Music digging in France: discovering Brigitte’s album ‘Nues’
I have discovered Brigitte. Who? She’s French and sounds beautiful. And with ‘Nues‘ (= French for ‘naked’ or ‘bare’) as the album title, it sounds intriguing, right? Let me share this and begin at the beginning.
Music digging in France
I’ve made it my own little tradition to dig into the country’s music I’m visiting, which has led to many interesting discoveries. It forces me to look outside of my comforting box, influenced and almost determined by the radio stations I listen to or the music magazines and newspapers I read.
Being in another country, I love watching the cultural differences, little or small, while enjoying at the same time the cultural similarities. After all, we are all the same because we’re all different, right?
This being said: I spent the last week of 2017 in France, having a ‘White Christmas’ in the Alps. Or rather, a ‘Noël Blanc‘.
I must say, I wasn’t exposed to a lot of music, except by the humming of ‘Seven Nation Army’ of the White Stripes my 7-year-old son. Apparently, his ski teacher, who had it on its cell phone, is to blame…
Back home, listening to the latest French albums, I decided that ‘Nues‘ by Brigitte was my new favorite.
Brigitte. Brigitte – who?
I had never heard about the band – yes, it’s a duo, and not one of them is called Brigitte. After some research on the net, I learned that Brigitte is formed by two French singers, Sylvie Hoarau and Aurélie Saada. Both of them already had their own musical projects before in other bands, but decided to form a new musical duo in 2008. The duo chose their band name in honor of 3 Brigittes: Brigitte Bardot, Brigitte Fontaine and Brigitte Lahaie.
One could describe the music of Brigitte as indie-folk/pop/soul, with a strong part for the vocals. The music has sometimes a touch of psychedelic, oriental or hip-hop influences. The duo write their own music.
The album: ‘Nues’
The two artists have a an intriguing bohemian charisma and a talent that makes you dream, thanks to their divine singing. And for this album they give the piano a place in the spotlight, which you can also hear in the single ‘Paladium‘.
It is a trip to the West Coast that explains the arrival of the piano in the songs of the duo. Aurélie Saada, one of the two artists, went to live in Los Angeles for a year, rented a big wooden house from 1924. In this house there was an old piano all broken, a little dented, out of tune. It was immediately very inspiring and suddenly she wrote a lot of songs on this piano for this album. The songs for this album were composed between LA and Paris, where Sylvie Hoarau was the complementary songwriter for Aurélie.
The musical heritage and their voices as a playground
In her songs, Brigitte quotes with love and without complex singers and song writers known for their piano playing, like Michel Berger, Véronique Sanson, also British Elton John, but does not forget to renew itself. This musical heritage is Brigitte’s playground. The duo have a fairly wide vocal range, so they can really enjoy each other vocally, play around, have fun and discover other things.
And in this new album, the duo uses also some oriental sounds. Aurélie has Tunisian roots, so it was quite natural to go there a little bit too.
Brigitte‘s latest album ‘Nues‘ is an elegant and very moving album.
In this album, Brigitte sounds strong and fragile at the same time. As ideal big sisters, the two women face their greatest wounds in sober texts with simplicity as an uppercut to the stomach. Brigitte takes us by the hand for an odyssey, a journey in the psyche of women.
The album ‘Nues‘ includes eleven titles. These punchy songs sound like an invitation to travel and to let go. This melancholy album puts the two artists ‘naked’ (or ‘Nues’, in French, hence the title). Some pieces, showing fragility, use the sweetness of the piano to accompany a little more incisive texts. The two artists give each other a song and intermingle, like a vocal caress, their complementary voices.
It’s French. It’s folk, pop and soul!
To love Brigitte‘s music, understanding French helps of course, but is no must. The music and the voices just take you away. Fans of Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Diana Ross or France Gall will certainly appreciate this album. Check it out!