Friday, 8 December 2017

Carla Bruni: Live in London

A chance to see that very sophisticated chanteuse Carla Bruni in London this weekend, with the former first lady playing at the Union Chapel on Saturday night.

With her husband no longer in office for the past few years, she's been able to resume her musical career and has released two albums since then, Little French Songs in 2013 and French Touch earlier this year.

She released her Comme si de rien n'était in 2008 while her husband was president, the collection reaching number one in France. She was already an established artist be then, her debut Quelqu'un m'a dit from 2003 reaching number one in the French charts, her second No Promises from 2007 doing the same.

French Touch sees her covering songs originally recorded in the English language. While some like Moon River or Crazy are standards, there are some interesting choices including a version of Highway to Hell and Enjoy the Silence.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

#acoustic: Arcadian on @tv5monde

Another strong edition of TV5Monde's music show Acoustic, with a set by Arcadian.

The band, a trio of Jérôme, Florentin and Yoann have the kind of sound that fits the format of the show perfectly and they emerged from the fifth season of the TV show The Voice.

Their self-titled debut album was re-issued in November with extra tracks, the album already featuring the tracks Folie arcadienne and Ton combat.

Arcadian are in the middle of a tour of France that has dates until April, and they play at the Bataclan in Paris tonight.

Tracks performed include Ou je serai demain?, Les sables emouvants, Ton combat, Carmen - their cover of the Stromae song - Folie arcadienne and La fuite.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

La Féline: Live in London

Despite the magnitude of today's music news from France, there are many other things going on that deserve a mention on the blog.

One such event is a concert in London by La Féline, appearing at the Institut francais du Royaume-Uni, with former Stereolab singer Laetitia Sadier as support act.

Quite a bill for the latest of the IFRU's Music Rendezvous events, with the acts performing and intimate show in the historic building's Art Deco library.

Following their performances, the two acts will have a chat with their audience.

La Féline singer Agnès Gayraud appeared on BBC Radio's World at One news programme this afternoon to pay tribute to Johnny Hallyday, with a thoughtful interview that gave a good flavour of what he represented in France, and an idea of the ambiguities surrounding him. She performed an acoustic version of Hallyday's Quelque Chose de Tennessee.

It's available to listen to online on the BBC Player, about 40 minutes into the programme.

I'm a big fan of Gayraud's work and while the circumstances are difficult, it's hard to imagine a better ambassador for French music today.

Johnny Hallyday RIP

Terrible news this morning. Johnny Hallyday nous a quitté.

Somehow despite the fact he was gravely ill his death still comes as a shock. We'd seen Johnny face what seemed like the end before, and he always managed to rise above it. But it's the end of the story now.

It's easy for the Anglophone press to sum him up as the French Elvis, but there was so much more to him than that. He was - in France - the spirit of rock 'n' roll.  He was the Beatles, Stones, Hendrix, the blue collar bluesman, the sequinned showman, the wise old guy on the TV talent show. A career that embraced rock 'n' roll, pop, country and blues and he mastered them all.

The fact that in recent years he faced so many serious health problems and kept going was an inspiration to others facing similar challenges.

He was one of the first celebrities to see his career followed by the media in intense detail, his triumphs and his blunders, the mistakes and the triumphs.

He may not have had a final act like Johnny Cash, but his output in his later years saw him dig deep into the defiant spirit of rock 'n' roll, his voice all the more powerful.

There was no one like Johnny, and there never will be anyone like him again.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Main Square Festival: More acts added

of the blank spaces on the bill of next summer's Main Square Festival have been filled in with the announcement of more acts to take to the stage of the three day event in July in Arras.

It's one of the biggest summer festivals in France, and this year's headliners are Queens of the Stone Age, Depeche Mode and Orelsan.

Today sees fourteen more more big names added, with BB Brunes, Girls in Hawaii and Gojira among the French acts. Nekfeu, IAM and Loic Nottet are also there.

International acts include Liam Gallagher, The Breeders and Wolf Alice.

2017 saw Radiohead, Major Lazer and Jain as well as Talisco, and La Femme play at the event in the town centre.

Main Square festival is held on July 6, 7 and 8 and tickets go on sale on December 5.

Charlotte Gainsbourg: Lying with you

A touching video for the track Lying with you by Charlotte Gainsbourg, a track from her recently
released Rest album.

The video was shot in the home she grew up in with her father Serge Gainsbourg and her mother Jane Birkin, the famous 5 bis rue de Verneuil which has been left by his family as it was while Serge was alive as a memorial.

Fascinating to see things like the L'homme à tête de chou statue, some of the keyboards he would have played and composed on, as well as the Gitanes and lighter still where Serge left them.

The song deals with Charlotte's memories of her father, her experience of his death and her subsequent feelings. It's a powerful piece and a haunting video that was directed by Charlotte herself.

Charlotte's album has been one of the key releases of 2017, and from a career that's already seen a couple of albums that are favourites of this blog, it's a real pleasure that an artist you've admired has released a piece of work that even surpasses what they've done before.

The young girl in the video is Charlotte's daughter but it feels like her father is somehow part of it too, his absence like a shadow.

Editorial: December 2017

November saw things get back to a more usual regular footing on this blog. Regular for a time
preceding 2017 that is.

Things have been strange this year and this blog has had to take a bit of a back seat while things come together, but hopefully we're in a position now where we're able to get back to normal.

November shows that this is certainly possible, with just about as many posts in a matter of weeks as I managed to get through in the course of the rest of 2017.

One thing that's sure is that there's been some impressive work released over the past few week and months. From Charlotte Gainsbourg to Feu! Chatterton some acts I've been writing about here have put out new work that ranks with their best. In coming weeks and moths I'll certainly be doing my best to represent as many of these as I can and pass on some of my enthusiasm for the French music scene.

Elsewhere there are a good many new acts that I've been impressed by and intend to write about. With both the Trans Musicales de Rennes festival and the Bars en Trans event over the same weekend in Rennes in a matter of days, I intend to look at some of the acts on the bill at these two events, both impressive and well-curated showcase events for some of the finest emerging talent from France and further afield.

December can be a strange month for releases, with the last weeks of the Christmas release rush, with special editions and repackages for the gift market, but there are some interesting things scheduled. Similarly, some big acts are firming up their plans for 2018 and others are touring at the moment, and more details are emerging about this summer's festivals in France. I'll be across all of this, with

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 .

Merci et à bientôt,

John K