Think French and France and you might visualize romance, the Eiffel tower, the food, their wines & cheese and most importantly their language.
Mostly thought by others as a pretentious language, yet one cannot dispute the beauty of the language , the phonetics of it, as in how it sounds when you listen to it..
It does take you to another world, a world of dreams, of roses, of love.
My experience of France & anything French was restricted to it’s food. Be their breads, cheese or their lovely wines.
And when it came to music, it was the one and only Edith Piaf, the french cabaret singer from the early 20th century that swayed the world with her rendition of ‘La Vie En Rose’ that even today spawns many versions of it.
So when I saw an event posting by Alliance Francaise, the French Cultural center hosting a young singer Juliette Katz for an acoustic performance, I was thrilled.
I had no expectations nor knew anything about the artist except that it would be a welcome change to spend a Thursday evening with a friend enjoying some ‘French music’.
But what I saw in front of me was this amazing woman, dressed casually, totally being herself and showing us the power of her husky sensuous voice.
It showed that Language had no barriers when it came to singing from the heart.
As she moved on from one song to the other, I observed that behind each song was a story, an experience and a step by step process as she evolved into being what she is now.
A song about her experiences from New York City to Paris.
A song that made her fondly remember Pondicherry when she was just 10 years old and living there.
A rendition about how important it is to first love oneself,before even sharing that love with someone…
A beautiful blend of acoustics, a soulful voice ably supported by Benjamin on the guitar and backing vocals, Juliette took us on a journey where French Soul and Carnatic music mixes so well that when it comes out it’s pure magic.
And a beautiful paradox happened as it always does in a country like India.
As she was singing, there was a huge wedding procession with the band and the wedding party thumping their drums right next door. And the beauty here was as she continued singing unabated it felt like her voice and the rhythm of the band was synchronizing with each other.
It was like a trance, as we saw just the Red Umbrellas of the wedding procession and it felt like it was gliding to the music and Juliette’s voice!
If something like this can be expressed straight from the heart, just imagine how beautiful the world around us can be and most important, how our preconceived notions can be squashed away…
As we grooved, moved, clapped to this beautiful woman whose desire was to visit her beloved Pondicherry and to visit India again and again and perform to what she calls a beautiful country with beautiful people, I reflected back too.
This country with its paradoxes, confusion, orderly chaos with all it’s flaws is still beautiful, stunningly beautiful and this makes artists like Juliette wanting to explore more and reflect it in their music.
Her musical journey is through her album ‘ Tout Va de Travers’ which means that everything could go wrong, but that in itself lies all our experiences, our lessons, our happiness, our sorrows and finding our true selves.
And that’s exactly what the French Soul Diva did…She took us on a journey of the self, making us reminisce our childhood, love , heartache, all that and more with a generous dose of sensuousness.
And her journey from Paris to Pondicherry has just begun..