The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Do you remember how we were talking about Yann Tiersen and his soundtrack to 'Amélie' and another album of his called 'L'Absente' which was like a darker vision of the film music? You do.

And do you remember how we told you that Neil Hannon collaborated with Tiersen on 'Les Jours Tristes', which appeared on both albums? You do again. Haven't you a great memory?

Yann Tiersen and Neil Hannon Black SessionWell, it wasn't the first time that these two played together. Two years before 'Amélie', in 1999, Tiersen released a live album called 'Black Session' (right, with the bad album art). It was recorded at the Transmusicales festival in Rennes for a radio show on France Inter called 'C'est Lenoir', still the best music show on the French airwaves.

(The Black Sessions are the show's regular live concerts, usually staged and broadcast from the Radio France studios near the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The title is a play on the name of the presenter, Bernard Lenoir, 'noir' being the French for 'black'. When the show invites an artist for an acoustic performance without an audience, the result is a White Session. You can hear past Black Sessions and White Sessions on the C'est Lenoir homepage.)

For this show Tiersen invited a variety of singers to join him, mostly French vocalists like Dominique A and Mathieu Boogaerts and (urgh!) Bertrand Cantat of Noir Désir. And Neil Hannon popped up too.

The Divine Comedy man sings two songs. First, he performs his own 'Geronimo' from the 'Promenade' album. Then, joined by a string quartet and with Tiersen on toy piano, Hannon sings David Bowie's 'Life On Mars'.

And here's the proof, below and at this link (as the embedded video seems a bit unstable). From the Transmusicales Festival in Rennes in 1999, broadcast on C'est Lenoir on France Inter and released on the album 'Black Session', here are Neil Hannon and Yann Tiersen with their version of 'Life On Mars':

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Nuggets from our archive

2008 - A comprehensive guide to recording an album, written by Andy Knightly (the guide is spread over 4 parts).