The Painter’s Daughter

timnabrOne of those albums that time forgot: Chansons et violons by Timna Brauer, daughter of Austrian painter Arik Brauer who also was a co-founder of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism. Realized in 1999 with the Elias Meiri Ensemble, Chansons et violons serves as an homage to the holy trinity of Brassens, Brel and Piaf; classic French song material showcased chamber music style – piano, cello, violin –, a cool concept suffering a bit from Miss Brauer’s every so often all-too dramatic renditions. Nonetheless the albums’s opener, a classy swingin’ version of Georges Brassens’ Je me suis fait tout petit, lacks all the phoney grandiloquence and has that certain finger snippin’ grandeur reminiscent of Cristina Branco‘s most enchanting French language excursions. Fine art for sure.

Timna Brauer – Je me suis fait tout petit

Elizabeth Shepherd

1974’s Pourquoi tu vis (Porque te vas) by Jeannette is one of the touchstones of doll-fronted pop – it was covered and sampled many times. Canadian jazz-pianist (she plays Wurlitzer, Rhodes and ‘tuned mixing bowls and muted pestle’ as well) Elizabeth Shepherd adds her version to the list, and it’s a good one. Shepherd’s known for her fierce, funky tracks and her hoarse voice. The fact that Elizabeth was pregnant during the recording of her fourth album ‘Rewind’ adds to the charm. ‘The fears and anticipation surrounding imminent motherhood were largely impetus to make this record’, she writes in the liner notes. ‘Rewind’ is covers album. Shepherd: ‘I chose to do songs that I have learned and loved and grown with over the years.’ Songs by Cole Porter (Love for Sale), Cannonball Adderley (Sack of Woe), Kurt Weill (Lonely House) and two chansons; the aforementioned Pourquoi tu vis and a Les Amoureux des bancs publics by Brassens. A very big plus of/on this album are the phat basslines by Ross MacIntyre. One of the three bassists on this album, but he’s the one who really adds to the songs.

Elizabeth Shepherd – Pourquoi tu vis

This song is also added to my New French Pop 2012 playlist on Spotify.

Tribute again…

It is a holiday time in France too. Last week I wrote about the amount of tributes that appeared and someone pointed me another one that recently came in the shops: “Brassens Chanté Par…”. Songs of the legendary Georges Brassens sung by others. On this album popular bands like “Debout Sur Le Zinc” and “Les Ogres De Barback”, but also Aldebert and as the only fille  Agnès Bihl. She sings one song on her own and one “duo” avec Aldebert, with whom she worked before. Most songs on the album are done with a folky gypsy-esque sound (think manouche guitare style, think Thomas Dutronc). Best song is the lovely “La Cane De Jeanne”  The Weepers, but we offer you Agnès Bihl solo.

Agnès Bihl – La Chasse Aux Papillons

Bertrand Belin

Where Brassens meets Tindersticks. Or Divine Comedy. That’s how I would describe Hypernuit, the absolutely gorgeous album by Bertrand Belin. With his dandy looks (check out this beautiful acoustic session), his storytelling and that deep, bariton voice that was made for ‘sprechgesang‘ and those light country touches (think Calexico, think Tindersticks), it’s the album I’ve been playing to death the last weeks. So it’s about time I wrote about it. Hypernuit is Belin’s third album. Stories, mostly sad ones, observations, afterthoughts, that’s what he’s about. Also on Hypernuit, story goes he made up the lyrics on the spot. Turn on that taperecorder, I’ll just start singtalking. Together with the similar Le verger by Bastien Lallement, Hypernuit will make the rounds at FillesSourires HQ a lot more. Excellent music for a Fall. The female voice on Y en a-t-il is Ann Guillaume (also in the SK Session video). Earlier, he duetted with Oliva Ruiz, Barbara Carlotti and Delphine Volange.

See the video for the title track here. See him cover The Doors with Pauline Croze here.

Bertrand Belin – Y en a-t-il