maandag 31 december 2007


In the final hours of what has been a great year for me (and you too, hopefully), I post what's probably the rarest song to appear on this blog. It's a song that should've been a big hit, a signature song for Anna Karina. For Juliette Gréco maybe. Instead it's an almost forgotten song by an actress whom I had never heard before, but Wiki says Delphine Seyrig worked with Europe's top directors (Truffaut, Duras, Resnais) and directed movies herself featuring Jane Fonda and Maria Schneider.
She has a deep voice, perfect for a melancholy-ridden song that is Une Fourmi et Moi. Hope you all have a great new year's eve, that 2008 will be grand. See you in January. [Merci Pierre]

Delphine Seyrig - Une Fourmi et Moi

An addition to this post from Jan-Willem:
Around Christmas time I spotted Delphine Seyrig on TV5, in the 1970 fairy tale movie Peau d’âne (Donkey Skin) by Jaques Demy of Parapluies de Cherbourg fame. It’s a mildly psychedelic cross between Jean Cocteau’s La belle et la bête and Walt Disney’s Cinderella, featuring Catherine Deneuve as a beleaguered princess and Jean Marais as her besotted father king intent on marrying his daughter as she is the fairest in the land since her mother died (!). Seyrig, as a feisty fairy godmother, advises against it in a song by Michel Legrand that unfortunately appears to be sung by another woman: Click!

zondag 30 december 2007

Clare & the Reasons

Sometimes, someone else says it better. In this case Music Snobbery-blog, on Clare & the Reasons: "This is kind of music you play when you take your loved one out on a boat, and she's carrying a parasol and the pastel colors are swirling around." The sevenpiece band is led by Carla Muldaur, who was 'born on the island of Martha's Vineyard, in a vegetable garden amongst the most incredible tomatoes grown by her mother Sheila.' Album The Movie (released in September) is aptly titled. Themes for 1920's movies, borsalino's and broads. Guests include Van Dyke Parks and Sufjan Stevens, who are very much in place. One song on The Movie is in French, Pluton. I also post the quit funny Cook for You, about cooking in your underwear. [Merci John, merci Franss]

Clare & the Reasons - Pluton (video)
Clare & the Reasons - Cook for You

vrijdag 28 december 2007

New Project: French Wishing

After the duets, and the Frères Sourires, I'd like to kick off the new year with a new project: French Wishing. I will post songs (by girls) that are notsung in French, but should be. These songs would sound much better. I know of a few tracks, but you, dear visitor, can contribute as well. As always. Write a little piece, send your entry to guuzbourg(a)

Example: Life in Mono by shortlived triphopduo Mono. Heavily influenced by John Barry and nouvelle vague, singer Siobhan di Mare utters a few French words in this song, but it how grand it would've been if all lyrics would be Francais.

Mono - Life in Mono

donderdag 27 december 2007


One of the people who send a real nice reaction to one the interviews I gave promoting Filles Fragiles, was Eric of MI5 Studios. Together with his partner Jeroen he composes soundscapes, music for commercials and (animation-)movies (yes, a bit like these guys). But also popsongs. Unreleased so far are songs by their project Nougat, featuring stunning redhead Cheeru. Best song they've made so far is Melodie d'Amour, the only French song. It's a ode, a pastiche even, to Serge & Jane-ish, Dalida & Alain Delon-like French duets. Eric wrote that it's just a demo, and that he wanted to Arno Hintjens to do the male vocal part. All he has to do is ask, I'd say.

Nougat - Melodie d'Amour

Claudine Muno

I say Luxembourg, you probably say...erm. If you are a cyclingbuff, you know that Frank Schleck and Kim Kirchen are from the Grand Duchy. If you're a music buff, you might know that Stefan and Brian of Placebo know each other from the American School in Luxembourg. Ofcourse you know that France Gall won the Eurovision Songcontest for the little country with Poupée de Cire. But do you know any Luxembourgian bands? You do now, 'cause here's Claudine Muno and the Luna Boots. Fronted by writer Muno, who debuted at 16 with an English novel. She has written a lot of books by now, her style is compared to Belgian Amelie Nothomb. The latter wrote songlyrics (for RoBERT), Muno formed a band in the late nineties, and made four cd's. I know only the most recent, Petites Chansons Méchantes, a folky 'n funny affair. Her singing voice and music reminds me of Emily Loizeau (Wiki says Jewel and Alanis, but that's just silly). On her new album, Claudine and band (that also features backup singer Sandra Cifani) play French songs (also the best songs), English songs and one in Luxembourgish.

Claudine Muno & Luna Boots - Je n'aime pas les robes
Claudine Muno & Luna Boots - Au Secours

I can give away one cd by Claudine. You know what to do: write a guestpost on your favourite French female singer or song, and you can win! Send entries to

vrijdag 21 december 2007


Everyone who hates Christmas, and especially those boring family dinners, you've found a soulmate in gorgeous Eglantine. The singer who operates under the moniker Etyl (posted about her before here) made a funny video and a great track to console everyone who's about to undergo the yearly routine again. (Merci Maks)

Etyl - Noël

donderdag 20 december 2007

Vanessa, Keren

Two fairly recent nice things: Vanessa Paradis released a new single and video (see above, I love those scenes with that little space between her teeth), and Keren Ann re-released her Keren Ann-album with bonustracks, one being Silent Night.

Keren Ann - Silent Night

maandag 17 december 2007


Guestpost! Martijn on Fotomoto:

Starting a synth pop band in the Ukrainian town of Zaporozhye (nine hours by train from Kiev) does not seem like the best possible start of a career, but despite that Anton Singurov and Serge Sergyeev founded their bedroom project Fotomoto there in 1999. With the recruitment of Alex Ivanov and Olya Volodina not much later, Fotomoto became a four-piece and, most importantly, female vocals and French lyrics were added to the hitherto instrumental songs. The songs, which sound like Stereolab has gone for real communism and moved into a Soviet style blocks of flats, caught the attention of few people outside their native Ukraine, among them a friendly, bearded man from Suffolk. Luckily for Fotomoto, this man hosted a BBC radio show under the moniker of John Peel, where he played their songs as early as 2001. The band eventually came over to the UK for a Peel session a few months before Peel's sudden death in 2004 and came back to Western Europe to play some shows in 2005. To date, they have released four albums, including the 2005 compilation Model, which is probably the best introduction to the band. Alternatively, a number of songs can be listened to via their MySpace, including covers of Joe Le Taxi and Voyage,Voyage.

Fotomoto - Le Sport, La Musique
Fotomoto - Le Passage
Fotomoto - Edmund

woensdag 12 december 2007

King of all Media (4)

On Friday Dec. 14, yours truly and Benoit & Iris of Peppermoon, will be on Dutch tv-show De Wereld Draait Door. To talk about Filles Fragiles (me), and to sing (Iris, with B. on bass).

See the Peppermoon performance here.

Paradis En Direct

Ochblogger and FS-regular Maks went to see Vanessa Paradis in Bruxelles. Here is his report:

'Bonsoir Bruxelles!', a long expected warm welcome from a well-known voice suddenly comes from somewhere behind the stage. A brief moment of silence, immediately followed by huge excitement in the crowd: Vorst Nationaal is completely sold-out (approx. 7200 visitors) and each one of them is totally ready for her, Miss Depp, the divine idylle, the lovely Vanessa Paradis! Pity though the announcement only turned out to be her announcement for a rather boring support-act on cello and acoustic guitar. Most support-acts destiny: being there to be immediately forgotten. No possible escape from that as your gig is being followed by such a mindblowing show as Vanessa performed last saturday night in Brussels.
She walked up the stage, up to the frontrow, sexy and sensitive and started off with - how appropriate - 'Irrésistiblement'. First completely on her own, but she was soon followed by her bandmembers, including French rock-hero M (Mathieu Chedid) on lead guitar. After a short break, used to tell the audience this show was going to be filmed as a part of a live-dvd release from this tour, she continued with a steamy version of 'Divine Idylle' that set the high standard for this show at once.
Paradis' voice, so powerful and yet seductive at the same time wasn't exactely what I had expected in advance. With 'Live Au Zenith' from 2001 in the back of my mind, I was somewhat afraid that she would sound too clean, too cultivated. And that she wouldn't be able to make me get rid off the idea that she's only a lolita girl singing with highly needed backing vocals, a gimmick. But things went completely different.
Vanessa's grown and her performance is mature, impressive, seductive, exciting, spontaneous and very professional at the same time. Of course, she's still looks good, no one in the audience could deny that, but far more important: she's a real artist who can sing and entertain just by her talent. No need for useless dress changing all the time (Spice Girls eat your heart out), just plain black jeans with a glittering silver top above. Some just don't need more.

Throughout the years Paradis built an outstanding oeuvre strong enough to keep her audience excited for over two hours. Including hits as Joe Le Taxi, Be My Baby, Dis-Lui Toi Que Je T'aime and Tandem of course, which was played only on four tomdrums with Vanessa and her bandmembers as Japanese drummers behind.
The show ended with Vanessa and 'M' intimate on barstools playing some acoustic tracks and finally she ended alone on stage, a-capella, as if she just invented the very first fille fragile. An apotheosis that couldn't have been better.
And damn was I right, as Ms. Maks asked me just before the show started, which celeb I would like to be for one day. The answer? Johnny Depp.

(Dutch review in Belgian newspaper De Morgen ici)

Vanessa Paradis & M - Pourtant (live)
Vanessa Paradis & M - Chet Baker (acoustic version live)

zondag 9 december 2007

Filles Sourires Christmas Project

Tis the season, and tis time to move house for me, the mrs. and the li'l one. That means we have a lot of packing to do, and not much time to blog. Plus: I'm not sure when, or if my internetconnection will work properly in the new Guuzbourg HQ. So, to get you and your loved ones through Christmas, here are 9 carols that were especially recorded for this blog. Never released before, all brand-spanking new (okay, the Watoo Watoo song's an old one). Merci to all visitors and contributors, we're back after X-mas. Then I will post the traditional yearlist. For now: happy holidays.


A Loulia - Je Nous Souhaite Un Joyeux
Hektor - Ce soir c'est Noël (Les Wampas cover)
Marthelene - Noël
Isa Sompare - Noël
Lilee - Petit Papa
Marianne Dissard & Amparo Sanchez - Je & tu ne croient plus au père noël
Moa - On Christmas Day (Le Jour de Noël) (video!)
Watoo Watoo - Les Visiteurs de Noël
Adeline Moreau - Confettis Blancs

MySpace Pages:
A Loulia, Hektor, Marthelene, Isa Sompare, Lilee, Marianne Dissard, Moa, Watoo Watoo, Adeline Moreau.

Picture of Kay O'Hara stolen from here.
More Christmassongs? Christmas-a-gogo has reopened!

zaterdag 8 december 2007

King of All Media (3)

Grrreat French review from M-la-Music's J-M Grosdemouge of Filles Fragiles (click). Also, thanks for all the nice text messages and emails about the funny interview on Vara's Spijkers met Koppen (click).

donderdag 6 december 2007

Agnès Bihl

If you came here because of an article in Dutch eveningpaper Het Parool, bienvenue. You might be a little offended because of the unflattering things I said in this interview about Wende Snijders, who sings chansons the way Martin Ros talks about books (if you're not Dutch, think Edith Piaf after 10 cans of Red Bull). Does this mean I don't like old fashioned, story-telling chansons? Pas du tout. Take blonde bombshell Agnès Bihl. Her newest album Demandez le Programme is just released, on which she (again) sings joyful, funny and bittersweet songs with loooong lyricsheets. Little stories, about the downsides of marriage, about girls on the town, about incest. She worked with big guns like Alexis HK and Aldebert, and she was handpicked by Charles Aznavour 'imself to be his supporting act. The album smells of the metro( where Agnes taught herself to perform) and Montmartre, with nods to vaudeville, gypsyjazz and folk. She has a pleasant voice, writes good lyrics and doesn't take it up to 11 to get her message across. Try it, you'll like it.

Agnes Bihl - Attention Fragile
Agnes Bihl - Silence on meurt (eco-sensitive song for a Greenpeace-album)

woensdag 5 december 2007

King of all media (2)

Dutch daily newspaper De Volkskrant not only published a very flattering 4 star-review of Filles Fragiles (click), music journo Gijsbert Kamer also reviews the cd on film.

Art Sullivan & Kiki

A great kitschy curiosity in Dutch pophistory is 1977's Et Si Tu Pars by Art Sullivan and Kiki. This single was mentioned on a Dutch forum, I remembered I had this single and decided to post it here. Kiki's full name is Kiki van Oostindië, she was a model (for the 'Alle 13 Goed!' compilations in the seventies) a singer and a songwriter. She helped Dutch rockhero Peter Koelewijn with the lyrics for Patrick Mon Cheri, a song (in English, she sings about her hot summer nights in Cannes) that was later covered by Sheila. After 'Patrick', Kiki made some solo-records, with less success. She even covered Tous Les Garçons, mixed with Dion's Teenager in Love. A mash-up avant la lettre! I couldn't find that cover, so if you have it, please share!
In 1977 Koelewijn hooked Kiki up with Belgian singer Art Sullivan, for the duet Et Si Tu Pars. The song wasn't supposed to be a duet, there's this video in which Art sings solo. It's a dramatic song, the girl wants to leave the guy, but still has feelings for him. The guy sings about what happens when she leaves. It sounds, though, like they're in separate rooms. They probably were.

Kiki & Pearly - Patrick, Mon Cheri
Sheila - Patrick Mon Cheri
Art Sullivan & Kiki - Et Si Tu Pars

dinsdag 4 december 2007

Filles Fragiles competition: Winner 5

DJ Sterrenmix from Deventer, Holland, goes all ooh-aah on us, in the final winning entry of the Filles Fragiles giveaway:

I didn’t know which one to choose. Claudine Longet singing her accent-laden rendition of Let’s spend the night together, or something by the Sissi-like romantique of Frida Boccara? Another fave is the lovely ditty Ces bottes sont faites pour marcher by Eileen (idd, a version of Nancy’s These boots…). Hear the erotic tones when she pronounces “Yeah” (0:49) or ”Ha” (1:48).

But going for just one choice, as mr. Guuzbourg asked for, I prefer Le train fou by composer Jacques Denjean, from the great compilation The Sexploitation (Drive Records Italy, 2000). The band lays down an upbeat jazzy rhythm & blues 60’s mod-style cinematographic track with screaming flute & farfisa-organ. While playin’ a smokin’ train-like choo-choo-rhythm, a mademoiselle sighs and screams, varied by a Bluto-kind of male voice showing he enjoys the traindrive too. Watch your speakers melt by the growing tension, outta times when “hufterproof” trains didn’t really exist…

Jacques Denjean - Le Train Fou
Eileen - Ces bottes sont faites pour marcher

EXTRA: more screams of joy in a tribute to the music in Russ Meyer-movies, a mix by Roger Grund (see comments). Because of a nasty virus in my computer, here's a yousendit-file of that mix

maandag 3 december 2007

FF Competition: Honourable Mentions

Yes, I know the deadline was on Dec 10, but all 5 winners have been picked. The response has been really exciting. From all over the world too. Isabelle from Bruxelles, Randy from Brooklyn and René from Paris wrote really nice entries, that just didn't make the top 5. Sorry copains, but as a consolation (and because y'all chose great songs), I will post your pieces right here.

Marie Gillain, my favourite French fragile girl –who's not French, but Belgian– has only released three songs so far. The two first songs appeared in movies she played in (Sans mensonges on the soundtrack of Mon père ce héros, in which she played Depardieu's daughter; and Laissons Lucie faire, duet with the director Emmanuel Mouret- on the soundtrack of the movie of the same name).
My favourite song is her duet with Martin Rappeneau called Les figures imposées. It was first recorded by Martin Rappeneau solo on his album La moitié des choses. The album was rereleased a few months later with the duet. Marie Gillain gives a whole new dimension to the song. She turned the song from a lamentation by an abandoned man into a dialogue between a man and a woman who realize that they have to put a stop to their relationship. Marie not only sings the song, the interprets the character (her experience as an actress might have helped). In her voice, you can hear she still loves the guy.
The two met through Martin Gamet, Marie Gillain's boyfriend at the time (their daughter Dune was born in 2004), who is one of Rappeneau's musicians (he also plays with Camille Dalmais and Louis Chédid).

Martin Rappeneau & Marie Gillain - Les Figures Imposées


Are you French when you are born in Italy, but live in the country from the age of 5? Are you a fille fragile when you make a clip like hers? These rhetoric questions make you really wonder why Carla Bruni is not included on Filles Fragiles. This former photo model makes songs who make you sigh, smile and gives you a soft mood. Le
plus belle du quartier has made some time ago a new cd with English poems but the first cd (with beautiful photos) stays in my list of my favourites. The best known track is ofcourse Quelqu'un m'a dit (Somebody told me) and is as beautiful as madam herself. Only accompanied by a guitar speaks it about hope and love. I hope
Guuzbourg will take this song or another as bonustrack at the second pressing of the CD or put it on volume deux. To be honest, I don't doubt it will come next year.

Carla Bruni - Quelqu'un m'a dit


La Brisa Day Roché is a treasure. Like a river polished stone gleaming from the banks, her tumbles through the world only make that easier to see. Growing up in an environment where art and music drifted though the air like lightning bugs at dusk on warm summer nights, Brisa learned to create sonic maps where X marks the spot, as well as painting them (see her myspace page for a brief glimpse of at some of her paintings). Like the glistening river stone or the yellow phosphorescence of the lightning bug, Brisa's need to shine outlived her Northern California existence and so she traveled the world from Trinidad to Russia and many stops in between.
Her music perfectly captures her nomadic style of rarely staying still and incorporating many worldly elements into her being. Singing mainly in English, residing mainly in Paris, adding pinches of jazz, blues, folk, roots level country, pop, among others to her musical stew, Brisa is very much a global citizen. Her musical style has no single defining characteristic other than her enchanting voice, which I associate with the way that Serafina Pekkala, the witch queen from Phillip Pullman's ever wonderful His Dark Materials Trilogy, might sound (read the books the are extraordinary).
Her first album, The Chase, while stellar, hardly compares to her personal vision, Takes, just released. Hearing her talk about it makes listening to it far more satisfying. The seeds she sowed along her journeys have blossomed into sweet ripe fruit one can sink his/her ears into.
Her song Egyptian, is my favorite track from the new album, and seems to personify the many themes in her music as well as life, movement, art, love, and wanderlust. She performs it acoustic for L'Internaute Magazine, and damn if that whistle is not just as wonderful sounding as her voice. I am totally transfixed by this song and it makes me want to roll up my life and jump in my own borrowed hot rod to seek out my own treasured jewels.
While her travels might have taken her across the planet, looking for the treasure the world has to offer, we are lucky enough to find them reproduced through her music. So bask under the flow off her an become equally enriched.

Brisa Roché - Egyptian
Brisa Roché - Dans le vert de ses yeux

Filles Fragiles Competition: Winner 4

Ken from Valley Mills, Texas wrote a very flattering piece:

If someone had said to me a couple of years ago that there would come a point when several of my favorite artists would be obscure French pop singers, I would have laughed and turned up The Clash or Johnny Cash. I mean maybe the odd icelandic singer-songwriter sure, but come on - I don't even speak French. So I guess I would have been wrong. I really started thinking about this following a conversation with a friend about new music and I realized that many of my new favorite records are by french pop singers - imagine my surprise.
I don't mean to imply or suggest that I've abandoned any of the oldschool-jangle-modstyle-lofi-dreampop-hardcountry-skaterock-antifolk-postpunk-shoegazing-twee bands that make up the musical quilt that keeps me warm - I've just added some fancy stitching here and there. I guess the reason that I've been drawn to pop songs performed in French (and Portuguese, Swedish, German, Norwegian, etc.) has more to do with how I listen to music now, compared to several years ago. A change in my responsibilities at work resulted in the need for me to spend most of my time in my office, on the computer.
I began to use music to drown out the ambient noise of my co-workers and to help me focus on the reports I have to generate. The problem with this was that too often I would get distracted by the stories in the songs, or by things they would remind me of and I would be skylarking instead of working - deadlines would suddenly be looming from out of nowhere. The funny thing is, I don't really seem to have this problem too much anymore - Emilie Simon, Keren Ann, Sokogirl, Ivy, Melanie Pain, and Carla Bruni all make brilliant, beautiful music that is only occasionally performed in a language I can understand. I enjoy it completely on an aesthetic and emotional level, I'm just not able to sing along most of the time. My co-workers most likely think that's really a good thing.

The silky voice of French-Israeli chanteuse Keren Ann works as a tonic for those times when the stresses of life are working hard to bring you down. Her dreamy songs, sometimes barely rising above a whispered vocal and a delicate melody, will compel you to stop and listen and join her for a few moments – trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
Don’t be fooled by her softness – while the gentleness of the delivery might hint at naiveté, a closer listen will reveal a young lady who has learned some hard lessons. Delightfully, refreshingly – while these lessons have made her strong, her outlook remains innocent and sweet and hopeful. Musically, all of her albums suggest the subtle influences of Jane Birkin and Francoise Hardy but her new self-titled release sees her stretching herself musically to reflect influences that hint at Tom Waits and Emiliana Torrini. The new offering continues to explore the terrain she revealed on her first four solo records, and all of her work is marked by a singular vision - she infuses her strongly emotional aural postcards with subtle, languid arrangements that can send shivers down your spine. Keren Ann takes her gift for channeling mood into song and just quietly devastates the listener.

Emilie Simon - Chanson de Toile (live)
Keren Ann - Manha de Carnaval

zaterdag 1 december 2007

King of all Media

Tonight, I am a guest of the cultural radioshow Opium (Avro Radio 1), to talk about Filles Fragiles. Here a Dutch online article on yours truly, here a great review. Here too. This one's in English.

Listen to Filles Fragiles in Realaudio via 3voor12 Luisterpaal.

Filles Fragiles competition: Winner 3

Matt from Columbus, IN, wins with this piece on Iris and Peppermoon.

The French female singing voice is magically timeless, while simultaneously conjuring strong emotional responses associated with classic French New Wave cinema, Paris in the 1920’s, the lover we long for, or the one we no longer have. Iris, of the band Peppermoon, may just be the perfect example of the 21st century “fille fragile”. In the song Nos Ballades, she paints a picture for us in a way that
only a French chanteuse is capable of. Beautifully understated purples and pinks (that seem to be specifically French variations of these hues) and the golden light one sees shining through dark clouds of a storm that has just passed come pouring from her mouth. The melodious piano lines and cleanly strummed acoustic guitar chords are a lovely accompaniment to Iris’ sweet, lilting vocals. The nostalgia she
expresses is French pop in its purest form, the mood a genuinely reflective one, a memory composed of music. The song is capable of causing a twinge in one’s heart or a tear in one’s eye; however, by the end, we hold hope in our hands, like a cherished keepsake. This song is perhaps one of the best illustrations of the fille fragile sound, as it is so wonderfully passionate, colorful, and visual, yet is brought forth with a delicate, gentle touch.

Peppermoon - Nos Ballades