Wilbert Leering.

Lilian Hak

Guestpost from Adrian (Different Class Radio) about Dutch chanteuse Lilian Hak. Who does not sing in French (she utters a few words in the song posted below), but she promised she will give it a go!

Every so often a record comes along whose music makes you feel like you’ve been stunned by a kiss. Old Powder New Guns by Dutch chanteuse Lilian Hak is such a disc. Influenced by old films and a desire to make this epic record, a month spent in Bangkok brought everything to the surface in a rush of inspiration realised. An earlier album was electronica-based (see example here) but this is a quantum leap forward, exploding with ideas and pizzazz. On the surface, this record may wear its forties and fifties influences on its sleeve, but, as the title suggests, the old powder is being fired from a new gun.

The lovechild of Rita Hayworth and Julie London with Marge Simpson’s hair, and Barbara Morgenstern playing on a Dansette in the background, Lilian has made a supremely joyful recording. Built-up samples give way to smoky vocals. It’s Havana in the fifties; it’s Paris as Miles Davis hits the town; it’s absolutely now. (See video here)

Stand-out track Never Speak to Strangers is the soundtrack to an unmade Bond film, one where you want the bad girls to kill 007. With stabbing brass, sweeping strings and soaring vocals, you can almost taste the kick of the vermouth in the martini. Sleeping on the Ceiling is In the Mood for Love set in Utrecht. This record is as jazz-cool as John Cassavetes in ‘Johnny Staccato’. Dress up; this is the soundtrack to your autumn. Prepare to be smitten.

For an interview with Lilian in English, please listen to the You and the Night and the Music show on Different Class Radio.

Lilian Hak – Sleeping on the Ceiling