Raphaëlle Lannadère (for she is L) was ‘biberonée’ with Barbara and Billie Holiday. I’m struggling to find a similar English expression: spoonfed might be accurate. A biberon is a pacifier. Imagine that, sucking on a device to get two of the most melancholic singers into your system. Why isn’t something like that available?! We can put people on the moon, for crying out loud! Anyhoo, the first full album by L (not the greatest nom de plume in history, if you ask me. What’s wrong with Raphaëlle ?) is out now. She was featured on the former FS-blog (here), on this album are a few reworks of her first EP. Like the excellent Jalouse. There’s still a great deal of saudade in her music, that brilliant Portuguese word that cannot be translated, you have to feel it. In her bio, names like Genet, Arnaud and Bataille are mentioned: not the happiest of poets. She writes her lyrics first, than searches for the right music on her piano. She writes about nostalgia, estrangement and heavier things. Not really music to enjoy in the sun. Maybe they should’ve released this in fall.

L – Romance et serie noire

Dia de los muertos (1)

Today and tomorrow I will post several guestposts in honour of Dia de los muertos, the Day of the Dead (November 2) or All Souls Day. French songs, of course. Sylvester kicks off with dead leaves on dirty ground.

Death brings so many sweet melodies to my mind. It was one the favourite themes of Jacques Brel (‘Mourir la belle affaire. Mais Vieillir… ô vieillir!’); Léo Ferré immortalised his deceased monkey Pepée in a song; Renaud scolded the Putain de camion which killed his friend Coluche in a motor accident; a heartbroken Serge Reggiani sang La barbe à papa in dedication to his son, who committed suicide a year earlier; Barbara unforgettably memorized a visit to her dying father in Nantes – he had already passed away when she arrived… Oh… Hallelujah! So many lovely chansons death has brought upon us!

My all-time favourite was an offspring of the renowned artistic collaboration of composer Jacques Kosma and poet Jacques Prévert. Together they wrote not only the evergreen Les feuilles mortes (Autumn leaves), but also Barbara. Melancholically, a man remembers the happy smile of a young girl he once saw in Brest. It was shortly before the war, which brought death and destruction to the city. What will have happened to this girl – Barbara? Like Les feuilles mortes, this song was made famous by Yves Montand, but I prefer the even more sober interpretation by Les Frères Jacques.

Les Freres Jacues – Barbara


Guestpost! Vanessa on the movie Mademoiselle Chambon, and the song by Barbara that is used in the trailer (and the movie):

“In the film ‘Mademoiselle Chambon’, an enigmatic and refined schoolteacher enters the quiet life of a mason, cracking the surface of his simple and idyllic world. Everyday life for Jean (Vincent Lindon) means work, caring for an elderly father (Jean-Marc Thibault) and raising their son, Jeremy, with wife, Anne-Marie (Aure Atika). But when he meets his son’s new teacher, Mlle. Chambon (Sandrine Kiberlain) to discuss the boy’s work, something changes in him.

The difficulty of love between these two individuals creates a study of repressed passion and subtlety, of deep longing and missed opportunities.  Watch closely and you’ll sense that the chemistry between Lindon and Kiberlain seems real, perhaps because they were married but separated at the time of filming.

Barbara’s “Septembre (Quel Jolie Temps)” plays melancholically over the trailer that contains no dialogue.  The wistful strains of the song echo the conflict and desire between the two leads; they may be sharing a space but they’re careful to avoid each other.  The long quiet between them is near bursting with what they don’t say and what they can’t do.  On first listen, I thought the music came from two songs, which reminded me of the dual lives we sometimes have – the one the world sees us lead and the other that we wish we led.”

Barbara – Septembre