dinsdag 31 januari 2006

Vue de l'exterieur

This could quite possibly be the Holy Grail of French music clips.(Bibi! Why didn't you tell me you had this fantastic collection?!)


I didn't think it was possible, but here's the evidence: you can make a mash-up using a Serge Gainsbourg-track. And a song by filmstar Jeanne Moreau. Filles Sourires-visiteur Quimbokat mixed Indifférent by Serge (from 1959) with India Song by Jeanne (from 1966, used in the movie Mademoiselle, the lyrics to the song are by writer Marguerite Duras), to this spectacular duet-result.

Serge Gainsbourg & Jeanne Moreau - Indifférent/India Song Mash Up
Hear Here.

La Noyée

Let's stay in Gainsbourg-territory, courtesy of guest-selector Edmond Viperenoire. He blew the dust off of a perle cachée (hidden pearl) in the Serge-catologue, La Noyée. Carla Bruni recorded it for her debut-album. Here's a (bit edited) snippet of an interview Jane Birkin did with Carla, about that song:

Jane Birkin: "So, Carla, I wanted to do this interview with you because I don't think I've ever literally stopped the car and thought, Who is this person singing? [Bruni laughs] It's something like velvet when you sing. I thought, How come the words are so subtle? I love that part [in Quelqu'un m'a dit] where you say that 'our lives aren't worth much', and they are 'passing in an instant, like wilting roses.' And you picked up La Noyée, which is one of the most beautiful of Serge's songs!"

Carla Bruni: "I never heard it from him or from you. I only heard it on a movie-soundtrack."

Jane Birkin: "It was in a movie that he did in Yugoslavia [Le Roman d'un voleur de chevaux]. In fact, he was so sexy when he sang it that I rushed back to England so I could start working on [daughter] Charlotte Gainsbourg], because I thought he would fall in love with the beautiful woman he was singing it to at the piano. La Noyée was the cause of Charlotte!" [In his Serge-biography View from the Exterior, Alan Clayson writes about the filming of this movie, during which Serge also negotiated a part in a domestic Yugoslavian film about WW II. Serge and the director argued so much during filming, that Serge, to illustrate he had more than his fill of the director, lit up a cigarette with a Yugoslavian banknote. Which wasn't taken very lightly - police arrived, and it was thought prudent that after the wrap, Serge would take the first flight home]

Carla Bruni, laughing: "But the version I saw was on a dvd about Serge. I remember he was wearing a very tight suit with no tie, and he was a bougie of charm and beauty."

Jane Birkin: "With that song, he went up to see Yves Montand, and he started drinking whisky at eleven o'clock in the morning so that he could look like a real man in front of Montand. After he played with Montand and with the words, 'Tu n'es plus qu'une pauvre épave, Chienne crevée au fil de l'eau' [You're just a pitiful wreck now,/A ravaged bitch drifting with the flow], he was sick all the way back, from all the whiskey. By the time he got home, we got a call from Montand, who said, 'I cannot sing this to Simone' [Signoret, Montand's wife], and we thought, 'Oh, what a dreadful thing. What does he mean?' He obviously thought, that if he sang the song, it would look as if he were talking about Simone, that she was the poor dog that had been dragged down by the river. So that was the only time Serge offered a song out. And since it was refused like that, I don't think Serge ever sang it again himself." [A French expression goes Noyer son chagrin dans l'alcool, which meeans 'To flood one's sorrow in the alcohol'. That was certainly the case for Simone. And Yves Montand was not the most faithful husband.]

Carla Bruni: "The way he sang it was amazing. He was cutting up words the way nobody does. The lyrics are so deep, so strong, and so dark that I love the contrast in his way of singing it and dropping words like tear drops. I'm crazy about the contrast between the very important lyrics and the way he is singing them. He was always like, 'Go! I don't care.' And that's so sexy."
Serge sang this song during the tv-show Samedi Loisir in 1972, accompanied by the talented arranger Jean-Jacques Vannier. In 1973 Anna Karina did a version for another movie, Vivre Ensemble. Much later, Natsuo Ishido covered it in Japanese on the tribute-album Gainsbourg Made in Japan.
Yann Tiersen did his own version, that was recorded for his live-album C'était ici. Very inspired, Carla Bruni covered it for her first album.
30 years after it was written, this song is as rare as it is than beautiful.

Serge Gainsbourg - La Noyée
Hear Here

Anna Karina - La Noyée
Hear Here

Natsuo Ishido - La Noyée
Hear Here

Yann Tiersen - La Noyée
Hear Here

Carla Bruni - La Noyée
Hear Here

maandag 30 januari 2006

En Duo Grande Finale BONUS

Tired of Je t'aime-versions?

When Je t'aime was banned in the UK, instrumental one-day-fly Sounds Nice quickly released this instrumental version. Disco-infused Saint Tropez proved you could also vertically dance to the song.

Like André Bourvil (see post below), British comedians Frankie Howerd and June Whitfield followed all the hoopla around Je t'aime with a spoof, Up Je T'Aime (1971). From a more recent date is the duet between French singers Arthur H. and a very bored sounding Brigitte Fontaine.

If not funny, Leena Skoog & Anders Naslund certainly sound inspired on their (Swedish?) version of the song, from 1969.

Scottish rockers Texas used a big portion of Je t'aime for their minor hit Guitar Song, while Austrian downtempo-kings Dzihan & Kamien remixed Serge and Jane for the I Love Serge-tribute-album (2001). Poppmusik used a very small portion for their view, just as German punkfunkers Reifenstahl. Belgian triphopband Hooverphonic used only the music, singer Geike sticks to the lyrics of their own hitsong Eden.

Thanks: Maks, Edmond, Edward, Christine, Bruno and Miel for these versions.
You're still welcome to send me newly found ones. Tomorrow, I will resume posting regular Filles Sourires-songs.

dinsdag 24 januari 2006

En Duo Grande Finale (2)

As promised, here's the wrapping up of the En Duo-series, with a massive amount of Je t'aime....moi non plus coverversions. I have no idea how many versions there are, this incredible list isn't even complete.

The melody of the song was appealing to muzakmakers of all trades, like the soft-focus-saxophone of Paul Brooks, the gente synths of Electronic Concept Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra (which is very funny, since the BBC banned the original), Love Spectacular, the groovy Baker Street Philharmonic, Hammond-man Anthony Ventura, the bachelorpad-favourite Ray Conniff, reggae-enthousiasts Dub Syndicate and Popcorn-makers Hot Butter.

Serge had an odd sense of humour (I mean, listen to Rock Around the Bunker), and you can imagine the uncomfortable giggling of listeners when Serge, Jane (or BB) started panting. French clown André Bourvil made a funny version (very quick after the Serge&Jane-single) with Jacqueline Maillan. German comedian Nessi Tausendschön didn't bother about the lyrics, and went very convincingly to the naughty bits (she sounds a lot like pornstar Traci Lords). Fellow German Dietmar Wieschmeyer on the other hand sounds like he's starting a motorcycle. Then there's the teaming of Je t'aime and Wild Thing by John Otway & Sarah Ross, the Spanish mouse-and-cow-conversation (well, I'm guessing here) of Los Hermanos Calatrava and (I'm guessing again) the Swedish comedian Ga Runt. Italy's Benito Urghu is having the time of his life, but Britains Judge Dread has a nasty surprise. Pet Shop Boys have a computer do the talking. The most hilarious version is by Japanese band Cibo Matto, who clearly have no idea what they are singing about.

Thai Beat by Traces! Eastern European melancholy by Ilona Csakova! Italian romance by Ombretta Colli! German industrialism by Einstürzende Neubauten!

These songs either stay close to the original or try to capture the atmosphere of Jane and Serge. It's an educated guess though that whoever sang on flutist Edward Simoni's version, weren't heavy petting while recording. Anita Lane, on the other hand, sounds like she wants to eat Nick Cave right then and there. This English duet is on Mick Harvey's Serge-tribute Pink Elephants. Notice, by the way, that neither this version, or the English-version by Pet Shop Boys, or this 1973 semi-erotic version by Sylvia & Raflin Ralfi Pagan, manages to capture the sentence "je vais et je viens entre tes reins" (I come and I go, between you kidneys). Harvey is part of Nick Cave's Bad Seeds, just as Barry Adamson was, I don't know who's the girl next to Barry. His duet-partner Louise Ness sounds excited. Miss Kittin does to, with dance-partner Sven Väth. Jaël of Swiss band Lunik sounds sweet (duetting with rockers Züri West), but the hottest couple are no other than Placebo-singer Brian Molko and actress/model Asia Argento. Far hotter than the bland version by German punkband Böhse Onkelz.

Ça suffit?

(Mille fleurs á SpikedCandy, Maks and Norbert for helping me out!)

zondag 22 januari 2006

En Duo Grande Finale (1)

Ofcourse, there's only one title that can close this En Duo-project: Je t'aime...moi non plus. Notice that I wrote title, instead of song: we're gonna wrap it up with the four Gainsbourg-versions, plus as much coverversions I (with much appreciated help) was able to find. The coverversions will be up in a few days. First, it's Serge and company.
As you all know, Serge wrote Je t'aime for Brigitte Bardot. The two met in 1967 on Sacha Distel's prime-time saturday night tv-show. He was over the moon that she, the blonde sex kitten, was interested in him. Although she was in her second marriage (with millionaire playboy Gunther Sachs), SG and BB became lovers. It was a highly sexual relationship: arranger Michel Colombier remembered (to Gainsbourg-biographer Gilles Verlant) that he and Serge were scheduled to work one day, when the latter didn't show up. After a lot of waiting and calling, Serge finally explained: "Every time I put my shirt on, she takes it back off again."
The first version of Je t'aime was written after a disastrous first date with BB - he was convinced she'd never want to see him again. Instead, she called him and asked for "the most beautiful love song you can imagine" - so he wrote Bonnie & Clyde, and Je t'aime.

Je t'aime was based on a theme Serge had written for the movie Les Coeurs Verts. The duet was recorded in the winter of 1967, in a dimly lit Paris recording studio. The engineer rembered that a lot of "heavy petting" was involved while, ehm, singing. When the grapevine got hold of this steaming duet, French journalists did what journalists do: they called Brigitte's husband. Sachs was not amused, Brigitte pleaded Serge not to release the song. It stayed in the drawer until 1986, when she finally gave permission.
After that, Sylvie Simmons writes in her excellent Serge-biography, Gainsbourg asked Marianne Faithful, Valerie Lagrange and Mireille Darc to re-record the song. It wasn't until Serge met an aspiring young actress on the set of the movie Slogan, for it finally happened. Her name, ofcourse: Jane Birkin.
The single sold over 6 million copies, caused innummerable pregnancies and was banned in the UK - rumour has it that Dutch queen Juliana had someting to do with that: she partly owned Philips, Serge's record company, and told the board of directors she was displeased with the song.
If true, it didn't stop Serge for using the theme for the 1976 movie Je t'aime...moi non plus, with Joe Dallesandro and Jane Birkin. On the soundtrack are a few instrumental versions, the most divine being Je t'aime moi non plus au motel.

Serge Gainsbourg - Scène de bal 1 (from the movie Les Coeurs Verts)
Hear Here.

Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot - Je t'aime...moi non plus
Hear Here.

Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin - Je t'aime...moi non plus
Here Here.

Serge Gainsbourg - Je t'aime moi non plus au motel
Hear Here

zaterdag 21 januari 2006

En Duo: Etienne & Charlotte

The versatile Etienne Daho (born in Oran, Algeria) had his peakmoment in the eighties, when he was France's king of pop and easily sold out the famous Paris Olympia for more than a week. His star faded a little after that - which gave him the opportunity to experiment, like recording an album with Britband St.Etienne in 1995. That album was called Reserection, and was a reaction to allegations that he suffered from hiv. The album was a huge hit, He's on the Phone from that album became a hit abroad. Daho even appeared in Top of the Pops along Oasis and David Bowie. To quote RFI Musique: "Perhaps the secret of Etienne Daho's success was best summed up by author Hervé Guibert in an article published in Le Monde (on July 5 1984). "Daho's success is certainly not due to chance," wrote Guibert, "it stems from the fact that this young singer is essentially a man of his time."

If, his duet with Charlotte Gainsbourg from 2003, is a rerecording of an older song. Daho has been compared with Serge numerous times, and when you hear the wordplay in the lyrics, you can tell why. See a snippet of the beautiful video here. TV5 has a live-performance of the song.

Etienne Daho & Charlotte Gainsbourg - If
Hear Here

vrijdag 20 januari 2006

En Duo: France & Cesar

What better way to get into the weekend than with a brazilianized France Gall? This track from 1968 isn't really a duet; France merely answers a male chorus. The lyrics to Zozoi are very, very simple: "Zozoi, what does it mean? - It has no meaning, I just like the sound of it. Zozoi!" To quote Martin Hemmel's liner notes on the French Cuts 2 compilation (from which I lifted the song): "Probably too much caipirinha's." France sounds very jolly, giggling and laughing to the end of the song. Lovely sound.

Cesar Camargo Mariano, whose band France fronts, is a musical hero in Brazil. He was part of the Sambalanco Trio (with superpercussionist Airto Moreira and bassplayer Humberto Clayber), and worked with Ivan Lins, Gilberto Gil, Joao Bosco and a string of other bossanova-legends. He's name is most connected with Elis Regina, the Edith Piaf of Brazil. Mariano arranged and played piano on what is arguably the best bossanova record ever made, Elis & Tom.

France Gall & Cesar Camargo Mariano - Zozoi
Hear Here

woensdag 18 januari 2006

En Duo: Alain & Dalida

The 1973 team-up between Dalida and actor Alain Delon certainly ranks as a candidate for the Top Five of Classic French Duets. This website explains that Delon was a pain in the ass when it came to the French translation of the original Italian song - the translator and the actor fought over minor changes, a mere one or two words. The diva herself didn't like to sing about caramels, bonbons and chocolats, but translator Michaële (also responsable for Gigi L'Amoroso) refused to change the words.

Delon sounds very convincing as a gravely-voiced seducer, but Dalida seems oblivious to his sugar-coated words. That makes it a very funny song too, although I doubt that was the intention. Belgian readers may know this song via the duet by Nicole & Hugo, while Dutch readers will remember interpretations by Ramses Shaffy & Liesbeth List, and Paul de Leeuw & Willeke Alberti. I don't know if there are English translations as well.

Alain Delon & Dalida - Paroles, Paroles
Hear Here

En Duo: Alain & Chloé

In the mood for something experimental? Gainsbourg-protégé Alain Bashung and his young wife Chloé Mons certainly were, when they recorded the 27-minute long Cantique des Cantiques. The biblical text was set to glitchy electronic music, little guitar added. It's a hypnotising piece, very tender, tad erotic, and aimed to strengthen the bond between the two lovers. It's certainly something out of the ordinary, not for everybody (certainly not if you have a slow internet-connection...)

Alain Bashung & Chloé Mons - Cantique des Cantiques
Hear Here

maandag 16 januari 2006

En Duo: Françoise & Jacques (& Damon)

One of the main reasons I wanted to do this En Duo-project on Filles Sourires, is that I can post songs by one of the most legendary duos in French music: Françoise Hardy & Jacques Dutronc. Y'all know about her, but he's a star in his own right, singing and (co-)writing brilliant songs like Paris s'Eveille, Les Cactus and Les Playboys. Plus, lest not forget, the key song to this blog, J'Aime Regarder Les Filles.
Today, we celebrate the 62th birthday of Françoise Hardy (joyeux anniversaire!), and what better way to do that than via a string of wonderful duets? First up is Puis Que Vous Partez En Voyage, the most recent Hardy/Dutronc-duet (from Hardy's Clair-Obscur album, 2000), with son Thomas on guitar. Then it's Françoise and Jacques with Brouillard dans la Rue Corvisart (1978, co-written by Betty Blue-soundtrackcomposer Gabriel Yared, factfans), followed by the odd, but wonderful team-up of Britpoppers Blur and Hardy, To The End.
She sing en français in this song, unlike the duet Françoise did with Iggy Pop, a few years back. As a bonus I've added the original version of Puis Que Vous Partez, from 1936 (!) and sung by Mireille and Jean Sablon.

Françoise Hardy & Jacques Dutronc - Puis Que Vous Partez En Voyage
Hear Here

Françoise Hardy & Jacques Dutronc - Brouillard Dans La Rue Corvisart
Hear Here

Blur & Françoise Hardy - To The End (La Comedie)
Hear Here
(merci à Freda)

(bonus: Mireille & Jean Sablon - Puis Que Vous Partez En Voyage
Hear Here)

En Duo: Doriand & Keren Ann

Doriand comes highly recommended - he works with Bertrand Burgalat-partner (and Tricatel-co-owner) Peter von Poehl, wrote all songs for Helena Noguerra's Projet:Bikini, worked with M and Katerine and made three well-received albums. This duet with Keren Ann (Doriand co-wrote songs on her Nolita-album) is from his latest offering, 2004's Le Grand Bain. The duet has a seventies-atmosphere, reminiscent of the first Air-album. Love that whistle as well.

Doriand & Keren Ann - L'Age des Saisons
Here Here

vrijdag 13 januari 2006

En Duo: Marc & Les Filles

This guy on the left is to be envied. Marc Lavoine (for it is he) used to be the wet dream of thousands of teenage French girls, nowadays he's in demand of French-speaking women of all ages (and by directors, apparently)Biographies speak of him as a crooner, but he's no Michael Bublé or Harry Connick for he sings no jazz. But with his smokey whisper of a voice, he's slick. He charms the clothes right off of you.
Marc's happily married with children, which doesn't stop him singing duets with absolutely gorgeous women. I mean: look at actress Claire Keim, pictured on the right (or, if you're over eighteen, click here), at Algerian singer Souad Massi, at Françoise Hardy. This guy, he just has it all. Now, can I go and wash that green envious colour off of my face?

Marc Lavoine & Claire Keim - Je ne veux qu'elle
Hear Here

Marc Lavoine & Souad Massi - Paris
Hear Here

Marc Lavoine & Françoise Hardy - Chère Amie
Hear Here

(Obrigado Bibi)

donderdag 12 januari 2006

En Duo: Jacques & Bambou

Guest-selection galore! Sir Edward on Jacques Dutronc & Bambou:

Caroline Von Paulus, dixit Bambou, born as the child of a German father and an Asian mother (the French call this "une eurasienne"), was the last husband and compagnée of Serge Gainsbourg until his death in 1991. Ex-model for Paris Planning, at 21, she and Serge met around 1980, in 1986 Bambou gave birth to their son, Lulu.
Bambou has always been aware she remained in the shadow of Gainsbourg, somehow being a side-effect of Serge's success, conscious and comfortable she did not crossover, like Jane Birkin (his previous partner), to become a myth on her own. Serge wrote her a complete album released in 1989, Made in China, which flopped more or less.

Bambou was celebrated in the 1981-song Bambou, written by Gainsbourg but featured on the beautifully titled Alain Chamfort-album Amour Année Zéro. Actually, as the grapevine goes, this song lifts a tip of Serge's fascination with, as is said, Bambou's junkielifestyle. Read the lyrics here and make up your own mind.

Then, obviously, she had to cover the song Opium, originally emerging from 1937(!) but completely reworked in 1987. I like the very pictural mood set in the song, the gong, the feel of a sarong in a breeze on Saigons river Mekong.
French couturier Yves Saint Laurent created the mythical perfume Opium in 1977 to "symbolize his fascination with the Orient and his unique understanding of a woman's hidden emotions and inexplicable passions. Opium arouses the senses with an exotic blend of lush florals, rich spices, and deep wood notes". What exactly was on Jacques Dutronc's mind while doing this duet, hmmm?

Jacques Dutronc & Bambou - Opium
Hear Here

woensdag 11 januari 2006

En Duo: Valerie & Benjamin

We've already had Louis Bertignac, Laurent Voulzy, Serge Gainsbourg and Benjamin Biolay in this En Duo-series, so it's about time Valerie Lagrange made her entrance, who connects all these men. On of the grand dames of both French cinema (she acted in Un Homme et Un Femme, and Les Idoles) and music - her first single was released in 1964, her biggest hit outside France is La Folie from 1981. Gainsbourg wrote some great songs for her.

After a lot of drama in her life (her first husband commited suicide), al lot of travelling and fundraising (in the wake of Live Aid) she made a grand comeback in 2003, under the wings of Benjamin Biolay. Album Fleuve Congo saw her working with Voulzy and Bertignac, cover Brassens and duet with Biolay. That song is very beautiful, slow, tender, deep and meaningful. To say the least.

Valerie Lagrange & Benjamin Biolay - La Chanson de Tessa
Hear Here

maandag 9 januari 2006

En Duo: Serge & France

Guest-selection time! Natasha of Radio Oh La La on Serge Gainsbourg & France Gall:

Written by Serge Gainsbourg, Dents de lait, dents de loup (Baby teeth, wolf’s teeth) was the theme song of the French television pop programme of the same name, which aired on 11 January 1967, a show created by Pierre Koralnik and Jean-Pierre Spiero. This short but groovy tune, a duet by Serge Gainsbourg and France Gall, was never released on cd, but was included on Serge Gainsbourg’s double dvd D’autres nouvelles des étoiles, released in April 2005. The television fragment features Serge framed as if he were a big bad wolf observing his innocent, dancing prey. The same dvd also features a film fragment of him at the piano rehearsing and then performing the song with France Gall. This particular episode of Dents de lait, dents de loup had appearances by Françoise Hardy, Sylvie Vartan, Eddy Mitchell, Claude François and many others.

Although many fans have a preference for France Gall’s younger years, Gall herself prefers not to talk about it. Despite having been an incredibly successful teenager, she was still a very overprotected little girl. However, Gainsbourg was very inspired by her naivety and enjoyed making her sing things she did not fully understand, which is in fact why many people prefer this period of Gall’s career.

Serge Gainsbourg & France Gall - Dents de lait, dents de loup
Hear Here

En Duo: Louis & Carla

It seems only fair that Carla Bruni duetted with Louis Bertignac - he's the guy who discovered her singing talents. Bertignac is rock royalty in France thanks to Telephone, the Gallic equivalant of the Rolling Stones. That is to say - they were the equivalent, until the split in 1986. From then on, Louis started a new band Les Visiteurs, and when that wasn't a big succes, went on a solocareer. And produced the album of former lover Carla Bruni, Quelqu'un m'a Dit, that became a huge national, a also international succes. It's one of the best examples of Filles Sourires-music: a husky girl, a guitar and loads of double entendres, innuendo and wordplay. It's like being seduced.

The duet between Carla and Louis is taken from Louis' most recent album Longtemps. That is also an appropriate term when it comes to the follow-up of Quelqu'un - Carla, it's really nice that you write lyrics and sing choirs for Julien Clerc and all, but for chrissakes, it's been four years since you're own album! Come on! We're in need!

Louis Bertignac & Carla Bruni - Les Froleuses
Hear Here

bonus: Carla Bruni & Laurent Voulzy - Tout les garçons et les filles
Hear Here

(merci á The Blues Are Still Blue)

En Duo: Jeanne & Albin

Jeanne Cherhal did a few duets (for instance on her third album Douze Fois Par An, with Jacques Higelin, and on the Tôt ou Tard-project), but as far as I know Cet Mots Stupides is the first and only with her boyfriend Albin de la Simone. Who is a great artist in his own right (and was featured her before, with Feist). Cet Mots Stupides, a French translation of Nancy & Frank's Something Stupid, is a riot. Both singers do not take the song very seriously, as you can hear from the gurgling sounds they make. The song was recorded especially for the Le Pop En Duo-compilation.
More Jeanne Cherhal on this blog later on - her third album (released 2005) is wonderful, piano-driven, funny and tender.

Jeanne Cherhal & Albin de la Simone - Cet Mots Stupides
Hear Here

zondag 8 januari 2006

En Duo: Gillian & Henri

Technically, Près de la Cascade by sixties-bombshell Gillian Hills and eminence grise Henri Salvador is not a duet - it's a radioplay. You can hear the falls, and the two lovers courting each other near the water. They don't actually sing, they just giggle (well, Gillian does, and it's a lovely sound) and whisper sweet nothings. But it's nice to eavesdrop.

Gillian Hills & Henri Salvador - Près de la Cascade
Hear Here.

zaterdag 7 januari 2006

En Duo: Yann & Natasha

You should know the very gifted Yann Tiersen from his soundtracks for films like Amelie Poulain and Goodbye Lenin. You might know German-born actress Natasha Régnier from films like La Vie Rêvée des Anges and Comment J'Ai Tué Mon Père (American dvd-title reads: My Father and I). She has a very tender, shy voice and looks stunning (pictured on the left). Yann and Natasha recorded two duets, one for the already mentioned George Brassens-tribute Les Oiseaux de Passage, and for Tiersens solo-album L'Absente (from 2001). Tiersen has made quite a few albums, on which he rarely sings himself. He's probably more comfortable with guest-vocalists like husky-voiced Lisa Germano, high-pitched Claire Pichet and posh-sounding Neil Hannon. Dominique A. also appears on a few songs, just as Francoiz Breut does, on a very special album with a radio session. That song, Les Forges, I'd love to hear.

Yann Tiersen & Natasha Regnier - L'Echec
Hear here

Yann Tiersen & Natasha Regier - Le Parapluie
Hear here

vrijdag 6 januari 2006

En Duo: Keren Ann & Philippe

George Brassens was one of the great French chansonniers, as you can read on the Allmusic-site, he was a gifted poet and wordsmith. Brassens passed away in 1981, and twenty years after his death some contemporary French artists like Miossec, Tarmac and Benabar paid tribute via the album Les Oiseaux de Passage. There's two beautiful duets on this album, one by Keren Ann and Tanger-singer Philippe Pigeard. Atmospheric rockband Tanger made three albums, the most recent dates from 2003. You can read an interview with Philippe here.
I really love the song they chose to do, you might know it in the very dramatic version by Françoise Hardy (from the album Comment te dire adieu). Keren Ann and Philippe are more lighthearted about it, although persons who recently had their heart broken ánd have sharp objects around them: be advised.

Keren Ann & Philippe Pigeard - Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux
Hear Here

donderdag 5 januari 2006

En Duo: Jane & Miossec

Ofcourse, the headline shóuld read Jane & Christophe, because that is his first name. But most people know Miossec by his family name. This guy is what footballer-turned-actor Vinnie Jones would call "well 'ard". For instance, he named albums 'Drinking', 'Fucking' and 'Burning'. Recently I heard a story about Miossec's first Dutch performance at the Crossing Border-festival in The Hague, a few years ago. The Dutch label-rep thought it would be a nice idea to have him perform on a school. She contacted Alliance Française, an organisation concerned with promoting French language abroad. Who backed off as soon as she unveiled her plan: Miossec would be too much of liability. He'd either be stoned, drunk, offensive, or all three. As he proved to be, at the festival. He sounds the part as well, coming very close to the role Gainsbourg played whenever he sang a duet with Jane Birkin. Pour Un Flirt Avec Toi (yes, it's a Michel Delpech-cover) is taken from Jane's 2004 duet-album Rendez-vous, that also sported duets with Brian Molko, Françoise Hardy and Bryan Ferry.

Jane Birkin & Miossec - Pour Un Flirt Avec Toi
Hear Here

woensdag 4 januari 2006

En Duo: M & Ariane

My view on the French music scene is a little distorted - I focus too much on the girls. There are some great male singers en la Hexagone, but I know only a few. M, alias Mathieu Chedid, is a very well known artist in France. Or at least his crazy outfits are. Last year a double live-album came out - thé of superstardom. He collaborated with a lot of interesting artists, like Albin de la Simone, Archie Shepp, Jeanne Cherhal and Vanessa Paradis, and released four albums himself. I'm just rehashing info from his posh website, for I've only scratched the surface of this guy with the high, fragile voice andthe electronica-infused rock music. He did a couple of duets, the most beautiful is the dubby, very tender collaboration with Quebecian beauty Ariane Moffatt.
French visitors of Filles Sourires, or French-male-vocalist-enthusiasts from abroad: where to begin with M? What are his best albums, and songs?

M & Ariane - La Bonne Etoile
Hear Here

dinsdag 3 januari 2006

En Duo: Dominique & Francoiz

Le Twenty-Two Bar by Dominique A(né) and his then girlfriend Francoiz Breut was his breakthrough in France, the single sold more than 100.000 copies in 1995. Third album La Mémoire Neuve, from which it is taken, is still considered Dominique's best album. They sang more duets, for instance on Ané's second album Si Je Connais Harry.
I don't know where it went wrong between Francoiz and Dominique, I think they're still friends because he still contributes to her albums - for instance, Dominique wrote the words to KM 83, one of the best songs on Breut's most recent cd.
Not sure what Le Twenty-Two Bar is about, reading the lyrics I guess it's about being (or feeling) excluded, waiting for an opportunity to pitch in. The song starts as a bit cheesy dance-song, but then shifts to a furious flamenco-like melody. You can almost see the dust rising up from the dancer's feet.
Dominique released a very recommendable album in 2004 (Tout Sera Comme Avant), and this March his new album will be released, according to this great tribute-site. Francoiz is currently on tour, I sure hope to see her when she plays the German town of Aachen in March. And, she's coming to the UK as well!

Dominique A. & Francoiz Breut - Le Twenty-Two Bar
Hear Here

maandag 2 januari 2006

En Duo: Benjamin & Chiara

Hope you all had a good new year's eve, Filles Sourires kicks off 2006 with a duet-project; all month I will post the best girl/boy-songs. And why not start with genius Benjamin Biolay and his lovely wife Chiara Mastroianni? They released their beautiful album Home in 2004, a duet-album that was inspired by the bad cd's Ben and Chiara took on a roadtrip to The Hague - they thought they could do better. The songs on Home are about the up- and downsides of relationships (Tête a Claques, Folle de Toi), sweet nothings (Dance Rock'n Roll) and smoking marihuana (L'Apologie). The music is very scenic and country-tinged, no doubt inspired by film soundtracks (Douce Comme l'Eau sounds like a closing credits-theme) and the desert-mariachi-rock of Calexico.

Benjamin Biolay & Chiara Mastroianni - L'Apologie
Hear Here