Monday, 30 January 2012

Charlotte Gainsbourg: Stage Whispers - Paradisco

Another track from Charlotte Gainsbourg's Stage Whispers album is being promoted as a single, with the track Paradisco getting the attention this time.

The double album was released in December and came out in the UK this week. It collects a number of previously unreleased outtakes and a live collection from a recent performance.

Gainsbourg appeared towards the end of last week on TV in the UK, quite a rare feat for a French artist, discussing art and commerce in the light of the success of the film The Artist on BBC1's This Week current affairs show.

She's also confirmed that a new album, her fifth, can be expected towards the end of this year, with an October release anticipated. Whether Beck is at the controls of this one, as he was with her last full album IRM and this track remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, there's a remix competition for the track Paradisco open until February 6. The winner will have their remix issued on Because music. A number of the remixes that have been submitted already are available to listen to at the site and the original parts of the track are available to download.

The Winner will be announced on March 13.

NRJ Music Awards: The winners and Mylene Farmer performance

A look back at this weekend's NRJ Music awards in Cannes, one of the country's biggest commercial music events.

Francophone breakthrough act of the year: Keen'V

Female Francophone artist of the year: Shy'M

Male Francophone artist of the year: M Pokora

Francophone Group/duo of the year: Simple Plan feat. Marie-Mai

Francophone song of the year A Nos Actes Manqués by M Pokora

The international awards were won buy Adele (International breakthrough and song of the year for Someone Like You) and LMFAO (International group or duo and video of the year for Party Rock Anthem)

Rhianna won International female artist and Enrique Iglesias took the International male artist title.

There was also an award of honour for Shakira, presented by Johnny Hallyday, a diamond award for Mylene Farmer presented by Jean-Paul Gaultier, an award for Nolwenn Leroy for her album Bretonne, the best seller of 2011, as well as an award of honour for Justin Beiber.

The awards were televised on TF1 and can be watched on catchup (in France only by the looks of things) here >

The show featured performances by many of the acts who were shortlisted as well as others including Coldplay, Mylene Farmer and Johnny Hallyday. There was also a tribute to Michel Berger on the 20th anniversary of his death.

I thought the Mylene Farmer performance merited a mention on account of it being the number one in France this week, just days after the physical release of the CD, further adding to her record number of number one singles.

Update: The video was taken off YouTube by request of TF1. Fair enough, it's their work.

I linked to the YouTube version as the TF1 video didn't seem to play in the UK, so I thought it was geoblocked to France only. I'm pleased to see that all the performances can be watched internationally.

Videos of Mylene Farmer's performances can be watched on the NRJ music awards site
Click here to watch the video.

Friday, 27 January 2012

NRJ Music Awards round-up: Corneille - Le jour apres la fin du monde

A round up of three other significant awards at this year's NRJ Music awards in Cannes this weekend, again focusing on French related acts.

There are shortlists of four in the best female, best male and group/duo Francophone awards, with some big names among them.

The female artist of the year features:

Joyce Jonathan
Nolwen Leroy
Elisa Tovati

Nolwen Leroy is a previous winner of an NRJ award in 2004 as the Francophone breakthrough of the year.

The male artist of the year shortlist is:

David Guetta
Christophe Maé
M Pokora

Guetta won the NRJ award of honour in 2011, and in 2010 the international album of the year. M Pokora won male francophone artist of the year in 2007, as well as music video of the year that year.

and the group/duo of the year shortlist is

DJ Abdel feat. Soprano
Elisa Tovati & Tom Dice
Magic System
Simple Plan feat. Marie-Mai

NRJ Music Awards: Keen'V - J'aimerais Trop

Another look ahead to this weekend's NRJ music awards, with the short list for the Francophone breakthrough act of the year.

There is a shortlist of four acts:

Mickael Miro
Inna Modja
Merwan Rim

A wide variety of styles on offer, ragga, chanson, soul and a nomination for Mickael Miro to go along with his nomination in the French song of the Year category.

I'd be very surprised if he goes home empty handed from the ceremony on Saturday.

I've already featured a couple of the acts in the category so far, and although I reckon this award will be either for Mickael Miro or Merwan Rim, thought I'd feature Keen'V.

The song J'aimerais Trop was a number three hit in France, from his top ten album Carpe Diem.

Last year's winner of the award was Joyce Jonathan following the release of her album Sur mes gardes. Previous winners include Nolwen Leroy, who is shortlisted this year as best Francophone female artist, and Alizée.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

NRJ Music Awards : Mickael Miro - L'horloge tourne

This weekend sees the NRJ Music Awards in Cannes, so I though it was worth taking a look ahead at some of the finalists.

As is the case in many such big music awards, international artists dominate many of the categories, but as it is a French ceremony there is a huge representation from French artists.

The awards have been running since 2000, and are (obviously!) sponsored by the radio station they are named after, in partnership with TF1

The category for French song of the year has five finalists on the shortlist:

Nolwenn Leroy: Tri Martolod
Mika: Elle Me Dit
Mickael Miro: L'horloge tourne
M Pokora: A Nos Actes Manqués
Elisa Tovati et Tom Dice: Il Nous Faut

An interesting selection, with non-French acts, reality TV stars, as well as celtic music in the final five.

I've covered almost all these releases in the past year on the blog, although for some reason the Mickael Miro song slipped through without a mention, despite its winning the TF1 Chanson de L'année on December 30 2011. This probably means it is the most likely to win.

It was the first single from his debut album Juste comme ça, which was released in May 2011.

The winner will be announced at the ceremony on January 28

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Charts: Rod Janois: Ca ira mon amour

A new number one in France, with the singer Rod Janois and the song Ca ira mon amour.

The song comes from forthcoming musical theatre production 1789, Les amants de la Bastille, due to open in September 2012.

The show is produced by Dove Attia and Albert Cohen, who have previously produced massive theatrical hits in France such as Mozart l'opera rock, Le Roi Soleil, Autant en emporte le vent and Les Dix Commandements.

Mozart l'opera rock, their most recent work, played at Palais des Sports de Paris before touring the country as well as Switzerland and Belgium before a final run at the Palais omnisports de Paris-Bercy.

Janois is a veteran of the productions, having starred in Le Roi Soleil and Mozart l'opera rock, and featured on the soundtrack to the productions. He's set to play the part of Camille Desmoulins in the forthcoming production.

The album Repeat After Me by Rod Janois was released in July 2011.

1) Rod Janois: Ca ira mon amour
2) Moussier Tombola: Logobitombola
3) LMFAO: Sexy and I know it
4) Lucenzo: Danza Kuduro
5) Rene la taupe: Rock la vie

Monday, 23 January 2012

Sébastien Tellier - Pépito Bleu

A new release by Sébastien Tellier, one of France's most intregueing artists, with the astonishing video for Pépito Bleu featuring Téllier in full-on messianic mode.

The track fits well into the current move in electronic music to a more progressive aesthetic, with suggestions of Mike Oldfield and Pink Floyd, 70s Gainsbourg and in the science-fiction video perhaps a nod to the epic sci-fi book Dune.

Epic is probably an understatement.

The song comes from his forthcoming album My God if Blue, and Tellier's website continues the messianic theme ahed of its release, with a statement: "What you are now witnessing is the birth of a spirit. L'Alliance Bleue will spread over Earth through you and reign as a sweet master of your heart. Guided by my precepts your soul will recive the ultimate reward a believer can get: eternal bliss. Freed from the past, and freed from your genetic prison, you'll then become One among ourselves."

With regard the record, Tellier says: "Don't listen to my album, listen to my message, enter into vibration with my music, let's merge our dreams together, spreading this communal energy in an immense blue wave that will wash over the world - and the truth will emerge."

My God is Blue is released on March 20, and is already looking like one of 2012's most interesting releases. Tellier is a unique artist, and whether eccentric or ironic he brings a much needed iconoclasm to the music scene.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Breton band Daonet release debut album 'Donemat'

A few years ago a tape surfaced of Jimi Hendrix apparently performing the track 'Land of my Fathers', the Welsh national anthem. Those with some knowledge of France or Celtic culture will know that the tune is the same as that used as the national anthem of Brittany, Bro Gozh Ma Zadou.

However, the recording - which was played on the BBC news in 2007 in the UK - turned out to be a hoax. Had it been genuine it would have been a holy grail for those into celtic music and rock music, in not just Wales but in Brittany as well.

The national anthem of Brittany is a source of price, sung at occasions from football matches to political meetings, and interpretations of it vary from the boisterous to the beautiful.

Breton band rock Daonet, who release out their debut album Donemat today, are the latest to update the song. Their album features an interpretation of the song that puts it squarely in a modern celtic rock context.

The band have been on my radar since the days of MySpace, and I'm pleased to report that the album is great piece of work.

The release comes three years after the Nantes-based three piece released their Rok a Raok EP. Those three years have seen the band mature and develop their craft and the album sees the band becoming impressive musical ambassadors for Brittany.

There have been other great Breton rock acts in the past, EV, Stivell, Soldat Louis and Merzhin to name just a few, and by the looks of things Daonet will not be long until Daonet take their place among them.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Yelle: Remix competition winners

A couple of official remixes of tracks by Yelle from their Safari Disco Club album have emerged

The tracks were chosen following a Facebook competition on the band's French page.

The original versions of the tracks S'éteint le Soleil and Comme un Enfant are on their Safari Disco Club album that was released in March last year.

Comme un Enfant was released as a single in the autumn, and the band have been touring extensively throughout the year, with a huge number of dates across North America as well as shows supporting Katy Perry.

Yelle - S'éteint le soleil (Ridù Remix) by DJRidu

Yelle - Comme Un Enfant (Viceroy Remix) ***CONTEST WINNER*** by VICEROY

Monday, 16 January 2012

Golden Globe Awards - Jean Dujardin :Le casse de Brice

Last night's Golden Globe awards saw a prestigious award going to French actor Jean Dujardin, who won the award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his part in the film The Artist.

Jean Dujardin, who is according to the Daily Mail "virtually unknown anywhere other than his native France", has been working in film and TV since the mid 1990s, making his first significant film part in the comedy Brice de Nice, where he recorded the song Le Casse de Brice.

The song, based on George Benson's Give Me The Night, was a top five hit in French speaking Belgium and went to number two in France.

Dujardin is probably best known for playing Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, agent OSS 117 in the spoof spy comedies film OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, which won him a César nomination. It was a role he continues in the sequel OSS 117: Lost in Rio.

Dujardain has already won the best actor award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival for his role in The Artist and has been nominated for many more, and it is though to be in the running for an Oscar nomination for the role.

Clip Jean Dujardin Le casse de Brice by Pauleta_60

Mylène Farmer - Du Temps remixes

Mylène Farmer's most recent track Du Temps has surfaced as an extended CD with remix versions of the song.

The song was an unreleased track included on her 'best of' 2001-2011 album which came out in December, and marks her working again with long-term collaborator Laurant Boutonnant.

Despite every single from Farmer's last album Bleu Noir making the number one spot in the French charts, Du Temps only made it as high as number eight. The 'best of' album made number one in the sales of compilations, number eight in the regular chart.

The new CD features five versions of the song, the original and four different versions.

1. Du Temps 3:38
2. Du Temps (Tomer G Reloaded Club Mix) 6:34
3. Du Temps (Mico C Club Remix) 5:14
4. Du Temps (Mico C Radio Edit) 3:36
5. Du Temps (Version Instrumentale) 3:35

Friday, 13 January 2012

Charts - Don Omar and Lucenzo: Danza Kuduro

An unusual number that has been doing some considerable business in the French charts recently, unusual because it has also been getting a considerable amount of airplay in the UK.

Danza Kuduro is a Portuguese/Spanish song by Puerto Rican reggaeton star Don Omar, featuring Lucenzo, a French artist of Portuguese origin, who wrote and produced the song.

Its based on an earlier sony by Lucenzo, Vem Dançar Kuduro, written in Portuguese and English that reached number two in Portugal and number one in the country's club charts. Kuduro is a style of Angolan dace music popular in Portugal

The vesion here comes from Don Omar's Meet the Orphans album, a collection that sees him collaborating with other artists, and it made number one in the US's Billboard Hit Latin Songs chart.

It also made number one in a number of other countries, and hit the top 20 in the UK, no small achievement for a non-English language song.

In the constantly mutating and evolving world of dance music, there's also a host of different remixes of the song, including one featuring Pitbull.

This week's top five:

1: Rod Janois - Ca Ira Mon Amour
2: Moussier Tombola - Logobitombo
3: Rene la Taupe - Rock la Vie
4: Don Omar & Lucenzo - Danza Kuduro
5: Land Del Rey - Video Games

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Gérald De Palmas: L'étranger

I featured this track in audio format when it first surfaced in August ahead of the release of his Best of album Sur ma Route which was released in November.

I never got round to linking to it when the full video emerged, so I thought now was as good a time as any to do so.

The Sur Ma Route album includes the song L'étranger as well as De Palmas's own version of his Song Marie which he wrote in 2002, which became a number one hit for Johnny Hallyday after he recorded it for his A la vie, à la mort album,

De Palmas released his most recent full album, Sortir, in 2009. He's released five studio albums and one live collection, and has won two NRJ Music Awards, best francophone male artist in 2002 and best francophone album in 2002, as well as two Victoires de la Musique awards for male breakthrough act of 1996 and best male artist of 2002.

He is playing two dates in Paris later this year, a sold-out show at la cigale on March 8 and at l'Olympia on May 30.

Rétro: Trust - L'élite

A classic old clip of Trust from French TV in 1980, with the track l'élite, from their album of the same name released the previous year.

It's one of those moments when old school TV light entertainment collides with modern music, leaving both parties slightly uncomfortable and awkward.

The male presenter is Guy Lux, legendary French gameshow host and cornerstone of French TV from 1960. By the 80s he was relegated to Antenne 2, presenting amongst other things this show, le Palmarès des chansons, a variety show that reprised his show of the same name from the 1960s.

Helpfully the female presenter explains that Trust are a blend of reggae, rhythm and blues and rock, for the benefit of those who had never ventured beyond their Sacha Distel greatest hits collection.

I reckon the poor quality of the picture actually adds to the video, probably recorded in the early days of home video on a giant VHS player. Somehow it seems a lot older than many of the clips of bands from the 1960s that have surfaced in recent years.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Coachella Festival 2012

Details have emerged of this year's Coachella fesival in California, with some of France's biggest acts on the bill of the festival that is considered by many to be the USA's equivalent of Glastonbury.

While The Black Keys, Radiohead and Snoop Dog and Dr Dre are headlining, acts like Justice and David Guetta are high on the list of star attractions.

Also on the bill are M83 and Martin Solveig. Dragonette, who he has worked with on some of his biggest singles, are also playing as is their fellow Canadian Feist.

Pulp, Florence + the Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Noel Gallagher and Swedish House Mafia are among those on the list. Last year 190 acts played at the festival.

The event in held in the desert near Palm Springs in California, and takes place over two weekends, 13- 15 April and 20- 22 April.

While playing a festival is not news for most bands, playing at a festival that will be probably one of the most influential showcase for a North American market can only be a good thing for some of the most significant Francophone acts around.

Charlotte Gainsbourg: Canal + Concert Privé

A quick heads up that Charlotte Gainsbourg is going to feature in a 60 minute TV special on canal+ on January 18.

The programme will feature a specially recorded concert, including duets with Connan Mockasin, Charlie Fink and Connor O'Brien.

There will also be an interview with Charlotte.

The programme is being broadcast on Canal+, at 22.35 on January 18, and will hopefully be available to watch on the website.

Monday, 9 January 2012

David Guetta: Titanium

With Xmas and New Year keeping me busy over the last couple of weeks, I failed to stick in a link to the David Guetta video for the track Titanium.

Got to say that it's an absolutely outstanding video, and probably the best track on last year's Nothing But The Beat album.

I like the way that the song and video seem to be seperate but complimentary to each other. The video is not about Guetta or vocalist Sia, but manages comes up with a totally different meaning for the song.

It features actor Ryan Lee, who starred in Speilberg's movie Super 8.

It's the kind of music video that you wish someone would make the rest of the film

An alternative vocal for the song was recorded by Mary J Blige, but for the album finally went for the version by Sia rather than Blige's take. The Blige vocal was leaked online last year, prompting a comment from Guetta: "You shouldn't even know about that ... I'd rather not speak about it. That was annoying. It wasn't supposed to be out there."

Apparently the song was also offered to Katy Perry, who turned it down.

Sia, an Australian singer who has been releasing material since 1997, might not be as high profile as Katy Perry or Mary J Blige, but there's no denying her performance here would certainly be hard for either them to beat.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Charts: Merwan Rim - Vous

The French charts continue to be fairly static, but I missed featuring the song Vous by Merwan Rim which continues to keep a place in the top five.

There's perhaps a certain similarity to James Blunt's Beautiful in the song, but with Blunt becoming a huge star and his influence still being heard in UK artists like Ed Sheeran, it's obvious that there's also a huge market for contemporary singer-songwriters in France as well.

He is a graduate of a number of musical theatre, having worked in the field since 2004. His appearance in the musical Le Roi Soleil in 2005 leading to a higher profile for the Sarcelles-born singer.

In 2007 a duet with singer Marilou, entitled Danser sur la Lune was released in France and Canada en 2007, leading to him singing a duet with Céline Dion in Montréal. He's also appeared previously in soundtrack albums of the musicals he has appeared in.

Vous is his first solo single, and an album by Merwan Rim is expected to be released next month.

He has also been nominated for an NRJ Music award for Révélation francophine de l'anée, where he's been shorlisted with Inna Modja, Keen V and Mickael Miro.

This week's top five in France

1) Moussier Tombola - Logobitombo
2) Lucenzo - Danza Kuduro
3) Rene La Taupe -Rock La Vie
4) Collectif Metisse - Sexy Lady
5) Merwan Rim - Vous

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Youssou N'dour stands for president of Sénégal

With the news that Youssou N'dour is standing for president of Sénégal, I thought it worth a mention and a video of the song Seven Seconds, one of the rare instances of an African artist making a breakthrough internationally with a song.

It was in the top three in the UK 1994, and reached number one in France, as well as top three in a number of other European countries. The song lyrics are in Wolof, French and English.

N'dour has had a long career and is one of Africa's best-known musicians, and has collaborated with western musicians including Peter Gabriel and Alan Stivell and was awarded a Grammy award in 2005.

N'dour had recently announced he intended to stop performing, and it's now clear that this was so he could focus on fighting current president Abdoulaye Wade, 85, in the election

Annoucing his intention, N'dour said: "I've travelled the world and been seen by people all over the world and I think I have the ability to govern Senegal. I am the alternative."

He added: "For a long time, men and women have demonstrated their optimism, dreaming of a new Senegal. They have, in various ways, called for my candidacy...I listened I heard."

Wade has been in power in the west African country for 11 years, and is seeking is third term in office.

Whether N'dour, who is not only well-known for his music in Sénégal but also for his businesses including a TV station, can succeed is far from certain, but it would be quite an achievement for the singer to make it to his country's highest office.

David Guetta: New year at Copacabana beach, Rio,Brazil

A nod to David Guetta, the biggest name in French music at the moment, for his show in Brazil on new year's eve, where he played to around 2 million people at Copacabana beach.

At the event, the new year was marked with around 24 tons of fireworks were let off, launched from 11 boats, in a 16 minute display.

Guetta was among the acts performing on four stages around the Copacabana area of the city.

Guetta said on Twitter ahead of the show: "Electricity is in the air. The vibe is so crazy already in rio. Cariocas , get ready! The biggest show of my life tonight 2 million people!"

A friend who was at the show wrote: "You know you've had a good New Year's Eve when you've only taken about 2 photos, wake up covered in mud and lipstick and champagne, have a whole bunch of new friends, but can't remember their names, feel like death, have vague memories of sipping whiskey from a bowl whilst on the shoulders of some random Brazillian guy listening to Avicii Levels blasted by Guetta with 2 million ameigos!"

Guetta has since said he is suffering from a fever, ahead of further dates in South America, saying "Brazil is the most extraordinary place but I'm so f**king sick. It's hard to perform with fever but I don't want to let anyone down."

He's recently released the song Titanium, the fourth song to be taken from his Nothing but the Beat album that was released on 2011.

With his new year off to a massive start, it looks like Guetta's status as the world's biggest DJ is set to continue well into the forseeable future.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Charts: Rene la Taupe & Alvin and the Chipmunks

I enjoy writing the blog because I get the chance to hear some great recording artists, many of whom encompass the finest points of French culture.

Philosophy. Art. Literature. Cinema.

And then there's Rene la taupe, the 'comedy' ringtone that cannot be deleted.

Somehow in a transatlantic cultural exchange horror there's now a collaboration with Alvin and the Chipmunks, linking in with the release of Alvin and the Chipmunks III in France.

Needless to say the song Rock la Vie is now in the top five in France.

Hopefully normal service will resume shortly...

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy new year/Bonne année! Editorial: January 2012

Another year arrives, after the first full year of the Vive le Roq French music blog.

It's been a busy year, and although most of the plans I outlined at roughly this time last year have gone out the window, it's been a successful one as well.

My idea of rigid categories seemed a bit too restrictive very quickly, and the thought of one editorial a week would probably bore more readers that it would ever possibly interest.

Blogging about blogging hardly makes for interesting reading and blowing my own trumpet doesn't make much of a tune in comparison to some of the tracks that came out in 2011.

I wrote in January 2011: "When I got the blog up and running, (March 2010) my intention was to have an update every day, Mon - Fri, but things got in the way, time was against me, etc"

Well, needless to say I'm still some way off that mark, but much closer than we were. In 2010 there were 24 posts, in comparison 2011 saw just under 200.

I'm sure I'm not the first blogger to have faced the challenge of lack of time, but somehow - always distracted and always in too much of a hurry, I've managed to keep things going.

I'm not going to beat myself up over self-imposed targets, rather be quite pleased that the blog is going from strength to strength.

The blog has encouraged me to listen to more new material than I might have done, and I've thoroughly enjoyed hearing new material from some tremendous artists during the course of 2011, from the champions of contemporary French music like Justice, breakthrough acts like M83 and Cascadeur, established acts like Mylene Farmer and Johnny Hallyday or new acts like Ashka or Mr President.

So for 2012? More French music to discover, hopefully some more gigs, whether Justice or M83 or Johnny Hallyday in London we'll hopefully be keeping an eye on them.

And of course, some great acts to listen to and already there are some exciting releases due out in the forthcoming months.

This is an exciting time for music, and France is more than ever playing a part on the world stage.

As always, I can be contacted by email at the address johnkilbride AT hotmail DOT com, with the spaces and the appropriate @ and . in the address.

Merci et à bientôt