Fans of experimental folk and baroque rock will enjoy the new album from Fanny L’Héritier, the singer/keyboardist for Odessey & Oracle, an acclaimed French trio.
Fanny’s solo project is called Bess of Bedlam, and her debut Folly Tales is a carnival of sounds, filled with pop, folk and psychedelic flourishes from the 1960s and 70s.
But, for us, the best sounds are Fanny’s velvety vocals — sung in English. They truly elevate her latest effort, turning Folly into fantastic.
SIX CRUCIAL QUESTIONS FOR…
NAME: Fanny L’Héritier
BAND: Bess of Bedlam
1. What is your earliest musical memory?
I remember that I loved round-dancing in the family living-room listening to “La Folia” by Marin Marais! I was 7 or 8 years old. Marin Marais is a French baroque composer of the late 17th century.
2. What has been your most embarrassing musical moment?
I happened to totally forget the music and lyrics of a song I was playing during a gig, like a blackout. At the time, I felt everything melting underneath myself onstage. But the worst and most embarrassing thing I did afterwards was that I wanted to replay the song from the beginning to play it properly and not to give up, and I had the same blackout at the exact same moment in the song!
Okay, my brain won’t do it. I’ll pass.
I was obviously very embarrassed… but I managed to get back up on the tiny wire/cord like a tightrope walker, very concentrated not to fall again (I play solo for Bess of Bedlam).
3. What do you like and dislike about touring?
What I like is that every gig is a special party; that way you can conceive touring as a holiday with a special party every night! I like the fact you travel from place to place and see new faces and meet new people every day. When touring is finished, I dislike going home and not knowing what to do, but feeling too tired to do anything constructive.
4. What is your favorite record store, anywhere in the world?
I don’t know record stores well, and I rarely go to [them].
5. Other than your own music, what is your favorite song or album of all-time? Why?
I have plenty of favorite songs. And so hard to choose an album as the album.
I love the album The Power of the True Love Knot of Shirley Collins, for the way she sings as naturally as she spoke, for the melodies, the sound of the organ, and the way her music is never annoying even though it’s “simple” folk songs – the same verse can be sung six, eight, ten times but the repetition is always different because of her vocal intentions and the instrumentation, too.
Here are some of my favorite songs:
“An Elegy” – The Free Design, for the way composition, harmonies, and structure makes me travel through the song;
“A Child is Born” & “Chorale” – The Free Design, for amazing vocal polyphony.
“Strange Fruit” – Nina Simone, for the way she sings the words and cries the horror of human violence (about these strange black “fruits” hanging on trees… Colonization, slavery and dominations have destroyed, and still destroy, entire populations and deeply traumatize following generations. And it deeply affects human behaviors and connections).
“Un sourire, un rire des éclats”- Catherine Ribeiro & Alpes, also for the way she sings and tells stories, with dramatic intentions, as she was an comedian, as well as I can picture the scene. And the music of course is beautiful.
Nara Leao – For her warm and peaceful voice and the Brazilian melodies and harmonies!
“Go Your Way” – Anne Briggs & “A Case of You” – Joni Mitchell for the easiness of singing, free as a bird.
“Let Me come Closer To You” – Colin Bunstone, for his velvet voice and the brass harmonies.
6. You wake up in a seedy Berlin hotel room with no recollection of the past 96 hours. Who is your first call?
It could not happen but in a dream! I don’t go to seedy hotel rooms; well, actually I don’t go to hotels at all. And if I have no memories of the past 96 hours in my life, then I’ll call emergency services, because otherwise it would mean I took a strange potion… and I wouldn’t do that – I am too fearful!
Image Courtesy of Fanny L’Héritier; Plasticienne Couture Courtesy of Emilie Zanon
Other Six Crucial Questions:
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