Cali

Born : 06/1968 in Perpignan
Country : France
Language : French
Category : Composer / Male Artist / Songwriter
Style of music : Chanson

After many years of intensive touring, Cali finally enjoyed a lightning rise to fame with his debut album. Thanks to his special on-stage charisma and his evident talent for melody, Cali managed to establish himself as one of the best newcomers of 2004.

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  • Cali Website
  • After many years of intensive touring, Cali finally enjoyed a lightning rise to fame with his debut album. Thanks to his special on-stage charisma and his evident talent for melody, Cali managed to establish himself as one of the best newcomers of 2004.

    Bruno Caliciuri was born in Perpignan, a picturesque town just off the Mediterranean coast, in June 1968. Later in his childhood, his family moved to Vernet-les-Bains in the Pyrénées-Orientales. In his teens, Bruno was a fervent rock fan, growing up on a healthy diet of The Clash and Simple Minds. But music was not his only passion in life. Bruno was also mad on rugby and he proved to be pretty good on the pitch, too, playing the game for over fifteen years. His dream at the time was to join Perpignan's famous rugby club, the USAP. But he abandoned his sporting life altogether after attending a U2 concert in 1984. From that point on, young Bruno was to devote all his time and energy to music.

    Cali, a stubborn and self-reliant teenager, taught himself to play guitar without anyone's help. And he went on to hone his skills on the local live circuit, playing with different musicians and at regional events. The young singer and musician eked out a living performing covers of hits by Anglo-Saxon bands such as Radiohead and The Eels. But his repertoire also included classics by French 'chanson' stars such as Frehel and Mouloudji.

    After gaining live experience gigging with various outfits, things took a more serious turn in 1994 with the band Indy. The band played over 200 concerts together and also produced two self-financed albums. Following this adventure, Bruno went on to get involved with a new independent rock group, Tom Scarlett, where he met his future guitarist, Hughes Baretge. Five years of hard work, one self-financed album and 300 concerts later, he decided to throw in the towel and reconsider his situation.

    After spending a long period questioning where he was going with his career, Bruno Caliciuri decided to radically reinvent himself. Changing his name to Cali, he went on to become artist in residence at Le Mediator (Perpignan's leading music venue). And it was here that he got down to work on a series of new songs he had written solo, working in collaboration with his loyal guitarist Hughes Baretge and two former Conservatoire pupils, Aude Massat (on viola) and Julien Lebart (on keyboards).

    Cali started his career again from scratch, performing in local bars, cafés and other low-key venues and occasionally supporting major French stars such as Bénabar and Brigitte Fontaine. Given the strength of his new songs and the charisma of his live performances, a buzz began to circulate on the local scene and, through word-of-mouth recommendation, Cali soon found himself with a stack of dates in his tour schedule. In July 2002 he was invited to appear at the famous Francofolies music festival in La Rochelle and this date marked a major turning-point in his career. His exceptional performance on stage that night won over many fans in the audience, including a talent scout from the French record company Labels. Impressed by his natural spontaneity and talent as a melodist, Labels offered him a recording deal on the spot.

    Cali was soon whisked into the studio to work on his first album, supervised by Daniel Presley (the American producer who had worked with the likes of Venus, Dionysos and The Breeders). Cali ended up recording his album in the U.K., at the Parkgate studios. This, in Cali's eyes, was an excellent portent, as it was in this very studio that one of his favourite groups, The Waterboys, had recorded their seminal album This Is The Sea.

    Inspired by his surroundings, Cali recorded thirteen songs in a rock’n’chanson vein, which had faint echoes of Miossec’s debut album about them. Cali’s personal style of songwriting was at times very reminiscent of Miossec, leader of the new French ‘chanson réaliste’ movement. Cali’s raw, razor-edge lyrics, shot through with irony, tenderness and well-aimed barbs (usually directed at himself) were set to inspired compositions. And the contrast between his finely-crafted melodies and his downbeat stories of failed relationships only added to the charm.

    Happiness

    Cali’s album, "L'amour parfait," released on 19 August 2003, caused a veritable buzz amongst the critics and the record-buying public. The media soon picked up on Cali, too, and his single "C’est quand le bonheur?" (When’s Happiness?) was soon extensively played on the airwaves, becoming a sort of anthem for disillusioned 30-somethings who instantly adopted Cali as one of their own. Cali went on to extend his group, recruiting Patrick Felicès (on bass) and Benjamin Vairon (on drums), then he hit the live circuit again.

    The charismatic performer brought the house down wherever he went, entering into direct communion with his audience whether he was playing at a small, low-key venue or a major music festival such as Les Inrockuptibles (where he performed in November 2003). Cali’s generous on-stage performances and his determination to build up his public through live shows rather than marketing strategies earned him a reputation as an honest showman of the old school. One of the high points of his career came in April 2004 when he appeared at the Printemps de Bourges festival alongside two major stars of the ‘new French chanson’ scene, M and Bénabar.

    A few months earlier, Cali had been nominated in the ‘Best Newcomer of the Year’ categoryat the ‘Victoires de la Musique’ Awards. While he may not have walked off with a trophy that night, he did not leave the awards ceremony empty-handed. His performance won rapturous applause from the crowd and, a few weeks later, he went on to win the ‘Prix Vincent Scotto’ (awarded by the Sacem) for his single "C’est quand le bonheur?"

    Successful

    Following his packed spring schedule, Cali kept up the same hectic pace throughout the summer of 2004, doing the rounds of major music festivals such as Solidays, the Francofolies, Les Méditerranéennes and Les Vieilles Charrues (where, for the first time in his career, he played to a massive audience of 60,000 fans). Cali revived his old passion for rugby that summer, too, appearing at the Stade de France when his home team, the USAP, played in the national rugby final. By the end of August 2004, almost a year to the day since the release of "L’Amour parfait", Cali’s record company announced sales had topped the magic 100,000 mark.

    Cali took a brief and much-deserved break from his touring and recording career to visit his family in the Pyrenees. Then in the autumn of 2004 he re-emerged on the music scene with Plein De Vie, a DVD of a concert he had performed at Le Bataclan in Paris on 26 May 2004. The DVD captured the intensity and vibrant energy of Cali’s live shows. The indefatigable Catalan hit the road again for a hectic concert schedule that lasted through until the end of the year. The love story with the public he had been plugging away to win for the past two decades had finally blossomed into a full-blown affair.

    In November 2004, Cali went on to win the Prix Constantin (a French award for young up-and-coming artists). Meanwhile, sales of "L'Amour parfait" topped the 400,000 mark. On 28 January 2005, Cali brought the house down when he performed at the legendary Olympia music-hall in Paris. After this show, he took a temporary break from touring to write material for a new album.

    All about love

    Cali’s eagerly-awaited second album, "Menteur", was finally released in October 2005. Recorded in Ireland (in the Grouse Lodge studio, near Dublin), then at the Mas d’En Llinas in Castelnou, in French Catalonia, Cali’s second album was musically more eclectic than the first but remained lyrically coherent in terms of the singer’s inspiration. Cali’s second album is a mixed emotional bag, full of raw rock’n’pop anthems and disillusioned ballads about love and failed relationships (such as "Je te souhaite à mon pire ennemi" and the first single release "Qui se soucie de moi?"). It also includes minimalist musical masterpieces such as "Roberta".

    "Menteur" is also an interesting album in terms of its guest collaborators. Matthieu Chédid (aka M) provides wild but perfectly calibrated guitar riffs on several tracks alongside bassist Damien Lefèvre from the French rock band Luke. Former 80s idol Daniel Darc joined Cali in the studio for a duet on "Pauvre garçon" and Irish musician Steve Wickham (from The Waterboys) added a Gaelic touch to proceedings on fiddle and mandolin.

    Cali presented his new songs live in Brussels at L'Orangerie (16 - 18 November). Then he appeared in Paris at the legendary music-hall, L’Olympia (21 - 23 November).

    Over the following weeks Cali kept up a hectic schedule, making video clips and taking part in fund-raising concerts for charities such as "Clowns sans Frontières" and the “Téléthon.” He also recorded duets with a number of singers including the gravely-voiced Belgian star Arno. Cali also recorded the song "Je reviens te chercher" which featured on the soundtrack to Danièle Thompson’s film "Fauteuils d'orchestre.”

    On 14 March 2006, "Cali Miossec, rencontre au fil de l'autre" was published by Les Editions du Bord de l'Eau. The book, based on a series of interviews carried out by Grégoire Laville and Yves Colin, illustrated the differences and countless common points between the two French singers of "joyous despair" – to use Miossec’s own definition. Meanwhile, Cali the indefatigable globe-trotter from Perpignan continued his travels around France, performing concert dates and putting in popular appearances at summer music festivals until September 2006.

    Meanwhile, multi-talented Cali also branched out into another sphere of the arts, making his screen debut in "Magique!" (in which he starred alongside Marie Gillain and Gad Elmaleh). The ‘film musical’, for which Cali composed a considerable number of songs, was shot during the summer of 2006. 

    Meanwhile, Cali continued his political commitment, supporting the Socialist party throughout the fiercely-fought campaign in the run-up to the French presidential election on 1 May 2007. Supporters of the Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal turned out in force to a political rally organised at Charlety stadium, in Paris, and Cali took to the stage on this occasion, performing his first big hit "C'est quand le bonheur" to rapturous applause.

    2008: "L'espoir"

    The singer from Perpignan sought refuge from the showbiz spotlight after this and headed down south to make his third album, "L'Espoir." The album, released in February 2008, marked a certain shift in songwriting inspiration as Cali moved away from material about intimate relationship problems to address wider social and political issues. The title track, "L'Espoir" (Hope) was inspired by the Têtes Raides’s movement "KO Social", which Cali had become closely involved with. On other tracks, Cali urged fans to go into "Résistance" (a song written just after Ségolène Royal’s defeat in the presidential election) and campaigned for divorced fathers’ rights on "Le Droit des pères." Cali also paid a moving tribute to his grandparents on a song entitled "Giuseppe et Maria." The singer's third album, arranged and produced by Mathias Malzieu from the group Dionysos, revolves around a vibrant mix of rock and ‘chanson.’ And the energetic tracks on it should really come into their own live on stage when Cali hits the road for another extensive tour in March 2008. 

    In 2009, “L’espoir” won the Victoire de la Musique award for best pop/rock album of the year. Cali used the ceremony to attack the way that France treats irregular immigrants, calling it “a disgraceful country”. Once again, people were either with him or against him. To those who thought he had gone too far, he responded a few months later by bringing out a book in which he explained the reasons for his reactions to the journalist Didier Varrod. “Rage!” was published by Plon.
    In October 2009, Cali joined The Hyènes, a fun group created by Denis Barthe and Jean-Paul Roy from Noir Désir, Vincent Bosler from The Spooky Jam and Olivier Mathios from Ten Cuidado, who also composed the soundtrack to Albert Dupontel’s film “Enfermés dehors”. The quintet decided to go on a one-month “brothel tour”, taking in several French venues to play covers of AC/DC, Iggy Pop and The Stooges along with Cali’s militant songs. The troupe of “rebels” played at the Bataclan in Paris on 21 October 2009.
    2010: “La vie est une truite arc-en-ciel qui nage dans mon cœur”
    Cali then took refuge in his Catalan home, and as usual took advantage of the tranquillity to put together his next album. On 15 November 2010, he released “La vie est une truite arc-en-ciel qui nage dans mon Cœur” – life is a rainbow trout swimming in my heart, a title inspired by a text message sent by a friend fishing for trout in the USA. In his new opus, Cali made a clear rock turnabout, with energetic songs, heavy metal guitar riffs and some hard-hitting lyrics (e.g. the words on the track “Lettre au Ministre du saccage des familles et des jeunes existences dévastées” – letter to the Minister for wrecking families and devastating young peoples’ lives). The album was tailored to fit in with his tour of Zénith concert venues that started in March 2011, including the Zénith de Paris on 4 May.
    May 2011

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