maandag 29 maart 2010

The British Angle

Worth watching while waiting for the release of Gainsbourg: Vie Heroique (still not in the cinemas in most European countries): The 1992 Channel 4 short documentary France's Secret Vice at The World of Kane. The British angle of pop history, including some great, not too often seen pics, plus biographer Gilles Verlant calling Serge "the E.T. of French chanson".


zondag 28 maart 2010

Sélection de Lundi: A Quiet Walk

More of a Sunday Selection: A short walk through the cimetière de Los Christianos on Tenerife, the last home of Francois de Roubaix. And since the angels are surely with him:

donderdag 25 maart 2010

Perfect Rokjesdag

Dutch writer Martin Bril (r.i.p) is the godfather of Rokjesdag (Short Skirt Day), that mysterious day in spring where almost every girl seems to be wearing a little skirt It's their way of saying: winter's over, spring's here. Bril wrote several columns about this phenomenon, and after he died (last year, April 15) it was decided that April 15 is the official Rokjesdag. Now, as you know, the elements never stick to one day, or one moment you can pin down. Today is a perfect day for short skirts, so avid skirtwatchers (not -chasers, mind you) like me, Wilbert and Niels compiled the soundtrack to the most anticipated day of the year.
Go here to see the tracklist (Emmanuelle Seigner, Aretha Franklin, Bobby Gentry, etc). Go here to download.

woensdag 24 maart 2010

Camelia Jordana

She did not win Nouvelle Star (talent hunt on tv, also starting point for artists like Amandine Bourgeois, Christophe, Soan and Julien Doré), but for her album 17-year old, Ugly Betty-lookalike Camelia Jordana got help from Babx, Mathieu Boogaerts, Doriand and L. I guess the latter wrote the beautiful, very emotional ballad Lettera. This guy made a touching video for it. Camelia's voice (and atmosphere of the songs) remind me of Clarika. This is the video for the single (written by Doriand). See her sing Carla Bruni here.

dinsdag 23 maart 2010

When Oxmo met Ludivine (and Vincent)

(merci Stephan)


Got the new Françoise Hardy album today - had a quick listen and so far it did not disappoint. Of course, her cover of our friend Fouxi was the track most anticipated. It sounds just like you thought it would, and again it does not disappoint. Fouxi, you must be sooooo proud!


Les collines rouges is both the title of a graphic novel by Dodo and Ben Radis ('graphic novel' meaning in this case that it has comic drawings, but also pages with just text), and an EP by Dorval. The latter is the moniker of Pascale Baehrel, she who made us happily slash our wrists while listening to tear-eyed songs like Ne me demande rien. The comic/novel is about a young woman coming to terms with her past (bad parents, bad marriage) in a little French town in the South. Excellent subject for Baehrel you'd say, but somehow the songs give me no lump in the throat like Dorval did on earlier offerings. Can't put my finger on it. Maybe I need to read the book while listening.

maandag 22 maart 2010

Arthur H.

Often being labeled wrongly as the Parisian Tom Waits, Arthur H. is more like a hipster cross between Belgian throat-cancer vocalist Arno and the late Boris Vian, oscillating authentically between Fantomas and Rimbaud, like my frequent collaborator and friend E-moll Jones once remarked. H’s brand new album Mystic Rumba gathers 23 excellent chansons from his oeuvre, mostly already known from L’homme du monde, Adieu Tristesse, Pour Madame X, and Negresse Blanche – this time all done piano solo style, full of surreal poetry, rugged romanticism, and quiet internal voltage. Just the right stuff for the wee small hours of la désolation sexuelle.

Arthur H. – Mystic Rumba
Arthur H. – Le Baiser de la Lune

Sélection de Lundi: Nino Doing the Dog

Nino Ferrer nouvelle vague style, a Rottweiler of a song, and the most delirious organ solo ever. Way cool.

FREE Marianne Dissard album

Go here, and download Marianne Dissard's live album Paris One Takes, featuring her best songs, recorded with her stellar band! Yay!


Isabelle and Anna Maria won a free Stacey Kent promo copy. Here are their guestposts on their favourite non-French singer, singing in French:

My favourite non-French singer singing in French is Flemish singer Arno.
He's our own Belgian Gainsbourg. Just like Serge, he doesn't care about established rules. He doesn't mind creating controversy and provoking. People often think he's constantly drunk, stoned or both ;-), but having seen him in concert several times I heavily doubt that. You just have to be sober to throw a microphone back and forth and manage to retrieve it like he does!

He also likes to mix several musical styles as Serge did. Last summer, he created a show called "Arno's Stoemp" (stoemp is a Belgian dish - a melting pot- consisting of mashed potatoes and vegetables) inviting international guest players on stage, from Marocco, Africa,...

Arno - Quelqu'un a touché ma femme (piano version)

Anna Maria:
My favourite non-French singer singing in French would be Debbie Harry of Blondie. Her breathy, seductive French bits in Denis are a bit of a tease and the pronounciation is off, but boy can she sing it like an angel breathing sweet nothings in your ear. Her French version of Sunday Girl is just marvellous. The seventies were a dynamite era for pop and Blondie ruled their corner of the world with their smart, sassy songs.

Blondie - Sunday Girl (French version)

zondag 21 maart 2010

Laurence Hélie

A beautiful blonde posing in front of stacks of vinyl - Laurence Hélie sure knows how to catch my attention. The country 'n folk-influenced singer from Quebec debuted with a sultry album recently, off of which I keep playing Les portes fermées. This song really touches me in all the right places.

Laurence Hélie - Les portes fermées

zaterdag 20 maart 2010

Tricot Machine

Matthieu Beaumont and his girlfriend Catherine Leduc are Tricot Machine (together with two other guys) and this couple from Quebec first blipped on my radar with the lovely Ours, a few years ago. They did a Christmas album, and now the new cd is out in Canada. Compared to the joyous debut, La Prochaine Etape is more melancholic, with slow piano-driven songs. They did not lose their playlfulness, as you can see in the video for first single Défier les Rites (here, don't worry, no animals were harmed) and hear in the great 30 Ans Hier.

Tricot Machine - Défier les Rites
Tricot Machine - 30 Ans Hier

Spinshots @ Soiree Gainsbourg

For everybody who was, and who wanted to be there last Wednesday @ Soiree Gainsbourg in Amsterdam:

dinsdag 16 maart 2010

Au revoir en rouge: Jean Ferrat

Outside of France, not too many people seem to have noticed that Jean Ferrat, a.k.a. The Red Bard, has passed away last Saturday, aged 79. Nevertheless, Ferrat was a French monument; even Nicolas Sarkozy had to praise him during the weekend, probably recalling quite accurately that old school communist Ferrat called him a rabid upstart just two years ago. Occasionally a bit too lofty and canorous for my tastes, he undoubtedly crafted a lot of remarkable chansons, among them Mon bel amour, sounding like a cross between Serge Reggiani and the early Jazz-dans-Le-Ravin Gainsbourg, the moving C’est beau la vie, complete with Paul Anka chorus, and surely his adaptations of the lyrics of another avowed radical leftist, writer legend Louis Aragon, among them the gorgeous Les Lilas. So no black flags today. Let’s raise the Red one again.

Jean Ferrat – Mon bel amour
Jean Ferrat – C’est beau la vie
Jean Ferrat – Les Lilas

Musique Fantastique

Out April 3, only available for 14,95 euros via the webstore of newspaper De Volkskrant, my newest compilation sporting tracks by Carla Bruni, Les Charmeurs, Les Spinshots, Benjamin Biolay, Phantom & Lio, Peppermoon (covering Françoise Hardy's Tous les garçons!), Stephanie Crayencour, Coralie Clément, Fouxi...30 tracks, 2cds!
Cover was made by Blue Hipster, design by Yosay.

In other news: I can give away 2 promo-copies of Stacey Kent's newest album (see this post).

maandag 15 maart 2010

Delphine Volange

Why bore your fans with the truth, when fairytales are much more fun? Delphine Volange likes to hide behind myths. On her Myspace, you can read Je 'elle cache un flacon de sels dans le revers de ses jupes, ne dit plus son âge depuis son douzième anniversaire, parle aux âmes errantes, ne boit que des jus d’algues et ne goûte que des gâteaux de riz japonais, n’écoute que du Puccini et danse sur Franz Ferdinand. D’aucuns disent qu’elle change d’hôtel chaque soir, en exigeant des duvets de soie. Qu’elle n’utilise que le parfum Empreinte de Courrèges, depuis introuvable.' (In short: she carries bottles of salt in her robes, refused to say her age after her 12th birthday, has particular drink- and food-preferences, dances to Franz Ferdinand and uses a perfume no one can find). An album is on it's way, first single Sirènes is out now. It sports a beautiful video (here), but also a great b-side. Her voice reminds me of Barbara Carlotti's, only a tad more fragile.

Delphine Volange - Précieuse

N'ai besoin de personn'

There's no name for it, but I'm sure there are some people who get aroused when watching French singers on a motocycle. Well, I get a tingle somewhere when I see Bardot with a few hundred pounds of shiny steel between her legs. Dutch blog Motorparade made a line-up of several 60s heroes on wheels. Go here.

vrijdag 12 maart 2010

Rendezvous with Stacey No. 2

When I talked to Guuz while he was preparing family dinner the other day, he mentioned that Stacey Kent's new album Raconte-moi (see here) reminded him a bit of the late, still too little known cult chanteuse Blossom Dearie – all too true, and there can't be no higher praise. From my most secret source, here's two short, but quite illuminating clips from a most recent interview with Stacey talking about her self-image, storytelling, jazz sensibility, and arrangements. Raconte-moi. She's telling us.

Stacey Kent – Interview Clip 1

Stacey Kent – Interview Clip 2

donderdag 11 maart 2010

French Lingo Foreign Style #2: Mel Tormé

Despite the accent aigu, American crooner Mel Tormé wasn’t of French, but Russian heritage. His version of the eternally wilting Feuilles Mortes – lyrics by French poet and scriptwriter Jacques Prévert, original recording by Yves Montand in 1946 – is a rare example of an American showroom vocalist singing in French, accompanied by an expert all-star jazz combo lead by renowned arranger Marty Paich who also plays the accordion on this fine, port-in-a-fog after hours adaptation recorded on February 22, 1957 live at the Crescendo club in Los Angeles. Picture on the right: Autumn Nude, by Ken Howard.

Mel Tormé – Les feuilles mortes

Dance entrepreneurs and Ninjatunes founders Matt Black and Jonathan More alias Coldcut put them dead leaves in a new vase in 1994. Here’s their transcendent chillout version featuring singer Janis Alexander, the slimmed-down variant without beats and breaks, and the Irresistible Force remix. Let’s go clubbing, and beyond. Merci à Roy Black.

Coldcut – Autumn Leaves
Coldcut – Bare Leaves

Coldcut – Autumn Leaves (Irresistible Force Remix)

maandag 8 maart 2010

French Rendezvous with Stacey Kent

When an acclaimed author and Booker Prize winner is writing lyrics for you, you’ve made it. Literary superstar Kazuo Ishiguro did so for Stacey Kent’s 2007 breakthrough album Breakfast on the Morning Train, her first record on Blue Note that sold 150000 copies in France alone. Though Stacey hails originally from New Jersey and is now living in Colorado, her brand new CD, Raconte-moi, is an all-French affair, featuring carefully selected songs by Claire Denamur, Benjamin Biolay, and Keren Ann, among others. My favorites are the title song, and the irresistible Venus du Mélo, both co-written by jolie blonde, Nice-based auteur/ compositeur Emilie Satt, who will open for Stacey at the Grand Rex à Paris on May 18. Supersexy double. Gonna join me there?

Stacey Kent – Raconte-moi
Stacey Kent – Venus de Mélo

Emilie Satt – Highway to Hell

Want a free (promo-)copy of Stacey's album? Two FS-readers who write a post about their favourite non-French singer singing in French, can win! Send your entries to guuzbourg(a)gmail(.)com

FS Does The Classics: Pauline Viardot

When Russian poet Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev met Pauline Viardot on November 1, 1843, he fell head over heels in love with her. Viardot, then 22 years old, was a celebrated mezzo-soprano throughout Europe and already nearly as famous as her older sister, the legendary primadonna Maria Malibran, who had died seven years earlier after a severe horse accident. Though Pauline was already married, her husband, Parisian impresario and arts critic Louis Viardot, probably felt that his wife couldn’t find sexual fulfillment with him. Soon after, Turgenev became a household guest of the Viardots, would later follow them to London and Baden-Baden, and finally moved in with the couple, sharing a house with them in the Rue de Douai 48 à Paris. The ménage à trois lasted nearly 40 years. There even were rumours that Turgenev fathered two of Pauline’s children, though nobody will ever know for sure: After the death of Turgenev in 1883, Pauline meticulously took care of covering all tracks that would have indicated an extramarital affair. When it came to composing, she also was a dedicated woman of discretion: All pieces she created in her later years were exclusively written for private concerts, among them „Romance“ (1890), a tender, intimate melody for violin and piano – the enchanting echo of an affair to remember.

Karin Hendel/ Ewa Warykiewicz – Romance

Sélection de Lundi: Aime-moi

An extraordinary, funny and moving little piece by Pauline Viardot (1821-1910). For more see above.

zondag 7 maart 2010

Victoires de la Musique

Yesterday evening, the Victoires de la Musique awardshow was held, and lots of our fave artist got lucky. Benjamin Biolay was voted best male artist, La Superbe was voted record of the year. Olivia Ruiz won best female artist, and the video for Elle panique was best clip. Best song was Comme des Enfants by Coeur de Pirate. Other artists who got rewarded were Izia, Birdy Nam Nam, Salif Keita, Pony Pony Run Run en Oxmo Puccino.

donderdag 4 maart 2010


Ariane Moffatt, queen of Quebec, is part of a musical reliefproject for Haiti. Together with Caracol and Jorane, Kodiak and Nomadic Massive, the latter have three members with Haitian roots. Nap Chante Pour Haiti is one of the best songs for this good cause. Please go here to support and contribute.
A good thing the Canadian artists chose not to cover, say, We are the world or Everybody Hurts. But Ariane did interpret other people's tunes for the Canadian tv-series Trauma (kind of the Canadian E.R.). One of those is Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah (yawn), another is a cool version of The Pixies' classic Where is my mind.

Ariane Moffatt ao - Nap chante pour Ayiti
Ariane Moffatt - Where is my mind

Something completely different? Try Sly Stone turning his masterpiece Dance to the Music into an odd French funkjam. With added female (or pitched?) vocals. This is the opening track of the upcoming compilation Listen to the Voices - Sly Stone in the Studio 1965-70, with outtakes, demo's and weird shit like this.

French Fries - Dance a la musique

Finally, the Dark Prince of French Rock decided to cover a magnificent song by Gainsbourg. It's short, but it's sweet. See other contributions to this acoustic Serge special from TV5, like by our beloved Coeur de Pirate) here.

Benjamin Biolay - Ballade de Melody Nelson

maandag 1 maart 2010

Stéphanie Crayencour

Belgian beauty who acts and sings, and who first blipped on my radar because of a great duet with Suarez. An album is coming up, probably called La fille qui souris de chagrin. A single is out now, with one song (and maybe all) written by Jerome Attal. She has a strong voice that can be very tender and fragile too, love it how she adds her own personality to the funny lyrics. Her acting experience probably helped there. Can't wait for the full album. See a charming live performance here. See a NSFW-work photo here.

Stéphanie Crayencour - La fille qui souris de chagrin