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France - Culture

Nouvelle Vague sprinkles couleurs on Paris

D Finnan

Nouvelle Vague hits the concert circuit once again to promote their new album, Couleurs sur Paris, with multi-talented singer Liset Alea. Their fourth studio album includes offerings en français such as Putain, Putain a 1983 song originally by TC Matic.


Q&A - Liset Alea and Olivier Libaux

Alea hit the stage in a canary yellow mini party frock with veteran Vague singer Melanie Pain at Ris Orangis’ Le Plan on Sunday night. The two female vocalists, sharing the stage with the group’s masterminds Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux, provided a mélange of Nouvelle Vague’s hits, including Dead Kennedys song Too Drunk to Fuck.

Cuban-born Alea steps into the shoes of past Vague vocalists, including Nadeah Miranda, who have gone on to produce their own solo albums. Alea has her own unique style, providing a strong, sultry voice and some amazing vocal pyrotechnics. These include a jazz scat technique and the ability to sound like a harmonica without actually using one. These two skills were successfully employed in a call-and-response with the crowd at Le Plan.

Collin discovered Alea when the group went to Miami for a gig. “I was the opening act, and Marc wrote to me on Facebook to see if I could do a show, and another show, and I kept hopping over the Atlantic all the time. I was living in jet-lag land, so I decided to stay,” Alea told RFI.

For Bela Lugosi's Dead, Alea writhed around the stage in a sexed-up version of the original Bauhaus song. She also hit the spot on The Cramps’ Human Fly - two songs originally sung by other guest vocalists.

Alea sang a number of duets with Pain, including a cover of Mano Negra’s Spanish classic Mala Vida. The two singers worked well together, encouraging the crowd and even obliging a boisterous group of Spaniards, who joined Alea and Pain on stage during an encore of Dance With Me.

And just when Nouvelle Vague’s formula could become tired, Libaux says two “different” albums are in the works: a Portuguese new wave and punk album, and a new disc featuring American indie music. Any hints as to what songs will be on these albums? “It’s better not to say,” he says.

Nouvelle Vague heads to Eastern Europe next to promote Couleurs sur Paris with a performance at Klub Palladium in Warsaw, Poland on Thursday night.

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