Gad Elmaleh releases ‘Dansez sur moi,’ an album of Claude Nougaro covers

By Catherine Rickman | Frenchly

When you heard Gad Elmaleh was working on something new, you probably got excited for a Netflix standup special, sitcom, comedy album, or international tour. But this giant of French comedy, so widely revered as to be referred to as “the French Seinfeld,” has something new up his sleeve: some surprising singing chops.

Over the course of the pandemic, Elmaleh has been recording an album of covers under Blue Note records, called “Dansez sur moi,” and re-envisioning the songs of the French master chanteur, Claude Nougaro. The Toulousian singer, who passed away in 2004, blended American jazz and Brazilian and African musical influences into the French chanson style. His hits range from the twangy, percussive “Bidonville,” a song about France’s slums; to “Cécile ma fille,” whose haunting hook describes Nougaro’s fear and wonder at becoming a father.

Elmaleh released the album’s first single, “Armstrong,” back in September, followed by “Nougayork,” and “Le cinéma.”

The album was set to be released in November, but was delayed due to COVID-19. A video for the song “Toulouse” was released in December. Set outside, with Elmaleh and his band playing by the river, the love song to Nougaro’s hometown was shot on site, the lyrics cut with footage of the city, include one lingering image of a larger-than-life mural of Nougaro on the side of a building. Continue reading “Gad Elmaleh releases ‘Dansez sur moi,’ an album of Claude Nougaro covers”

Under the Covers

By Michael Stevenson

Occasionally an artist remakes a classic film or an iconic song, and the effort makes me wonder, “why bother in the first place?” I’ve always felt that it makes more sense to remake lousy movies or records, and try to make these into something halfway decent.

Why remake a masterpiece such as Hitchcock’s Psycho, or James Ivory’s A Room With a View? Wouldn’t it be better to remake Cameron Crowe’s recent films  – Elizabethtown, We Bought a Zoo, and Aloha – and make these something watchable?  And why would a singer make a record titled “[insert name here] Sings Frank Sinatra” or “[insert name here] Sings Patsy Cline”?

Sometimes the Cover or Remake Works

Philip Kaufman’s remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers was superior to the 1956 original, as was Coen Brothers’ version of True Grit. The Wizard of Oz that we all know and love (1939) was actually a remake of a 1925 bomb. As for music, the late Joe Cocker recorded a song off the Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers, and made it his own. The Beatles themselves forever swiped “Twist and Shout” from the Isley Bothers.

Forgive my Rachel Maddow-like preamble, but I now present Rodolphe Burger’s cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” – a ballsy and brilliant remake of one of the most iconic songs belonging to a true American music legend.

Give it a listen and tell me – what do you think