If 2017 went out with a sombre note with the passing of Johnny, 2018 seemed to continue that theme with the death of France Gall.
A few years ago I noticed that in my day job I was having to write an increasing number of obit pieces for stars of the 60s and 70s, as time began to take its toll. Inevitably there will be more losses to the music scene over 2018, that's part of life and there's no escaping it. But no point in getting too maudlin, I've always been keener to celebrate what's happening now and in the future than to dwell on what has been. The likes of Johnny and France Gall will never be forgotten, but those who continue the work these pioneers began deserve our attention.
As I mentioned elsewhere, 2018 has so far been a year of acts I've previously featured on this blog returning with strong new material. Bagarre, Cats on Trees, Feu! Chatterton, Dominique A and Owlle to name just a few.
It's also been worth noting how France's female artists have been getting some serious recognition. Maybe it's a consequence of Christine and the Queens carrying the flag for French music to an international audience like few others have done in recent years, but maybe France has been a more fertile place for female artists over the preceding decades.
While the likes of Mylene Farmer, Jane Birkin and France Gall have been measured by critics in terms of their male collaborators, their enduring careers tell a story of a popular audience that perhaps welcomes the female artist more that the male music critic does.
Did you notice, incidentally, the run of posts featuring female artists in January? It actually wasn't intentional and just unfolded that way, with the likes of Cats on Trees, Mylene, Owlle etc all getting my attention over a period of time and before I noticed there was more than ten female artists in a row.
One other female artists who will hopefully be attracting some attention in the UK in the near future is Halo Maud, who plays live dates across the country supporting Baxter Dury. Many of the shows are already sold out.
Also taking to the road around the UK is Barbagallo, ahead of their new album to be released in March. Their L'echappee video was one of January's real delights, and their album is likely to be one of 2018's real highlights.
There are also London shows from a few key French acts, with Petit Biscuit at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town on February 10, Kungs playing Ministry of Sound on February 17 and a sold-out show from Ibeyi on February 28 at the Electric in Brixton.
Weird statistics this month in terms of visitor numbers, but the only statistic that really matters to us here is the number of posts we managed to make. I know we're a long way from delivering anything like the number of short pieces we did a few years ago, but any month that sees more than 24 posts leaves me happy that I've been doing my job here.
Why 24 posts? Because that was the total we managed to do on the first year of the vive le roq blog. That's right. 24 posts over A WHOLE YEAR. So more than that in a month always feels like some kind of victory!
As always, you can contact us 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 drop me an email. 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, although that's pretty much just an autofeed when we update with a new article. You can usually find me on my personal Twitter account quicker, @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 good folks at Oui Love Music From France.