Interesting phenomenon of late – many European bands have taken to singing in English, rather than their native tongue. Makes perfect sense – the English speaking audience is a lot larger than many others (except possibly for Spanish speaking countries). Not that many non-English speaking bands haven’t done it in the past. The difference is – a lot of the current crop have gone through great pains to erase any trace of an accent. And for a lot of those bands it’s been successful.
Take Phoenix for instance. An Indie band from Versailles who got together in 1995, settled in Paris and eventually got the notice of several College stations in the U.S. and have achieved a steady progression in popularity. Initially a backing band for Air during their live appearances, Phoenix have been getting attention on their own, releasing their break-through Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix in 2009 and winning the Grammy for Best Alternative Band that year.
Here they are, from the 2010 Vieilles Charrues Festival with Lisztomania, recorded on July 17, 2010.
See? Further evidence Rock has no borders. Not anymore, anyway.
Another sampling of some classic French “Yè-Yè” of the 60’s. This time from one of the lesser luminaries, Jaqueline Taieb, a French singer born in Tunis who had a string of hit singles on the French charts, but didn’t make much dent outside of France.
Tonight it’s 7 Heures du Matin, a single she released in 1967, with the odd reference to The Who and Paul McCartney.
I don’t think anyone in the States, save for die-hard Yè-Yè fans of the period, probably heard this song.
And like I always say; If you’ve never heard it before, it’s new to you.
One of the bands making huge international inroads from the studio to the concert stage are The Zen Circus; a French/Italian/American band that has gathered big success in Europe and starting to get word-of-mouth going here.
Tonight it’s a relatively early track. Fino a Speccatari due O Tre Denti from 2006, just prior to the appearance of Brian Ritchie from The Violent Femmes and taking the Rock Without borders concept several steps further.
I first heard Fabienne Delsol via MySpace in 2007, and was immediately taken by the haunting quality of her voice. Coupled with a distinctly Retro feel (all the way down to mixing in Mono). I didn’t think I was necessarily listening to something that was a “lifesize replica” of a 60’s French singer, but rather a new take on an interesting genre.
Fabienne Delsol is a French singer who relocated to London in 1996 and established a career in Indie circles as a versatile and engaging artist. She sings primarily in English, has three albums out, a slew of singles, and has been gathering a very good word of mouth and some notoriety since then. One of her more recent efforts has been making the rounds as music for a Prius Commercial (hey, don’t knock it – it’s income).
Tonight it’s the b-side of a single that was only issued as a 45 in 2007. And I Have Learnt To Dream is something of an undiscovered gem. I certainly hope it’s been reissued and available along with the rest of her material, it can do well with the exposure.
Great song, noteworthy artist – good start to the week.
Despite the fact that she bristles at the notion, Francoise Hardy IS an icon.
Heading into mellow territory this weekend, with the inimitable Francoise Hardy and a track from the early 70’s. More than anyone else, Hardy put the “yè-yè” genre on the world map in the early 1960’s. But unlike many of her contemporaries, she outgrew the kitschy Pop stereotype and emerged as a major talent, not only as a singer-songwriter, but as a multi-faceted talent who is still a strong and vital force in World Music.
Here is a track from her 1971 album La Question, Bati Mon Nid.
An alternative to an otherwise high-voltage Saturday night. No?