Raphaëlle Lannadère, and, today, L again. Above all, do not take those successive changes of identity for a sign of any indecisiveness. On the contrary. This thirst for movement is the mark of an assertive personality, anxious to multiply experiences in the wake of inspirations. Remember. April 2011. Release of Initiale, her first album, illuminated by a sharp writing that is both realistic and poetic, and an overwhelming voice that grips you and does not leave you, like a big emotional roller-coaster. Public and critical success (Golden Disc) with, as a highlight, a cover of Télérama, loudly proclaiming: “the French music is L”.
Four years later, “L” is the title of her second album, which she signs this time under her own name, in a desire to escape a certain classicism to allow herself a powerful and free album with electronic accents. Close to both Beyoncé and Barbara. An heresy for those who thought they finally found an offspring of “the thin dark haired lady”. Misunderstanding. It doesn’t matter for Raphaële who does not necessarily like to be where she’s expected. She followed her desires “while having a lot of fun.”
This freedom gives her the opportunity to get back to her alias for her third album, soberly titled Chansons. Because L is songs … of course! They came to her very quickly since March 2016, in an inventive flood, like a galloping foam, an echo to the waves of “The Meuse ». The opening title sounds like a return to the roots, to the motherland, witnessing her children’s travels. A piece that carries us along with its strings that slam and cuddle at once, which also may be understood as a reflection to the lush orchestrations of Initials. Because, if we often mention the lyrics of L, they should not overshadow her music. This is particularly true
on Chansons which sounds and arrangements radiate a subtle luminous force. At work: a string quartet, some harp notes, a hint of bass synths, light programming. A minimal orchestration of which the arranger Clement Ducol (Camille, Christophe, Vincent Delerm …) and the co-director of the album, the sound engineer Maxime Le Guil, draw the largest lifeblood. Unlike the previous album, where Raphaële liked to quote bedside records, those of James Blake or Kendrick Lamar in particular, in Chansons, the singer remained focused on her own music. Which does not mean that inspiration does not come from elsewhere.
As always with L, there are songs with a very personal poetry. Let’s quote « Ton enfance” on her five-year-old niece who once had this marvelous thought in a square in the 18th arrondissement of Paris: “Look Auntie, we see the sea!”, “La Micheline” narrates journeys by train to Brittany with her former companion BABX or the overwhelming « Tu dors”. But there are also songs that look elsewhere, where her poetic writing draws lines to our society that does not always sound right. Like « Ta ville est belle” on which Gael Faure signed the music, bright tribute to Paris after the 2015’s attacks. Or the delicate « Orlando” subtle evocation of both the homophobic mass murder of June 2016 in a club of the American city and the historical exterminations of the Native Americans in the region. It’s also impossible to miss a word about the feverish « Ne me libérez pas” written after watching a documentary about Michel Vaujour, the famous robber who tried to escape prison five times and remained in a high-security jail for seventeen years.
If as always with L, melancholy and a certain gravity are at the heart of Chansons, it never spoils an album that exudes, as ever, a radiant liberating joy. A perfect antidote to our troubled times.
// Showcase on the Festival’s Rooftop on Saturday, June 16th at 11:30 PM //
Event reserved for holders of the unlimited accreditation, on sale on our online ticketing system.