Albin de la Simone, Emiliana Torrini

indexMaybe one of the most underrated new chansonniers from France is Albin de la Simone. He worked with/for Jeanne Cherhal and Vanessa Paradis (they duetted as well) and for the Vie héroique-movie, his fourth album was just released but he’s not quite a household name. Un homme is a very delicate and delicious album. Alain Souchon gets mentioned a lot in reviews as a reference, AdlS writes melancholic songs with big arrangements, sings with an unsteady yet deteremined voice and aims for the heart and soul. On this new album, he duets with the lovely Icelandic singer Emiliana Torrini.

Albin de la Simone & Emiliana Torrini – Moi, moi

10 Sexiest Women in French Music Today (4)

Countdown time for the sexiest women. Time for number 4: the girl with the gap, the former mrs. Depp.

4. Vanessa Paradis

She’ll be forty at the end of this year, #4 in this list of 10 Sexiest women in French Music Today. Today, and twenty years earlier too, we might add. Not that we consider ourselves worthy, but when a lot of women around the world got their hopes up when Johnny Depp and ‘Nessa called their relationship quits earlier this year, we certainly balled our fists. Vanessa. Ah Vanessa!
She started her carreer as a teenager with “Joe le Taxi” (actually she even started earlier), and via ‘Tandem’ (featuring what is wideley considered to be the sexiest French videoclip ever), recently peaked with ‘Divine Idylle’. She got better by the year.
A wise man once wrote: “Vanessa Paradis is just another reason for us to thank France. She has mystery and rebellion all bottled up in what looks like an innocent appearance – but that’s surely all a façade”.
Actually that makes her the ideal ‘Fille sourire’: sweet singing, sexy, mysterious, beautiful, with a certain sense of innocence, and of course very good music that gets better too. And did I mention already that little sexy gap between her teeth?

Vanessa Paradis – Irrésistiblement

Alain Chamfort and the girls

Alain Chamfort is a big name in France. He played on hits by Dutronc like Les Playboys and Le Cactus, worked with Véronique Sanson and had Gainsbourg write lyrics for him. He debuted in 1968, released his first album in 1976 and scored big hits. Elles et lui is a duets album, Chamfort revisits old songs with the creme de la creme of French female vocalists: Claire Keim, Keren Ann, Vanessa Paradis, Elodie Frégé, to name but a few. Most songs are great. Take the lovely duet with Elodie, for instance. The original, from 1993, is an overblown, kitschy jazz ballad. Now, the music’s understated, the lyrics stand out and Elodie is doing what she does best. Also very good is Bambou, Chamfort’s duet with Camelia Jordana (a song written by Serge).

Alain Chamfort & Elodie Frégé – L’Ennemi dans la glace


Yes, we are partisan. Always were, in the six year this blog exists. You all know we have our prefered sweethearts. we’re on first name basis with ‘m: Camille, Charlotte, Beatrice (Coeur de Pirate), Coralie, Vanessa. And Claire. And because Claire has a new album, it is a happy day at Fillessourires. Us and Claire, it started in 2008 and continued in 2009 when her first, self-titled album came out.
And now there is a new album “Vagabonde”. Earlier this year we could see Claire has grown (duh!), as she showed in the catchy “Bang bang bang” (released on an EP in May) and in some sessions she did this year, like this one where she covers Big Mama Thornton.

And now there is “Vagabonde”. She continues to be our Claire, but she is older, more mature. It is clear that she’s studied the musical history, especially Americana (she lived in America, you know). The whole album sounds like an Americana album, sung in French, with “our” Claire’s husky voice, like in the new single “Rien de Moi” (also on the EP).
Was “Bang Bang Bang” a potential summer hit, the rest of the album is perfect for the upcoming autumn. No wait, autumn started already in July. With old whiskeys and/or good red wines and fireplaces…
For a teaser I decided to pick “34 Septembre” because that is a new song and it is in two weeks from now. Welcome Back, Claire!

Claire Denamur – 34 Septembre

Lulu Gainsbourg

Serge’s youngest son and pianist Lulu released an EP with jazz-reworks of his dad’s songs. Featuring Richard Bona (vocals), Angelo Debarre (guitar, he plays in the Vie Heroique-movie too), Terri Lyne Carrington (drums), Gil Goldstein (accordion), James Genus (bass) and Stan Harrison (sax, he played on Serge’s You’re Under Arrest-album). Most of these players studied or teach at Boston’s Berklee College. Lulu’s a student there. It’s an impressive album, with impressive guests. Really dig the manouche-version of Le poinçonneur des Lilas and the La Javanaise-version with Bona. But we have to wait for the really good stuff:  for his album with songs by Serge, Lulu invited Scarlett Johansson, Vanessa Paradis & Johnny Depp (who will sing La ballade de Melody Nelson), Iggy Pop, Sean Lennon, Rufus Wainwright and Marianne Faithfull. Whoa. Charlotte, Bambou and Jane do not contribute, Lulu said didn’t want to include family on his album.
The Gainsbourg name sure can get you in touch with big names, Charlotte can testify to that. But Charlotte’s really talented too, as her movies and her most recent albums prove. Lulu is a fine pianist, he was a musical director for a Gainsbourg-tribute in Israel and he composed songs for Marc Lavoine. He considers his album a gift to his dad, whom he lost at 5. There’s no shame in honouring your dad, and trying to make a name for yourself via his beautiful songs, I think. Really looking forward to the album.
See Lulu play live here. See Serge and Lulu here.

Lulu Gainsbourg & Richard Bona – La javanaise

So many filles, so little time

Vanessa Paradis doing a tribute to Franck Langolff, Anais Kaël singing about a vibrator, the first single by a new Canadian talent and Fredda & Pascal redoing Serge’s Dents de lait, dents de loup. And a new album by Canadian singer Maryse Letarte. And an EP by Buridane. And that’s just from the past two weeks. Here’s a quick roundup of releases you really should know about:

Franck Langolff died in 2006 from cancer. The songwriter wrote many great songs, like Joe le Taxi for Vanessa Paradis. She is one of the stars who pay tribute to Langolff by singing unreleased songs, found by his son. Other singers contributing to Dr Tom ou la liberté en cavale are Arthur H, Thomas Dutronc, Ours and actress Cécile Cassel (yes, Vincent’s sister, pictured on the left). More? Here.
Vanessa Paradis – La gardienne et le réverbère Du 41
Cécile Cassel – La plante carnivore

Anais Kaël sings songs in the old chanson tradition. Her second album is just out and features a very funny song about a ‘vibromasseur’.
Anai Kaël – La Confession du vibromasseur

Curly blonde, Vanessa-Paradis-soundalike Buridane released an EP on which she doesn’t sound that much like Vanessa any more. Which is not bad at all.
Buridane – Comme avant

Brigitte Boisjoli was a contestant on Canadian tv-talenthunt Star Academy. She’s about to tour with a musicalgroupe through Canada (just like almost every tv-talenthunt winner in Holland is about to join the musical acting guild), but her first single sure sounds like she has way more talent than to be just a chorusline girl:
Brigitte Boisjoli – Fruits défendus

Fredda (Dastrevigne) and Pascal Parisot finally had the follow-up released to their Radiomatic-album (2007). Yeye-covers, with a modern twist. Very nice. Lots of Gainsbourg-tracks too, like this one.
Radiomatic – Dents de lait, dents de loup

Canadian songstress Maryse Letarte (pictured on the right) came on my radar when she released her beautiful Christmas album (mostly original songs) in 2008. Her new album is just as seasonal: lots and lots of tristesse. A must-have for people who regret Keren Ann’s transition to English.
Maryse Letarte – Ajourd’hui c’est dimanche

Vanessa Paradis

So, what are we learing from the latest live-album by Vanessa Paradis, recorded at the Opera de Versailes? Well, nothing. Because from earlier live-records we already knew that she really, really can sing. That she has many great songs in her catalogue. That if you re-arrange those songs for a string quartet, or an acoustic setting, they’re still great songs. So the real question concerning Une nuit à Versailles isn’t: how does it sound? Or: is it a good show on the dvd? No, it’s: just how lovely does she look in the 56-page photo-book that comes along in the deluxe version. Then again, we already know the answer to that question too, right? (See a bootleg-vid of VPs Versailles-show here).

Vanessa Paradis – Dis-lui toi que je t’aime

Vanessa Paradis

Charlotte Gainsbourg was in the Cirque Royal last Saturday, tomorrow Vanessa Paradis plays an acoustic set there.  This is part of an extensive tour that will end in the Chateau de Versailles, where the show will be recorded. Thanks to SOM, here’s raw footage from that tour, Vanessa doing Françoise Hardy’s Le temps de l’amour.

Vanessa Paradis – Le temps de l’amour