Wednesday, October 11, 2006Camille
Last Thursday I was lucky enough to catch the wonderful French chauntesse, Camille on the last date of her world tour for Le Fil, her second album, which has been a slow-burning word-of-mouth success. I first heard about her from a Belgian friend who cited it last November as her album of the year. The CD was all over the shops in Berlin with it's intriguing portrait cover. I finally bought the album in December and fell in love instantly - it was like nothing I'd heard before; principally acapella, layered vocals and sounds, beauitful chord changes, irresistable French. I wrote a review of it for Wears The Trousers (about to go bi-monthly!) so read it for a more succinct description of her sound.
I wasn't sure what to expect from the live show; the album is so serene and - without a very good working knowledge of French - it's hard to gauge the tone of the lyrics. I was also curious as to how she would re-create the vocal layering live. It was absolutely beautiful and conceptually brilliant. About 80cm high across the entire stage was a thread (le fil) from which hung white chiffon. At first I thought it was an anti-photographer device, but (as can be seen above) Camille brought it up with her fist, draped it around her like a wedding dress and finally tossed it out into the crowd where it was passed slowly backwards and forth above the heads of the standing ticket holders, glimmering in flickers of white light that broke the dark of the cavernous theatre.
Camille was much more humerous than I'd imagined, too. The audience was about 60% French (exactly what it was like when some British/American bands played Berlin) and when people hollered in French she answered back in (very fluent) English, reminding les emigrantes that they should be speaking English! She had the crowd participating throughout. I remember having the same kind of surprise having seen Emiliana Torrini live - when these singers don't really have a media presence or give that many interviews then your view of them is untainted by any other influences and so the live show is a total surprise. Camille had the whole crowd grinning away, there's just something about English spoken with a cute French accent. And for that one evening Camille resolved anglo-franco relations...hoorah!