Bande Dessinée

Our Brazilian correspondent Luciane on how Bande Dessinée connects Recife with Paris:

Tatiana Monteiro — or Tati, tout simplement — is the female voice and charming spice of the brazilian band Bande Dessinée. They come from the hot city of Recife, mixing local and contemporary sounds with an inspiration on the french pop scene of the ’60s and ’70s.

Out of the 12 songs of their debut album “Sinée qua non”, released just four months ago, in October, nine are in French or mix french lyrics with Portuguese in very original ways. Such is the case with the song “Setubanalidades,” a word play with “c’est tout banalité.”

The French inspiration (Serge Gainsbourg, Brigitte Bardot, Dalida and France Gall, among others) comes out like a declaration of love on the way she sings, it’s natural and unpretentious, as it should be, so you can really enjoy her voice, the different moods of the album, the lyrics and all the rich, often unexpected details, that permeate their sound — besides the French influence, there’s also some jazz, salsa, tango, rock, frevo, which is typical of the Brazilian northeast, and iê-iê-iê, which carries that ’60s pop sensation with a brazilian flair.

It’s undeniably a very rich experience, especially if you know both Paris and Recife or if you’ve ever been to Brazil and France. The way they manage to make you feel like you can be in both places at the turn of a corner (with one word, one instrument, one sound) is both unique and disturbing. And the same applies to the sense of time. The ’60s are very now and today, while present time becomes anew and refreshed after you listen to these songs.

These are the highlight qualities of this entire work in a big way. It makes “Sinée qua non” original and delightful. The opening track “Bande à parte” and “Bouge ton squelette,” which cites Godard’s “2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle,” are prime examples of that. “La liberté est rouge” comes close, but sounds a lot more brazilian to me.

Tati also sings in italian in two songs, which is no less pleasant to hear. “Tramonto” will take you there with an out of fashion and irresistible cheek to cheek appeal. Ironically, it’s the low light drama of this song that makes me see Serge’s eyes and the smoke of his cigarettes the most.

“Intempestiva” is the only song that is (almost) all Portuguese, there’s a tiny dash of Spanish there. Dramatic, bold and quite sexy. “Navegador” is my favorite song. Tati’s voice becomes more powerful in the first half of the song, in Portuguese, then back to French for the second half, less soft and more boldly recited.

Some people might feel overwhelmed or bothered with too much information, though. But what I sense in this debut album is there was too much to give and it couldn’t wait, quite normal considering how they came to be.

I also think there is plenty of room for Tati to find the best ways to match her great voice with french. It’s not about perfection, but room for improvement to make what’s good even better, finding new avenues. You know, like the road traveled by new lovers?

Tati’s first band was called Lady Sings the Blues, and she’s been influenced by frevo, choro, bossa nova, then from those brazilian rhythms to jazz. She was ready to move on to new projects when she was approached by Filipe Barros, guitarrist and composer of Bande Dessinée.

So they started out in 2007, but with a different name, and only covering songs from their favorite french artists. Barros had lived in France for a while. He says that composing in french is also about finding the best sounds to say something, exploring the way the words can sound in different languages. It’s about making a statement a bold one. I couldn’t agree more.

Tati says she thought that jazz was gonna have her forever, but that singing in french immediately attracted her. She thought it was challenging, but also enticing and extremely pleasant.

So we hear.

“Sinée qua non” was first released as a free download on the interwebs, and it remains like so, but you can also purchase the CD (on a few online brazilian stores) or buy the mp3s on iTunes.

Too much in just one package or not, one thing is for sure: there is no other band in Brazil like Bande Dessinée. And there won’t be. Unless they get Tati on her bicycle and that smile behind her luscious red lips. That woman is pure french spring with brazilian summer.

Bande Dessinée – La liberté est rouge
Bande Dessinée – Navegador