Thursday, 28 January 2016

Coeur de Pirate: I Don't Want to Break Your Heart

Another single from the recent Roses collection from Coeur de Pirate, with the song I Don't Want to Break Your Heart following Oublie-moi and Crier tout bas as singles.

It's her third album proper, and its an album that has an eye on an Anglophone audience. This English language track follows an English version of Oublie-moi entitled Carry On.

She embarks on a tour shortly in France, with dates in North america beforehand.

European dates begin with a show in Nantes on April 1, with a show at the Zénith in paris teh following day.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The Avener: We Go Home

A new single by The Avener, with another track from his The Wanderings of The Avener collection coming under the spotlight.

The song We Go Home features the voice of Adam Cohen, the son of legendary Canadian artist Leonard Cohen.

The track's a tasteful and folk flavoured number, following the success of previous tracks from the album incuding Fade Out Lines and You're My Window to the Sky.

The Avener's career has of course taken another significant step recently as a consequence of his work on the recent Mylène Farmer album Interstellaires.

If The Avener's Fade Out Lines might have seemed to some ears as simply an attempt to continue a formula  pioneered in the Robin Schulz remix of Lilly Wood's Prayer in C, but his work withstands repeated listening and reveals itself as sympathetic to its source material.

He's an artist who will have more to offer in 2016, and it will be interesting to see where his wanderings take him next. 

French acts at Celtic Connections

Glasgow is currently playing host to the Celtic Connections festival, an event that includes celtic acts from
around the world, with celtic music as the bedrock for a selection of music that encompasses both the traditional and the modern.

It is no narrow selection of music on the bill, and as with previous years there are some key French acts playing.

Most surprisingly is an show by Nolwenn Leroy at Glasgow City Halls, a massive star in France who has been this week busy with the Les Enfoirés charity shows.

She also performed at the weekend's tribute show to Michel Delpech. She is however, little known in the UK where there is a potentially massive audience who could be won over.

On Saturday she performs an show alongside Karen Matheson, another legendary celtic voice.

Elsewhere, there are shows by Cheikh Lo, Emile Parisien and Vincent Peirani Duo, Zoufris Maracas, Blick Bassy and Moussu T e lei Jovents. French acts in the widest sense, appropriate for a festival rooted in celtic music, but with the broadest possible definition.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Renaud: Toujours debout

The return of Renaud remains one of 2016 most fascinating musical prospects, with a new album expected in March and a tour promised as well.

Recent interviews see him in good form, free from the alcohol addiction that has plagued his health in recent years.

Many would not have expected him to release any more work since 2009's Molly Malone collection of Irish songs. A quiet retirement due to his failing health was what most would have thought likely.

But 2016's Renaud defies the gloomy predictions, by seeming upbeat and in good shape. He says his new work is his best since Mistral Gagnant, a collection that was for many a high water mark in contemporary French chanson, and given the affection with which he is held expectations are bound to be high.

So a new single finally appears. Plenty will be read into the lyrics, and scrutiny will no doubt be passed on his voice and how it sounds.

He might get the benefit of the doubt, but to these ears there sounds like there is a lot to look forward to. His humour and style are there, and the voice is as distinctive as ever and stronger than expected.

Renaud says he is overwhelmed by the positive response he's had to the release, crediting his producer Michaël Ohayon - his guitarist for many years - for the success of the song.

He descibes himself as Renaud the phoenix. He might just be right.

Hyphen Hyphen - The Fear is Blue ( C à vous )

An appearance on French TV by Hyphen Hyphen, popping up on evening chat show C à vous with the
shone The Fear is Blue.

I featured them last year around the time of the release of their Times debut album, so it's a real pleasure to seean emerging act them make an appearance on the mainstream media.

The track features on the band's album which was released in September.

Hyphen Hyphen have extensive live dates scheduled, with shows in France and elsewhere from February until the summer when they play festivals including Les Vielles Charrues in Carhaix, Brittany.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Michel Delpech tribute: Nolwenn Leroy and Laurent Voulzy

A tribute to Michel Delpech on French TV at the weekend, with Grand Show on France 2 assembling some big names to perform some of his work.

Delpech died on January 2 aged 69 following a battle with cancer, one of several big names from the world of music to have passed away over the holiday season.

As a singer songwriter he was most associated with the late 1960s to mid 1970, despite his career continuing well into the 21st century following something of a comeback in the 1980s.

Of his work, his song Wight is Wight gave him surprise recognition in the UK in 1969, the song celebrating the Isle of Wight festival.

The weekend show featured a cover of this performed by Nolwenn Leroy and Laurent Voulzy, as well as performances by Calogero, Pascal Obispo, Bénabar and Serge Lama amongst others.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Louise Attaque: Avec le temps

A new single by Louise Attaque, another step forward in the return of one of France's most respected acts in recent decades.

The song Anomalie emerged in October last year, not long after news of their return was confirmed. Since then the track du Grande Bandetisme came out, both tracks sparking much debate about how the band sounds now compared to their previous incarnation.

The band, now a three piece, release their much-anticipated fourth album next month, a decade after their last proper release.

They've also got an extensive tour from the end of February, with dates in Paris in June and festival shows confirmed for over the summer.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Mary Céleste: À la dérive

It may be farewell to Superets, but a welcome hello to Mary Céleste,  the band featuring members of
 Superets under a new banner.

The band feature sLéo Demesla,  Hugo Beauman and Romain Pavoine along with Jean-Baptiste Perona.

I've followed them as Superets and very much enjoyed their work, their infectious yéyétronique sound winning them many friends. Mary Céleste look set to continue the good work.

Their debut single À La Dérive has been produced by Yuksek and released on Disques Enterprise. It feature's on the labels new compilation Année 3

Friday, 15 January 2016

RubiCan: Trouble​-​Fête EP

A new video by RubiCan for the track A la mémoire, which features on their EP Trouble-Fête which is released today.

RubiCan is a solo project by Pierre-Louis François, who recorded the music and performs live entirely on his own.  He's  a veteran of other acts ranging from grunge to dark folk, as well playing bass and guitar with Le Prince Miiaou.

The new release follows the five track Brise-Lame EP that came out in May last year, a release I very much enjoyed.

The new EP is a four track affair, with  punchy electro rock but grounded in some quality songwriting.

RubiCan have some dates  in France,  having played Paris on Wednesday they play La Rochelle tonight before some more shows in March and April including a  asupport slot for Jeanne Added in Angoulême on March 6.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Jeanne Added: Look at Them - C à Vous

An appearance on French TV show C à vous earlier this month by the mighty Jeanne Added.

The song Look at Them features on her debut album Be Sensational, one of last year's landmark releases.

The appearance has the strangeness of a very wonderful act appearing on a programme you would not normally associate with serious music, but that's what makes this kind of performance  charming.

Jeanne Added is embarking on an extensive tour of France and neighbouring countries from January 15 and plays L'Olympia in Paris on January 25

C.A.R.: (Minor) Growing Pains

A new track has emerged by C.A.R., the electro project featuring Chloé Raunet, formerly the singer of Battant.

She released her debut My Friend under the C.A.R. name in 2014, the new track comes ahead of the release of her second.

It features on a mix tape released by RONiiA. The video was shot in Canada, where Raunet was born.

I've featured C.A.R. before on this blog, Raunet being based in London has helped them appear regularly in front of a UK audience and establish their reputation for off-beat electronics.

C.A.R. play in London at the Lexington on January 29.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

De Palmas: Il faut qu'on s'batte

 A new track by De Palmas, with the song Il faut qu'on s'batte.

The clip comes ahead of the release of th eighth album by Gérald De Palmas, entitled La beauté du geste. His last album, 2013's De Palmas was his last studio album.

De Palmas has been releasing material since his debut album La dernière année in 1994, 2004's Un homme sans racines reaching number one in the French music charts.

La beauté du geste is expected to be released this spring.

Les Enfoirés: Liberté

A new clip from French artists' chaity collective Les Enfoirés, for the track Liberté.

Last year the song Tout la vie cast a shadow on the charity endeavor, the song considered by many to be judgemental and reactionary in its politics.

Last year's track was written by Jean-Jaques Goldman,  whereas the new track takes its inspiration from a work by French poet Paul Eluard, written in 1942 during the occupation.

The track features contributions from a wide cross-section of French artists, including Vanessa Paradis, Louane and Jean-Louis Aubert.

The track benefits French charity Restos du coeur, and marks that organisation's 30th anniversary.

The new clip comes ahead of a show at the AccorHotel Arena - previously Bercy- in Paris at the end of the month which will be televised on TF1 later this year.

(note: video may not play on account of geographic restrictions)

Monday, 11 January 2016

David Bowie RIP

The melancholy mood that has affected 2016 so far continues, with the death of David Bowie confirmed this morning.

David Bowie was an early interpreter of the work of Jacques Brel in English, at the height of his Ziggy Stardust pop star fame,  performing both My Death live and the track Amsterdam as a B side of a single from his Pin Ups album.

It would be impossible to imagine a comparable pop star from today even considering releasing material as startling as this.

Bowie was apparently influenced by Scott Walker, whose English language covers of Brel popularised his work to a massive anglophone audience, and for many these remain the definitive versions of the songs.

Where Walker may have been among the first, Bowie was certainly among the finest interpreters of Brel, his version of My Death to these ears surpassing the original. Bowie combines theatricality and vulnerability in the song, while never losing its bleak poetic heart.

Meanwhile, Amsterdam holds its bawdy charms in the hands of Bowie, its themes perfectly in keeping with his early 70s persona.

Ziggy Stardust was of course influenced by the troubled rock 'n' roll star Vince Taylor, who underwent an apparent messianic breakdown on stage, while at the time a massive star in France.

Prior to the commercial success of the early 70s, Bowie was heavily involved in contemporary theatre, studying mime with a teacher influenced by Marcel Marceau.

Berlin rather than Paris may have been the European city that Bowie was associated with the most,but even during the recording of one of his most famous tracks he kept his francophone fans happy, with a recording of the song Heroes in French.

Bowie was a massive star in France as he was elsewhere, his 80s style particularly influencing the Paris club scene. While very much the quintessential Englishman, Bowie's music and style left a massive influence on France.

Johnny Hallyday at Charlie Hebdo commemoration

A sombre event in Paris at the weekend, with Place de la République hosting a commemoration of the
January 2015 terrorist attacks, that saw Charlie Hebdo staff assassinated as well as others in a kosher supermarket.

Attending the event alongside the French president was Johnny Hallyday, who performed the track  Un Dimanche de Janvier, a song written in commemoration  of the attack.

The song featured on Hallyday's most recent album, De l'amour, released at the tail end of last year.

Ther was of course some controversy, Hallyday having been several times at the receiving end of Chalie Hebdo's criticism. It was reported this week that Charb, one of the big names at the magazine who died last year, particularly hated Hallyday.

The performance at the weekend was a low key one for Johnny, but despite the controversy and the politics, it was appropriate that he was there, differences set aside.

Johnny Hallyday chante "un dimanche de janvier"

Friday, 8 January 2016

The return of Renaud

The long-awaited return of the singer Renaud looks like it will be one of the highlights of 2016.

The much-loved singer is set to release a new album in March, the first by M. Séchan first since 2009's Molly Malone - Balade Irelandaise collection of cover versions of Irish songs.

Recent years have seen him battle ill health, in particular alcoholism. But interest in him has never diminished, with the release in recent years of two tribute albums re-establishing his reputation with a new generation, as well as cementing the tribute album as a commercially and artistically significant enterprise.

Last year he appeared as a guest on the new album by Grand Corps Malade, Il Nous restera ca. While his contribution Ta Batterie was met with debate over the quality of his vocals, his re-emergence after his absence was on the whole welcomed.

A message to a fans' Facebook group revealed that he has finished the recording of the new album, he says that he has been off alcohol for months, cut down on smoking and is in good form.

He added that he intends to return to the stage, with a tour of the Zénith arenas. Details of the tour will emerge in coming months.

More recently, ub an interview with Europe1 he elaborated, saying that the new 14 track album was his most beautiful since his classic Mistral Gagnant over 30 years ago, and the songs were inspired by the Paris terrorist attacks.

Renaud was of course closely involved in Charlie Hebdo magazine over the years, putting money towards its reappearance in 1992 after it folded in 1981. He wrote a column for it for several years.

He also revealed two of the song titles, Hyper Cacher and J'ai Embrassé un Flic, both written following the January 11 2015 demonstrations.

Rénaud likens to return to a phoenix. However his new album and tour turns out, it will be a fascinating and unexpected chapter in the biography of one of France's most highly regarded artists.

Renaud : "Mon album est, sans prétention... by Europe1fr

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Noir Désir box set

A new box set by legendary French band Noir Désir is being planned, and fans are being asked to help shape the content of the collection.
Noir Désir absolutely dominated the French music scene from the mid 80s until the early 2000s, their work meeting with bith critical and popular acclaim, proving beyond any doubt that France was capable of producing a rock act that was both world class and unquestionably French at the same time.
Of course, the issue of singer Bertrand Cantat hangs heavily over the band's legacy. 
 His killing of his partner Marie Trintignant in 2003 was a horrific incident, he was sentenced to eight years in jail for manslaughter and served a year in prison in Lithuania where the crime took place, before being transferred to France and subsequently released on parole.
Cantat was jailed from 2003 - 2007, the band made a hesitant return in 2008 with two new tracks and talk of a new album. But it would come to nothing, and they finally called it a day in 2010.
Cantat now performs with Détroit and Noir Désir songs are part of their live show. Noirdez may be no more, and despite the elephant in the room there is still a nostalgia for what they achieved, and they did achieve far more than most.

It will be fascinating to see how the box set shapes up, and how it is received.

Florent Pagny: La vie ne m'apprend rien

A new verion of the Daniel Balavoine song La vie ne m'apprend rien by Florent Pagny, from the forthcoming tribute album.

The album Balavoine(s) pays homage to the much loved singer songwriter who died in a helicopter crash on January 14 1986, 30 years ago.

The original of the song was performed by Balavoine on his 1980 album Un Autre Monde.

Pagny's new track follows others from the new collection including the cover of Tous les Cris de SOS by Zaz and Sauver l'Amour by Zaho.

The album also features performances by Shy'm, Nolwenn Leroy and Jenifer.

Balavoine(s) is released on Friday.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Charlie Hebdo anniversary

Hard to believe a year has passed since the horror of what happened in Paris last January.

The deaths at Charlie Hebdo and at Hyper Cacher were a dark moment, and tragically one that was to be repeated before the end of the year.

But the attempt to sow terror into the hearts of French people and Europe in general was a failure, as the massive worldwide displays of solidarity following the deaths clearly showed. Rather that generating fear, the cowards behind the attacks only galvanised support for key values of European culture, and made it clear that those who attempt to overthrow it by terrorism are bound to fail.

And despite another atrocity later in 2015, the terrorists failed again. As they will if they try again.

But there's a time to remember the victims, and recall those who fell last year with respect.

The president unveiled plaques in tribute at the scenes yesterday, albeit with an almost appropriately perfect black satire, the name of one of the Charlie Hebdo artists was spelled wrongly.

A year on, Charlie Hebdo is very much alive and kicking, and the provocation and ridicule that is its currency now getting a wider audience than ever.

France is commemorating the tragic events over a period of several days around the actual Januay 7 anniversary.

An event will be held at place de la République in Paris at the weekend.

Coachella festival 2016

Details of the line up for the 2016 Coachella festival in California have been revealed, and while the probable
reformation of the classic line up  of Guns 'n' Roses generates most of the headlines, there are acts further down the bill that sharp eyed fans of French music will be delighted to see.

This year Calvin Harris gets a prime spot, and the return of LCD Sound System also makes it interesting, but the presence of M83,  Christine and the Queen, St Germain and Melody's Echo Chamber gets our attention immediately despite being in the small print of the poster.

M83 are presently working on new material and are promising the release of a new album, the much awaited follow up to 2011's Hurry Up We're Dreaming.

Christine and the Queens released a North American version of their Chaleur Humaine album towards the end of last year.

Melody's Echo Chamber released the track Shirim towaqrds the end of 2014, ahead of the follow up to her memorable 2012 debut.

Last year Coachella featured both Stromae and Yelle, as well as David Guetta and Martin Solveig.

It's a prime showcase for international acts to make a significant impression on the North American market, an event that probably overtaken Glastonbury and the other major European festivals in terms of establishing acts.

Coachalla takes place over two weekends of April 15-17 and April 22-15 and tickets go on sale from today.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Michel Delpech

The holiday season saw the death of Michel Delpech, one of France's most respected singer songwriters at the age of 69. He had been suffering from cancer.

Tributes have been paid by some of France's biggest stars, from Johnny Hallyday to Louane, while President Hollande issuing a statement saying that his songs touched us because they spoke to us. 

Delpech enjoyed massive success in the 60s and 70s, with songs including Anatole, Chez Laurette and Pour un flirt. His biggest success was the song Wight is Wight in 1969, which celebrated the Isle of Wight festival in the UK

Delpech opened for Jacques Brel's farewell shows at the Olympia in Paris in 1967, but his career saw him continue for decades.

Recent years saw the release of his album Comme Vous in 2004, and in 2006 a collection of duets entitled Michel Delpech &.... In 2009 he released the album Sexa, which would be his final musical release, his illness forcing him to cancel performances in 2013.

A special TV show paying tribute to Delpech featuring a variety of artists performing his work will be broadcast at the end of the month on France 2.

Editorial: January 2016

A start to another year, after some well-deserved time off over the festive season.

2016 sees Vive le Roq hitting its sixth year, last year we managed more posts than ever before, with more traffic and more interest that ever in French music.

2015 will of course be remembered for particularly dark reasons in France, with this month marking the one year anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. The effects of what happened in Paris this year will be felt for years to come.

But I'm keen to start 2016 on a positive note. There is much to be optimistic about, and the fact that those who wanted us divided and on our knees only succeeded in bringing us to our feet and bringing us together like never before is a victory of sorts.

There's much to look forward to in 2016 and I'm looking forward to getting involved, hearing some great new material and sharing it.

As always, I can be contacted on johnkilbrideAThotmailDOTcom, with the appropriate punctuation where you'd expect it to be. I'm always pleased to hear from record companies, PR companies and promoters, so do get in touch.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq or you can find me at @karnag

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, where you can get regular updates with both fresh and vintage French music.

Thanks as always to the French Music Office in London and to the Institut francais in London for their help and encouragement.

Merci et à bientôt

John K