Zaz: “Isa”: Her new album almost didn’t come out!

For the release of her new album, the singer reconsiders her absence.

After three years of silence , Zaz, or rather Isa, is back . Because the 41-year-old singer returns with a fifth album that bears her name, finally her diminutive “Isa”. The one called Isabelle Geffroy in the city explains in the columns of Gala having chosen Zaz  “as an artist’s name to protect me, to dissociate who I am from my public figure. A way, too, to protect myself from possible attacks . ”  A kind of alter-ego which was very useful to him when success fell on him, as unexpected as it was triumphant, upon the release of his first single “Je J’aime” in 2010. Not enough perhaps, since the artist , known internationally, does not take the pressure well:Three years ago, I almost wanted Zaz to die “she  confesses.

The musician has thus known, like many others before her, an episode of depression and exhaustion linked to celebrity : ” I was tired, exhausted. I had to go on tour again and, for the first time, I was says: ‘No, it is not possible!’ “. Close to burn-out, Zaz offered to rest after a nice meeting : ” I wanted to build with him, take time”. Calm and in love, the artist was ready to get back to work when “confinement arrived “! A shame that she finally experienced as an unexpected opportunity: ” the experience was ultimately very beneficial”.

Time, calm and hindsight: the best recipe for coming back to the forefront with a project that Zaz herself describes on her Twitter account as ” very intimate, gentle, nuanced and benevolent which I hope will help you. will accompany in your moments of life. ”  In addition to the first single “Imagine” unveiled in September, there is a great collaboration with  Till Lindemann of the group Rammstein.

Source: Zaz: “Isa”: his new album almost never came out!

Pauline Croze’s youthful looks

Thought, composed and recorded between confinements and restrictions linked to the health crisis, the new album “Après les heures grises”, by Pauline Croze, was released on October 8. The singer, on tour throughout France, returns to the music that punctuated her childhood and adolescence.

Where did you spend your childhood and in what environment?
I grew up in a pavilion in Villemomble, in the Parisian suburbs. Before becoming a psychoanalyst, my mother worked in an Italian tourist office (she had dual nationality). My father started his career as a professor of physics, then a consultant at the Ministry of National Education, where he tested the brand new CD-ROMs of educational software. Fan of cinema, he had a large film library in which we could draw what interested us. I was a pretty lonely child. I had very few friends and enjoyed drawing a lot. Rather very good student at the beginning of my schooling, I let myself go over the years. I still managed to get my baccalaureate by doing the bare minimum.

Did your parents listen to music?
At home there was music all day, especially on weekends. The style varied from room to room. In the living room, my parents liked the opera, Léo Ferré, but also Julien Clerc for my mother and Boby Lapointe for my father. My two older sisters had very opposite tastes. In their rooms, one loved to listen to French variety (Patrick Bruel and Mylène Farmer), the other rock with very sharp choices (Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa). I loved to navigate from one room to another, open to discovering all these different styles of music. Added to this was the radio, which I listened to every night to fall asleep and which gave me the possibility of always hearing new artists.

What’s your favorite childhood song?
The favorite song of my childhood is that of the TV movie Sandokan, which played in the Club Dorothée, interpreted by Joël Prevost. She had a very dynamic and elated side. We felt we were dealing with a hero. I would put the 45 on my channel and walk around the house singing it very enthusiastically. Performing a song for a child is a special exercise, and Joël Prévost did it really well. As a teenager, I remember listening to Strange Fruit, by Billie Holiday, and Stairway to Heaven, by Led Zeppelin, on repeat, whose vocal and melodic virtuosity fascinated me.
Continue reading “Pauline Croze’s youthful looks”

A century on, French singer and anarchist Georges Brassens still hits the right note

This story first featured in the Spotlight on France podcast: listen here

With his pipe, polo-necked sweater, moustache and cat on lap, the image of Brassens is more cudly uncle than new-man.

As Joann Sfar, curator of a major Brassens exhibition in 2011, has pointed out, “most of his songs are about naked women, death and cats”.

Brassens At the Beach

The hit song “Brave Margot” featured two of those favourite themes, with Margot drawing in big crowds by removing her bodice to breast-feed her pet.

Brassens excelled at taking aspects of ordinary French life – women, sex, death, religion, the military, migration … and, yes, cats … and transforming them into theatre through an unsurpassed use of wordplay.

He’s been described as a French Woodie Guthrie – a working class singer and guitarist who shunned stardom. He was also a self-proclaimed anarchist with a distate for the military and the clergy.

Brassens plays for a homeless man in Paris
Brassens plays for a homeless man in Paris Robert Doisneau

Bad reputation

He wrote 150 songs in his 40-year career.

Les copains d’abord, about friends playing with boats on a lake, L’Auvergnat, about the importance of generosity, and Quand on est con, are classics and feature in many a French family reunion or office party.

Some of his songs offended established values in early fifties France. Le Gorille – a song against the death penalty involving a rampaging gorilla desperate to lose its virginity and who “takes” the judge in the end, was banned on its release in 1952.

Mauvaise Reputation (Bad reputation), in which he defends individual liberties – including the freedom to desert the army, which he himself did in 1944 – was also deemed unfit for the public.

Out of time

Part of Brassens’ staying power resides in the timelessness of his songs, something he worked hard to achieve.

“I can’t use the word ‘automobile’ in my songs,” he told French public radio in 1970, “it will fix the song in a certain period.”

His superficially-simple refrains, accompanied by guitar, turn out to be very complex. But that hasn’t put off hordes of non-French speakers from taking up the challenge.

“Brassens has been translated into 82 languages and dialects, it’s enormous,” Bernard Lonjon, author of several books on Brassens told RFI.

He’s the most re-recorded French artist in the world.

Hesitant stage debut

Brassens’ entry into the pantheon of the French chanson got off to a sweaty start.

As a teenager he fled to Paris from his home town of Sète on the Mediterranean coast after a conviction for petty theft.

He first lodged with his aunt and then lived for many years in a house without electricity or indoor plumbing with a couple of friends –  Marcel and Jeanne – as a threesome. Continue reading “A century on, French singer and anarchist Georges Brassens still hits the right note”

Aaron Rodgers’s Selfish Gnosticism about Covid-19

Aaron Rodgers has provided a powerful reminder that religious problems like clericalism and gnosticism are not confined to the religious world.

By Zac Davis

“Gnosticism reduced to bare narcissism,” the theologian David Bentley Hart says, “might be an apt definition of late modernity as a whole.” It certainly explains the case of Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers, the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers and the reigning MVP of the National Football League, tested positive for Covid-19 and will not be allowed to play in a highly anticipated game this Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Athletes getting placed on the Covid list is sadly a new pandemic reality, and this would only be a story for the sports pages were it not for one glaring wrinkle: Aaron Rodgers lied about his vaccination status and then ignored Covid safety protocols for unvaccinated players.

Continue reading “Aaron Rodgers’s Selfish Gnosticism about Covid-19”