Brigitte Fontaine

Rue saint-louis en l'ile

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French vanguard pop chanteuse Brigitte Fontaine returns with Rue Saint Louis en L'Île, an homage to her street and section of Paris. Leaving the many guest stars -- Archie Shepp, Sonic Youth, et. al -- of her wonderful Keleland album behind, Fontaine is found in the company of her constant musical companion, Areski Belkacem doing the lion's share of musical accompaniment and arranging, though there are duets with Mouss et Hakim on the stomping post-modern cabaret tune "Le Nougat," and the Gotan Project on the title track. Fontaine's futurist pop focuses this time on paying homage to the small infinitesimal details of life in her neighborhood and its vices and problems. "Man With the Motor Bike" is an homage to Edith Piaf being freely adapted from the 1956 version by the great singer and her tribute to Simone DeBeauvoir in "Le Chanson de Simone," is a standout stunner. Also notable is the haunting and beautiful "Le Veuve Cliquot" ("The Widow Cliquot") and the moving "Le Voile a l'ecole" ("The Veil at School") with Areski doing his best Serge Gainsbourg. In all, this is an utterly charming, beautiful and accessible album by the most iconoclastic pop singer n Paris, and one of the most original musical personalities in the world.

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