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World Music Matters

French jazz singer feels more citizen than musician after Paris attacks

Audio 11:18
French singer-songwriter Sans Elle
French singer-songwriter Sans Elle DR

Sans Elle talks to RFI about making her debut album, her truly "world" vision of music and why, after the attacks, she feels like focusing on what we can do, not what is lost and gone.   


She first sat at a piano aged five, began singing and composing at 14. Now she's carving out a career in the competitive world of jazz, singing mainly in English, and scatting with the best of them.

We'll never know how good a pianist she'd have become had she not broken her wrist as a teenager. But she stills composes at the piano, and allows herself a piano recital on her debut album "Beyond".

Beyond what? Musical boundaries. "Who cares if it's pop or jazz, she says, "so long as you like it".

She wrote all the songs on the album. Backed up by a strong band of international musicians, she defends a truly “world” vision of music. And life.

When terrorists knocked on Paris’s door on 13 November, Sans Elle was in the midst of a voice competition. “I didn’t feel like singing,” she says. “I just felt like an ordinary citizen.”

She still see herself that way. Even if, as her music shows all too well, the human voice can be a remarkable healer.

“I want to give a positive message in my songs now,” she says, “maybe insist on things we can do instead of things that are lost or gone. We need to give everyone a big fat smile.”

Sans Elle is preparing her second album. Follow her on facebook.

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