woensdag 27 december 2006

Month of Male

Before I wish you all a wonderful and safe new year's eve, I'd like to announce that January will be all-male-month here at Filles Sourires. The classics, the new guys, and everyone in between. If possible, I will post a duet with a jolie fille as well, but testosterone will rule! Why? Well, there are so many great male singers in France (or singing in French) who need as much attention from the world as their female counterparts, I feel obliged to get them out there.
As always, your suggestions, guestposts and mp3s are welcomed.

As a taster of the coming month, here's a beautiful track from what I consider to be the best French male album from 2006, L'Horizon by Dominique A. (By the way, that's not Dominique on the picture, Dom looks like this)

Dominique A - Antaimoro


"A cinematographic blend of Radiohead, Satie, Kurt Weill and preludes of Bach embroidered by multiple voices and electronic sounds and whispers." Sounds interesting, eh? Watine is her name, she's from Saint Cloud and made two albums in English, singing with a "a bad charming French accent" as she described herself in the FS-comment-section here. Her album Dermaphrodite got rave reviews, she was compared to Kate Bush and Portishead and got help from producer Markus Davis (who also worked with Emilie Simon). Watine emailed me she's working on a French album (hurrah!), set for release au printemps. Will keep you posted about that.

Watine - Sing C'est La Vie
Random Moods feat. Watine - Sing C'est La Vie


Tropicalismo, also known as Tropicália, is a Brazilian art movement that arose in the late 1960s and encompassed theatre, poetry and music, among other forms. Caetano Veloso is one of the leaders of this movement, trio Os Mutantes one of the key bands. In his book Tropical Truth, Veloso described Tropicalia as antropofagia; cannibalism of all kinds of art forms. Which meant that musicians listened to, borrowed from and got inspired by everyone ranging from Brazilian legends like Joao Gilberto to the Mothers of Invention. And, ofcourse, Françoise Hardy, for this is the late sixties we're talking about. On Os Mutantes' debutalbum (also called Os Mutantes) Rita Lee and her boys did a pastoral version of Le Premier Bonheur du Jour - be sure to light some incense while listening. Francoiz Breut did a great cover as well on Une Saison Volée (2005). See Françoise sing the song here. (Merci à Bibi for the mp3s)

Françoise Hardy - Le Premier Bonheur Du Jour
Os Mutantes - Le Premier Bonheur Du Jour
Francoiz Breut - Le Premier Bonheur Du Jour


Charlotte Gainsbourg, as seen by her husband (the lucky bastard!)
(merci René)

vrijdag 22 december 2006


Chère Mauve,

No, your song A La Vie A La Mort is not in the Filles Sourires 15 (see below). Why? Because it is hors categorie. When I heard it the for the first time on your MySpace-site, I fell in love. Completely: butterflies in my belly, dreamy gaze, the urge to light up 100 candles, throw rosepetals on the floor and read Byron-poems. The works.
Your ultra-sexy, husky voice, the dramatic piano, the fuzzguitar, the slow, sultry rhythm: even when I try to describe it, it tingles everywhere. The short video that was made for the song, shows a gorgeous, doe-eyed girl in a white dress: a little girl lost. I've watched it probably 50 times - and still get annoyed when the film ends before the song ends. What happened? Ran out of tape? Did it become to emotional for you? Was the cameraman too hot 'n bothered?
There's a lot of questions regarding you. There not a scrap of biographical information, the only thing I know is that you're living in Paris, and that you and a bunch of great musicians and even a better producer (is that him, the backing vocals on Boire a la Source?) made at least two wonderful, very filmic tracks. Very Air-working-with-Charlotte, Guy Chambers & Sophie Hunter or J-L Murat & Jenifer Charles. Among the things you love, stated on your MySpace-site, are artists like Scissor Sisters, Nico, Uffie, Joy Division, Satie, Tchaikowsky (you don't say, with all those dramatic pianochords) and post pre-90's Madonna. So: you like to dress up, boogie down and be moved to tears. But that's about all I (we) get to know. Google draws blanks. You like to tease: almost every message you've send me, ends with sentences like 'French kiss', or 'Je t'embrasse'. Makes the butterflies go nuts,I can tell you that. It took a while before I got the mp3's of your songs, which I think you did on purpose: the hunt is better than the catch. So please, stay as mysterious as long as possible. But keep wowing me (us) with beautiful songs and beautiful pictures.

Grand bisou,

Mauve - A La Vie A La Mort
Mauve - Boire a la Source

woensdag 20 december 2006

Filles Sourires Fifteen

2006 is coming to an end - and what a year it was. Not only did I become a father, I got the chance to spend a half hour in the presence of Charlotte Gainsbourg, and stare for 40 minutes in the steelblue eyes of Carla Bruni. Plus I dj'ed at a fantastic Gainsbourg-tribute in Amsterdam, and my ears got treated to a lot of lovely voices and chansons. Here's a roundup of the 15 best Filles Sourires-songs of 2006.
1. Charlotte Gainsbourg - 5.55
Brilliant album (also called 5.55), great lyrics. Yes, most are in English, but do you care? I don't. (Video)
2. Camille - Au Port
Taken from the utterly fantastic Live au Trianon-album, on which the hugely talented Camille shows that you just need a voice, very few instrumentation and a lot of présence to wow a public. Or a listener. (Video)
3. Emilie Simon - Fleur de Saison
Rock with a gentle, wide-eyed touch. Taken from the versatile Végétal. (Video)
4. Lio - Vieil Ami
Glorieus comeback of the eighties Pop Model. Dites Au Prince Charmant is an album by a woman scarred, but not broken.
5. Jeanne Cherhal - La Peau sur les os
My current obsession. Her third album L'Eau is a masterful collection of intelligent popsongs. (Video of Voilà)
6. Yelle - Je veux te le voir
The new Lio, with a foul mouth. Future's looking bright for this electropop-princess (release that song with that Heaven 17-sample already!) (Video)
7. Mareva Galanter - On Roule à 160
Suddenly, this beautiful woman (ex-Miss France) popped up with a great collection of covers, with added ukelele. Ukuyeye is the surprise-smash of 2006. (Scopitone)
8. Elodie Frégé - Le Velours des Vierges
Another cover, this time written by Serge for Jane, but bettered by a former Star Ac-contestant. With Benjamin Biolay overseeing most of her second album Le Jeu des 7 Erreurs, very little could go wrong. (Video for La Ceinture)
9. Jane Birkin - La Reine Sans Royaume
The Queen-mum made a Serge-free, but still wonderful album, in the year she hit the big six-o, the year her former lover was remembered all over the world (via a so-so tribute-album) and her daugther made the best album of the year.
10. Axelle Red - Papillon
For a while, we were led to believe Jardin Secret was the last album from the Flemish red fury. She still has ambivalent feelings for the music industry, but promises to keep writing and recording songs. Phew. (Video for Temps pour nous)
11. Lady Palavas - Cuisine Actuelle
Made some great friends, and discovered a lot of great artists via MySpace. One of the bestest is retro-band Lady Palavas - groovy, baby!
12. Claire Diterzi -Infidèle
I like a touch of gothicness. Fairytale music from a talent-to-watch. (Video for Je Me Souviens dans la Neige)
13. Dorval - Celle Que Vous Croyez
Title-track of the second album by the illustre duo, that I thought had disappeared forever. But no. Thank God no. (Video via Dorval-site)
14. Austine - Leitmotiv
The embodiement of what Filles Sourires stands for. The fille of the fillest, if you like.
15. Adrienne Pauly - J'veux un Mec
Ravenhaired beauty wants a boyfriend. Do you take side-orders, mamzelle? (Video)

Amelia & Les Anges

Guestpost! Martijn of Thinksmall-blog on Amelia and the angels:

In real life, Amelia Fletcher is a 40-year old mother of two, who works at some high position in the British government. But this is not real life, this is Pop Life, where Amelia will always be the blondhaired girl from Oxford that started Talulah Gosh twenty years ago. Even though Talulah Gosh went on to become Heavenly,
Marine Research and, currently, Tender Trap, Amelia's twee voice, sweet lyrics and shy appearance have always stayed the same. And so has her semi-legendary status among generations of pop kids. Nous Ne Sommes Pas Des Anges is, to my best of knowledge, the only song she ever sung in French (Tender Trap has a song that is half-Spanish though). It is from Heavenly's last album Operation Heavenly which appeared not long after the suicide of their drummer, and Amelia's younger brother, Matthew. It is originally written by Mr. Gainsbourg and
performed by Mme Gall, but of course you knew that already. If not, here's the original version too.

Heavenly - Nous Ne Sommes Pas Des Anges
France Gall - Nous Ne Sommes Pas Des Anges

dinsdag 19 december 2006

Carla, George

Just got back from Paris, and my 40-minute interview with Carla Bruni. Yes, she's as beautiful in the flesh as she is on pictures. Yes, she really has that husky voice. Yes, she's as chaotic and unmanageable as she appears in earlier interviews - no need for a questionnaire, Carla decides what to tell and when to tell it. Unfortunately, the interview did not take place at her appartment, as promised, but at a posh hotel (Hotel Square, near the big radio building), because her little boy was ill. We laughed a lot, she sang some lines of other songs (by the Rolling Stones, f.i.) and gave me some background on her decision to put poems by Auden, Yeats and others to music. Inspiration, in short. After the interview (Carla gave me two goodbye-kisses!), which will run in a Dutch magazine in January, I hit Gibert Joseph on Blvd St-Michel. There I bought about 30 cd's, among them a 2006 update of the George Brassens-tribute Les Oiseaux de passage (from 2001, featured here before), called Putain de Toi. And guess what: Carla is on it - hear her live-rendition of Fernande. The title-track is sung by another FS-favourite, Olivia Ruiz. This girl likes to Rock On!

Carla Bruni - Fernande
Olivia Ruiz - Putain de toi

UPDATE:The first single of Carla's new album No Promises is called Those Dancing Days are Gone. The lyrics are a poem by W.B. Yeats.
Carla Bruni - Those Dancing Days are Gone

maandag 18 december 2006

Christmas Souvenir

Smelling like tannenbaum? Hoping for nice presents? Wearing only red stockings? You're feeling the holiday spirit then, and adding to that feeling is Noël, by Spanish FS-favourites Souvenir (that's singer Patricia on the picture). Noel is taken from a special X-Mas album, Cuentos de Navidad, featuring Apenino, Nadadora, Montevideo, Ama, Polar and Uke. Even better news is that Souvenir are working on their next album, and Jaime from the band tells me that "it's going to be absolutely danceable, a significant twist from our last album. Very 80's and techno-pop". Yay! French eighties! Souvenir already recorded a very nice cover of Corynne Charby's Boule de Flipper, so this sounds very promising!

Together with Souvenir and my little drummer boy, I wish all visitors and contributors of Filles Sourires Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année!

Souvenir - Noël


You're a girl, you met a nice looking guy in a bar, you're both in the mood so you take the fella home. But as soon as you lock your door, the nice looking guy turns into, well, a not so good mannered man. I'm pretty sure that is what Lizzy Ling means when she sings about Le Tigre Dans Le Bungalow, one of the songs from her forthcoming album. She sings, plays synths and guitar and writes her own lyrics, although she got some help from Jean Fauque and François Bernheim - Fauque wrote for and worked with Claudine Longet, André Popp, Alizée, Patricia Kaas and Alain Bashung. He also knew Gainsbourg! Lizzy got acquinted to Fauque via Moonbootica, who teamed up both for a song.
Lizzy has a sexy-but-sophisticated voice, that works good with her lounge-tinged songs. Think Clementine, Pizzicato 5. For her album (no label signed her yet) (shame!) she got help from Minimatic - everything this genius touches I like, so Lizzy's upcoming album can't be anything but great.

UPDATE: Lizzy emailed: "I wanted to say thank you to people who commented. Happiness for 2007 !!!"

Lizzy Ling - Le Tigre Dans Le Bungalow

donderdag 14 december 2006


I'm working on a list of the best songs of 2006 (FS-related, ofcourse), and a highranking fille on that list will be Jeanne Cherhal. I think her album L'Eau is one of the best I heard this year. Next week I will do a countdown. If those lists are your thing, check out my good online-friend Alexandre's line-up.

Thanks to René, I got hold of the 2005 Tôt ou Tard compilation featuring duets from all artists of the ToT-label. On it is a beautiful duet between Françoiz Breut and Bastia Lallemant, that I will post later. Jeanne is doing it with no less than four guys. A funny electropop-ditty with Franck Monnet, a Dream-A-Little-Dream-ish ballad with Thomas Fersen, another threesome with JP Nataf and Lallement and a tender team-up with grandmaster Jacques Higelin.

Jeanne Cherhal & Franck Monet - Tout le monde se sert dans mon assiette
Jeanne Cherhal & JP Nataf & Bastian Lallemant - Luna
Jeanne Cherhal & Thomas Fersen
Jeanne Cherhal & Jacques Higelin - La rousse au chocolat

All Hail the Queen

Today, December 14, Jane Birkin turned 60. Bonne anniversaire!

Jane Birkin - Yesterday Yes a Day

Dansez Maintenant

If it's sweetened, husky French voices, we're all ears here at FS. Musical style does not really matter - every now and then we sure like to get down 'n boogie. Here's three examples.

Kicking off with Hektor, a band that was featured here before. There first album Dans ta guele is out, and if this synthpop-tornado (think Superbus, Lio, Yelle, Chicks on Speed) does not hit you in the face, it sure is murder to your hips and knees. I just love the tipsy way Carine is singing, like she had just one glass of white wine too much before entering the vocal booth. Charming. The titletrack is jump-around-madness; Crever d'Amour is their electronic take on Barry 'Walrus of Love' White's heritage, and more suitable for horizontal dancing. Also check their MySpace-site.

Hektor - Dans Ta Gueule
Hektor - Crever d'Amour

Next up, from Belgium: Lunabee, also the band providing the illustration. Prenez garde aux flots bleus is the first album of this fille, who fell in love with synthesizers first, then got help from vocalist Pascale Vervloet, two lyricists and superprouducer Pierre Vervloesem (dEUS, X-Legged Sally). Lunabee makes funny, bit weird popmusic, that because of the dreamy sounds, and Pascale's highpitched voice, sounds fairytale-like. A few Lunabee-tracks were remixed, and thus made more danceable. More on MySpace.

Lunabee - Le lion des mers du Sud
Lunabee - Le lion des mers du Sud (Frederic de Carvalho remix)
Lunabee - Poupée de chair

Finally, Alden Tyrell. This Dutch dj/producer is playing all over the world, playing his Giorgio Moroder-influenced, nasty disco. He's on the Rotterdam Clone label, very fitting to his pseudonym, which Martijn Hoogendijk (his real name) took from the movie Blade Runner - Alden Tyrell is the 'boss' of the clones. His track La Voix features the both sweet and stern voice of France's Nancy Fortune (real name Julia Fedida, she's also a dj/producer). La Voix is on Alden's very good compilation Times Like These; a shiny remix is on the Clone-comp ReCloned. More on Alden Tyrell via MySpace.

Alden Tyrell - La Voix
Alden Tyrell - La Voix - Elitechnique remix

Oh, Carla

Guess who's interviewing Carla next week? :-)

maandag 11 december 2006

Poupées that go NO

Michel Polnareff's La Poupée qui fait non, a 1966 ode to either a toddler that is in her nay-saying phase, or a beautiful girl who likes to keep all options open, has been covered many times, in many ways. Even by Polnareff himself: he did an Italian and a German version of the song. Best known cover is by Cristina, the wife of ZE Records boss Michael Zilkha. Back in the eighties, ZE was the label that released Lio, John Cale and Kid Creole & The Coconuts. Cristina Monet was a Harvard educated theatrecritic, who made two albums, with enormous stylistic variety. Her Poupée-version was produced by August Darnell (a.k.a Kid Creole), and as Silverlakeblvd once remarked: "It features clichéd calypso steel drums versus clichéd disco cow bell plus skeletonized fragments of fake Gene Krupa, with vocal stylings by the ineffable Cristina, sounding like a lunatic talking to herself in the street."
Saint Etienne did a English language cover for a Polnareff tribute, whilst Italian newwave-disco hero Ivan Cattaneo covered it in Italian. Mylene Farmer did a live version en duo with the king of raï Khaled, American rockband slash francophiles Luna rocked it, and French teen star Danielle made a europoptrash version last year. Ofcourse the song was redone by a Japanese artist, in this case Sonoko.

UPDATE: thanks to Dennis and Frans, this post has grown enormously. Merci guys! If you have more versions, please share (see profile for email).

The Master
Michel Polnareff - La Poupée qui fait non (see on Daily Motion)
Michel Polnareff - Meine Puppe sagt nein (in German) (see on YouTube)
Michel Polnareff - La bambolina che fa no no no (in Italian)

Female French
Cristina - La Poupée qui fait non
Sonoko - La Poupée qui fait non
Elli Medeiros & Jacno - La Poupée qui fait non
Mylene Farmer & Khaled - La Poupée qui fait non (see on YouTube)
Danielle - La Poupée qui fait non

Male French
NEW: Johnny Hallyday - La Poupée qui fait non
Les Sultans - La Poupée qui fait non (see on YouTube)
Luna - La Poupée qui fait non
Florent Pagny & Kad Achouri - La Poupée qui fait non
C. Jerome - La Poupée qui fait non

Female English

Saint Etienne - La Poupée qui fait non
Saint Etienne - La Poupée qui fait non (live) (see on YouTube)

Male English
The Birds - La Poupée qui fait non
Jimi Hendrix - La Poupée qui fait non
The Otherside - La Poupée qui fait non
Finnegans Wake - La Poupée qui fait non
Scott McKenzie - La Poupée qui fait non

Male Italian

Quelli - La Bambolina che fa no no no
Ivan Cattaneo - La Bambolina che fa no no no
Alberto Camorini - La Bambolina che fa no no no

Female Japanese
Nomoto Karia - Non Non Ningyou

NEW: Female Spanish
Los Compays - La muñeca que dice no


Another MySpace-discovery: John (real name Johanna). She started out as a dancer and choreographer, but after she discovered the power of her voice over her feet, she wanted to express herself in another way. She collaborated with Dominique Pankratoff, who wrote for Isabelle Aubret and Michèle Torr. Other lyrics were written by people like Jean-Marie Moreau and Julie Daroy. John's voice is fragile and very sensual, and reminds me a little of Keren Ann - her MySpace-url isn't Myspace.com/labiographiedejohn by coincidence, I guess. No album yet, for her career is just starting, but John has made a videoclip you can see on her that site.

John - Vu de l'interieur

woensdag 6 december 2006


On January 15, No Promises will be in the shops. FINALLY the new album by Carla Bruni, and as you can tell from that title, it's all in English. Yes, I'll hold [...]. Louis Bertignac was at the controls again, so the atmosphere of 2002's Quelqu'un m'a dit was kept. For the lyrics, texts written by William Butler Yeats, Wystan Hugh Auden, Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, Walter de la Mare and Dorothy Parker were used. If you surf to Carla's official site right now, you can listen to two new songs.
Carla sang in English before, for instance Those Little Things (Ces Petits Riens) on the tribute Mr Gainsbourg Revisited, and on Oceana, trumpeteer Till Brönner's last album. My Secret Life is a cover of a Leonard Cohen-song.

Till Brönner & Carla Bruni - My Secret Life
Carla Bruni - Those Little Things
PLUS: Carla in Italian, featuring jazz-legend Aldo Romano:
Carla Bruni & Aldo Romano - Io qui tu li
PLUS: a cover of Quelqu'un m'a dit by Les Enfoirés, which is a for-the-occasion team-up of Marc Lavoine, Patrick Bruel, Zazie and Francis Cabrel:
Les Enfoirés - Quelqu'un m'a dit


Remember Roxane K? The little tease is preparing an album along with her guitar called Octobre, due next spring. Via this site, you can pre-order one, or at least show your interest in her debut. And why wouldn't you? She'll be our Lily Allen. Our Arctic Monkey. Our whatever other artist that was discovered on MySpace first. More Roxane here and here.

dinsdag 5 december 2006


Lately, thanks to FS-readers I'm discovering wonderful French songs and artists from the eighties. Santo Gold introduced me to Amélie Morin. You could say she's the eighties-equivalent of Clothilde: off the hook music with a delicate, girlie voice. Amélie was born in Paris, but grew up in Quebec. In Montreal, she sang and danced. When she returned to Paris, she found a job as voice of a cult-cartoonseries called Candy. When Jean-Yves Luley asked for her help while recording a couple of songs (among them the duet J'y vois bien dans ta tête), she was discovered by two wide-eyed producers - their first meeting inspired them to write Amélie's first 1981-hitrecord, J'tais venue pour dire bonjour. This combination of gothic chants, a pouting little girl and a reggaebeat became a culthit in France. She recorded more songs, like the mad gypsy-opera Rien ne vas plus and hot pink bubblegum-dancetrack Jim, plus a couple of albums. When she stepped out of the spotlights, she kept voicing films and tv-series. It's been 25 years since J'tais venue pour dire bonjour was released, in September a double compilation came out. This very dedicated site says there were talks of a comeback. As far as I know, nothing happened.

Amélie Morin - J'tais venue pour dire bonjour
Amélie Morin - Rien ne vas plus
Jean-Yves Luley & Amélie Morin - J'y vois bien dans ta tête

Austine (4)

I've been singing the praise of lovely Austine for over a year now - finally her first full album Ouh la la la hit the stores. And it's marvellous. If there ever was a singer who defined 'fille sourire', ít's Austine. Her tender, breathy voice, the gentle acoustic guitar, the songs about being vulnarable, being in and out of love and darker stuff - you could say she's the Françoise Hardy of our time. Born in Lille, living in Rennes right now, Austine made two EP's and now this album On her MySpace-site you can see her musical favourites are chanson-big guns like Brassens and Vian, softpop-heroes like Prefab Sprout and Belle & Sebastian, plus Gainsbourg, Fela, Dylan and Marvin. This MySpace-site also offers a free download of a non-album track!

Austine - Cigale Glacée
Austine - Décalquée

maandag 4 december 2006


Remember triphop? Back in the nineties, I devoured almost every band and artist who were categorised as triphop - although not every band liked that label. Sneaker Pimps were one of my favourite bands, their first album Becoming X is a collection of sultry, sexy spherical songs. Almost every new dance-genre gets tiresome after a while, and so did triphop. I kept a couple of albums that still work, by the bigshots like Massive Attack and Portishead, but also by fairly unknown bands like Mono and Andrea Parker, and do play them every now and then. Sneaker Pimps-memories (I saw them a couple of times back in the day, when Kelli Dayton still sang with them, awesome band) came back when I heard Respire by Lilee. Industrial undertones, sexy vibe, jazzy overtones. Love it. Very little is known about this Belgian singer, and she likes to keep it that way. For now. Rumours that Lilee is also writer-director Rachel Lecomte are not denied, though.

Lilee - Respire
(Sneaker Pimps - Spin Spin Sugar)