Ever-popular Charles Aznavour has announced his retirement time and again, but he’s never managed it. The veteran star, who was elected Artist of the Century by CNN and The Times in 1998, has released a boxed set of 90 greatest hits and celebrates his 90th birthday on Thursday 22 May with a live performance in Berlin.
Following exile in the UK and several trips to Africa, Frànçois and The Atlas Mountains are back with a new album. The only Gallic group to feature on the British label Domino (Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys) has released Piano Ombre, serving up soft pop with an electro edge and a touch of Africa, mixed by Ash Workman of Metronomy fame.
The last Paris Combo album, Motifs, dates from 2004. A decade on, Combo is back in Paris and other French venues to tout their new opus, 5. The long pause clearly hasn’t diminished their love of singing and swinging. RFI Musique met up with Belle du Berry, lead singer of this slightly reshuffled but totally talented quintet.
When it comes to international success, female French singers tend to do better than the boys. Lately, though, they haven’t always been so lucky. The latest news on Zaz, Carla Bruni, Lara Fabian, Mylène Farmer, Hélène Rollès, etc.
It’s the year of Édith Piaf. A whole range of events have been planned to commemorate fifty years since the legendary singer’s death. The United States, for example, has launched itself into some particularly sumptuous celebrations.
In the space of two decades, Thomas Fersen has added a sprinkling of nonchalant humour to French chanson and a good dose of imagination. His ninth album to date, arranged by psychedelic pop band, The Ginger Accident, takes a stroll into soul and toys with Bollywood. The Breton singer told RFI Musique about the big kid still inside him and what makes him tick.
Georges Moustaki has left this world for another, depriving us of a personality that has left its mark on the history of French chanson. Having written for some of the greatest, this early citizen of the world and activist poet to the last has provided inspiration for generations. He died on May 23 at the age of 79 years.
Following Gainsbourg and -M-, it’s Benjamin Biolay’s turn to work with Vanessa Paradis. The double album Love Songs serves up 20 wildly romantically tracks on love and break-ups. It marks a successful comeback for the ex-Lolita turned talented mature pop star. RFI Musique talked to Ms Paradis about her partnership with Biolay, the early years, her complicated relationship with the media… and love. Always love.
Angélique Kidjo is one of the world’s great voices. The artist with Beninese roots has rubbed shoulders with some of the greats, like Aretha Franklin, Desmond Tutu, Alicia Key, and Obama at his inauguration as President. Her travels for UNICEF, supporting women, inspired her new album, Eve, recorded in Africa and New York with a bunch of unknowns and an eclectic guest list: Asa, Dr.