Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"Malicorne (aka "Malicorne 1" or "Colin" )" 1974

by Steve Winick:
Francois Hadji-Lazaro, a popular French rock musician and the founder of a family of record labels, once said that the group Malicorne "single-handedly allowed the French public to discover folk music." This is, perhaps, an exaggeration; during the 1960s and 1970s, before Malicorne's heyday, folk music already had a cult following both in Paris and in areas where strong rural traditions remained. But by combining the folk tradition with influences from both rock and roll and early classical music, Malicorne accomplished a sound at once richly musical and widely accessible, and they brought French folk music to a far larger audience than had ever heard it before.

The history of Malicorne begins with a musical couple, Gabriel and Marie Yacoub. As members of Alan Stivell's Breton folk-rock band in the early 1970s, the Yacoubs witnessed Stivell's wizardry at mixing traditional folk music with rock and inciting young audiences to a frenzy. As non-Bretons, as Parisians, the Yacoubs began to wonder whether a similar combination of traditional and electric arrangements could be applied to songs and tunes from the French-speaking regions of the country. The first fruits of their experiments, recorded in March 1973, became the album Pierre De Grenoble, a landmark recording credited to Gabriel and Marie Yacoub.

Although Pierre De Grenoble featured some of the folk scene's top players, the lineup did not coalesce into a group. Still, the album did lead to the formation of Malicorne; in early September 1973, the Yacoubs joined forces with Hughes de Courson, Pierre De Grenoble's producer, who was also a talented multi-instrumentalist and singer. They soon enlisted Laurent Vercambre, a similar talent, to form Malicorne's first lineup. With skill and enthusiasm, singing and playing obscure instruments like the bowed psaltery, the hurdy-gurdy and the crumhorn, they quickly rose to the top of the French folk scene. Their debut album, Malicorne [Hexagone CD 193.632 (1974)], was like a fresh breeze on the French scene. Its first two songs charted the course of Malicorne's future: a murder ballad sung in Gabriel's strong nasal voice and accompanied by a combination of gentle bouzoukis and dulcimers and tough electric bass and guitar, and a song of star-crossed lovers, sung with an ethereal wispiness by Marie, and accompanied by a steady, loping bass line, bright strums on mandolins and the occasional otherworldly drones of psaltery and electric guitar. Other classic titles include "Landry," their first venture into a capella harmonies, and "Le chant des livrees," a ritual marriage song sung with Gabriel and Marie quite appropriately playing the courting couple. Malicorne's main weakness is in the quality of the mix, which is muddy. But the interesting material, the band's fresh approach, and the helpful bibliography of song sources make this folk-rock debut fascinating even today.

Sample pic: Click


Anonymous arbor said...

Thanks for this! I have a few records by this group on vinyl and they are great

24 January, 2007 22:34  
Anonymous darksun said...


25 January, 2007 03:31  
Blogger PE_35 said...

hi from canada,

i hope that you also can have the second album of the band made in '75.

thanks very much

25 January, 2007 05:34  
Anonymous resogerath said...

You can also listen Gabriel Yacoub ( lead singer from malicorne) and his albums mades in the 90's. they're great!

25 January, 2007 06:44  
Anonymous Nildro-hain said...

I adore Malicorne- excellent musicians! Definitely have a listen if you have not heard this before- nothing else sounds quite like it in my opinion.

25 January, 2007 08:12  
Blogger PE_35 said...

thanks for your opinion RESOGERATH.

unfortunely, my girlfriend is only interested in the first 2 albums/cd's) of the band.

it's a coincidence, she talked with me about that yesterday if i can try to find these in blogs.

for sure i have now the first one.

take care !

25 January, 2007 15:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

valeu amigo. vou baixar.

21 February, 2007 23:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks much for Malicorne I & II; they are delightful. Gabrieil Yacoub is wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

14 April, 2008 08:53  
Blogger Valeria said...

Sorry, where is link?

29 October, 2009 03:12  

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