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Wednesday, 14 July 2010

~Kitten Wine~#10: Rosa Yemen

I'd like to think of this as a companion piece to Griff's 'Botched Fairytail' Post in that it celebrates a left-field female-fronted agit-pop non-conformist duo now either forgotten or never properly known about in the first place.

Rosa Yemen was a Post-Punk performance art duo formed by Lizzy Mercier-Descloux and D.J Barnes. Their music featured short sharp bursts of atonal, distorted guitar over which Lizzy delivered equally frantic yelps and cries in French, often dealing with such subjects as sex, disease, modern angst, inner city grime and the collapse of western Civilization.

~My Favourite Track Of Theirs!~

Rosa Yemen were formed in 1978 after Lizzy and her partner Michel Esteban met Patti Smith and Richard Hell in New York. After settling in New York, Esteban formed ZE Records with Michael Zilkha. ZE Records would go onto release records for like-minded souls Suicide, James Chance, The Waitresses, Lydia Lunch and Was(Not Was) as well as Rosa Yemen.

After releasing an eponymous debut album, from which most of the tracks featured on this page are taken, they released a full album called 'Press Color' on which they started to adopt a more dance/funk approach; not dance as in disco, but in the kind of wirey, sinewy white funk of The Contortions, The Pop Group and James White And The Blacks.
After this Rosa Yemen pretty much faded-out and Lizzy embarked on solo career of more Disco-y dance music cultivating a passionate following in Paris and New York.

Sadly Lizzy succumbed to cancer in 2004 having left a considerable body of work including music, poetry, books and film scores.
If you've never heard of Rosa Yemen or Lizzy Mercier-Descloux before, I hope the fantastic tracks included here shed some light on why I love their music so much. The debut mini-album can be downloaded from here.

This is vital, urgent music, sexy and menacing at the same time. You can hear the influence of Rosa Yemen in contemporaries like The Slits, The Delta 5 and The Au Pairs, as well as bands like Young Marble Giants and all the way up to the Riot Grrrl movement.

Vive la Différence!



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