La Grande Sophie

Nos Histoires is the new La Grande Sophie album. Review coming up. In the meantime, check out these new tracks:

Young Sophie

Mark, our LGS-correspondent, writes:

A young and striking Sophie Huriaux at 32, filmed singing ‘L’amour, ça ne pardonne pas’, has just emerged from the INA Chansons archive.

This acoustic performance on 13 March 2002 of a song on her second album ‘Le Porte-bonheur’ reminds us that she worked her passage to success through the clubs and bars of Paris and why she is as good with a single guitar as with her four-man band of today. The occasion, the late-night TV discussion programme ‘Des mots de minuit’, reflects LGS’s own love of words and ability to play on them in her intriguing lyrics, tricking us with an English-sounding phrase in the first lines:

Ah! t´en verra d´autres ma fille
Des gars puissants avec du sex à pile
Fais attention aux marioles à chaque instant
Te fie pas à leurs bagnioles à leurs diamants

The confidence with which Sophie later dared to take on Barbara’s classic ‘Dis, quand reviendras-tu?’ with only a guitar in her 2009 album ‘Des vagues et des ruisseaux’ can be seen here. LGS discussed her view of ‘Dis, quand reviendras-tu?’ and sang it here.

LGS’s new album, ‘Nos histoires’ is out on 25 September 2015.

La Plus Grande Fille

Guestpost! Mark takes on a linkfest with great performances by La Grande Sophie:
486906_4929571317240_711309430_n Olympia Paris Dec 2012
“La Grande Sophie est un spectacle à elle toute seule, tant sur le plan visuel que sur le plan vocal” Pub pour le festival Muzik’elles septembre 2012

La Grande Sophie is great in many ways, and not the least is that her concerts have the most dramatic start of any on the planet. Her band is in place in the dark, the sound and lighting build up, the first bars of ‘Ma Radio’ are heard, and suddenly there she is on the stage. Not Sophie la giraffe as she once laughingly called herself, or the Amazon which her self-given name suggests, but a perfect figure: a mane of dark hair, bare white arms and flashing eyes, in a short black dress and dark heeled boots. At 43, and 1m78 (‘5 pieds 10 pouces’ to Canadians; 6 ft in heels), she has a wonderful elegance.

In the summer of 2012, her dramatic festival appearances, 1½ hours, drew more and more people , and her concert list got longer and longer – it now runs to July 2013. By last November, at Mouscron (BE), Sophie’s show was 2 hours long, with 2 rappels, and this for an audience of 400. No other artiste has such a reach into the heart of both France and Belgium, in local theatres and halls. Her public sees her close-up, and experiences her now-celebrated ‘descente dans la salle’ while singing ‘Petite Princesse’.

What has happened to take Sophie Huriaux, former student of sculpture at the Collège des Beaux-Arts at Marseille, from rock, and aspiring to be the Chrissie Hynde of France until 2008, to the summit of French pop in 2012, winner of best album at the 2013 Victoires de la Musique ? She has described how she turned acoustic and changed her singing voice for her 2009 album ‘Des vagues et des ruisseaux’. ‘Quand le mois d’avril’ in this 2009 performance is just one example. In fact the change of public image was sudden – her appearance on MyTaratata in April 2009, with ‘Quelqu’un d’autre’. Since then she has not looked back. ‘La Place du Fantôme’ (2012) has built on this, and is a worthy winner of Les Victoires.

LGS is now a strong, versatile and yet sensitive performer. Her confidence means she starts her concerts with not one but two slow songs: ‘Ma Radio’ (whose lyrics are so clear that they hardly need translation), and then the ethereal, rarely-filmed ‘Tu fais ton âge’.

She holds back until the heart of her concerts her top track ‘Ne m’oublie pas’. This pop set-piece can be seen in a big-festival version at L’Hôtel de Ville, Paris, last summer; sung in the most fabulous dress on MyTaratata
in March 2012; stunningly performed in October with the musicians of Belle et Bum, Montreal; and with a string quartet in 2013.

‘Sucrer les fraises’, a song about old age, whose lyric she loves to discuss, has developed already, from the original acoustic on the album, into a striking new synthetised version (‘une version d’été’ LGS called it after first trialling it unannounced at Gourville (Charente) last June). See the video filmed at La Ciotat here, and LGS’s joy in its latest Paris performance.

And there is much more, including Barbara’s classic ‘Dis, quand reviendra-tu ?’ as a guitar solo – the leading 21st century interpretation of one of the 20th century’s greatest songs. And surprises, such as the France Gall hit ‘Laisse Tomber les Filles’ duetted with Ornette at La Cigale last month.

What makes LGS so good?

• Artistic talent – she studied sculpture – brilliant songwriting, fine arranging, a much improved voice
• Years of experience, giving her consistency, and ability to maintain a constant high standard of live performance through a tour of 120 concerts over 18 months
• Drawing on both Anglophone pop and the great French tradition of chanson
• Superbly crafted songs with strong instrumental sections, and she ends songs well
• Expert use of a very skilled four-piece band, and as good with just her own guitar
• Readiness to ‘remodel’ her older songs with new arrangements
• An attractive appearance on stage – she has talked about how important this is now
• An engaging personality, ready to give interviews and always positive
• An appeal to both sexes and a wide range of ages

LGS speaks, and sings in, good English but hardly needs to. For not the least of her qualities is that she speaks the most perfect French, as seen in interviews such as here and here.

One 40-something female fan sums her up here – “Belle, généreuse, et talentueuse – vive la quarantaine”. LGS is open about being “obsessed by the passage of time”; but likes to say that she has frozen it for herself: ‘J’ai arrêté le temps’. She gave up sculpture for music, because she wanted to succeed in ‘un art moins élitiste, plus populaire’. She has certainly achieved her aim.

For the world as seen by LGS and her fan base, visit

La Grande Sexy Sophie

audio-le-nouvel-album-de-la-grande-sophie-en-ecoute-en-avant-premiere-7081Sexy Boy by Air, covered by La Grande Sophie plus strings. Ooh la la, there’s an intented pun. This cover’s from a just released EP by LGS, featuring a couple of her own songs with said string section, plus this cover. Not the first time Sexy Boy’s been redone. Apart from the almost obligatory Top 40 coverband variations (Vitamin String Quartet et al), there are a few unusual, yet good covers. A guitaristic one by Franz Ferdinand, one by youth choir Scala and an offbeat Bertrand Burgalat-reprise.

La Grande Sophie – Sexy Boy
Bertrand Burgalat – Sexy Boy
Franz Ferdinand – Sexy Boy
Scala – Sexy Boy

And 99 pink bubble bath sets for the most girlish version go to:

Nena – Sexy Boy


The idea looks so simple: ask a bunch of songwriters to compose a song about every Parisian arrondissement, then have famous actresses, singers and filles sourires favourites sing those songs. A female ode to the eternal city… I wish I came up with the idea, but alas, it was Nicolas Boualami Gaubiac who deserves all credit.

The result is a project called “ElleSonParis”. And the result is as exciting as it sounds

The songwriters are big names like Alex Beaupain, Thomas Roussel, Philippe Bresson, La Grande Sophie and Alain Chamfort. And what about the line-up! We have Juliette Gréco (!), Jane Birkin (!) Charlotte Rampling and Hanna Schygulla on one side and Zaza Fournier, Adrienne Pauly, Agnès Jaoui, Elisa Tovati, Irène Jacob and more on the other.

“ElleSonParis” is a musical tour through the arrondissements of Paris. They pay tribute to the Paris’ neighborhoods, all with their different character and own history.
Some of the songs are a bit so-so (one is not better than the high school musical level, but I won’t tell your which one…), but in general it is very nice trip into the City of Light.

Jane Birkin sings a song for the 16th arrondissement. A sober song with some with piano (or is it a  harpsichord?) called “5, Avenue Marceau”. Just in case you wonder: that was the home address of.. Yves Saint Laurent. And Chez Régine? We’ve all been there, no?

Jane Birkin – 5, Avenue Marceau
Adrienne Pauly – Chez Régine

La Grande Sophie, Olivia Ruiz

Two filles that have been featured here before, Sophie and Olivia. The latter is a regular on FS, yet it’s been several months that we talked about the blackhaired beauty (here). As said before,  a LOT of tributes were released this year, for Jacno, Brassens, Serge Gainsbourg, Boby Lapointe and Alain Bashung. Now, there’s one for Gilbert Bécaud. Not many girls aboard, alas, but our Olivia delivers a very strong track. Original version here.

Ne m’oublie pas, sings (La Grande) Sophie, a welcome reminder. Sophie once sang like a police siren, but she toned down, added more air and this first single of a new album sounds maybe a tad too youthful, but it works. And the message is clear.

La Grande Sophie – Ne m’oublie pas
Olivia Ruiz – Les tantes Jeanne

FS Rerun: Radiah Frye

When tormented Italian-French superstar Nino Ferrer met lovely Afro-American model, dancer, and singer Radiah Frye, he probably fell head over heels in love. On his 1966 single Je veux etre noir, Nino had already declared that he wanted to be black, and now he had a perfect companion to funk up his groove – exactly what he did on Nino and Radiah et Le Sud in 1974, a fine album with an even finer cover on which Radiah exposed her impeccable body to the public.

Before she pursued a brief career as an actress in Spermula, Madame Claude, and Goodbye Emmanuelle, Radiah uncovered herself on a record sleeve playmate-style again. Her hard-to-get solo 7“ Play-boy Scout (1975) features a strikingly sexy babefunk version of Nino’s Italian garage rock shouter from his 1970 album Rats and Roll’s.

Radiah is still around, but few people know where. Sadly, her MySpace page hasn’t been updated for ages, and her website has vanished from the web.

Nino and Radiah et Le Sud – Mint julep

Nino Ferrer – Je veux être noir

La Grande Sophie – Je veux être noir

Radiah – Play-boy Scout

Nino Ferrer – Playboy Scout