And music is no exception. From classical composers to the Left Bank jazz scene in the twenties, from Édith Piaf to electronica (not to mention the cover of the new Coldplay album – QRO review), no nation’s sounds have so successfully jumped the language barrier in the monoglot U.S.A., and today there is a burgeoning French new music scene right in America. Yet France is always seem to be over there, separated not just by a sea but by a mindset, leaving us only to peer in vain, like an Englishman looking out off the white cliffs of Dover.
Well, now les nouveaux sons de la France are coming in full to America, or Los Angeles at least, in French new music showcase OohLaLA. Sponsored by the French Embassy & the French Consulate in L.A. (and being run by GoldenVoice, the people behind the massive Coachella & All Points West music festivals – QRO Festival Guide), OohLaLA will highlight the current French new music scene in the U.S., over three days, September 23rd to 25th, at the historic Henry Ford Theatre. So grab your baguette & champagne, put on your beret, embrace any other out-of-date stereotype, and spend a few francs (sorry, it’s euros now…) to go see these acts (you can even take the Metro, like a Parisian!):
Paris’ own Sébastien Tellier may have had the candlelit “Fantino” on the Lost In Translation soundtrack, but his music works well in English & French (plus Italian, to boot…). Coming off of last year’s Sexuality – and representing France in the Eurovision Song Contest – Tellier brings his mixture of electronica and bossanova to OohLaLA.
Though Jason Beck hails from Canada, as Gonzales he’s fully embraced our neighbor to the north’s Francophone side, even moving to Paris (after some time in East Berlin). Still best known for his collaborations with songstresses like Björk, Peaches, and especially Feist (QRO live review), including producing 2003’s Let It Die and 2007’s breakthrough The Reminder (QRO review), Gonzales is an accomplished musician in his own right – back in May at Ciné 13 Theatre in Paris, he broke the world record for the longest solo-artist performance, performing instrumentals on piano (for a total of 27 hours, 3 minutes, and 44 seconds!…). And the day before he plays OohLaLA, the deluxe CD/DVD of his acclaimed Solo Piano comes out in North America.
If The Rockies gave America the sad alt-folk of the late Elliott Smith (QRO album review), and Appalachia the roots-revival of The Felice Brothers (QRO spotlight on), the mountains of France’s rural Auvergne give Cocoon, a male/female duet who add sensuality to their soft, sad, melodic folk.
|Nouvelle Vague presents Hollywood Mon Amour
While Americans most love French cooking (and kissing…), French cinema has always been held in high esteem, from sixties New Wave by the likes of Jean Luc Godard to Persepolis. Producer Marc Collin is now bringing that to the bombastic American films of the eighties, reworking film soundtrack songs such as “Eye of the Tiger” and “Flashdance” into grand bossanova in Hollywood Mon Amour. At OohLaLA (right near Hollywood & Vine…), he’s doing it with his acclaimed band, Nouvelle Vague (QRO photos) – whose name means ‘new wave’ in French, and ‘bossa nova’ in Portuguese – who came to fame reworking ‘regular’ seventies & eighties songs in a French accent, from New Wave like Blondie (QRO photos) to punk like The Clash. Their third record, the aptly-titled NV3, comes out right after OohLaLA, and sees Nouvelle Vague take on everyone from The Psychedelic Furs to The Sex Pistols’ own “God Save the Queen”.
It wouldn’t be a festival without a last-minute cancellation & replacement! Émilie Simone had to back out two days before OohLaLA started for “very personal reason”, but right there to pick up the ball was Bordeaux-born, just-moved-to-LaLaland Stéphanie Sokolinski, a.k.a. SoKo. The singer/songwriter had your usual rise to fame: picked up by Danish & Australian radio, featured in a Stella McCartney Paris Fashion Week show, Belgium, The Netherlands, and earlier this year finally made it Down Under. And now L.A. will get to hear her sweet sounds.
| The Dø
Viva la EU! Finnish singer Olivia Merilahti teamed up with Paris’ own producer Dan Levy to form The Dø, and entered the French charts at number one with their debut, A Mouthful. And now the ‘D’ & the ‘Ø’ from the EU’s two Fs come to the U.S.A.’s L.A.
|FRIDAY, 9/25/09 – Electro French Party|
If Thursdays are when Hollywood’s movie premiere, Friday nights are when the City of Angels parties, and OohLaLA is throwing its own, highlighting France’s biggest musical export these days, electronica. DJ Brodinski headlines it all.
Like Brodinski (and champagne), The Shoes hail from France’s Reims, and their electro-dance will get said pieces of apparel moving.
| Jamaica, a.k.a. Poney Poney
Independent Parisian duo Antoine Hilaire & Florent Lyonnet began as the stampeding house outfit Poney Poney, but have since gone even further, now as Jamaica, with their upcoming record produced by Xavier de Rosnay, of electro-France’s most massive hit, Justice.
For festival’s website, go here: www.oohlalafestival.com/en