Lulu Gainsbourg

Serge’s youngest son and pianist Lulu released an EP with jazz-reworks of his dad’s songs. Featuring Richard Bona (vocals), Angelo Debarre (guitar, he plays in the Vie Heroique-movie too), Terri Lyne Carrington (drums), Gil Goldstein (accordion), James Genus (bass) and Stan Harrison (sax, he played on Serge’s You’re Under Arrest-album). Most of these players studied or teach at Boston’s Berklee College. Lulu’s a student there. It’s an impressive album, with impressive guests. Really dig the manouche-version of Le poinçonneur des Lilas and the La Javanaise-version with Bona. But we have to wait for the really good stuff:  for his album with songs by Serge, Lulu invited Scarlett Johansson, Vanessa Paradis & Johnny Depp (who will sing La ballade de Melody Nelson), Iggy Pop, Sean Lennon, Rufus Wainwright and Marianne Faithfull. Whoa. Charlotte, Bambou and Jane do not contribute, Lulu said didn’t want to include family on his album.
The Gainsbourg name sure can get you in touch with big names, Charlotte can testify to that. But Charlotte’s really talented too, as her movies and her most recent albums prove. Lulu is a fine pianist, he was a musical director for a Gainsbourg-tribute in Israel and he composed songs for Marc Lavoine. He considers his album a gift to his dad, whom he lost at 5. There’s no shame in honouring your dad, and trying to make a name for yourself via his beautiful songs, I think. Really looking forward to the album.
See Lulu play live here. See Serge and Lulu here.

Lulu Gainsbourg & Richard Bona – La javanaise

Tributes Continue

It’s de rigueur nowadays: You are not an artist if there’s no tribute album made for you. In recent months we saw a Jacno tribute, a Boby Lapointe tribute and a tribute to Bashung. And now there is a Maxim Le Forestier tribute album, called “La Maison Bleue”. Le Forestier never gained popularity outside France (as far as I know), but in France he is respected for his chansons for almost 40 years. In 1971 he spent some time in the hippie scene of San Francisco, writing a song about it with the same name, but everyone knows it as “La Maison Bleue“. So that explains the title of this tribute, with only tracks of Le Forestier’s debut album from 1972, “Mon Frère”.
It includes reprises by Salvatore Adamo and Calogero, Filles Sourires-fans should rejoice over contributions by Daphné and Emily Loizeau. But for the Filles Sourires I choose a song by our beloved La Fiancée.

La Fiancée – La Rouille
Maxime Le Forestier – La Rouille

Thomas Dutronc

The son of Françoise Hardy and Jacques Dutronc released a very good new single today, Demain. It’s the first track from the upcoming new album (out in October), the follow up to the highly succesful Comme un manouche sans guitare. The Django-vibe’s still there, but he makes it completely his own.

Thomas Dutronc – Demain

Elsa Kopf

Her dad’s a language professor. Her mom is a ‘parolière’ for Zazie and Calogero. No wonder beautiful blonde Elsa Kopf sings in different languages. On her debut album, two songs are in French. One earned her ‘prix Delanoë’, the other is even better. The picture on the left is stolen from this photostream on Flickr, that features a lot more great pics of Elsa. If her pics and this song make you want to put on extremely soft sweaters and roll around in a padded room with fluffy towels and pink wallpaper – you know exactly what I’ve done the last few days. Sweet, innocent, sexy, superlovely, it’s all that.

Elsa Kopf – Larmes de caramel

Shahar Even Tzur

Gainsbourg sung in Hebrew – the tribute album by Israeli popstar Shahar Even Tzur isn’t the first time Serge’s songs are sung in that language, but it still is remarkable. There was a tribute to SG in Israel last year (see here), I don’t think Even Tzur was part of that one. And on Youtube I found this. And this. Shahar translated 10 songs to Hebrew, ranging from Sorry Angel to several Melody Nelson tracks, and gave ‘m a rocking make-over.  Sometimes it works,  sometimes it doesn’t.Chez les ye-yes, with it’s klezmer-references, works best.

As you know, Gainsbourg’s real name is Lucien Ginzburg, his parents were Russian jews. Serge taught children of concentration camp survivors (there’s a very moving scene in the Vie Heroique movie about this), wrote a pro-Israel track in 1967, at the start of the 6 Day War. There’s of course the Rock Around the Bunker-album, a concept-album about Nazi occupation. But judaism or overt jewish references were never a big part of Gainsbourgs work. To be honest, I only found out Serge was a jew when John Zorn released his tribute-album in 1997. My guess is that the Israeli-tributes have little to do with judaism, but more with the quality of Serge’s songs. Sung in Spanish, Italian, Russian, French, Dutch or Hebrew, they’re still brilliant.

I’ve been trying to find more info about the Serge-tribute by Shahar, but I don’t read Hebrew and there’s a lot of articles to be found anyway. If you know more, please leave a comment.

Shahar Even Tzur – Chez les ye-yes

See Shahar play Serge covers live here and here. Listen to the full album on Spotify.

Marième Ndiaye

Yet another brand new Gainsbourg-cover, France Gall’s Laisse tomber les filles is re-vamped by Canadian singer Marième Ndiaye. Who has Senegalese roots and is called the ‘black pearl’ of Quebec hiphopband CEA (who used a big part of Initials BB for a song). Her solo-debut sports hiphop-, soul- and some African-influences. Laisse tomber les filles isn’t the only cover, there’s a version of Françoise Hardy’s Tous les garçons et les filles, and Mitsou’s Dis mois dis mois. Jean-Pierre Ferland, writer of Le chat du café des artistes (covered by Charlotte Gainsbourg on her last album), turns up for a duet. Old meets new, meets urban styles, and blends in quite easily. I’m not saying Marième is breaking new grounds, but she has a pleasant voice, looks great and her music is sunny. That’s how we like it here at FS HQ, when the rain pours down. Summer’s what you make it.

Marième – Laisse tomber les filles
(see video)