World Music Matters

21st century soul, Franco-American style

Audio 12:31
Milk & Green.
Milk & Green. DR

Memphis soul queen Toni Green has joined forces with one of France's most successful funk bands Malted Milk. It's an explosive mix and proof that soulful blues can be "Made in France". 

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Malted Milk, a six-piece band from Nantes, started out in 1998, Toni Green in the 60s. The Frenchmen love Memphis soul and blues, Toni Green was raised on them. 

They came together in 2013 thanks to producer Sebastian Danchin.

Working with Green is "a really good opportunity for everybody in my band to understand what this music is about," says Arnaud Fradin, the band's lead singer and guitarist.

"The first time we played, the guys were like 'wow' because we’re not from this culture... from Memphis. So it’s really interesting to work with someone who is."

Green was signed under Willy Mitchell, founder of Hi Records for many years, she recorded with the likes of the Doobie Brothers, Al Green, Luther King, Isaac Hayes. The Bar-Kays played at her home. She says the Frenchmen have a feeling for that music that's increasingly hard to find.

"Sometimes you don’t actually have to be born where I came from but there’s a spirit that can be in your soul,  that you're given,  and Malted Milk happens to be born with some of that soul."

The band are currently touring Europe with their debut album Milk & Green, showcasing songs by lesser well-known artists such as Tommy Tate and Garnett Mimms - who deserve to be discovered - and their own driving compositions.

While the album is inspired by Memphis Soul, it's not a nostalgia trip.

"We want to sing about reality and what's out there," Green says. Songs like Deep Inside, written by Fradin,  are a fine example of 21st century female reality. 

We caught up with Ms. Green and  Fradin ahead of their recent concert at the La Villette Jazz festival in Paris.

They play Paris's New Morning on November 23 and London's Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen on November 25.

Follow the band on facebook

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