zaterdag 31 januari 2009

Oh Canada: Coeur de remix

Coeur de Pirate on the dancefloor? Why not? Ofcourse, you need Canadian bleepgeeks Le Matos to add some serious bass, synths and fx, but then you have a track that matches that great Keenhouse-remix of Division Kent, or the Benjamin Diamond-rebuild of Elodie Frégé. Anyhoo, turn on that mirrorball, move away the furniture and D.A.N.C.E.
See original version HERE.

Coeur de Pirate - Comme des Enfants (Le Matos remix)

woensdag 28 januari 2009

Ludivine Sagnier

Any chance I get to post about gorgeous Ludivine Sagnier, I take. While selecting tracks for the upcoming Gentils Garçons-compilation (the testosteron variety to Filles Fragiles) I came across 33 Tours, an album by Alex Beaupain. Posted about him before, also in combination with Ludivine Sagnier. But I didn't know he also recorded this album, and asked Ludivine, Clothilde Hesme and Chiara Mastoianni to join him on Comme La Pluie. Husky heaven! In the upcoming weeks, I will post more male/female duets that I bumped into. See a great video by Ludivine here.

Alex Beaupain, Ludivine Sagnier, Chiara Mastroianni, Clothilde Helme - Comme la pluie

In addition to the Oh Canada-month on this blog, Let Me Like It blog has a great post about Wintermitts, from Vancouver.

dinsdag 27 januari 2009

Oh Canada: chez les ye-ye's

When it comes to Canadian ye-ye-artists, we always turn to expert Natashka:

The emancipation of Québec in the 1960s resulted in an explosion of French Canadian pride and culture. At that time, the French Canadian filles had to content with living in the shadow of two musical superpowers, France and the United States. France was the big French-speaking market one had to seduce, while the United States and their rock n’ roll was invading Canada. The filles could not compete with English-speaking Canada mimicking their southern neighbours and were expected to mimic France, as to not offend their own people. Since Québec was literally on the front line of America’s influence while the French were still in chanson mode, the solution was to translate American rock n’ roll into French, as well as write new yé-yé songs.

A huge boost in popularity for Québec came in 1967, when Montréal, the French-speaking metropolis of Québec took on the Herculean task of welcoming the entire planet to Expo 67, still the most popular world exhibition in history. Then in the middle of it on 24 June 1967, Québec’s national holiday, the famous 'Vive le Québec libre!' was cried out by French President Charles de Gaulle visiting Expo 67. That alone got many people interested in what was going in Québec musically or otherwise.

So it’s the summer of 1967, six million people in Québec are on a collective ego trip high, you’re a cute, talented chanteuse and the entire planet is currently visiting your city, watching your every move. What’s a girl do? Get noticed!

Michèle Richard – Un jour, un jour (Thème d’Expo 67) (Video)

The English version is “Hey Friend, Say Friend” sung by Donald Lautrec.

Nanette Workman – Les Petites Choses (with Tony Roman)

An American bothers to learn French and becomes a big star in both countries.

Chantal Renaud – Comme un garçon (Video)

Also sang the duo “Ne dis rien” by Gainsbourg with Donald Lautrec.

Moïra – Tant qu’il y aurait l’amour

An Italian Canadian on Tony Roman’s (above) label. Italians often sang in French.

maandag 26 januari 2009

Elis Regina

Lovely Luciane writes a guestpost on one of the greatest singers ever, Elis Regina:

Absolutely delightful! There's no other way to put it. I found these little gems on a compilation of rare Elis Regina tracks called 20 Anos de Saudade. But I could have never imagined I'd hear Elis singing in French. The classic "Samba da benção" became "Samba Saravah" in this perfect version written by Pierre Barouh. Like any classic, I wouldn't expect a version in another language to be as good, but Barouh nailed it. "Être heureux, c'est plus ou moins ce qu'on cherche..." Elis sings those words with a sweet and husky voice. Her playful and relaxed tone just invites you to surrender to the groovy, jazzy beat of this samba à la française.

The song was recorded live in 1968 during one of her concerts at the Olympia, in Paris -- and released only as a 7" single. And in spite of her legendary nervousness before getting on stage, you can tell the audience fell in love. Elis was the only brazilian singer to perform there twice the same year. And those who were there? Very lucky people, indeed... Because, as far as I know, there's no full record of either of those concerts -- and in the case it remains a treasure, I'm more than happy to enjoy this taste. She's so comfortable, you can hear her plaisir and the sound of her smiles as she sings every word. Her band, which she introduces right in the beginning of the song, is also impeccable. If I wasn't Brazilian, I'd say "Samba da benção" (by Vinicius de Moraes and Baden Powell) is even better in French. I'm tempted... Because little pepper, Barouh and the band make quite the convo. And her malemolência (something like a mixture of joyful swing and malice) is simply sultry.

That same year, Elis and Barouh made it to the studio together and recorded a duo. "La nuit de masques" is Barouh's adaptation -- en Français, bien sûre -- to "Noite dos mascarados", a tasty marchinha in the best Chico Buarque style. "Qui êtes-vous? Si tu m'aimes, tu dois deviner," they playfully ask each other as if wearing masks on a carnival day in Rio. It's a song to make you smile and take someone by the hand into this ball of sunshine and gracious naiveté. "Mais c'ést Carnaval et qu'importe aujourd'hui qui tu es?" This is pure joie de vivre!

Finally, "La nuit de mon amour" is Barouh's version to "A noite do meu bem," the biggest hit by radio singer Dolores Duran -- another prodigy who also sang in several languages and died young... Elis is alone with her feelings when she sings this disillusioned ballad about a woman who has finally found love, but is not sure if she can give back all the purity she sees. Can it ever be too late? "La nuit de mon amour" might not give you the answer, but if you have to cry, then bottoms up and let Elis put you to bed.

For the curious and collectors, both "La nuit de mon amour" and "La nuit des masques" were originally released in 1968 in the EP album called "Elis em Paris," while "Samba Saravah" came out that same year as 7" single 365.234 PB. But you can find all three songs (and 25 more) in the compilation "20 Anos de Saudade." Happy listening. Viva Elis.

Elis Regina - La nuit des masques
Elis Regina - La nuit de mon amour
Elis Regina - Samba Saravah


In Mojo's Motown top 100, it was mentioned that The Velvelettes recorded a couple of songs in French. I was immediatly interested; real French soul! Turned out they were never released. Well, until 2004's compilation The Velvelettes - The Motown Anthology. From the liner notes: 'Berry Gordy discovered that Cal (Caldin Gill, one of the original groupmembers) had majored in French in high school and, to his surprise, she spoke French quite well. Thus, he paired the five girls with a French producer, named Pierre Berjot. Berry was very fascinated and took great pleasure in Pierre and Cal on conversations in French.' Why none of these recordings weren't released, the story doesn't tell. Pierre Berjot is also knows as Pierre Jaubert, the mastermind behind afro-rock bands like Ice and Lafayette Afro-Rock Band. Shame the four French songs were never released at the time - the only French cover of a Motown hit I know is Annie Philippe's Baby Love. Must be more, but who knows what the Velvelettes could've achieved. Then again, there are several very good French soul singers, ranging from Axelle Red to Soha. But more Supremes-like groups en Français, could've been great.
The liner notes of the Velvelettes anthology also mention that Stevie Wonder recorded a French version of Castles in the Sand. Would love to hear that.

Velvelettes - Je veux crier (My foolish heart)
Velvelettes - Le Hokey Pokey (The Monkey)

zondag 25 januari 2009

Radio Radio

Vannacht, of morgenvroeg, net wat u wil, ben ik te gast in het radioprogramma Nacht van het Goede Leven. Van 01.00-02.00 uur, Radio 1. Presentatie: Adeline van Lier.

If you heard the radioshow, and understood Dutch, you heard me talking about two new projects. After spring, Gentils Garçons will be released, the testosteron variety of Filles Fragiles. Featuring mostly young fresh French fellows, like Renan Luce, Saule, Julien Doré and Arman Méliès. Then, after summer, a tribute to Gainsbourg will be released. By Dutch and Belgian artists like Janne Schra (Room Eleven), Saule, Suarez, Benjamin Herman, Spinvis, Arno Hintjens and Tom Barman. Brandspanking new covers and some oldies. Keep you posted on both albums!

vrijdag 23 januari 2009


Let's stay in Belgium, for Vincent Liben has already made one of the best French language albums of the year. Yes, it's January, I know, but trust me: it won't get much better than this. Liben didn't ring a bell, he's part of the band Mud Flow that I'd never heard of. He's also the producer of the first Marie Warnant album, and frequent FS-visitors must remember that fizzy haired lovely. Tout va disparaitre is Liben's solo offering, with very delicate, well-crafted songs that wink to great French artists like Hardy, Yves Simon and ofcourse Gainsbourg. That said, Liben does have a personal, distinct sound and a warm, darkbrown voice. Serge is very much present when Vincent duets with Stephanie Croibien, an angel with a honeydrenched voice. She sings two solosongs, highlights of the album. Duet 30 Decembre deserves to be a big hit.

Liben - 30 Decembre

donderdag 22 januari 2009

Axelle Red

Belgian beauty Axelle Red wanted to quit the music biz, she said two years ago after the release of her very strong album Jardin Secret. In a nutshell: the stress of being a part of the music industry had taken it's toll. In interviews she took that back a little, then announced writing a book. But now Sisters/Empathy is released, a double album (insert 'women can't seem to make up their mind' joke here). Most songs are in English - it's not the first time Axelle abondons French, but this time on a whole album. The songs are inspired by Axelle's work as a Unicef-ambassador - subjects are opressed women, rape, child abuse, sisterhood and whatever the Dylan-song Gotta Serve Somebody is about. Heavy stuff, but remember: Axelle is a certified soul singer, and has almost never sang about the weather or birds 'n bees. Haven't heard the whole album, just bits 'n pieces. There are very few double albums that I really really like (Wilco's Being There, Beatles' White Album), but I think I will concur with this reviewer: nice album, that had improved if it was just a single disc. See video here
Axelle Red - En dessous de zero
Axelle Red - She's defective (with Tom Barman)

woensdag 21 januari 2009

Oh Canada: Naïla

Part Elli Medeiros, part Ariane Moffatt: that's Naïla. A singer from Montreal that debuted early last year, with a versatile album: electronica, popsongs, gentle folksy ballads. Not brilliant, but not without potential. Plus, as one Filles Sourires-visitor pointed out, she has a bit of a gap between her teeth. And as we all know, when it comes to French singing filles, a little space between the front teeth is a plus. Example one. Example two.
Video for Bora Bora.

Naïla - Bora Bora
Naïla - Dans les bras de Billy


Josh send me a guestpost on mysterious yeye-girl Gigi:

From the wreckage of a relationship gone wrong, I discovered and then fell in love with the 1960’s yéyé singer Gigi. My ex-girlfriend Sabine, a maddeningly unpredictable Parisian broke my heart on New Year’s Eve of 2004. She walked out on me and our New York City apartment. She left everything behind. It took me a year to get up the nerve to throw her stuff out. Stacked in the back of the closet, under all her clothes were a few boxes filled with fan paraphernalia; 45s, LPs, magazine covers, fanzines and ephemera from the career of a certain Gigi Gaston. She was beautiful and elusive and reminded me of Sabine. I became obsessed, trying to piece together Gigi’s life story. I determined that she had been raised in a gypsy family in Bulgaria. When she escaped to France in 1950 – the rest of her family tragically died. Raised in an orphanage she was eventually adopted by a cultured Parisian French family. By the time she was 17 she was a worthy rival to Françoise Hardy and Sylvie Vartan in the yéyé world and in her heyday was known as ‘the Black Flower’. Nothing came easy for Gigi and tragedy struck at every turn.
I’ve scanned in quite a few of the magazine and record covers and found some appropriate quotes online. Sadly all of her music has remained in a legal limbo and unavailable at this time. It’s almost as if she were a dream.

zondag 18 januari 2009

Oh Canada: Ariane Moffatt

Not every artist featured in this Oh Canada month was approved by every visitor - that's fine with me, but I do not accept any critique about Ariane Moffatt. I first heard her lovely voice on a Putumayo-album, in 2005, got hooked and quickly bought all her albums. Montréal-based Moffatt pairs gentle electronics to folky strumming, but on her last album Tous les sens the electronica got a bigger say. Ariane was ready for the dancefloor, so to speak. To emphasize the pushbuttonobjects even more, this month a remix-EP was released, featuring treatments by Deadbeat, Akufen and Pheek. I love the dubby reggaebubbles that Deadbeat put under Je veux tout. Tous les sens EP was released on vinyl, but you can buy it digitally via Audiogram. See Ariane live here.
Also below, my alltime favourite song by Ariane, Combustion Lente.

Ariane Moffatt - Combustion Lente
Ariane Moffatt - Je veux tout
Ariane Moffatt - Je veux tout (Deadbeat remix)

donderdag 15 januari 2009

New Clarika

On Clarika's blog you can see the cover of her new album (pictured here as well), you can watch a video on the recordings and that she looks a bit like PJ Harvey nowadays. First single Bien Mérité is out already, the album follows in March. Newbies who don't know Clarika go here, and here.

Clarika - Bien Mérité

Oh Canada: Emilie Claire Barlow

I confess: sometimes it's the picture that makes me want to post about a girl, and not so much the music. That is the case with Emilie Claire Barlow, a Toronto-born jazz-singer who gets compared to Diana Krall but, as this site points out, 'while Krall's performances have a sultry, dusky, very nocturnal quality, Barlow's singing has favored a youthful, girlish sweetness.' That may be true, I think her rendition of Dream a Little Dream of Me in French has a sultry, dusky and nocturnal quality too. Okay, it's cocktailjazz, and when it comes to jazz I rather put on this guy, but you have to agree that ECB is picture-perfect.

Emilie Claire Barlow - Les Yeux Ouverts

maandag 12 januari 2009

Oh Canada: Feist

Leslie Feist is not from Quebec, but born in (on?) Nova Scotia. She grew up in Saskatchewan and later Alberta. Feist, the name she performs under, is a very versatile singer with a very sultry voice. I think her album Let it Die is a classic, I also loved her Sesame Street appearance. She was part of Broken Social Scene, sang with Peaches, Gonzales and Ben Gibbard but also with Frenchmen Arthur H and Albin de la Simone. I have posted all her French songs before (see?), but for this Oh Canada month I'm doing a repost of two songs. Including the gorgeous duet with Arthur H, but not this one.

Feist - La même histoire (link fixed)
Arthur H & Feist - La chanson de Satie (video)

Oh Canada: Isabelle Boulay

Time to roll out the big guns in this Oh Canada-month. I have posted about Isabelle Boulay a few times, and always I expressed my mixed feelings. Not about her looks (she's a babe), but about her repertoire. They call her 'Chanson Diva': her songs have a bland tendency, too much old chanson, nice 'n easy. And there's always the danger of belting out like she-devil Celine. (No worries, we'll keep this Canada-tribute Dion-free). That said, she does have several high quality songs, like the ones posted here. Ne me dis... was written by Benjamin Biolay, and let's face it: the girl can sing. I read on her Wiki that she made quite an impression on a talent hunt by singing Brel's Amsterdam. She redid that a-capella on her 'live'-album, which is nice.

Isabelle Boulay - Ne Me Dis Pas Qu'il Faut Sourire
Isabelle Boulay - Amsterdam

zondag 11 januari 2009

Vanessa & Albin

Oh Canada: Lenni Jabour

Guestpost! Anna Maria from Sweden on Lenni Jabour & the Third Floor:

Lenni Jabour and her band Third Floor record cabaret-tinged chansons and in a charming fashion. Their latest album Les dangereuses was out in 2005 and is still a nice listen. Her voice has a sweet and seductive tinge to it and she sings mostly in French. She plays the piano which is nice too. She started playing live when she was eighteen and has continued with that ever since. They are worth a look and will probably release a new album soon.

Lenni Jabour - La fille avec les cheveux longues
Lenni Jabour - Les fleurs mécontentes
Lenni Jabour - Evil ways (Santana cover)

donderdag 8 januari 2009

Oh Canada: Catherine Major

Second time Catherine Major is featured in this Oh Canada month, and rightly so because her second album Rose Sang is one of the best to come out of Quebec last year. The highly talented singer and pianoplayer made a very versatile album that was arranged beautiful as well. She's very tender and very fragile in one of the highlights of the cd, Abîme-moi, that sounds like a lost Jacques Brel classic. Single Dans l'au-dela (video) is a sunny whistle-while-you-work tune. But there's more, way more.

Catherine Major - Abime-moi
Catherine Major - Dans l'au-dela

Oh Canada: Michele O

Tip from a visitor of this blog: Michele O, from Montreal. Her folky style is reminiscent of Loane and Poney Express, she sings a little like Vanessa Paradis. No album so far, but her Myspace talks about an EP, to be released in March. I like that hoarse drawl in her voice, look forward to hear more. An artist to watch in 2009, and speaking of which, I'm also curious about the full albums of (non-Canadian artists like) Claire Denamur and Florian Mona. Plus, I hope Roxane and Cecile will finally come out with a cd.

Michele O - Assise dans ma tête

woensdag 7 januari 2009

Somebody up there likes me

Matthijs van Nieuwkerk, die de liner-notes schreef voor Filles Fragiles #2, citeert deze week in zijn column voor de Vara Gids uit een recensie die ik schreef over Charles Aznavour. Zie hier.

(Matthijs van Nieuwkerk, the Dutch tv-journalist who wrote the liner-notes for Filles Fragiles #2, mentioned me, my compilation-cd's and a review I wrote in his weekly column for the very cool tv-guide Vara Gids. It's a Dutch thing.)

Oh Canada: Jorane

Our favourite Texan Ken made a guestpost for Oh Canada-month about Jorane:

What do you get when you combine the vision of a poet with skills of a classically trained cellist? Allow me the pleasure to introduce you to Jorane Peltier (known simply as 'Jorane') - a thirty-something singer/songwriter/cellist from Quebec.

Comparisons are largely useless, but just to give a point of reference - how about Kate Bush meets Tori Amos...or maybe equal parts Portishead, Madeleine Peyroux, and Camille. Well, regardless of the comparisons you want make, Jorane's music is wonderfully evocative, compelling, lush, exotic, beautiful, experimental, and just plain lovely.

Categorizing her music is not an easy task - Jorane has forged a distinctive sound all her own -- not quite ambient, not quite folk, and not really classical, either. Through the use of her haunting, pixie-like voice and the bewitching style of her cello work, she weaves a sonic dreamscape that will leave you mesmerized and captivated.


Truly, this is the stuff of obsession.

Jorane - Elmita

maandag 5 januari 2009

Oh Canada: Chloé Sainte-Marie

Brûlots by Chloé Sainte-Marie was taken from the compilation Putumayo presents Quebec. So far, it's the only song I've heard by Chloé (real name Marie-Aline Joyal), who hails from Drummondville. She's an actress turned singer, and recorded three albums so far. From the liner notes of the Quebec comp: 'Brûlots is from Sainte-Marie's 2002 album Je marcha á toi. It is based on a poem by Quebec writer Patrice Desbiens, with music composed by her frequent collaborator Gilles Bélanger. The title refers to a small fly, or midge, that is prevalent in the summer in Québec. Sainte-Marie sings of the gentle yet passionate intamcy of love. 'Oh sweet drop of rain, oh sweet rain coming in, on the furrow of my skin, you name calls out to mine.'

Chloé Sainte-Marie - Brûlots

Brazilian Interlude: 3 Na Massa

Luciane from Brazil on the seductive, Gainsbourg-inspired music by 3 Na Massa:

With 13 Brazilian seductresses on the loose, there's no escaping 3 na Massa, the kinky and sweet side-project of producers Rica Amabis (Instituto), Dengue and Pupilo (Nação Zumbi). The three guys are the beats and most of the lyrics, but the flavor in this dough is really the variety in the spice: the singers and actresses invited to perform on each track of their self-titled debut album. Instead of passive bossa nova muses, these women do one hell of a job giving voice to the minimalistic, intense and boudoir-like poem-lyrics -- all talking about men and women and everything they can do under the tropical sun. Think Chico with a Gainsbourg twist. Both were an inspiration, and Serge comes out really strong in Certeza, which sets the mood and is just the right intro to entice les filles fans. Leandra Leal (pictured) whispers an open invitation for you to follow her lead. With her confessed fertile imagination and predisposition to please, who needs more? The provocative and playful beat combined with her irresistible appeal just make you titillate with anticipation. Twelve more seductresses ahead and I doubt you'll care you don't know a word of Portuguese.

3 Na Massa - Certeza
Video HERE

vrijdag 2 januari 2009

Oh Canada: Catherine Major, Stephanie Lapointe

Two songs from French-Canadien girls who were featured before on this blog (here, and here), taken from the same Héros for War Child-album, and both with an English title. They're both covers, and sung (partly) in French. Very tender songs, especially the one by Stephanie Lapointe who has a gorgeous giflie voice (and is pictured). Wonder where this Star Academie contestant will go on her second album. I'll try and post some songs from Catherine Major's latest album later this Oh Canada-month.

Catherine Major - Lucky Lucky
Stephanie Lapointe - Desert Inn Motel

donderdag 1 januari 2009

Oh Canada: Amylie

Most visitors and me went all gaga for Coeur de Pirate last year, and rightly so. But Amylie from Montreal (by way of Mascouche) is worth drooling over just as well. Her debut Jusqu'aux Oreilles was released in '08 and features tender songs with lots of electric piano and a fragile voice that reminds me of the first Camille album. Found a few appreciative reviews, but my impression is that Amylie Bruit didn't make a big impression on her home turf (could be wrong here). Shame, because songs like the ones featured here need to tickle as much ears as possible.
One reviewer compared Amylie to La Patere Rose, an electronica-trio with an equally lovely sounding singer. Couldn't find mp3s, but here's a video.

Amylie - Mes oreilles
Amylie - Les pieds dans les larmes

Oh Canada: Call Me Poupée

Oh Canada-month on Filles Sourires kicks off with the Canadian Lovers: Call Me Poupée. A duo consisting of Ken and Poupée, the latter wears garters, stockings, panties, a bra and not much more on stage (oh, and sunglasses). They hail from Montreal, released one album and just like their counterparts The Lovers they refer to Serge & Jane, country and that good time rock 'n roll. They describe their music as electro-tex-mex-twang-garage with a beatbox, and that's spot on. See video here. Myspace here.
This month, it's just French-Canadian music on this blog. Guestposts and tips are more than welcome!

Call Me Poupee - Sex Symbole