Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Les Negresses Vertes (live and aco 1989)

Was away to a very inspiring exhibition about the painter Jheronimus Bosch (ca.1450-1516) in the small Dutch city called Den Bosch (or also s'Hertogenbosch), located along the railwayline between Amsterdam and Eindhoven. Even there I found a (small) reference to expierences in the African continent (will post about that later, when found relating music). Tried to complete this post before leaving last week, but well didn't find the time.

So now something completely different: Les Negresses Vertes, live and acoustic recordings from 1989, exact place and time unknown, I got it in the mid 1990s on K7 and still like it very much. Wondering what is the relation the the other music I've posted, here's the story:

During my trip to Guinee in 1993/94 I couldn't get a song from Les Negresses Vertes out of my head: 'Voila l'Ete', and was humming and singing it a lot of times. In Guinee I stayed in the house of a Guinean family, the children of the family liked my humming and when I told them the name of the group (meaning "The Green Negresses"), they went absolutely bonkers. They seemed to like the tune also a lot, as they requested it a lot of times: "Mangue, encore les Vertes!". I didn't have the music itself with me, so could only produce the refrain 'Voila l'Ete / Toujours l'Ete / etc.' and the melody. Promised them that when I would be back home, I send them a copy of the music. Kept my promise and together with it I send them also a copy of the first album of Oumou Sangare, which, as I had found out during my stay in Conakry, was completely unknown to them.
To my surprise, but also happiness, they send me back a return gift: a box with 6 pieces fresh and delicious mangos (actually send by mail using stamps about Olympic Wintersports!!). The most delicious mangos I've ever eaten outside of Africa!!
Now to 'Les Négresses Vertes' (adapted from wiki):
Les Négresses Vertes arose in 1987 from the alternative-music scene in Paris. The original line-up included singer Helno (1963.Dec.25 - 1993.Jan.22) (vocals), Jo Roz (piano), Stéfane Mellino (guitar), Jean-Marie Paulus (bass), Gaby (drums), Matthias Canavese (accordion), Michel Ochowiak (trumpet), Abraham Sirinix (trombone) and Iza Mellino (backing vocals).
The original members were a group of friends, many of whom had not played their instruments before forming the band. The group's name translates as green negresses; it arose from abuse hurled at the members at one of the group's first concerts. The insult is a comparison to the kitsch art of Vladimir Tretchikoff. The group was initially signed to the independent Off the Track label and released the punk protest song "200 Ans D'Hypocrisie" in response to its home country's French Revolution bicentennial celebrations.
Their music is best described as a fusion of world music and some aspects of alternative rock, tracks often feature acoustic guitar and accordion, as well as some tracks containing many other traditional instruments such as piano and brass. The group's style is fairly upbeat and energetic on the majority of its tracks, with unusual rhythms, vocals delivered with a generous dose of zeal and vibrant energy, and accompaniment melodies ranging from lilting and distant to eccentric and fast-paced. These two factors give many of the group's pieces a strong sense of direction.
In 1989, they released their debutalbum, MLAH, to good reviews in both France and the UK, where the single "Zobi La Mouche" just failed to reach the charts and where it toured and played the WOMAD festival. The group also made a controversial tour of Lebanon. By the time of the 2nd album Helno was struggling with serious heroin addiction, and Stéfane Mellino and Canavese replaced him as the main songwriters.
Helno died at his parents' house on 1993.Jan.22, after that happened several members left the band, but Les Négresses Vertes continued around the nucleus of Mellino, Canavese, Ochowiak, and Paulus. By 2000's Trabendo, the group's style had shifted to a dub-oriented lounge style.

Listen to acoustic version of 'Zobi la Mouche':


Les NEGRESSES VERTES (1989, live and aco)

Setlist (1989, unknown location):
1.Voila l'Ete / 2.Les Rablablas Les Roubliblis / 3.Les Yeux De Ton Pere / 4.200 Ans d'Hypocrisie / 5.Il / 6.La Danse Des Negresses Vertes
Acoustic Set (1989, unknown radio):
1.Zobi La Mouche / 2.Il / 3.Voila l'Ete

Discography:

I consider the 1st a CLASSIC and the 2nd okay, so only detailed those
1988: MLAH (album, LP/CD/K7)
1989: track "200 Ans D'Hypocrisie" on VA-Sang Neuf En 89 ( Eurobond Records )
1989 singles: Il / Zobi La Mouche / Voila L’ete
1990: track "I Love Paris" on "VA-Red Hot + Blue" (Red Hot Organization)
1991: FAMILLE NOMBREUSE (album, LP/CD/K7)
1992 singles: Famille Heureuse / Hou! Mamma Mia / Sous le Soleil de Bodega
Albums after changes in line-up: 10 Remixes (87-93) (comp.remixes) / An Aperitif (1994) / Zig-zague (1994) / Green Bus (1996, live) / Trabendo (1999) / Acoustic Clubbing (2001)

Shortlist of some audio and video:
1989: Voilà l'Été (watch clip) - COCORICO!!
1989: Francofolies - Zobi la Mouche (watch video)
1989: summerfestivals a.o.Roskilde DK / Reading UK / Parkpop NL (pictures)
1989.Nov.08: VPRO Nozems-a-gogo studio session (listen 3voor12)
1990.May.29: concert in Szene Vienna (download at celticfolkpunk)

PS: since I started listening this last week, again can't get the 'Voila l'Ete' out of my head, not even at the fabulous Bosch exhibition!! .......COCORICO!!

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