vrijdag 30 november 2007

Christiane Legrand

Regular guestposter Sky (he gets a shoutout in the Filles Fragiles-booklet) on Christiane Legrand:

The high art of wordless female vocals is a seldom praised genre, despite works like Floyd’s 'Great Gig in the Sky' featuring the divine Clare Torry, Rita’s moaning classic Erotica or Teo Usuelli’s Piacere Sequence. The absolute, unmatched peak of the genre might well be Enterrement sous-marine (Underwater Funeral), a collaboration between French movie composer François de Roubaix and Christiane Legrand, one of the original members of the legendary Swingle Singers and voix chantée in Les Demoiselles de Rochefort, for the soundtrack of Les Aventuriers in 1966. Legrand’s beautiful soprano adds a unforgettably haunting dimension to the famous scene when Lino Ventura and Alain Delon float deep down in the sea with the body of their dead lover, Joanna Shimkus, before letting her go and allowing her to be swallowed by the dark waters – a melancholy underwater ballet oscillating between heavy grief and zero gravity, one of the finest romantic scenes in French movie history, and a sacred song.

François de Roubaix feat. Christiane Legrand - Enterrement Sous-Marine

Filles Fragiles competition: winner 2

Ariane from Minden, Germany, send in a great post for the Filles Fragiles competition on Souad Massi, the 'Tracy Chapman du Maghreb'.

I thought we might open our intercultural arms and welcome an Algerian singer like Souad Massi, the gentle ethno-folk-rocker-rebel-chick, into the sisterhood of filles fragiles. I remember reading about her on Filles Sourires, singing an ode to Paris together with Marc Lavoine. In Noir et blanc, the French-language duet from her first studio album Raoui (2001), the Paris-based émigrée teams up with Senegalese icon Ismaël Lô. And, wow, what a song this is! The universal sense of joy and infectious happiness it radiates, the accessible upbeat rhythms and Arabica-perfumed guitar accompaniments, the perfect harmonising between two voices and, oh, what lyrics! As in most of her songs, Souad’s honest lyrics promote large humanitarian themes. In 'Black and white', we hear:
‘La musique a parfois des accords majeurs qui font rire les enfants mais pas les dictateurs. De n’importe quel pays, de n’importe quelle couleur, la musique est un cri qui vient de l’intérieur.’
Music is a cry that comes from inside: obvious, yes, but Souad’s peaceful serenade shows just how much that ‘cri’ or cry, the opposite of a sigh, can be both powerful and fragile but always conciliatory. This soft-spoken yet courageous bard takes on complex political issues, speaking out to us in a quiet and frank way, using her music to comment positively on thorny social issues. Chapeau, Souad! I am walking barefoot through the lush oases of this world and suddenly, just for a moment, there is peace and justice everywhere…

Souad Massi & Ismael Lô - Noir et Blanc

donderdag 29 november 2007

Filles Fragiles competition: winner 1

Visiteur Roger Grund send in his entry to the Filles Fragiles-giveaway:

Although hardly a fille in our memory, Édith Piaf was the quintessential Grand Mère Fragile. Thinking about Piaf, I recall some footage I once saw: A very fragile and already terminally ill Piaf aged 46 marries a 20 years younger hairdresser and when questioned by a reporter, she replied: ‘I have never been happier in my entire life’. This to me sums up the essence of Piaf. She died aged 47 in October 1963. The nation mourned, and so did the grandmother of the writer of these words.
Exodus is one of the less well known songs from her extensive catalogue, and as usual with all good Artists, it deals with life and death. In my dreams I meet Édith Piaf in the catacombes of Paris, and while we have a glass of calvados together she tells me: ‘Live your life without fear, as if you could die any time, and face death with a smile on your face’. Salut Édith

Edith Piaf - Exodus

woensdag 28 november 2007

Keren Ann live

André saw Keren Ann live, November 27 in Bruxelles. Here's his report:

There’s a fine line between the artist on stage and the audience. The unwritten rules. The line is often crossed. Sadly enough, most of the time this happens for the wrong reasons. The rules are disrespected. By members of the audience talking through delicate songs. By the artist being too eager to please. Last night none of this happened. From the moment Keren Ann Zeidel took the stage of the Orangerie at Brussels’ Botanique the invisible line was drawn. The audience listened with respect and admiration, applauding enthusiastically in between songs. Providing handclaps where needed and laughing appropriately during Keren Ann’s amusing little stories. Apart from what appeared to be a radio station disturbing on one of the amps the sound was perfect too. Dressed in a sober black outfit and supported only by a guitarist and a drummer, Keren Ann stripped her songs bare to their essence and brought the focus where it should be: on her wonderful, lush voice. She only sang three of her French songs, but there’s no reason to complain with English songs like Not Going Anywhere, Chelsea Burns, Lay You Head Down and a great rendition of Big Yellow Taxi (which made me realise again how terribly bland that Counting Crows version is). None of this caused the fine line to be erased though. At the end of the encores it was still there. That’s when it happened: The audience just didn’t seem to want to stop applauding when Keren Ann reappeared on stage, to the point where it must have almost made her feel embarrassed. The line was already blurred. The enigmatic singer erased it completely by singing an Italian song a cappella (at least it sounded Italian to me). Magical.

Two live-tracks (not from the Bruxelles concert)
Keren Ann & Doriand - Le Dernier Pas (live)
Keren Ann - Hallelujah (live Leonard Cohen-cover) (thanks SOM)

dinsdag 27 november 2007


Want to get a free copy of Filles Fragiles? I am giving away five cd's. But you need to do something. You need to write a guestpost on your favourite song by a French fragile girl. A song that makes you sigh. A song that makes tears well in your eyes. A song that makes you want kick off your shoes and walk barefoot in a fresh green meadow. That guestpost has to be at least 150 words long. It doesn't matter if that chanson was posted here before. Deadline is December 10. Send your entries (with your adress) to guuzbourg(a)gmail.com. The most inspiring and/or touching guestposts get a free FF-cd.

Emmanuelle Béart

Must be the way she pouts constantly. Those lips, that mouth and those enormous eyes. They keep you glued to the screen, be it in the movies or at home in front of the tv. Emmanuelle Béart is an actress with magnetic qualities. A lot of fansites (here, here or here) agree. She played in films like Manon des Sources, Mission:Impossible, Héros de la Famille and 8 Femmes. In the last two she sang as well - being the daugther of chansonnier Guy Béart, she met Leo Ferré and George Brassens at a young ages, "nice uncles to go and pick cherries with", she once said in an interview. She appears in very sexy lingerie-commercials, but is an activist for human rights as wel, she recently wrote an article for Le Monde about illegal immigrants and their terrible housing conditions (here) in Paris.
With three movies in post-production, we're still hearing from Béart, one way or another. And this ofcourse is a dream of all of us.

Emmanuelle Béart - Histoire d'un Amour (clip)
Emmanuelle Béart - I'll Close My Eyes
Emmanuelle Béart - Pile ou Face (clip)
Emmanuelle Béart & Marc Lavoine - Fais Moi Un Place
Elsa, Emmanuelle Béart, Laurent Voulzy, Pascal Obispo - Message Personnel
Patrick Bruel & Sandrine Kiberlain & Emmanuelle Beart - Ou sont tous mes amants
Guy Béart - La Chanson de Prévert
Would-be-goods - Emmanuelle Béart

(anyone knows the song that is played during this steaming scene from the movie Nathalie?)

maandag 26 november 2007


Patricia & Jaime of Souvenir (also on Filles Fragiles) had their Allô Allô single remixed by Johan Agebjörn (of Sally Shapiro-fame). It's part of an EP called Extras 64, featuring new songs, remixes and covers (Hanging on the Telephone by Blondie in French!). Plus they made a fantastic video, it makes our Spanish duo look like the Jack & Meg White of fragile French girliepop.

Souvenir - Allô, Allô (Johan Agebjorn remix)

White Blossom

Ever heard a song you know you heard before in another version, but can't think of either title or artist? My mother experienced that when she listened to Filles Fragiles, and heard Marrianne Dissard's Quand Refleuriront Les Lilas Blanc. Now, I've made a post before about this song (here), and thought the orignal version was by Anna Thibaud, from the 1920s. A few googling hours later, I found out that QRLLB is a German Schlager written by Franz Doelle, called Wenn der Weisse Flieder Wieder Blüht. The Anna Thibaud song is called Quand Les Lilas Refleuriront, quite the same but not exactly. I think my mother heard the song the first time in the 1953 Heimat-movie Wenn der Weisse Flieder Wieder Blüht featuring Romy Schneider (and her mother Magda). I called my mom about it, she says is plausible she heard the song in that movie, but couldn't remember who sang the song it. If it was Romy, I sure want to hear it. The fact that the song was written right after the first World War, makes me believe that it was meant to cheer up the listener after a dark period. Dutch songs like 'Als op het Leidesplein de lichtjes weer eens branden gaan' did the same post-WW2.
Youtube-clip here. More (free downloadable) Matt & Marianne here.

Marianne Dissard & Matt Mitchell - Quand Refleuriront Les Lilas Blanc
Henri Gesky - Quand Refleuriront Les Lilas Blanc
Anna Thibaud - Quand Les Lilas Refleuriront
Richard Tauber - Wenn der Weisse Flieder Wieder Blüht
Lou Bandy - Bloemen Bloemen Bloemen (Dutch version)
Zarah Leander - Vill ni se en stjärna (Swedish version)

zondag 25 november 2007

Javanaise (or: The Day After)

Post-party Sunday, still early. All quiet on the Westside. Only one song suits the mood. In 3 versions, that is. (On the picture: Iris from Peppermoon, at the Filles Fragiles-presentation/Chick Habit party. More pics here, thanks Yuri & Pierre)

Jean Corti + Olivia Ruiz & Christian Olivier - La Javanaise
Serge Gainsbourg - La Javanaise (inédit)
Richard Galliano - La Javanaise

vrijdag 23 november 2007

It's Here!

Stijn proudly presents Filles Fragiles, and it's totally his taste! Remember: party's on Saturday over here, cd can be ordered here, here or here!

Esclave d'Armande

Keeping up that eighties-vibe, and steering a bit away from the fragile filles, thanks to Pierre Peppermoon. He send me L'Esclave Endormi by French 80s heroine Armande Altai. She looks like a drag queen, but there's no doubt she's a real woman if you hear her, erm, operatic voice (more evidence: she did the Vagina Monologues). Nowadays, she's the voice-coach for contestants in Star Academy (French Idols, so to speak) and a bit of a gay-icon. In the seventies, the Syrian born Altain acted on stage and in movies, in the eighties she made the seminal Nocturne Flamboyant album, produced by Martin Hannett (of Joy Division-fame) and musicians from bands like Magazine and Visage play on it. The dramatic, epic and gripping L'Esclave Endormi is on that album from 1983. A few years later, Amsterdam's Hubert Baars, aka the androgynus Richenel covered the song for a Belgian record label. It was picked up by 4AD, owner Ivo Watts himself even remixed the song. After that, Richenel crossed over the popworld, scored a few hits (in English), and then faded away. Still, his version of The Sleeping Slave is as impressive as Armande's.

Armande Altai - L'Esclave Endormi
Richenel - L'Esclave Endormi

woensdag 21 november 2007

Olivia Ruiz

One freezing, dark winter’s night in 1874 in the Scottish city of Edinburgh. A young boy called Jack is born on the coldest night the world has ever known and his heart is frozen solid. The midwife overseeing his birth, who happens to be a witch, comes up with the idea of replacing the child’s defective heart with a ticking clock. So long as he avoids powerful emotional shocks in his life, such as love or anger, he will live a normal life. But one fateful day, Jack looks into the smouldering eyes of a beautiful young street singer…
Thus starts La Mécanique de Mon Coeur, both an album and a book by Mathias Malzieu and his band Dionysos. Call it a concept album, or a pop opera. It's a take on the Jack the Ripper story, the album is the soundtrack to the book. Characters are voiced by Arthur H, Emily Loizeau, Dionysos themselves and Olivia Ruiz, who plays the beautiful young street singer. She features on four tracks.
The Dionysos-album with Ruiz battles in the charts with Olivia's own live-cd Chocolat Show, that features three duets. One with Malzieu, one with Christian Oliver and one is with her father Didier Blanc, a professional singer and musician who belongs to a ‘tribe’ of music aficionados who had originally come to the south of France from Spain. That is why the song is in Spanish. The live album is very energetic, with references to klezmer and punkrock.
Olivia has a thing for doing duets, I've added a few other examples. On her Wiki you can see every collaboration (yes, the one with Adamo is on Filles Fragiles!)

Dionysos feat. Olivia Ruiz - Tais Toi Mon Coeur
Olivia Ruiz & Didier Blanc - La Molinera (live)
Alain Leprest & Olivia Ruiz - Êtes-vous là
Weepers Circus & Olivia Ruiz - La Renarde
Bratsch & Olivia Ruiz - L'almée phénomène

dinsdag 20 november 2007

On the Radio

Tomorrow evening, around 18.45 hr, you can hear me (providing you're in Holland) on the radio, for I am one of the guests in DeSmet Live. You can also tune in via the internet.

zondag 18 november 2007

DKDent, Mad&Moiselle

Two bands with funny names, who fish in the same colorful kitschy pond. Mad&Moiselle is from Belgium, they are the amalgamation of Flemish roots, French chansons, Dutch hormones, German detectives and Brussels air. The songs on their MySpace are 10 years old, but sound fresh today. M&M brought themselves back to life because of an art show, and hopefully their poptastic hearts keep beating.

DKDent (pictured) is a duo from Cologne/Dusseldorf, Dirk has a past in various electro/ebm-bands, singer Stephanie did the rounds in jazz- and soul-outfits. Their ways crossed in 2003, and their influences range from Pizzicato 5 to Nina Hagen. Leçons Françaises is their only French song (that I know of), hopefully their upcoming album will feature some more!

Mad&Moiselle - Chupa Chups
DKDent - Leçons Françaises

In other news: liked my French Eighties Mix? Want some more? Go HERE.

woensdag 14 november 2007

Victoria Abril

Recently I posted a tango'd version of a famous French chanson, acclaimed Spanish actress Victoria Abril brought together a bunch of flamenco-heavyweights for her take on the chansons of Gainsbourg, Ferré and Nougarro. Olala is the name of Abril's (second) album, with a 'coeur Gitan' and 'une âme Française'. In the case of Serge's La Javanaise the outcome is, erm, interesting. Never thought a song that's so much about Paris, could sound so Andalusian. Elsa is a song based on a poem by Louis Aragon, with music by Leo Ferré.

Victoria Abril - La Javanaisse
Victoria Abril - Elsa

Biolay Live

Live-reviews are more than welcome - FS-friend Jan Hiddink wrote a great piece on the concert by Benjamin Biolay, in the Brussels Botanique.

So there he is. Benjamin Biolay. Benjamin is behind the grand piano, his band is aside to him. Drums, keyboards / electronics, guitar, bass, and a separate microphone waiting. Four men and a girl, surrounded by cardboard figures of American basketball players. We have no clue why these cardboard figures are there. And we don’t know who the musicians are, as we are supposed to. There can be no doubt about who we are here for. All of the stagelightning and setup is designed for one man only: Benjamin Biolay. His initials B.B.
B.B. might be the centre of the world, here in the Orangerie of the beautiful Botanique in Brussels, yet the first thing that comes to mind is that B.B. does not look too good –if not worrying bad. As with Gainsbourg, nicotine and alcohol come with the appearance of the singer.


Benjamin Biolay - Tant de Belle Choses (live)

dinsdag 13 november 2007

Cecile Hercule

Isn't she lovely? Isn't Cecile Hercule wonderful? The singer/actress grew up with the Beatles and Renaud, and taught herself how to play guitar during her stay on Madagascar (on humanitarian mission). In Lyon and Paris, she went to theater-school, and acted mostly in tv-shows. She's also available for circus-tricks!
She has a gorgeous husky voice (a bit like Elodie Frégé), writes her songs (about men, love and life) herself, looks spectacular and nowadays tours as a backup singer with Tétard. I love the songs on her Myspace - watch that video for Si J'Étais un Garçon too!

Cecile Hercule - Printemps
Cecile Hercule - Comme Avant

Jane Birkin comes to Amsterdam

I know what you are doing on February 1, 2008. You're sitting next to me, in Paradiso Amsterdam, watching Jane Birkin play. That's what. (pre-sale starts Saturday November 24th. The same as...yes!)

In other news: want to pre-order Filles Fragiles? Go here. Or here. Or here. Or here.

Re-re-wind: Pauline Croze

After this debacle, I had to wait until the official release of Un Bruit Qui Court to post a great song (written by Arthur H) from a great album. Haven't heard all songs yet, but so far it's gorgeous. There áre repetitive elements, and the jazz-influence is evident (as said before). On Pauline's site you can see a Making Of of the Jour de Foule-video.

Pauline Croze - Baiser d'Adieu

maandag 12 november 2007

Sexiest French Video

Pop quiz: what's the sexiest French videoclip ever? Is it Libertine by Mylene Farmer? Bye Bye Mon Cowboy by Mitsou? Fleur de Saison by Emilie Simon? 5.55 by Charlotte Gainsbourg? Sexy Girl by Clara Morgane? (just kidding 'bout that last one).
Do you know another great sexy French video?

UPDATE: there can be only one winner to this 'contest', ofcourse:

zondag 11 november 2007

French 80s Mix

I've done a few interviews supporting the release of Filles Fragiles, and when asked about the how of my French girls obsession, I thought of the backseat of my dad's car, when the whole family was on holiday in France and we listened to French radio. That is when I heard about Elli Medeiros, Jeanne Mas, Stéphanie de Monaco, Corynne Charby and the oh-so-lovely Muriel from Niagara. Later I saw a few of their videos via RTBF's Cargo de Nuit. This, plus a few French female teachers, is the basis of my obsession, I think. French 80s hits recently popped up else where, about time I got involved too. Here's a French eighties mix, featuring songs I have fond memories of (Mas, Charby, Niagara), song I recently discovered (Elsa, Lio) and songs that should be in a mix like this (Gainsbourg, Mitsou, Regrets). Blowdry your hair, take out the leotards, roll up your sleeves and enjoy.
You know the routine: one file, 72 MB, over 50 minutes long, right click 'n save!

Filles Sourires French Eighties Mix

Tout le monde s'amuse - Regrets
Les Filles nous on veux du fun - Helena Lemkovitch
Comix Discomix - Lio
Juste une mise au point - Jackie Quartz
Cezanne Peint - France Gall
Charlotte For Ever - Serge & Charlotte Gainsbourg
En Rouge et Noir - Jeanne Mas
Naufrage en hiver - Mikado
Soleil d'hiver - Niagara
T'En Vas Pas - Elsa
Pile ou Face - Corynne Charby
Bye Bye Mon Cowboy - Mitsou
Toi mon toit - Elli Medeiros

zaterdag 10 november 2007

Delerm en duo

A French guy once said about Vincent Delerm that he "tries to embody the stereotype of the feminine, thoughtful, mysterious poet. Not working." There's some truth in that, Delerm has a remarkable singing style, and his nerdy presence and namedropping lyrics isn't for everyone. Cool by me. Most recent VD-release is Favourite Songs, an album with (mostly) covers. Now, as you know, I'm all in favour of the coversong, but whole albums aren't usually a sign of artistic progress. Still, Delerm chose to invite a whole bunch of talented friends to Paris theatre La Cigale - among them Benjamin Biolay, Georges Moustaki, Irène Jacob, Neil Hannon (who makes a funny mess of the French lyrics) and Renaud. The audience clearly didn't know who was about to come on stage - they roar everytime the guestvocalist appears. This album is a mixed bag, as is usually the case with these kind of albums. Can't say every version is up to par, his duet with Biolay is terrible. But there are a few highlights. I've added the original versions.
A special version of this album, including dvd's, is out next week.

Vincent Delerm & Irène Jacob - Désir Désir
Laurent Voulzy & Veronique Jannot - Désir Désir

Vincent Delerm & Jeanne Cherhal & Albin de la Simone - Les Gens Qui Doutent
Anne Sylvestre - Les Gens Qui Doutent

vrijdag 9 november 2007


Tango: the vertical expression of a horizontal desire. When you hear the take of French-born Quebec-resident Gaële on the tango, you'll get the picture. Her sultry little song reminds me a little of In-grid's Tu es foutu - danceable, tango-flavoured pop. Ofcourse Gotan Project come into play as well. L'Idéal Tango is from Gaële's debutalbum Cockpit - the song Léo can be downloaded free from her site, and from this blog.

Gaële - L'Idéal Tango
Gaële - Leo

donderdag 8 november 2007

Sylvia Kristel

Great day yesterday: I gave a promo-copy of Filles Fragiles to Sylvia Kristel! The worldfamous Emmanuelle-actress (still a very sensual woman) was a guest in Dutch tv-show De Wereld Draait Door because of the release of an updated Emmanuelle-dvd. I was there thanks to a friend who works for the show.
This new dvd-edition of the 1974-movie sports a Making Of-documentary. Kristel's not in this doc, she told the viewers that she didn't have the time to cooperate, and that they didn't offer her enough money. Still, she had some great stories to share about the filming, and even more on the casting. Back then, she was a slightly naive mannequin, 20 years old. At the time, she didn't speak French (that is why her voice is dubbed in the movie), and the producers wanted an Asian girl as a lead. Sylvia made an impression when she appeared for director Jaeckin and the producers in very loosefit dress. Her shoulderstraps slid down with one move - she did her audition bare-breasted, and was almost hired at the spot.
One great moment from the Making-Of features Serge Gainsbourg. He was asked to compose the soundtrack, but declined: he said Sylvia didn't gave him a hard-on. (He later made the soundtrack to Goodbye, Emmanuelle)
What do you think? Click.

EDC featuring Sylvia Kristel - Changes
Pierre Bachelet - Emmanuelle theme
Pierre Bachelet - Emmanuelle (vocal version)
Francis Lai - Emmanuelle II
Serge Gainsbourg - Goodbye Emmanuelle

dinsdag 6 november 2007

Salut les copains

Sound of Musique started blogging again, and he kicked off with some great stuff, for instance Vanessa Paradis duetting with Ben Harper. And Christine Spiked Candy is back on track too, and she spoils us by posting the bestest yeye-compilations! New in my linklist is GoGoClub. And check out Wheresourreadysteadygo too, for some Françoise Hardy and French new wave.


Babysue says about Edie: "Her music isn't immediately gripping...but rather slips into the subconscious before having its full effect". True. Had I heard about Edie (real name Edith Pijpers) before, I would've included her on my Filles Fragiles compilation. For she is the only Dutch-born singer I know who'd fit perfectly on such comp, or on a site like this. She's gorgeous, she sings in French (well, she sings in English too) and she sounds husky and fragile. And her music provokes strong images: "Marianne Faithful making out with Jane Birkin, with Nico watching", says one Robin Eaton on Edie's site. Have to listen more closely probably to get the same image, but still. Edie saw a lot of the world (she lived in Sydney, Paris, Los Angeles and Nashville), recorded three albums so far and a new one's in the making. Her music's very versatile, ranging from folk to electronica. As you can hear on these two examples.

Edie - Ca y est
Edie - Rien

zaterdag 3 november 2007

Veronika Silva

Ne Me Quitte Pas as a tango - but ofcourse. Veronika Silva recorded Brel's immortal classic inna tango stylee for her 2006-album Gorda. What a beautiful version! You might know Veronika from the live-shows she did with Gotan Project - a band that tried to fuse dance-beats with tango, which led to a whole bunch of imitators. I liked their first album, but after that they showed (just as their imitators) that the concept had it's limitations. I saw Gotan Project live a couple of times, I remember a show on the North Sea Jazz festival very clearly, it was amazing. But most recent GP-album Lunatico bored me to death. GP never recorded in the studio with Veronika - shame. Now GP's Philippe Cohen-Solal is releasing a solo album as Solal, which explores his country-side. Seems like he got bored with tango-lounge too. [Merci André]

Veronika Silva - Ne Me Quitte Pas

Pauline Croze

Thanks to Franss, I've now heard all songs on Pauline Croze's new album. It's a cd that's 'délicat, difficile et risqué!' according to this review by Rock 'n France. You can understand the fragility, difficult and risky are the way she sings - it's not monotonous, but she doesn't change the melody so that it seems monotonous. It's hard to describe - listen to Baiser d'Adieu (written by Arthur H), and you'd understand. Same thing goes with the guitar-parts - it seems like she keeps playing the same lick over and over again. The album kicks off with an 3 minute instrumental that is almost minimal music (think Steve Reich): repetitive, hypnotising. She's not making it easy for people who loved her poppier debut - although there were songs on that album with the same repetitive structure.

We had our legs pulled, people. It's fake. This is a deliberate loop. That's why it's so monotonous!

Pauline Croze - Baiser d'Adieu

For the RIGHT version, go here!