Friday, 14 April 2017

Printemps Solidaire

A worthwhile event in Paris this weekend, with the Printemps Solidaire event  taking place in the centre of Paris on Sunday April 16.

From 2pm, Place de l'étoile on the Champs-Elysées hosts 30 concerts across ten stages, with a diverse and impressive line up.

Headline acts include The Avener, Patrice and FFF. Elsewhere on the bill are the likes of Flavia Coelho and Gaspard Royant.

It's described as a "manifestation-concerts", organised by Solidarité Sida to draw attention to how international solidarity should be a key theme for the candidates in the presidential election.

They want the event to show optimism, generosity and brotherhood at a time when these seem to be missing.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Jane Birkin: Live on C à vous

Lovely to see Jane Birkin make a live appearance performing on French TV show C à vous at the end of last month.

She covers Gainsbourg's La Chanson de Prévert in an orchestral setting.

The new arrangement comes from her new album Birkin/Gainsbourg: le symphonique, featuring new versions of some of Gainsbourg's classics.

Some were songs originally performed by Birkin, some by Gainsbourg, others written by Gainsbourg for other artists. Some of the songs covered are better known than others, such as Requiem pour un con or Valse de Melody, while there are some lesser-known gems like Exercise en forme de z or Pull Marine.

His work always seems to work well when re-made in a new setting, whether the dub versions of his work that came out a few years ago or Birkin's Arabesque collection, which saw his work performed with a North African flavour.

All reflected well on the source material, the new settings opened them up to a new interpretation of the work.

I've found myself going back to work like the Gainsbourg dub collection and the Arabesque album repeatedly over the years since they came out. I reckon Birkin/Gainsbourg: le symphonique will also stand the test of time.

Birkin plays live in Paris on April 12 at the Auditorium de Radio France, with a show in Warsaw on April 19 and another in Monaco on May 11.

Julien Doré: Sublime & Silence

A session track by Julien Doré with a version of the song Sublime and Silence for the Belgian based site Bruxelles ma belle.

Julien Doré released his & album in autumn last year and has recemtly embarked on a massive arena tour of France and surrounding areas including three sold-out nights at the Zénith in Paris in May.

Doré has worked hard to establish himself as one of France's most interesting popular artists, from having won a TV talent show to going on to release a catalogue of material that sees him have little in common with the manufactured pop stars these shows produce. While astonishingly popular, he remains an interesting artist with a distinctive vision.

His & album continued to build on his artistic reputation, and his popularity saw it reach number one in the French charts, a higher position even than his 2013 L0ve album managed, even with its double platinum sales since its release.

He recently announced a final show of the tour at Bercy in Paris on December 15

Monday, 10 April 2017

Feist performs Leonard Cohen at Juno Awards

A wonderful and emotional perfomance by Feist at Canada's Juno Awards as she took to the stage with a version of Leonard Cohen's hey that aint no way to say goodbye.

The ceremony is the Canadian equivalent of the Brit Awards or the Grammys.

Cohen, who died in November, won the award for Album of the Year and Artist of the year, following the release of his final album, You want it darker.

Cohen is of course no stranger to the Juno awards, having won many through the course of his long career.

It was impressive to see Canada's prime minister take to the stage to pay tribute to Cohen, a man he knew personally.

Justin Trudeau, is such a natural on the stage that if the politics game fails to work out for him he could probably consider a career as a  TV presenter. Or perhaps not.

Deezer France April playlist

I came across a playlist for Deezer France compiled by RFI, with their favourites for April to enjoy. It's too good not to share.

It's a diverse bunch of tunes, covering quite a variety of genres and styles, from African sounds to chanson, pop to electro.

It's got a French flavour, but with the widest possible definition.

There are a few that you might be familiar with, alongside many that you won't have heard yet.

There are a few of this blog's favourites of the moment present as they should be, including Kid Francescoli, Jacques and Fishbach.

The playlist runs for just over two hours, so if you're looking for a solid soundtrack for your afternoon it's well worth some of your time.

Friday, 7 April 2017

BB Brunes: Eclair éclair

A return for French rock four piece BB Brunes, with the release of their new single Eclair éclair.

The track comes from the band's fourth album, which is due out in September 2017.

It follows the release of Long Courrier in 2012, which like their two previous albums a top ten hit in France and the song Coups et Blessures giving them a significant hit single.

Since then singer Adrien Gallo has embarked on a solo career with his album Gemini in 2014, and he's written songs for artists like Alizée, Vanessa Paradis and Yelle.

They're touring from early 2018 but have three shows lined up in Paris before then in September, where the band will play each of their previous three albums each night.

Les Vieilles Canailles: Vieille Canaille

If French radio station Radio Nostalgie created a supergroup, it would probably be a lot like Les Vieilles Canailles.

Featuring Johnny Hallyday, Jacques Dutronc and Eddy Mitchell, as heritage acts go, it's hard to imagine anything bigger for a French audience. Unless of course Renaud were to make it a four piece.

There's a massive market for this kind of thing in France as every sold-out arena and stadium date on every Johnny Hallyday tour testifies.

The trio originally came together under the Vieilles Canailles name for a series of concerts at Bercy in Paris in 2014, with a set list incorporating some of the biggests hits originally performed by each artist. Some songs they would all perform on, some would be duets and each had two solo numbers.

The new clip comes ahead of their summer tour, which sees the old rascals set out on a series of 17 shows in France, Switzerland and Belgium in June and July.

A gig at Bercy on June 24 has already sold out and a second show the following night has been added.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Daprinski: Le Dernier Homme

A wonderful release by Daprinski, with the Serge Gainsbourg/Jean-Claude Vannier flavoured Le Dernier Homme featuring on his Chorégraphies de l'ordinaire debut album release.

The album came out at the end of March, following on from two previous releases, 2013's five track Le corps D'un homme and his George Michael single.

He makes a sophisticated sound, influenced deeply by the classics of French chanson but also with a flavour of American soul, a rich blend that feels new but is also steeped in the kind of classic material you've known and loved for years.

I know some might feel like it's a bit too close in style to that classic Gainsbourg sound, but let's not forget that for many Gainsbourg in the early to mid 70s was the very definition of classy French music, and for many of us outside France it was only a recent musical discovery. We're still catching up with a French style from decades ago, and we urgently need more of it for the 21st century. Daprinski sounds like the guy who's got what we are looking for.

There's a video for Le Dernier Homme due shortly. It's the kind of cinematic music that cries out for appropriate visuals. I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with and hopefully posting it here.

Fishbach: Un Autre Que Moi

A new video by Fishbach, with a memorable and filmic clip for the track Un Autre Que Moi.

Fishbach is one of France's most acclaimed acts at the moment following the release of her À ta merci debut album earlier this year. Les Inrocks have described 25 year old Flora Fishbach as one of the heroes of the new French music scene

There's a nod to France Gall's '80s hit Ella elle l'a in this song, although there are darker undercurrents at work here. I've little doubt she's set to become the next significant artist to emerge from France.

She's on Disques Enterprise records, home to some of this blog's favourites including Bagarre, Grand Blanc and Moodoid.

There's a chance to see Fishbach live in the UK next month, as she plays alongside KillASon and Fauna Twin at Birthdays in Dalston on May 17, for the second club night organised by Oui Love.

She's also at the Great Escape festival in Brighton, a significant showcase for emerging talent hoping to make a mark on the UK market.

Fishbach also plays La Cigale in Paris on May 4 having sold out a show at the same venue in March.

Kid Francescoli: Les Vitrines

A new video by Kid Francescoli for the track Les Vitrines.

The features on the duo's Play me Again album and its a wonderful piece of sophisticated electro pop.

Their new album follows their 2013 collection With Julia, which first saw Mathieu Hocine from Marseille work with New York singer Julia Minkin.

I've featured Kid Francescoli a couple of times before on this blog, when their last album was released and when I saw them in Rennes in 2014 performing as part of the Bars en Trans festival at the 1988 Live Club with H Burns and Animali.

I described them at the time as "Effortlessly modern with the kind of electronics that French artists have always done so well" and it's great to see them live up to their promise and go on to well-deserved wider recognition.

Kid Francescoli have a bunch of live dates in their diary for the next few months, beginning with a show at the Printemps de Bourges festival later this month with dates until June and a show confirmed for le trianon in Paris in November.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Juliette Armanet: Monte le Son session featuring I feel it coming (The Weeknd cover)

A lovely 'VF' cover version of I feel it coming by The Weeknd by Juliette Armanet.

The song, the original of which was a massive hit in France as it was pretty much everywhere else,  takes on a laid back jazzy feel at her hands.

The performance comes from France 4's Monte le son TV show, where in the same session she also performs L’Amour en Solitaire and Alexandre.

 The original of I feel it coming was a collaboration with Daft Punk, from The Weeknd's Starboy album that was released last year. Daft Punk also collaborated on the album's title track, a US Billboard chart number one single.

Juliette Armanet releases her debut album, to be entitled  Petite Amie, on April 7.

Black M: Comme toi

A new song being promoted from Black M's Eternel insatisfait album, with the track Comme toi features a guest appearance by Shakira on the track and in the video.

Eternel insatisfait, the Sexion d'assaut member's second solo album which came out in October last year, has already been a massive seller reaching number two in the French charts.

The collection has already delivered a number of singles, including A l'Ouest from February last year up to the more recent French Kiss and the track Tout ce qu'il faut.

His 2014 debut solo album Les yeux plus grosse que le monde - a triple platinum seller- established him as one of France's biggest commercial rap stars.

Black M has live dates later this month with shows at arenas throughout France until May, and more shows later in the year including one at Bercy in Paris on December 2.

Editorial: April 2017

OK, so March wasn't the best month for this blog. Again, other important things imposed on my time
and attention. It's been quite a time, but hopefully things have settled into a new rhythm and we can get back to doing what we're best at here.

Apologies, again,  and thanks for sticking with us. 

March was a busy month for French music, with the release by Saez of his new triple (!) album a high point. I reckon Saez is one of the finest singer songwriters around at the moment, taking French chanson and rock to somewhere interesting. With this new collection and his Manifeste project his artistic ambition is at its peak. An early contender for album of the year.

His tour is  now under way and another album is scheduled for later this year.

Elsewhere, Frànçois and The Atlas Mountains have begun their tour in support of their Solide Mirage album, another very strong collection that goes some way to suggest 2017 will be every bit as significant a year for French music as 2016.

April also sees the Printemps de Bourges festival take place, marking the start of the French festival season with a bill that includes some well-selected established acts like Renaud and Placebo along with Frànçois and The Atlas Mountains, as well as some acts that are favourites of this blog including Barbagallo, Her and  Carpenter Brut.

You can get a hold of me at 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. I'm always keen to hear new things, and relay information about acts I already know and love.

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.

Merci et à bientôt

John K