Fete de la Musique: CharlElie Couture, Yael Naim, General Elektriks, La Femme

CharlElie Couture 

Born in Nancy, France, in February 1956, and graduate of the Fine Arts school,CharlElie is a multidisciplinary artist, whose work covers the exploratory fields of image, writing and music. Since his signature on Island Records by the notorious Chris Blackwell, the success of his poetic-rock-blues music albums has not stopped him from continuing his exploration in painting, sculpture and photography. 24 albums of poetic-blues-rock songs, 1500 international concerts, CharlElie has also composed fifteen original soundtracks for films. Incredibly prolific, he has created posters, designed logos, watches, glasses, shoes, and exhibited his work in Europe, and also New York where he settled in 2004. In May 2011, CharlElie became an American citizen. His newest album Lafayette will be released in May 2016, and was recorded at the Dockside Studio in Maurice, in Southern Louisiana. This new album represents a bridge between the two sides of his American and French cultures.

Yael Naim

Music is anything but a job to Yael Naim and David Donatien. It’s entwined in every aspect of life for these musical and romantic partners, who recorded their third album together, 2010’s She Was a Boy, in their family home on the outskirts of Paris. “We never agree when we work, we always fight. It’s intense,” says Naim, 37. “Sharing a creation is one of the more difficult things you can do,” adds Donatien. “Not many people share a book or a painting.” Nevertheless, it’s now 10 years since they began their successful partnership, recording the first, self-titled, Yael Naim album on rudimentary equipment in Yael’s Bastille apartment, with her often singing in Hebrew, and watching its single, “New Soul,” become an unlikely worldwide hit following Apple advert ubiquity in 2008. Their fourth album together, Older, was released in 2015.

General Elektriks

Having left his adopted land of California for the city of Berlin, French singer, keyboard-player, and producer Hervé Salters released To Be A Stranger, his 4th album as General Elektriks, in February 2016. Clearly high on the radical streak that permeates the German capital, this new record conjures up a brash array of funk keyboards, hip hop beats, pop melodies and vibrant tones. The duel between vintage sounds and music of the future went this time in favor of the latter, giving birth to a unique Electro-Soul hybrid. Art Funk? Hip Pop? Call this music what you want. It’s the new General Elektriks album.

La Femme

“We became friends with some Californian surfers who were in Biarritz for surfing contests. We wanted to travel and play outside France so our new friends helped us make connections; we earned a little money with summer jobs and flew to California a few months later. It was crazy; we ended up doing 27 gigs in 3 months!” Since hitting the west coast, La Femme’s reputation for finely tuned and taught stark anthems has spread like sea spray. Their debut album, 2013’sPsycho Tropical Berlin, immediately hit No.1 on the French digital charts and the group promptly became the cover darlings for Magic, and went on to make crowds dance across Europe’s premier festivals. The group’s guitarist, Sacha Got, describes the band as “a solar system. We don’t like the idea of having a leader or a chief: everyone brings to the band what they can and want.” Got is joined by Marlon Magnée (keyboard), Sam Lefevre (bass guitarist), Nunez Ritter (percussions) and Noé Delmas (drummer). Nodding towards 60s yéyé stars France Gall and Françoise Hardy, vocalists Clémence Quélennec, Clara Luciani, Jane Peynot and Marilou Chollet have also moonlighted adding to the enigma and elegance that is La Femme.