The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Entries for 'Aidan Curran'

17

Julien Doré: dig the hairclip, dude!Remember our recent post on 'Double Je', the brilliant single by Christophe Willem, winner of French TV talent search 'Nouvelle Star' in 2006? Well, these days the 2007 winner has been topping the charts in France.

Julien Doré (right) is his name. His image is that of the sort of meticulously-styled faux-rebel you see in hair gel commercials. His choice of first post-victory single, always an accurate indication of career prospects, is a strange one - a cover of a smash hit debut single by a previous TV talent show winner. What's more, it's an ironic acoustic-rock version of what was a slick pop song sung by a girl.

Naturally, it's awful - ironic cover versions always reek of pretentious snobbishness, but Doré deliberately mangles the melody and rhythm for maximum effect. That's us pop fans taught a lesson, so.

But we're not here to talk about this eejit. Instead, let's look at the song, one which definitely deserves our attention.

The original version of the track in question is a rare instance of a French-language hit that may be familiar to Irish radio listeners - 'Moi Lolita' by Alizée. A brilliant piece of slinky and sophisticated disco-pop, it received a lot of Irish airplay in 2000 (in particular, Today FM seemed to have playlisted it). Something of a dancefloor hit, the single actually reached number 9 in the British charts - the most recent single en français to crack the UK Top 10.

AlizéeAs the title suggests, the song's lyrics are fairly risqué - especially when sung by a squeaky-clean 16-year-old girl. Sometimes the whole thing gets a little too seedy: stuff like "Quand je rêve au loup / c'est Lola qui saigne" ("When I dream of the wolf / it's Lola who bleeds") is just too dodgy even for seasoned Frenchpop listeners. But none of this matters if you haven't a word of French - it's a fantastic track.

After her TV show win in 1999 Alizée was immediately snapped up by Mylène Farmer, a Quebec-born singer and French superstar who specialises in just this sort of disco-perv-pop. Farmer, moving on in years, and her partner Laurent Boutonnat were looking for a young and clean-cut singer to continue their line of saucy-but-bland singles (Remind us to tell you about Farmer in detail sometime). In Alizée they found their girl, and 'Moi Lolita' was written for her. As well as going top ten in the UK, the single was a number one across the continent and in Japan.

After two albums and several record-company difficulties, Alizée split from Farmer and took time out from music to get married and start a family. However, Doré's cover of her most famous hit has renewed interest in her - and her new album 'Psychédélices' will be released in November.

The video for 'Moi Lolita' is terrible. It's a mini-movie where the singer plays a rural girl going to her first disco. This type of pretentious big-budget short film is a trademark of Farmer, who's notorious for appearing naked in her music videos. (Bet you're interested now, aren't you?)

So, here's a television appearance by Alizée, performing one of the best French pop singles of the last decade. Your blogger has been known to (100% unironically) play and sing this on guitar at parties:


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16

This weekend France is taking part in the Europe-wide celebration of cultural heritage (including the Dublin Culture Night last Friday). In Paris, political and cultural institutions are opening their doors to the general public - even President Sarkozy is welcoming visitors to his residence, the Elysée Palace.

The Paris metro system is also joining in the events - for instance, certain lines ran all night, disused 'ghost' metro stations were opened to visitors, and various entertainment took place around the underground network.

Perhaps the most interesting from a music point of view was a talent show for commuters. The official blurb for the event invited metro users who happen to play instruments - but every regular underground traveller is aware of the sizeable community of dedicated metro buskers.

It is, of course, illegal to play for money on the metro - technically it's illegal even just to play music, as it can be construed as disturbing fellow passengers (penalty: a few euros of a fine). But when has this ever been a bar to metro-buskers, hopping from carriage to carriage with one eye out for the muscular boys from transport security?

After a while using the metro, you get to recognise certain musicians and their regular 'pitch'. On the line 3, which takes you to Père Lachaise and La Flèche d'Or, there's a man who plays the saxophone. His playing is excellent (he clearly loves John Coltrane; he has the same warm, rich sound), even if his sax is fairly battered. On our line, the 13, there are at least two regular accordionists.

Paris is always heaving with tourists heading for the usual sightseeing spots, so some lines are more profitable than others. Line 6, for example, goes from the Arc de Triomphe (at the top of the Champs-Elysées) past the Eiffel Tower, so it's a lucrative pitch for buskers. One guy in particular has made it his home: a man who hangs a curtain at the back of the carriage, from behind which two puppets pop up to dance along to a blast of rock n'roll or reggae. Simple, but always enjoyable; regular visitors now look out for him.

A busker at Saint Lazare metro stationMusicians also set up in the metro stations themselves - each station usually has a warren of walkways and tunnels with fantastic acoustics, good enough to make even bad music sound tolerable. Stations on the line 1 are especially complex, so it's a little easier to evade security. And as the line runs under the Champs-Elysées, Louvre and Bastille there are always cash-happy tourists easily charmed by a few riffs of 'La Vie En Rose' on the accordion.

A musician friend of ours here in Paris had a novel way of playing on the metro with his two bandmates. One of them would get on at the first station and play alone. A few stations later the second band member would get on and seamlessly pick up the tune of the first. Then another few stops down the line the third would get on and join in too. They made a fortune.


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15

Since French Letter changed from old-fashioned column to hip young blog, we've received loads of tips about French music worth hearing and featuring. A sincere merci beaucoup to everyone who's taken the time to comment or mail with their suggestions - a lot of them will appear here over the coming months, and Francophile music fans can expect to discover lots of great Gallic tunes right here.

Mon dieu! French band Dionysos, currently recording with Eric CantonaAs well as finding out about new bands, we've been led back to rediscover older music that had flown under our radar. For instance: Dionysos (right) are a six-piece band from Valence in south-east France. Their most recent studio album, 'Monsters In Love', was an unremarkable bit of chanson française which didn't appeal to us. We thought no more of them.

However, on French indie radio stations like Le Mouv' and Oüi FM we kept hearing a fine 2002 single of theirs called 'Song For Jedi' - nothing like the skiffly chansons of their new material but instead a slice of witty and catchy slacker-pop that had us intrigued. And when Edith from Por La Carretera mentioned Dionysos in a comment on our recent post about Rhesus, we finally decided to investigate further.

Sure enough, and to our delight, 'Song For Jedi' is not an only child. It's taken from the band's 2002 Steve Albini-produced album 'Western Sous La Neige' ('Western Under The Snow'), which is crammed with similarly charming US-influenced indie-pop. Alas, they seem to have left that sound behind them now.

Eric.The band's next project is 'La Méchanique Du Coeur', an album to accompany the book of the same name written by lead singer Mathias Malzieu. It's an ensemble record featuring an all-star cast which includes Emily Loizeau, Olivia Ruiz (Malzieu's partner), venerable actor Jean Rochefort... and (*genuflects*) Eric Cantona. Yes, Le Roi Eric on disc: you can be sure that we'll bring you a clip of this great event as soon as possible.

(BTW, Eric is currently featuring in a French TV ad for a casino - and he also appears with his brother Joel in the opening seconds of the latest video by Marseille rapper Soprano, 'A La Bien'. Sadly, Eric doesn't rap.)

As for Dionysos, check out their album 'Western Sous La Neige'. Here's the bizarre video for 'Song For Jedi', which seems to have no connection to its soundtrack:


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13

A couple of posts ago we wrote about Ireland's thriving French community and the popularity of all things Gallic in Eire. On the same theme, RTE's Dublin-based magazine show 'Capital D' is tonight (13 September) screening a report on the Irish capital's French population.

We're pleased to see that the programme features a couple of French Letter regulars. We understand that there was an RTE crew at a recent 'French Friday' club night at Thomas House in Dublin - no doubt to show the debauched hard-rockin' underground of Paris-sur-Liffey.

There will also be an interview with French singer Lauren Guillery (right).

'Capital D' is on RTE 1 at 7:00 tonight - but if you miss it you can see the show on the programme's web-page. Someone let us know if they mention this humble blog, alright?

 


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07

Bertrand CantatFrench news agencies are this week reporting that France's most famous rock star and prison inmate may soon be free on conditional release.

Bertrand Cantat, lead singer with French group Noir Désir, was jailed in 2004 for eight years after a court in Lithuania found him guilty of killing his girlfriend, actress Marie Trintignant, after hitting her during a fight in their hotel room in Vilnius in July 2003. Cantat is currently serving his sentence in a prison near Toulouse, in south-west France.

Trintignant's death, and the subsequent trial of her lover Cantat, shocked France. The award-nominated actress, daughter of actor Jean-Louis Trintignant (star of French classics like 'Un Homme Et Une Femme' and 'Trois Couleurs Rouge') was filming on location in Vilnius at the time of the incident. The Lithuanian court heard how, during a fight after a party, a drunken Cantat struck Trintignant repeatedly, causing massive cerebral trauma.

Marie TrintignantA comatose Trintignant was rushed to a specialist hospital in France but died four days later. The then-President Chirac paid tribute to the late actress; Lithuanian police charged Cantat with her murder.

The case divided France. The charismatic Cantat was a hugely-admired figure, adored by French rock fans for his politically-engaged songs and fierce rebellious outbursts. In 1997 Noir Désir played a highly-charged concert in Toulon, a city then ruled by the extreme-right Front National of Jean-Marie Le Pen, and Cantat caused uproar at a 2002 awards ceremony by criticising the head of his record company. The idea of their idealistic rock idol being an abusive partner and killer was incomprehensible to his loyal fans. Cantat, echoing the tragic romances of Othello and of Romeo and Juliet, pleaded in court that he loved Trintignant and lost control during a passionate argument. During the period of the case, Noir Désir's record sales rocketed - but many fans have never forgiven Cantat for betraying their idealism.

The death of Trintignant provoked widespread public grief - and anger. Her violent end highlighted the issue of domestic violence, and huge numbers of people attended public demonstrations and protested at a perceived lack of resources and convictions in France. The Cantat trial became akin to a test case for domestic abuse; victim support groups held massive public demonstrations around France and called for greater protection of those suffering conjugal abuse.

Noir Désir, with Cantat on the leftCantat was eventually found guilty of killing Trintignant and was sentenced to eight years in prison. A Noir Désir retrospective released in 2005 was promoted by his bandmates, who delicately referred to the 'absence' of their singer.

Trintignant was buried in Père Lachaise in Paris, final resting place of other tragic figures like Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. A small Seine-side square named after her lies just around the corner from Morrison's former Paris apartment in the Marais.

Noir Désir, Cantat's band, are at best an acquired taste for non-French people. Their mix of punk aggression and self-righteous protest-song posturing makes for lumpen joyless sonic sludge that values politicised lyrics over musical content. Sure enough, Cantat's fans refer to him as the French Jim Morrison or the French Jeff Buckley; this should be enough to warn away discerning music lovers.

In short, most of Noir Désir's music is awful - but there are two flashes of quality in their back catalogue. One is the vicious guitar riff of 1992 single 'Tostaky', wasted on a clumsy and tuneless song. The other is an untypically catchy acoustic pop song that was a massive hit across the continent in 2001; it's called 'Le Vent Nous Portera' ('The Wind Will Carry Us'):


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05

About twenty minutes from Paris by train, going south-east and up the Seine, there’s a town called Ris-Orangis. Sadly, it doesn’t live up to its evocative name; there are no orange groves or rice plantations - just grey motorways and peeling tower blocks. But when we went there it was not in search of a paddy field but a Paddy-street.

Like looking for Willie McBride's grave in 'The Green Fields Of France', after walking across this dusty town in the scouring sunshine for most of an hour (one cobbled road en route had literally been taken up), eventually discovering that another train station is much closer, we found it.

Welcome to Rue Rory Gallagher.

At first sight, considering the trek it takes to get there, it’s a bit of a let-down. You won’t find a tree-lined boulevard or bluesy back-alley; Rue Rory Gallagher is a drab dead-end road* running through a small industrial zone. It’s not attractively-planned or picturesque – the end of the road leads on to unused ground.

Around the corner is a large secondary school, so in the afternoons straggling teenagers traipse along it as a short cut to the nearby train station of Orangis Bois de l’Epine (the one we should have used). There’s no café or bar where you can sit down, get a drink and contemplate Rory – or even a shop to buy a choc-ice (it was a REALLY hot afternoon).

Basically, it’s no tourist attraction - the Rory Gallagher corners, squares and so forth across Ireland easily beat their French namesake in the picture-postcard stakes.

But why did this Paris satellite town name one of its backroads after an Irishman with no obvious French connection? Well, among the windowless warehouses and small factories on this street there’s a music venue called Le Plan – and it was here that Gallagher played his last French concert, in 1995 – just months before he died in June of that year.

Such was Rory’s popularity in France that immediately after his death local music fans moved to have the road outside the venue named after him. The local council promptly agreed and so, before Ballyshannon or Dublin or Cork got round to it, an unremarkable French town marked his memory and music. Rory’s brother Donal, keeper of the flame, and their mother Monica attended the unveiling of the new street-name in October 1995. An information panel outside Le Plan explains Gallagher’s life and work for any curious passers-by. Unfortunately, the panel tends to get pasted over with flyers for forthcoming shows.

On reflection, maybe the location is fitting – after all, factory-workers and schoolkids seem like exactly the sort of audience (or ‘demographic’, in today’s less-romantic term) that a bluesman would have wanted. There’s a live music venue there too, of course – and a train line** nearby; how blues is that?

And that waste ground at the end of the street has grown into a lush green meadow, natural and untended. This globetrotting and widely-loved musician has as a memorial a corner of a foreign field that is forever Ireland.

* The French don’t say ‘cul-de-sac’ and look at you funny if you do – it just means ‘the arse of a bag’; the French term is 'impasse'. In fact, there's another French dead-end street named after Rory; the Impasse Rory Gallagher in the southern town of Bedoin, near Mont Ventoux (infamous for the death of British cyclist Tom Simpson during the 1967 Tour de France).


** To get from Paris to Rue Rory Gallagher in Ris-Orangis
by train, take the RER D (branch D4) from either Châtelet or Gare de Lyon. Make sure you take a train that stops at Orangis Bois de l’Epine – the station at Ris-Orangis is an hour’s walk away and on a different spur of the same line. From the station at Orangis Bois de l’Epine it’s just a five minute walk along a path through a field, bearing right towards some low warehouse-type buildings. You’ll come to some concrete bollards that mark the end of Rue Rory Gallagher; the street-sign is at the other end.


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05

What's the summer equivalent of 'hibernating'? 'Estivating'? Anyway, France is slowly reawakening from its traditional August slumber on the beach/beside the pool - everyone's back to school, work, politics and normal life.

Here in Paris the metro is packed again, all the boulangeries are open... and France's music stars are launching their new products. It's la rentrée!

For those who consume their music through the gossip mags (coming soon: the Amy/Pete/Britney love triangle), the most notable French record this season bears a similarity to last year's big rentrée release - an '80s child singing star of glamorous background, returning to high-profile music after concentrating on acting. Last year it was Charlotte Gainsbourg and her fine '5:55' album; this time around it's Vanessa Paradis, whose new album 'Divinidylle' comes out on 3 September.

Nowadays best known for being a Chanel model and Johnny Depp's rather emaciated partner, she will forever be famous in the English-speaking world for 'Joe Le Taxi', her breathy and suggestive 1987 single that established her as a Lolita-esque sex symbol. Nowadays, looking and listening back, it's striking how innocent the song actually is: it's really just about a guy driving a taxi!  That said, the song sounds fantastic - compared to today's cluttered and compressed production values, 'Joe Le Taxi' has the same sparseness as 'Walking On The Moon', married to a breezy summer vibe.

Interestingly, French press coverage of Vanessa's return has been skipping over her 1992 English-language album with her then boyfriend/Svengali Lenny Kravitz. This may be mere forgetfulness due to the album being fairly unspectacular; 'Be My Baby' was a catchy UK hit but the rest of the record was just harmless '60s French-pop pastiche.

'Divine Idylle', the chart-topping title track and first single off her new album, is something similar - well-made but unremarkable jangly guitariness with Mlle Paradis' breathy French vocals. And it doesn't have a chorus, it seems. Still, we'll never discourage any French acts from making glamorous Paris-pop. Vas-y, Vanessa.

Coincidentally, on the same day as the return of la Paradis, Manu Chao (left)follows up his summer single 'Rainin' In Paradiz' with his new album 'La Radiolina'. You can hear extracts from it on Chao's website. By the high standards of his ethno-pop back catalogue, 'Rainin' In Paradiz' was a stale lump of terrace-rock, so hopefully it's not typical of the album.

France's biggest international star is touring Europe in October; there's a string of dates up and down Britain but no Irish concert as yet. Surely some savvy Irish promoter will realise that the huge numbers of French, Spanish, Italians and South Americans in Ireland (oh, and plenty Irish too) will fill multiple nights of Chao at any Irish venue.

Many French indie fans are waiting impatiently for the new release by Deportivo (right), a three-piece from the Paris region. Their second album, 'La Brise' (produced by Strokes collaborator Gordon Raphael) comes out on October 24.

However, we reckon the French indie-pop album of the autumn will be 'The Fortune Teller Said', the second long-player by Grenoble band Rhesus. At first we were less than enthusiastic about first single 'Hey Darling' but recently it's been growing on us.

But, judging by magazine covers and airplay, la rentrée 2007 belongs to Vanessa Paradis, so here's the video for 'Divine Idylle':


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22
It’s strange for us non-natives to find that the Communist party in France is not only active but thriving, with several French towns run by Communist mayors – including Gennevilliers, the Paris satellite town next to ours where the BBC usually go when they want to depict France’s immigrant community and urban tension. We have an image of Communism inextricably linked to totalitarian repression and walls tumbling in 1989 – or else with improbably-romanticised iconography; Dubliners who eat at Mao and drink at Pravda would be outraged at the thought of a restaurant called Adolf or a club called Mein Kampf.
 
But in France the Nazi occupation is still (just about) within living memory; many streets around where your blogger lives are called after fallen Resistance fighters with names like Gabriel Péri, Guy Môquet and Pierre Brossolette, and the Communists stood up and fought against the occupying forces, at least in the public perception.
 
And the original communes were in Revolution-era Paris (manned and womanned by the communards who inspired both Karl Marx and Jimmy Sommerville) and the word still denotes an area of urban government in France. That’s part of the heritage of today’s French Communists, and the far-left bloc still reaps 5-10% of the national vote – more than the French Greens but less than the far-right.
 
Anyway, the French Communist party and extreme-left community have a daily newspaper called L’Humanité, and each September the paper organises a large outdoor music and arts festival in the Paris area. Fête de l’Humanité is traditionally the last big bash of the Paris summer season.
 
This year’s Fête de l’Huma, as it’s commonly called, takes place over the weekend of 14-16 September at La Corneuve (just north of Paris, between the Stade de France and Charles de Gaulle Airport), and features a mix of French and international stars. Top of the visiting delegation must be Iggy and the Stooges on the Saturday, with Razorlight going on just before them that evening, while Friday features Aussie rockers the John Butler Trio and South African folk singer Johnny Clegg. Of those, only Clegg strikes us as being any way political in even the loosest sense of the word (although that noted trans-Atlantic commentator Johnny Borrell says there’s trouble and panic in America; hope our US friends are okay).
 
Of the home-grown heroes, the stand-out names on the Friday are Clarika and Olivia Ruiz, two female singers who infuse the skiffly sounds of chanson française with a more robust pop swagger. Ruiz, a former TV talent show finalist with a childlike squeaky singing style, is now a big star in France thanks to the success of her most recent album, ‘La Femme Chocolat’. Local indie heroes Luke are on Saturday’s main-stage bill, while Sunday’s headliner is ageing protest-rocker Renaud.
 
There will be other cultural happenings at the festival – including a rugby event to coincide with the World Cup, taking over France in September.
 
As the festival is organised by socialists and intended to be within the means of the modestly-paid proletariat (unlike the Rugby World Cup, sadly for us), weekend tickets cost only €15 and are available online from FNAC. On-site camping costs €7. Caution - due to the World Cup, cheap flights may be hard to come by.
 
More info (in English or French) is available on the festival’s website. Here’s headliner Olivia Ruiz in the video for her charming single ‘La Femme Chocolat’:
 

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20

This weekend’s Festival of World Cultures in Dún Laoghaire (24-26 August) doesn’t feature any music we’d normally consider as being French – no bal de musette or Piaf-style torch songs or even Parisian DJs stepping two-by-two off the nearby ferry.

However, Algerian-born traditional singer Rachid Taha has spent much of his life in the former colonial centre, is enormously popular there – and he was present at one of France’s seminal musical events (of which more later). In many ways Taha represents an important aspect of French culture today.

Traditional Maghreb music from north Africa, the wailing vocals and swirling rhythms that soundtrack holiday programme reports from Tangiers and Tunis, is known as rai – but Taha, always scornful of genres, wittily deflects such talk by referring to himself as Rai Cooder or Rai Orbison.

Like Tinariwen and Toumast, the Tuareg bands of the Mali Sahara, Taha has electrified the old style with modern punk and electro sounds – and very contemporary lyrical concerns. His songs, sung in Arabic, deal with questions of identity; his excellent 2004 album was called ‘Tékitoi’ (phonetically, Tay Kee Twa), a txt-msg style compression of “T’es qui, toi?” meaning “Who are you?”

Four decades after Algerian independence from France, national identity remains a live issue here. Racial discrimination – casual or official – is still rife: non-whites in Paris live in constant expectation of identity checks and police harassment that whites like your blogger never experience (in almost three years I’ve never been ID-checked). Taha’s first band was called Carte De Séjour, named after the French residency permit. His 1986 punked-up cover version of old crooner Charles Trenet’s ‘Douce France’ was banned from French radio just because of its aggressive attitude and implicit attack on bourgeois France.

(The recent film Indigènes, released in Ireland as ‘Days Of Glory’, exposed the injustices faced by North-African-born French soldiers in World War II; as a direct result of the film’s agitation the unequal pension paid to those surviving Maghreb veterans was brought up to the same level as for French-born soldiers. France’s huge ethnic-origin population faces such petty racism every day, and one hopes that Rachida Dati, France’s justice minister, can make real progress – she’s the daughter of Moroccan-Algerian parents.)

Rachid TahaWhatever about political radicalism, Taha is associated with one of the revolutionary moments of French music – the 1981 five-night residency by The Clash at the Theatre Mogador in Paris. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this series of concerts determined the course of French rock for the following fifteen years. Taha was in the audience, as was young Manu Chao and his future band Mano Negra, members of Les Negresses Vertes (another fine ‘80s band) and other future French rock stars – all were inspired to form bands, mix punk with traditional music… and wear leather trousers. This was the template of nearly all French bands until Daft Punk’s dancefloor revolution in the mid-‘90s.

Some accounts credit Taha with a more central role. After one show he met Joe Strummer and Mick Jones backstage and gave them a copy of his recordings. The following year, The Clash released ‘Rock The Casbah’ – directly influenced, claim the French music community proudly, by Taha that night (There’s no evidence, though, that Taha inspired Strummer’s epic Paris disappearing act the following year).

This blast of French pride would seem to be borne out by subsequent events. Taha recorded his own Arabic version of the Clash hit, retitled ‘Rock El Kasbah’, for the ‘Tékitoi’ album – and Jones and Paul Simenon have joined him onstage to perform the song, most recently at Taha’s April 2007 London concert.

 

Check out Taha’s music at his Myspace page and make sure you catch him FOR FREE at Newtownsmith Green in Dún Laoghaire next Sunday (26 August) – his live show is thrilling, the trousers are still leather and even his cover of ‘Rock The Casbah’ stands up favourably to the original. Here he is performing it with Jones on French TV show ‘Taratata’:


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19
During his triumphant Paris show last May, Duke Special invited onstage a French singer for a version en français of ‘Portrait’. It was a particularly appropriate pairing because Emily Loizeau, the singer in question, shares much of the Duke’s piano-led cabaret-pop style. (Regina Spektor is another obvious contemporary of hers.)
 
Emily LoizeauNow the two are together again in Belfast – Emily Loizeau is supporting the Duke at his concert tonight (Sunday 19 August) at the Empire. If you’re going to the show, lucky you.
 
Loizeau emerged in late 2005/early 2006 with ‘L’Autre Bout Du Monde’, a remarkable debut album of catchy cabaret-pop that swung between playfully dark humour and heart-stopping emotional candour. The carefree child-song of ‘Voila Pourquoi’ and the vindictive wit of ‘Je Suis Jalouse’ seem hardly to be from the same person who sings the title track and ‘I’m Alive’ (where the singer mourns her father), two of the loneliest and most heartbroken songs you’ll ever hear.
 
The late Monsieur Loizeau was French but his wife was English, and the threefold legacy of this is: a daughter called Emily; the Anglicised spelling of her first name (as opposed to the French ‘Emilie’); and her ability to write songs in English as well as in French. On her debut record she sings another duet, ‘London Town’, with her label-mate, the equally idiosyncratic Andrew Bird. By a happy coincidence, the name Loizeau comes from the French l’oiseau, meaning ‘the bird’.
 
At the time of writing there seem to be no plans for an Irish release for any of Loizeau’s material. You can get around this by listening to some tracks from that fantastic first album on her MySpace page and her website. No news yet of a second album, but in the meantime you can watch Emily Loizeau sing ‘Je Suis Jalouse’:
 


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Nuggets from our archive

2007 - REM live in the Olympia, by Michael O'Hara. Possibly the definitive review of any of REM's performances during their 2007 Olympia residency. Even the official REM website linked to it.