A tale of two countries Some time ago, the french & German tv channel Arte had created an internet extension devoted to audio only, Arteradio. This website contains hours of audio creations. This is the place where you can listen to The first radio drama /la première fiction radio /in two languages and one version /en deux langues et une seule version /a BBC-ARTE Radio coproduction /enregistrée à Paris et London /recorded on location /diffusée en hertzien /broadcasted on BBC Radio 4 on February, 4th, 2009 /online on arteradio.com. You can also listen to McKenzie Wark, or to the moment of silence created on September the eleventh 2002, to Steve, to English pupils in Paris, to Susan George, to Dean Hurley commenting his work, and then dive into the complete unknown, and pure French sounds, like these testimonies about masturbation, or about la chanson, like a Paris postcard, or even a street snapshot.
Ten French soldiers killed in afghanistan. A ceremony for the 10 soldiers took place today in Paris.. Caught in an ambush, the soldiers have been fired upon during several hours. Nato strikes are told to have been inaccurate. Survivors' testimonies seem to imply that the situation has been dealt with in an awkward way. The President's decision to send more troops in Afghanistan is discussed.
This post isn't about the great Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine - too many guitar posts recently - it isn't about the Belgian singer Katerine (nothing to say). It is about the French singer Philippe Katerine, who has been changing the way lyrics are written, as well as giving a whole range of new topics to French song. With Je vous emmerde (F*** you) he explains what's on a loser's mind. Excuse-moi is about the things a man focuses on during sexual intercourse in order to avoid early ejaculation. The individual struggling with an meaningless society is always present : Borderline (warcraft version with English subtitles). His lists and his humor clearly link his work with the texts of Poets like Raymond Queneau, Boris Vian (and Serge Gainsbourg), or the prose of Georges Perec. He can be Elegiac, Paradoxical, Funky, prosaic, he's always twofold.
To me, he embodies The classical guitarist with all the clichés attached. But he can also make any material his own, or use forms with humor. He's got good compositions too.
French jazz guitar is often mistaken for swing guitar, or gypsy style guitar. It's true that great french guitarists, like Bireli Lagrene or Christian escoudé, are still playing in this style. But curiosity is a trademark of most of the French guitarists, and even Bireli Lagrene gave a try to various kinds of jazz. French guitarists have been attracted to Be Bop from the start (btw, even Django has been). Maybe you've heard of Sacha Distel ? [more inside]
First she was a dancer but after an injury she had to sing to make a living. She still dances a little during her songs (a rare feat among flamenco cantaoras). I first heard about her when she made a whole record (cd) of Edith Piaf's songs in spanish. You can get a taste here. She talks about it here (spanish + french, excerpts). She sang les feuilles mortes too. But nothing equals seeing her, I think : so here she is with two covers from a recent documentary : a song by Edith Piaf, a song by Lola Flores. Btw, If you get into french songs in the flamenco idiom, try this.
Some more great french guitar players. Nelson Veras first came to France to meet Pat Metheny (he was 14 then, it has been documented on video by Frank Cassenti) but upon meeting some other jazzmen , he decided to stay in France and to experiment in various settings. Robert Crumb isn't exactly a "great french guitar player", but his decision to move to France (his or his wife's decision) and later his responsability in the creation of Les Primitifs du Futur has played a part in the rebirth of ancient french styles ("musette") and the renewed interest in old jazz and blues forms. [more inside]
Flamenco clearly belongs to spain. But so many immigrants came to France to find work or escape from the civil war that there is a small community of guitarists in southern France who are playing it with original voices. Bernardo Sandoval was the subject of a post in mefi music some time ago. Antonio "kiko" ruiz is about to come to the United States with Renaud-Garcia-Fons : their work can be seen here. Serge Lopez is another great guitarist who puts some guitar parts on his website. Salvador Paterna adds to the traditional sound of flamenco both the 'oud and the violin. They are all from or nearby Toulouse.