Tag Archives: French music

Artist Profiles: Verd E Blu

Verd E Blu

Verd E Blu is a traditional Occitan from Gascony, France, formed in 1987. The group plays three hole whistle and string tambourine (ton-ton), bagpipes from the Landes (boha), diatonic accordions, brama-topin friction drum, tricanetas castanets and vocals.

For over twenty years they collected, learned, produced and spread the traditional music and dance of the Gascon province of France, in all its wealth and diversity.

Much of their time is spent training dancers and musicians.

Most of their repertoire is traditional but a third of the pieces are original. This mix corresponds to a choice: to intertwine tradition and modernism.

Band members include Joan-Francés Tisner on vocals, diatonic accordions, percussion; Crestian Josuèr on three hole whistle and string tambourine, diatonic accordions; and Marc Castanet on bagpipes and diatonic accordions.


Musicas de Gasconha (Menestrèrs Gascons, 1991)
Musicas a dançar (Menestrèrs Gascons, 1993)
Ompra o só? (Menestrèrs Gascons, 1996)
Musicas a dançar: dus (Menestrèrs Gascons, 2001)
Baladas e danças (Menestrèrs Gascons, 2005)
Jòcs de Dança (Menestrèrs Gascons, 2010)


Artist Profiles: Georges Moustaki

Georges Moustaki

Georges Moustaki was born Youssef Mustacchi in 1934, in Alexandria, Egypt. His parents, of Greek and Italian origin, spoke five or six languages and ran a bookstore that stocked literature from around the world.

After obtaining his baccalaureate (high school diploma) at the age of 17, Youssef headed for Paris, where he worked as a journalist.

He began to write songs, and played the piano and guitar in the College Inn in Montparnasse. He also met the gypsy musician Henri Crolla, a cousin of Django Reinhardt. Crolla introduced him to the legendary performer, Edith Piaf, and in 1958, he became her guitarist and lover. With Marguerite Monnet, who was involved with many of Piaf’s songs, he wrote “Milord”, which became Piaf’s last big hit before she died three years later. Her record spent 15 weeks in the UK chart in 1960, easily beating a version by Vaughan, Frankie, which had an English lyric by Decca recording manager Bunny Lewis.

Moustaki was driving the car late in 1959 when Piaf had her third serious car accident. He escaped unscathed, and accompanied the singer on her ninth tour of the USA, where their relationship was terminated following her collapse onstage at the Waldorf Astoria, and subsequent four-hour operation.

In the 1960s, long haired, with a grey beard, Moustaki toured the music festivals, writing and performing his own songs. These included the dramatic “Le Gitan Et La Fille”, “Un Etranger”, “Les Orgues De Barbarie”, “Les Gestes”, which was memorably sung by Serge Reggiani and “Le Meteque” (the outcast), perhaps the song most identified with Moustaki, which ran: “Look at me, a bloody foreigner/A wandering Jew, a Greek peasant/Hair all over the place, eyes washed out…”

In the 1970s he visited Brazil and met some of the biggest names in Brazilian music, including Elis Regina, Chico Buraque, Gilberto Gil and Jorge Ben. After that, some of his recordings, such as Declaration, showed a clear Brazilian influence. During that decade Moustaki worked with Jacques Potrenaud on the film of Albert Cosseri’s book, Mendiants Et Orgueilleux, and played the central character, Hadjis. He also composed the music for movies such as The Man With Connections, Solo, The Five Leaf Clover and At The Brink Of The Bench.

His 2005 album, Vagabond, was released in September 2005 and it was mostly recorded in Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro he worked Paula Morelenbaum, recording several tributes to the late Brazilian Tom Jobim.

Georges Moustaki died on May 23, 2013 in Nice, France.


Les orteils au soleil (1961)
Le Métèque (1969)
Il y avait un jardin (Polydor, 1971)
Danse (Polydor, 1972)
Déclaration (Polydor, 1973)
Les amis de Georges (Polydor, 1974)
Humblement il est venu (Polydor, 1975)
Prélude (Polydor, 1976)
Espérance, Nos enfants (Polydor, 1977)
Si je pouvais t’aider (Polydor, 1979)
C’est là (Polydor, 1981)
Moustaki et Flairck (Polydor, 1982)
Pornographie (Polydor, 1984)
Joujou (1986)
Méditerranéen (1992)
Tout reste à dire (1996)
Odéon (2003)
Vagabond (Virgin, 2005)
Solitaire (EMI, 2008)


Artist Profiles: Faubourg De Boignard

Raphael Thierry, Faubourg De Boignard

Faubourg De Boignard was born from a meeting between Raphael Thierry (bagpipe, vocals) and Christophe Raillard (diatonic accordion, keyboards) in the late 1980s. In 1987, a first recording “The woman with two husbands” gave the tone, the color, the sound of Faubourg with the complicity of Eric Raillard (Christophe’s brother) at the hurdy-gurdy.

At the beginning of 1990, Gris Didier (violin, mandolin, bouzouki) from Besancon, joined the band. In 1994 Faubourg took its real form with the arrival of Thierry Clement (drums) and Gilles Sommet (bass guitar), both musicians from the Saulieu region. Eric left the band in 1990 to pursue other musical projects.

In 1995, Faubourg De Boignard recorded its first CD La Ravine, on the Acousteak label. The compositions were inspired in traditional music and it received very positive reviews. The band went on tour and played numerous concerts throughout France, Spain, Germany and Belgium.

Christophe Raillard, Faubourg De Boignard

In 1998, the second album Terra Gallica was recorded. It had Eastern music percussion and samples. The album was well received by the public. It was festive and more mature. That same year, Bernard Montrichard (electric guitars, midday and acoustics) of Besancon joined the band.

At the beginning of 2000, the group recorded an album with 4 tracks for Polygamme Music, The Reason of the Others.

Another key member of the band is the sound engineer who works in the shadows, Christophe Gaiffe. He mixes recordings and live concerts.

The band’s name stems from a street in Saulieu that bears this name. On that street, every evening one can hear, spouting from a window, the sounds of a bagpipe.


La femme à deux maris (1987)
La Ravine (Boucherie Productions, 1995)
Terra Gallica (Boucherie Productions, 1988)
La marche de l’ampleur (2008)


Artist Profiles: Lo’Jo


Lo’Jo is a an eclectic French band that creates hybrid music based on sounds from Africa, Europe and the Middle East. When Lo’Jo first formed there were only three members: Denis Pean, Richard Zenou, and Richard Bourreau. Since 1982, more than 300 musicians and dancers have contributed to Lo’Jo’s sound.

As a fledgling band, Lo’Jo joined the Jo Bithume Company, a street theatre ensemble. They absorbed multiple influences while touring Europe for four years. As musicians, we needed to open our ears to the music of the world. That was the idea when I began Lo’Jo,’ Pean said.

Although the band started with traditional Western instruments (piano, bassoon, double bass, and violin), West African instruments were introduced in the mid-90s.

The band’s members have performed live to Murnau’s silent film Nosferatu, published books, produced documentaries, performed twice at the Lincoln Center with 20 performers, and spent countless nights chatting around campfires, drinking wine and smoking cigarettes.

For a few years, they produced Le Festival au Desert with English guitarist Justin Adams and the Tuareg desert blues band Tinariwen, struggling against heat, political tensions, and sand-covered roads in search of new experiences and adventures.

Combined with performances in politically charged landscapes and collaborations with Malian group Tinariwen, Lo’Jo’s lyrics continue the poetic traditions of the French chanson.


* Boheme de Cristal (World Village, 1997)
* Mojo Radio (World Village 468003, 2002)
* L’une des siens (Emma Productions/Universal, 2002)
* Au Cabaret Sauvage (World Village 468007, 2002)
* Ce soir-la (World Village 468027, 2004)
* Bazar Savant (2006)
* Tu Connais Lo’jo (2007)
* Cosmophono (Wagram, 2009)
* Cinema El Mundo (World village, 2012)
* 310 Lunes (2014)

Web Site www.lojo.org


Renovated Dance Music from Paris

Denécheau Jâse Musette - Amour Java
Denécheau Jâse Musette – Amour Java

Denécheau Jâse Musette – Amour Java (Buda Musique, 2016)

This French revivalist ensemble plays a typically Parisian musical genre called musette. Denécheau Jâse demonstrate the cosmopolitan nature of this musical style by incorporating dance styles from eastern Europe, Spain and musical influences from other parts of the world, including American jazz dances like the one step and foxtrot.

The musicians’ backgrounds are very diverse. They use a mix of European and American musical instruments. The lineup includes Denis “Scotch” Gérard on banjo; Daniel Denécheau on diatonic accordions; Ophélia Bard on vocals, bigophone, percussion; Robert Santiago on jâse (ancient drum set), vocals, jazzoflûte, pipeau, quena, pepino, turbine, castanets, carillon, and vocals; Michel Esbelin on cabrette; and Christophe Pélissié on dobro.

Amour Java presents the work of musicians passionate about a popular dance music style, updating it with fresh ideas, unconventional musical instruments and good humor.

Buy Amour Java


Dazzling French Nordestino Amalgam

Zé Boiadé – Zé qué casá (La Roda/Rue Stendhal, 2016)

Zé Boiadé is a Franco-Brazilian band based in Aix-en-Provence in southern France. The quartet includes skilled multi-instrumentalists along with vocals in French and Portuguese.

On their new album, Zé qué casá, scheduled for release in May 2016, Zé Boiadé incorporate Nordestino music (folk music from northeastern Brazil), choro, samba and French song (chanson). The Brazilian-French mix is what makes the band’s sound unique, bringing together two distant traditions, combining melodic songs with Brazilian beats and the European-influenced Brazilian string traditions.

There are primarily two sets of material on Zé qué casá. The songs featuring vocals in French set to Brazilian musical arrangements and the instrumentals. On the instrumentals, band members display their virtuosity providing exciting interplay and times for jamming as well.

Zé Boiadé was originally a duo featuring singer-songwriter Claire Luzi (vocals, mandolin, melodica and percussion) and Brazilian composer Cristiano Nacimento (7-string guitar, trombone, and percussion). They were later joined by two musicians from Marseilles: Wim Welker on cavaquinho (small Portuguese and Brazilian guitar), background vocals and 7-string guitar; and Olivier Boyer on pandeiro (frame drum), percussion and background vocals.

Zé qué casá is a delightfully crafted album featuring alluring acoustic interplay, infectious Brazilian rhythms and striking vocals.