Indeed, had it not been for the fact that I came across this band recently on the FMA, I probably would still be 'in the shadows'. But their unique sound and feel enchanted me enough to prompt me to give in to Griff's nagging, and so I present to you ...
Les Chauds Lapins ( The Hot Rabbits)
I was reading Griff's recent post on Enter the Zu' by Zukrewe when it took me, like Alice down the rabbit hole, to the Free Music Archive site. Browsing the main page, I was drawn to the song list recommendations and some words in the French language caught my attention. Randomly, I clicked on one of the song titles and as the first strains of the music filled the room I was magically transported back in time to 1920s France. Aaah, the romance, the bonhomie, the joi de vivre! Almost immediately, as sometimes happens, I knew this was going to be a good album and, as I listened through each of the tracks, I found myself falling in love!
The collection available on the FMA is a live recording made on September 12th, 2011 for Irene Trudel's show on WFMU, an independent freeform station broadcasting at 91.1 fm in New York, and at 90.1 fm in the Hudson Valley. While I was immediately smitten by Les Chauds Lapins' sound, I'll admit that I don't know much about them, so here's WFMU's accompanying blurb to help put you in the picture:
Les Chauds Lapins, lead by New York’s Kurt Hoffman and Meg Reichardt, specialize in a repertoire of French swing from the 1920’s through the 40’s.
The group has re-arranged long-forgotten French classics for banjo-ukes, string trio, guitar and winds, mixing the rootsiness of early American jazz with the lushness of a Bernard Hermann film soundtrack.
(Kurt Hoffman and Meg Reichardt)
There, I couldn't have put it better myself; I hope that intriguing description sounds as enticing to you as it did to me.
Although the songs are in French, the essence and feel of the music is what quickly enchants the listener, and in between the songs the interviewer (Irene Trudel) helps us out by asking the band to describe what each song is about.
'The Rabbits' do this with such charm and whimsy that even we non-Francophones can soon easily visualise the images that the songs paint.
What really appeals to me about Les Chauds Lapins sound is that while many of the songs have a Jake Thackray-style hint of mischief about them, this is allied with a smoother air of Gallic charm.
Among my favourites are "Il M'a Vue Nue" "Vous Aves L'eclat De La Rose" and "Ce Petit Chemin".
As with all of the work on the FMA the album is free to download and I've embedded it below so that you can have a listen first.
Hope You Enjoy It :)