Monsieur Pop’s French Connections

or for what he has got a French cultural order recently



In his voluminous oeuvre there are two albums with French connections: Préliminaires in 2009 and Après in 2012.

Préliminaires was inspired by Michel Houellebecq’s novel La Possibilité d’une île (The Possibility of an Island). There are three main characters. Daniel, a successful comedian who can’t seem to enjoy life despite his wealth. He gets bored with his hedonist lifestyle, but can’t escape from it. He is disgruntled with the state of current society.  He has two clones who live an uneventful life as hermits in the distant future after nuclear and climate catastrophes. They scattered around are the remnants of tourist resorts, cities, consumer items, and some natural humans living in small tribes without any knowledge of the past or any civilization.

Après is a cover album with five French chansons. His label (Virgin EMI) refused to release it. They would have preferred that he does a rock album with popular punk songs because the money is rather in it than in those old-fashioned melodies. This is a strange point of view because the original performers of his covers sold a vast number of records. Finally, the album was released by himself and on a French label Le Rat des Villes.

Now you can listen to all of his covers together with the original ones. The cover of Les feuilles mortes are from Préliminaires, like Je sais que tu sais (I Know That You Know,) which song is not a cover, and the French parts are sung by Lucie Aimé.

And also you can read about the songs and the artists, how their careers started in the chaotic years of the XX Century. And those stories are always strange.

So Mesdames and Messieurs please welcome


The second song Les feuilles mortes (The Dead Leaves) was composed by Joseph Kosma who was born in Budapest in 1905. He was a Hungarian composer and conductor. He took part in the avant-garde movement too. Fled from Berlin – where he lived by a scholarship – to Paris in 1933 with his German wife without money and French knowledge. There he got acquainted with the poet Jacques Prévert and then started a new era of the French chanson. His mother and brother were shot into the Danube during the siege of Budapest by Hungarian far-right wing party members in 1944.

“The virginity of my criminal record is still a mystery to me.” Jacques Prévert wrote this about his juvenile lifestyle.

He was born into a lower-middle-class family in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1900. Quit school at his age of 15. After the end of WWI, he went to Istanbul as a French soldier together with the painter Tanguy to occupy it. After he was doing small businesses and joined the surrealist movement. In 1928 he wrote his first poem, broke with surrealist, and joined a performance company called Groupe Octobre to make communist propaganda. They also played in factories during strikes, and even in Moscow in 1932. After the experience he devoted himself entirely to the cinema.

He wrote the poem Les feuilles mortes. The song has appeared first time in the Marcel Carné film Les portes de la nuit (Gates of The Night) but just only snippets were hummed by Nathalie Nattier and Yves Montand, who was born as Ivo Livi in 1923 in Monsummano Terme, Italy.

His father was a militant communist who fled from the Mussolini regime with his family to France. In Marseille, he started a small broom factory which was swept away by the Great Depression in 1932. His son was hairdresser, waiter, dock and factory worker. His showbiz career started in a cabaret as a warm-up guy who turned into a singer at his age of 17. He was discovered by Edith Piaf in 1944.

She was born as Édith Giovanna Gassion in Paris in 1915. Her father was a street acrobat, her Italian-born mother a café singer. Her mother abandoned her at birth. She lived for a short time with her maternal grandmother, Emma (Aïcha) Saïd ben Mohammed, daughter of a Moroccan acrobat. When her father went to the war in 1916, he took her to his mother who ran a brothel in Normandy.

In 1929, at the age 14, she joined her father in his acrobatic street performances all over France, she first sang in public this time. At her age of 15 she met Simone “Mômone” Berteaut and started to tour together as street singers. She was discovered in Paris by a nightclub owner.

During the German occupation she performed in various nightclubs and brothels and lived in a luxury flat above a nightclub and bordello in Paris. But he sang also in POW camps, even she was invited to sing in Germany together with other French artists in 1943. But in December 1944, she went on stage for the Allied forces together with Montand in Marseille. And he wrote the song La Vie en rose (The Life in Pink) in 1945 on the top of a smoky debris, called Europe.


She died in 1963 at her age of 47. The funeral mass was denied by the archbishop of Paris Cardinal Maurice Feltin because of her lifestyle.

The song Syracuse was published first in this year. It was performed by Henri Salvador. He was born in French-Guyana in 1917 as a son of a native tax collector. The family moved to France in 1929. He gained reputation first in Medrano Circus through his laugh. He laughed so loudly that the clown asked him to come back every Sunday, and taught him gags in exchange for his influential laugh. He turned his back on school at his age of 15, started to work as a clown on terraces of Paris, and learned to play music. In 1935 Django Reinhardt saw him at a cabaret and asked him to join his band. During the occupation he toured with the band of French jazz king (or Napoleon?) Ray Ventura in South America.

The Syracuse was composed by Salvador, the lyrics were written by Bernard Dimey. In 1972 Dimey was awarded the Charles Cros Prize of the critics for his album Ivrogne Et Pourquoi Pas (Drunk and Why Not) which he claimed to be a profession of faith.

A devotee of this credo Serge Gainsbourg was born as Lucien Ginzburg in Paris in 1928. His parents fled from the horror of the Russian civil war. His father worked as a pianist at bars and clubs in Paris and the casinos and hotels of Deauville during the summertime. From his age of 8 he went with him to play songs. Scarlatti, Bach, Vivaldi, Chopin. And there is the Jazz. Cole Porter, Gershwin, Fred Adison. And there is the radio. Ray Ventura, Charles Trenet, Maurice Chevalier, Edith Piaf, Jean Gabin, Fernandel. But there just was the radio. Because no radio for the Jewish. And no telephone, coffeehouse, restaurant, theatre, cinema, concert, library, museum, swimming pool and nothing. Jewish stay at home and can buy food just between 3-4 pm. If it need can use the last carriage of the metro train only. And they were awarded Yellow Star.

In 1944 he learned to play guitar by a gypsy and started to play at bars and balls. He was discovered by the writer and musician Boris Vian in 1957.

The song Javanaise was written in 1962 and was recorded and published by him and Juliette Greco almost the same time in 1963. But in this playlist I put the reggae version titled Javanaise Remake from the Gainsbourg album Enregistrement public au Théâtre Le Palace from 1980.

Georges Brassens was born in 1921 in Sete, Southern France. His father was an open minded anticlerical bricklayer, his Italian mother was a devout catholic, but both were music lovers. He wrote his first poems as a pupil, but maybe he thought the crime pays better than the poetry because together with his friends he started to steal from their families and others. He was expelled from the school and after a trial he went to Paris, lived with his aunt, and work at a Renault factory, but it was bombed soon by Luftwaffe in 1940.

Then he spent the days in the library, read poetry and write. His first collection of poems was published in 1942 thanks to the money of his relatives and friends. Then he was forced to work in a labour camp at a BMW plant near Berlin in 1943. After one year he was given ten days’ leave in France and did not go back.

Jeanne Planche, a seamstress, who was a friend of his aunt hid him. She lived with her husband in relative poverty. “We wash in cold water, there is no gas, no electricity, so no radio, nor mains drainage. In the small yard, a real menagerie: dogs, cats, canaries, turtles, hawks.” And Brassens lived there for 22 years.


He started to write and compose songs. In the beginning he accompanied himself by and old banjo. Later with the help of Jeanne he bought a used guitar. At first he performed his songs in Parisian cinemas between the news and the film. After several unsuccessful auditions he got a contract in a cabaret in 1952. Later this year released his first album La Mauvaise Réputation, ie. Bad Reputation.

The song Le Passantes was published in 1972. The poem was written in the early 1910s by engineer and poet Antoine Pol, who worked as a company boss, but he was fell in love with poetry, books, and butterflies.

Joe Dassin was born in New York in 1938. His father was the film director Jules Dassin who was blacklisted in 1950 during the communist hysteria because long before he was the member of the Communist Party USA (but left it after the Molotov – Ribbentrop Pact in 1939). He moved to France with his family. Joe got an MA in Anthropology and became actor and singer.

The song Et si tu n’existais pas (And if you didn’t exist) was published first in 1975. The music is by Salvatore “Toto” Cutugno and Pasquale Losito. The lyrics are by Claude Lemesle and Pierre Delanoë – who originally was a tax inspector, but later Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Nina Simone also sang his lyrics. And Iggy Pop

a son of former high school English teacher and baseball coach. He was born as James Newell Osterberg, Jr. in Muskegon, Michigan, 1947. He is German, English and Irish descent on his father’s side and Norwegian and Danish ancestry on his mother’s side. Moreover his father was adopted by a Swedish American family. He was raised in a trailer park in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He got a lot of care. His parents helped him explore anything he was interested in. This culminated in their evacuation from their bedroom in the trailer, because that was the only room big enough for his drum kit. He has begun his music career as a drummer in various high school bands in Ann Arbor, including the Iguanas in the early 60s…


Today’s New Video


Hey-hey! A new Sieur et Dame video! ColléSerré (= Let’s stick together) 

from their split 7″ with Gregaldur.

Sieur et Dame are from France. They have made one of the best albums in 2013.
Their music is very special, difficult to define it. In one word: burlesque.
In more: S&D on RNR666

From New Records


“There are some happy songs, some love songs, some creepy shit. There’s everything. We got funky.”

The Growlers – Not. Psych! EP by Fat Cat


Two idiotic versions of the song “Lambada” by the genial burlesque band Sieur et Dame

and Gregaldur, a guy who improvises on keyboard, guitar and looper and drinks beer simultaneously: La Lambaldur – feat. Charles Trenet. Trenet (1913-2001) was a French singer and songwriter. He had the greatest success between the late 30s and the mid 50s. Self-released split 7″

Free Download Gregaldur tracks

3 IN 1

Sieur et Dame are a French band. They have made one of the best albums of this year. Their music is very special, difficult to define it. In one word: burlesque. In more: here a review about it. They originally were a duo, but recently joined a third member, Jonathan, who recorded and mixed their second album. 3 very simple questions about records >>

What was the first own record in your life? Please write some words about it!

Etienne: “Killers” from Iron Maiden, a great record that I still uphold.
Claire: “History” from Michael Jackson. I was a great fan. There was everything on it. (It’s a double album. Second part.)
Jonathan: “Schizophrenia” from Sepultura that I had on CD with my first sort of ghetto blaster.

What record made the biggest influence on you?

Etienne: “Let in the Light” from Shannon Wright. (She is an American singer-songwriter.)
Claire: “Mahler’s Symphony n°2” directed by Wilhelm Furtwängler. (Sorry, but I couldn’t find it from Furtwängler. It’s conducted by Claudio Abbado.)
Jonathan: “In Utero” from Nirvana.

What was the last record that you heard?

Etienne: “420m3 – 37’14” from Chausse Trappe.
Claire: “1st Ep” from Le Feu. (It’s Jonathan’s band)
Jonathan: “Monstre Né” from Birds Are Alive.

Sieur & Dame Facebook

p.s.: The song of video clip, ‘Cry In My Head (She Lives In America)’ is on their first album.

Libera Me


Some thoughts about Sieur et Dame – Amour et Papouasie (Love and Papua) album by Kythibong Records

Hey Sieur et Dame! Million merci for your new album. It is the best, most interesting and most peculiar record of recent years for me. When I got it, I listened to it three times in succession, and was flabbergasted. Oh my God! What is it? And it is a difficult question. Such like a renaissance market-place knock-about farce or an opera-buffa, or something musical Commedia dell’arte. Starring an angel and a gnome, aka the Beauty and the Beast. And they slip into different costumes as the comedy require. And there mixing the ecclesiastical and the popular secular music of the renaissance and baroque era: the Italian origin frottola, canzonetta and madrigal, flamenco and medieval rhythms like tarantella. Plus hip-hop. It’s sometimes so much polyphonic as if there two different bands would play side by side. Exceedingly surreal.

Maybe the best Kythibong Records release ever:


sieurdameClaire and Etienne were lovers. Claire got strict Catholic education, studied lyrical singing and works in a national choir, speaking fluent ancient Latin and collecting roadkilled frogs. Etienne is a ferocious self-taught musician. He started his musical career as a drummer of a Berber music band at the age of 15. While Claire joined a Palestine music group at 18.  After various genres, styles, groups and collaborations they have founded Sieur et Dame in 2006.

I hope their little travelling circus to start eastward soon.

First album

More Videos

Eroto Manuel

She Lives In America


Le Feu, Le Eau


Jonathan Kingsley Seilman, musician, arranger and producer from Nantes, known for his previous project, This Melodramatic Sauna, and its collaborations with The Patriotic Sunday, Birds Are Alive, and Sieur & Dame, etc. His brand new band is Le Feu, a collaboration with My Name Is Nobody, Binidu and Fordamage members. The most simple phrase is: indie pop, but French, because I like it better

Is This Love?

from the album Playgrounds and Battlefields

Okay, but what the hell does Kythibong mean?!

KYTHIBONG, French independent record label, Nantes.
Records from electro-pop to arith-metal.
They have sent such well-known artists as
Pneu, Kommandant Cobra, Piano Chat, Sieur & Dame,
Vagina Town and Binidu in the direction of world fame.


Is it a one man label or are there a bunch of fanatics?

We’re three people, Mric, Anthony and Marion.

How does it started and when?

It started more than 10 years ago, in 2002, because Room 204, one of Mric’s band, needed a structure, for administration, stuff and, of course, a first disc. Room 204’s drummer had this band that should be released for the world to hear, so we had a second release. Then this other friend had a musical project and, it’s not all so complicated to release albums, isn’t it . In a few years, without really deciding it, we were a label. The real decision was to go on with it.

What was the first release?

Room 204 (minimal jazz rock) is the first album with the name Kythibong on it, but it’s a co-production. Argument (noise rock) was the first release we did alone, as grown-up assuming themselves.

What were the big (or little) surprises, disappointments and mistakes?

Mistake and disappointment cannot really happen the way Kythibong functions. When we release something there is always good-enough reasons for it, a mixture of human-music complicity and, if we’re happy when a lot of other people agree with us that an album is awesome, we’re also fine when it’s not the case. And we love pile up CD boxes to play stronghold and knights. As for surprises, let’s say we’re  always a bit surprised that people still want to work with us.

Can you play on any instruments? Have you ever been in a band?

Mric is the only one of us who can play on a guitar with some efficient results. He has two bands, Papaye and Room 204 (math rock/arith-metal), both on Kythibong, because we have no other choices if we want to avoid any big family drama. But actually, they are super great bands, so it’s ok. We’re lucky.

What do you do beside the music business?

Kythibong. And beside Kythibong, Mric is a musician, Anthony has a record shop and Marion is a screen-printer.

What are your upcoming releases?

Up coming next: an EP from The Healthy Boy and the Badass Motherfuckers (always raining)

a new LP from Gratuit (electro-pop) and somewhen soon a super surf album by a newcomer on Kythibong Les Agamemnonz.

Kythibong? What or Who is it?

We forgot, it was too long ago.



Not A Simple Case


Jonathan Kingsley Seilman is a French musician, arranger and producer from Nantes. For me he is unknown for his previous projects, This Melodramatic Sauna, and its collaborations with The Patriotic Sunday, but is known through Birds Are Alive and Sieur & Dame. He now back to himself with a new project, LE FEU, in collaboration with My Name Is Nobody, Binidu and Fordamage members. The most simple phrase is: indie pop, but it came Mick Harvey to my mind. Well, it’s not a simple case.


from debut album “Playgrounds & Battlefields” on My Little Cab and Havalina Records (both labels are French)


From New Records


Ultra Bidé from Kyoto > “Anarchy in your eyes. Let’s punk!” since 1978.


The band worked in New York between 1987 and 1999. They were supported by Alice Donut’s manager and Foetus. Their records were released by Alternative Tentacles. There are just drums and double bass on the new album

from DNA vs DNA-c LP by Alternative Tentacles


Jonathan Kingsley Seilman, musician, arranger and producer from Nantes, known for his previous project, This Melodramatic Sauna, and its collaborations with The Patriotic Sunday, Birds Are Alive, and Sieur & Dame, etc. He now back to himself with a new project, Le Feu, in collaboration with My Name Is Nobody, Binidu and Fordamage members. The most simple phrase is: indie pop, but French, because I like it.

 Debut EP by Havalina and My Little Cab Records

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