DYE featuring Angie David

This track sounds like an Elli & Jacno cover, it may even be one without me recognising. Anyhoo, DyE is the nom de plume of French producer Juan de Guillebon, who gained notoriety via this extreme video of his track Fantasy. 47 million views, and counting. The new album Cocktail Citron is out on the hip Parisian label Tigersushi. DyE stands for neon-coloured neo-disco – if you’re into Erol Alkan, Joakim, Egyptian Lover (he’s on the new album as well), this is your thing. The title track is sung by one Angie David (this girl?), a song that makes you want to year a hot pink bikini and make l’amour a la plage. Read more here.

Laura Babin

Tranquillement is the self-funded debut offering from singer-songwriter Laura Babin and features five contemporary and atmospheric songs that embrace pop as well the country and folk roots of “Americana”, which more than hint at the versatility and talent of this young Québecoise.

Standout tracks are the openner, “Sans sommeil”, a contemporary pop-folk song, but one that takes inspiration from South of the Border. The rhythm, coupled with a deliciously reverbed and muddied electric guitar is reminiscent of both Angel Olsen and Laura Viers, and “Sur La Route”, Laura’s Jack Kerouac moment. Apparently influenced by the long bus journey from Gaspésie to Montréal; the gentle rhythm pleasantly passes away the time until we arrive at the journey’s end.

However, most importantly, the songs serve as an introduction to the clarity, power, range and – yes – seductiveness of Laura’s voice… At times reminiscent of both Marianne Bel and Laurence Hélie (who similarly ploughs that rich seam of Americana from both north and south of the 49th), this is a voice so velvety smooth you’d swear it was molded from finest Swiss chocolate…

Thanks Steve!

Klô Pelgag

And another guestpost by David!
What a pleasant surprise…..a few weeks ago, posting on Grenadine, watching her Marion video, another suggested video was for the work of another Quebec native, Klo Pelgag‘s “Comme des Rames”. Beautiful song, playful smile at the end. Where to begin? Klô Pelgag (an unlikely contraction of her mellifluous born-name Chloe Pelletier-Gagnon) works hard to make art, crafting songs in an effort she describes as creating “landscapes for the blind”.
She has help from her brother, Matthieu (colorful and intricate arrangements), and also from a gang of talented and pretty friends (meaning the young ladies, of course). Perhaps the closest thing I can recall to Klô’s debut album from last year, “L’alchimie des monstres”, blending theater and music, is the work of Amelie-Les-Crayons (amiably described as a “nut”, and said to be very fun to see in concert). While Klô’s music touches dark areas, it never loses its sense of fun – one article draws a comparison to Maurice Sendak. Her voice, at times, reminds me of another Chloe, Chloe Lacasse (who’s second album is due out in a few weeks), and La fièvre des fleurs with its playful hop in range reminded me a bit of Ingrid St-Pierre. Klô’s received a fair amount of positive press – here’s a nice article that provides a bit of background.

Klô and her merry band are now in Europe touring, complete with Madmoizelle video, and their CD has now been released in France. (If you happen to go see them, Klô encourages you to come dressed wild.) “Comme des Rames” and “La fievre des fleurs” are something special, but I enjoy it all. Some of the songs stretched a bit too far for my ear to follow initially, rewarding at second listen, part of the fun as Klô with her friends takes us down an unsuspected path.

Lena Luce

8a45e412a3025Guestpost by David!
‘Once again going through the internet equivalent of the used music racks, I came across an artist I missed. Lena Luce is an old-fashioned style chanteuse, with short skirt, heels, and a smile in her voice. Charming. Her first album, “Metropolitaine”, came out last year, and can be found on Spotify.
Here’s a nice interview from Le Courrier Picard (they liked Lena enough to write about her twice), where they describe the album as organized as a walk through Paris, a walk from old to new, and a bit about growing up. Her training in voice rings clear from the first notes, carrying her tunes with an easy sway, as in Lamarck – Dans le Peau.
Reminds me a bit of a Filles Sourires favorite, Austine, but her voice is perhaps closer to Lisa Portelli’s. Good company on a cold winter’s day.’ Listen to Lena cover Coeur de Pirate (and more) on Soundcloud.

Cléa Vincent

Cléa Vincent is ‘France Gall impregnated by Electronic Dance Music-culture’, the ‘Baby Pop of the 10s’ or just ‘young, willing and able’, just like the Minnie Riperton song. She got help from Raphael Léger, of Tahiti 80 fame, and she just released a very, very charming EP with synthified, sun-kissed tracks (sung ‘desafinado’, jus’ like Lio, Isabelle Antena, Elli Medeiros…) that make you long for cocktails, hot summer nights and a dancefloor swarming with coule people. Check out the video, listen to the songs on Bandcamp. But steer clear of that gawdafwul Ace of Base-cover.

‘Quand on est en amour’ 1984-2014

Mark Sullivan looks at the 30-year history of a classic song

‘Quand on est en amour’ is the best-known song written by the Quebec writer and singer of country music Patrick Norman, stage name of Yvon Éthier, born in 1946 in Montréal. He wrote it in 1984, and despite its country-folk character he seems to have performed it from the start in a Middle-of-the-Road style. Its success led him in 1987 to write an English-language version, ‘Only love sets you free’ with rather different lyrics.

Here is Patrick Norman singing in the late 1980s first ‘Quand on est en amour’ and then returning to the stage to sing ‘Only love sets you free’. (You can tell the era from the hairstyles.)

[Norman’s then rather louche looks recall for British viewers the fabled Peter Sarstedt of ‘Where do you go to my lovely ?’ fame]

‘Quand on est en amour’, originally a country song, was thus ‘Barry-Manilowed’ to a degree by its own composer. So it is perhaps not surprising that it went on to be covered by crooners like Frank Michael (Belgium’s Andy Williams), the rock-turned-MoR singer Marie-Chantal Toupin and the mainstream country singer Guylaine Tanguay.

Norman himself has not greatly changed his own interpretation, as shown here in 2009 (no longer looking like Peter Sarstedt).

‘Quand on est en amour’, having become an overplayed MoR standard, was ripe for humorous satire. What looked like the ultimate fate of the song was the enjoyable performance by the satirist Gilles Gauthier in early 2000s. He sang lines in voices imitating some well-known people of the time – Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Pope Jean-Paul II (beautifully done), Charles Aznavour, Peter Falk as Colombo, Bernard Landry the Parti Québecois Prime Minister in 2001-2003, and a wonderful lampoon of the much-mocked René Angelil, husband and manager of Céline Dion.

With this heritage, it was very brave of Laurence Hélie to take the song and for the first time create a true country-folk version in her debut album of 2010, where it is the final song. Her voice is perfect for the straightforward lyrics, and the arrangement blows away the MoR tone and image that the song had acquired.

The lyric, which I have translated directly into English of ‘Quand on est en amour’ is below Laurence Hélie’s fine performance here:

You can find my translation among the comments.