Saturday, June 22, 2013

And Bands: Eli et Papillon

Eli et Papillon: Train de Vie

I don’t speak French, but I know enough to know that “et” means “and.” I have written often about my son, and less about my daughter, which is just because my son and I seem to have more similar musical tastes, although maybe not really. I do love them equally, no matter what they may think. But I am always looking for a reason to mention my daughter, and when I came up with an idea in connection with this theme, I jumped on it.

My daughter is a young woman who has an intrepid streak and loves languages. Her goal in life, right now, is to live outside of the U.S. A French student in high school, she also started teaching herself Spanish and spent a summer in Ecuador. In college, she started studying Arabic, and is a Spanish major, studying last summer in Buenos Aires. She has taken a semester of Portuguese, and will be spending her junior year in Barcelona, studying Spanish and likely some Catalan.

The summer before her senior year, she attended the Middlebury Monterey Language Academy in Vermont, which is an immersion program, so the students are supposed to speak only their chosen language, in my daughter’s case, French. The students were cautioned that the only books they could bring would be in French, and any music they planned to have on their iPods had to be in French. So I started to look for music in that language for her. Along with the obvious Serge Gainsbourg, Carla Bruni, and the like, I found some French prog rock, some Cajun songs and a few other random things. She and her then-boyfriend found French ska and rap. But probably my favorite discovery was Eli et Papillon, a duo from Montreal, which my daughter also liked.

It turns out that “Eli” is not an old Jewish guy or a hipster kid from the Upper West Side, but is singer Elise Larouche, and “Papillon” is not Henri Charriere, but is multi-instrumentalist Marc Papillon-Ferland. They were offering their demo for free, and I snapped it up. It was well crafted music, somewhere between folk and pop, and Eli has a beautiful voice. It reminds me a little bit of Hem.

About a year ago, Eli et Papillon released a final version of their first CD, and they have fleshed out the songs a bit. The version of “Train de Vie,” which Google translates as “Lifestyle,” posted here is the new version, and it proves that you don’t need to have any clue what a song means to enjoy it.

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