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Friday, 5 August 2011

Friday's French music break - Zaza Fournier, "Vodka fraise"

Friday's French music break this week is Zaza Fournier's "Vodka fraise".

Zaza Fournier (screenshot from "Vodka Fraise" official video)

It's actually a recommendation from one of France Today's most faithful readers, Debbie from Dordogne.

In a recent email Debbie said of Fournier, "She's the best thing to have happened to French music since Lilicub." For those not in the know, they're a group formed in the early 90s and whose biggest hit to date has been "Voyage en Italie".

Well, who could ignore such unbridled enthusiasm? So a quick search on YouTube for Zaza Fournier produced her latest single, "Vodka fraise."

Actually there's not much else available, as the least that can be said about Fournier is that she is far from being prolific.

Since 2008, the 26-year-old has produced precisely two albums and the same number of singles.

"Vodka fraise" was released in March and is the first (and if the trend continues, potentially the only) single from her album "Regarde moi" which appeared in May.

In a 2009 interview with the magazine Ici Londres, for those French living and working in the British capital, Fournier spoke about her beginnings busking in Paris and how she had almost "fallen into music" before realising the importance it had become in her life.

"I started playing in the streets in Paris and at the time I had no ambition. I simply found it more interesting trying to sell sandwiches to pay for my studies," she said.

"The more I sang, the more I understood I needed to continue doing it and gradually I was invited to play in bars and small venues for about 18 months."

There then followed the self-titled first album, described by the French weekly news magazine L'Express as that of a young woman who "combined rock and multimedia" and whose songs had a "fluorescent retro taste."


It gets better for the second because she apparently manages to "alternate smooth, swaying sounds with those of a twisting dashing pop music."

So much for music critics who sometimes sound as though they're writing from where the sun don't shine.

That's a sentiment with which Fournier might perhaps agree as, again in that 2009 interview, she responded to parallels that one French magazine had made between her and Edith Piaf.

Presumably the journalist had been trying to linger on that "singing in the street" start.

"Piaf is part of my musical memories and I've listened to her music time and time again," said Fournier.

"I'm fascinated by her voice, her body, her stage presence and force but nobody can be compared to Piaf, and although I find it flattering it's also absurd."

You tell 'em girl.

The truth of the matter is that Fournier is an artist who clearly doesn't fit neatly into any particular mould and it would be useless to try.

Her character is one she has created but which is also apparently "spontaneous and instinctive", but there's also no getting away from the fact that her persona and her music are highly stylised.

As far as her influences go, well they're as wide ranging as you would expect them to be from someone who is so singularly distinctive from anyone else around on the French music scene and include - as she says herself, Barbara, Jacques Brel, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Rockabilly, Brigitte Fontaine, Christophe...there are a lot."

Check out her Myspace site for a couple of other tracks from 2008 "La vie à deux" and "Mademoiselle" (sic) and her Facebook page for all her latest news

But before you do that, listen to "Vodka Fraise" and if you like it, try to see her at Olympia in Paris in October.

Happy listening.

If there's any French song or artist you would like to have reviewed, please get in touch at


Anonymous said...

I love it!!! Proof that there is real talent out there, not the "fabricated" stuff coming out of Nouvelle Star, PopStar or other so called talent shows!

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