Claire Denamur

Claire Denamur was one of the brightest shining stars of francophone pop from 2008 to 2012, and was justly celebrated by Filles Sourires. Indeed we called her ‘Our Claire’, so much was she liked at FS. So, where’s our Claire? She has disappeared from the music scene.

She was married in September 2013, as she told us on her Facebook page . Will she make a third album, promised in a facebook entry on 1 January 2013 ? We can only hope.

Meanwhile Mark offers this retrospective on the career of a most attractive and talented writer, singer and bandleader on stage.


Claire Denamur stands out among French writer-singers for her American style. She looks and sounds different from both her French compatriots and the Quebecoises who feature so often on FS. Born in 1984, Claire spent 10 years between the ages 5 of 15 living in the USA where her father was working. Bilingual, the American upbringing is very evident, yet her writing offers lyrics which are well ahead of the typical US songwriter. Claire explained how American rock bands have influenced her music, how she developed her skills, and what she aims to do in her songwriting, in an interview for Canal+ in 2012.

Claire’s first album was issued in 2009 – the annus mirabilis which also saw a number of other auteures-compositrices-interprètes who lead bands on stage, notably La Grande Sophie and Coeur de Pirate, first reach the top.

Here is an early hit, ‘Prince Charmant’

Her second album, ‘Vagabonde’, was recorded in Montreal in 2011, and soon after it came out she appeared on ‘Taratata’ to sing its hit single ‘Bang bang bang’ .

The best studio performances by Claire are from 2012, on Acoustic TV5 Monde – see the mesmeric ‘34 Septembre’ here

Claire has not sung much in English, but her remarkable cover, solo with her own guitar, of Lana del Rey’s ‘Video Games’.

A dramatic Denamur performance, showing her at the height of her powers, was at the Fête de Wallonie concert at Liège on 18 September 2011.

On Françoise Hardy’s 70th birthday, 17 January 2014, Swiss Radio played at hourly intervals 11 parts of an interview with her which had been recorded by Valérie Ogier of RTS specially for the day. In the first section, in which Françoise discusses how she won her first recording contract in November 1961, she reveals that her model was the electric guitar style of the Shadows. Her dream of being the guitar-playing lead singer of a band like the Shadows she never quite achieved, as she was soon working with orchestras and arrangers. But Claire Denamur at Liège, fronting a male band, tall and slim with long hair and wearing a trouser suit – a look largely invented by Françoise – seems to represent Francoise’s original ideal, fifty years on.

Les Soeurs Boulay


Les Soeurs Boulay spoiled their fans with a free songs this week. If you’re not on their mailing list (click!), but call yourself a fan, you should really hear this great track. Includes a musical saw!
Les Soeurs Boulay – Ça

Fear of Men

Brit-duo Fear of Men (Jessica and Daniel) made a French-language version of one of the highlights on their latest album, Loom. Fear of Men is up there with Camera Obscura, Young Marble Giants and Marine Girls. Or, more recent, Hotel Morphée and Forêt. (Merci Joris)


It almost seems like we’re posting either filles from Canada on this blog, or girls/boy-girl-duo’s influenced by Elli & Jacno. Here’s yet another duo: Theremynt. Emma and Yann are influeced by Philip K. Dick-novels and, yes, Elli & Jacno. Check out the remixes as well:

Hôtel Morphée

2014xxxx Hotel MorpheeOne of this blog’s favourite brooding, Gothic bands returns this autumn with a brand new album and a new sound. 

Montréal-based Hôtel Morphée release the long-awaited follow-up to last year’s “Des histoires de fantômes”, with the September release of “Rêve américain.”

While still dark and brooding, the new album promises a more openly poppy sound. The band have just released a thumping single from the album, “Dernier jour” that hints at the disjoint between dreams and the sobering light of reality and as as to be expected from the band, is deliciously subversive.  There’s that trademarked and liberal use of the syncopated rhythms of orchestral strings, but this time around they’re married to a distinctive rockier beat and Laurence Nerbonne’s vocals take on a distinctive rasping (and at times sultry) edge, especially with the subtle reverb added to the chorus…

“Dernier jour” serves as a tantalising tease for an album that is going to be eagerly awaited.


Laurence Nerbonne
Laurence Nerbonne
Laurence Nerbonne