Gig Seeker Pro


La Ciotat, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | INDIE

La Ciotat, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2004
Band World Blues




"The most enjoyable and worthwhile French music-making"

the group are still one of the most enjoyable and worthwhile additions to contemporary French music-making - Songlines Philip Sweeney

"You're unlikely to understand the Marseille band's words. But, writes Charlie Gillett, their banjo-flecked blues will sound appealingly familiar"

Marseille occupies roughly the same position and role in France as pre-Katrina New Orleans had in the United States: port of the South, ferment of hopes and fears, point of entry and exit for imports and exports, immigrants and emigrants, above board and underground.
But while the streets, brothels and bars of New Orleans spawned the 20th century's two great musical movements - jazz and rock'n'roll - Marseille mostly kept its music to itself. Outside the city, who knew what it sounded like? In the nick of time, as the century was about to close down, a loose amalgamation of ragga fans calling themselves the Massilia Sound System aimed to answer the question, often with songs delivered in the region's almost defunct Occitan language. But, despite releasing eight albums between 1992 and 2004, the group never went beyond the status of local heroes.
Taking a new tack, lead singer Tatou, guitarist/banjo player Blu and drummer Zerbino have recruited Brazilian percussionist Edilson, called themselves Moussu T e Lei Jovents (Mister T and the youths) and embarked on a mission to evoke the music of 1930s Marseille.
Forever Polida, their second album, doesn't sound much like the music of New Orleans, but often feels like a close relative of the cajun and zydeco music of neighbouring Louisiana. More like the sound of the country than the sound of the city.
Even though half the songs are in Occitan, there's a sense of warm familiarity about the music, which lopes along on rhythms that fall somewhere between reggae and blues. On the songs where he plays banjo, Blu, thankfully, rarely strums it, and doesn't show off any blistering finger-picking tricks either, but bounces us along with notes struck one-at-a-time on single strings.
The pretty title track shows the ensemble at its most effective, with Blu adding a slide guitar as a counterpoint to the banjo. Tatou is doubtless fed up with people pointing out that he brings Manu Chao to mind - but he does.
If we lived in a world where a track on such an album could be a hit, it would surely be 'Les Plaisirs de la Pêche', which has me singing along, even though my French is minimal. For other would-be karaoke participants, the booklet provides lyrics, including French translations for the Occitan songs.
I give up. It's too hard to explain why this music is so appealing. Maybe you're just going to have to trust me. But if you ever liked Ry Cooder, JJ Cale or the compilation of Louisiana music Another Saturday Night, this is an album you've been looking forward to without realising it. And it may help to put Marseille on your itinerary, next time you plan a trip to the Mediterranean.
- Observer Music Monthly

"Simplicity and the art of good fun"

Voice and a guitar make up the skeleton of a song, and in some cases that is all you need; adding more flash just makes the music flabby. Four autumnal releases add up to a masterclass in doing more with less.


Moussu T e lei Jouvents set Occitan nationalism to music, something you don’t hear enough of. Most of Forever Polida has the familiar Mediterranean Ramblas swagger, shouts and exhortations over an idle acoustic vamp. When this comes off, as on the comedy-cannibal caper “Sur La Rive”, it is simply good fun. But on “Sus L’Autura” the atmosphere changes abruptly. Over a duet between banjo and slide guitar, Tatou sings unaffectedly about the view from a pine-covered Provençal clifftop, gazing at dolphins, and birds flying north with the news from Algeria and clandestine migrants: a sea where north Africa seems closer than Paris. And the Occitan lyrics, harsher and stranger than French, give the song the air of a medieval troubadour’s lam-ent. If only all national anthems were this understated.
- Financial Times

"Moussu T e lei Jovents"

Superb set at Womad this year from this excellent trio but good to hear the songs in the more structured environ of a CD as well, they really are a delight with their street style of Marseille welcoming the world to a chilled, fun, sing song. A big favourite. - World of Reviews

"Moussu T e lei Jovents, Forever Polida"

From Liverpool to New Orleans, great seaports have always acted as musical melting pots, and Marseille is no exception. This is where French styles and the local Occitan language and culture have collided with music from the Americas and beyond, providing the influences for this witty and laid-back trio.
On stage, they are almost too casual for their own good, relying on backing tracks and cabaret-presentation (including what must surely be the first use of furry toy animals in a world-music show). But on CD their songs and performance are superb. Much of their material sounds like French country and blues, with memorable, sturdy melodies matched by great vocals by Tatou and fine rhythmic backing from the banjo and guitar-player known simply as Blu. From the slinky title track to the Marseille sing-along Les Plaisirs de la Peche, it's a delightful late summer set.
- Guardian

"Beautiful, acoustic summer breezes from the pride of Marseille."

When Moussu T e lei Jovents play live, they can sometimes appear too laid back and whimsical for their own good. But on this superb album, the world's best Occitano-Brazilian outfit get serious when it comes to the two great themes of their beloved Marseille - port life and port love. This This is melting pot music, with some French country music, blinding banjo, Cuban rhythms and a bit of blues all hold together by tight, sweet-sounding tunes. The Côte d'Azur is brought vividly to life, both in the songs sung in Occitan (the centuries-old language of the south of France) and in the lilting sung-poems about the joys of fishing, neighbourhood pals and strutting down Boulevard Bertolucci in the shipbuilding town of La Ciotat.
Through gentle melodies and leader Tatou's fine vocals, you're led to a back-street broiling in the summer heat waiting for a girl you've known since school days to pass by and maybe return your gaze. Yes, it's that romantic, but believable and at times extraordinarily beautiful. Moussu T manage to be exotic and familiar, at home with a riff from Provence but carrying, ever so lightly, a global sensibility.
You might not know what a cougourdons or a bronzinaire is - instruments Tatou wields while singing - but you will easily relate to the songs and, even if there are clouds scudding over the fields behind your landlocked house, there'll be a lapping sea somewhere in the room.
The band's debut, Mademoiselle Marseille, was a sharp collection of traditionel Southern chansons, but this follow-up fulfils the promises of its title. Polida means 'pretty' or 'nice'. That isn't some anodyne sentiment, however - it's an earthy, working-class faith and a freshness of outlook that is winning and wonderful. - HMV


2005, LP : "Mademoiselle Marseille" Manivette Records / Le Chant du Monde / Harmonia Mundi
2006, LP : "Forever Polida" Manivette Records / Le Chant du Monde / Harmonia Mundi
2007, DVD DualDisc : "Invente a La Ciotat" Manivette Records / Le Chant du Monde / Harmonia Mundi
2008, LP : "Home sweet home" Manivette Records / Le Chant du Monde / Harmonia Mundi
2010 New Release September, LP : "Putan de cançon" Manivette Records / Le Chant du Monde / Harmonia Mundi



Moussu T e lei Jovents have managed to come up with their very own style, mid-way between popular music and Mediterranean blues. Whether they work in Occitan or in French, they have become a name to be reckoned with on the Marseilles music scene.
Moussu T e lei Jovents, made up of the founder and singer of Massilia Sound System, Tatou (alias Moussu T, Mister T), and his guitarist, Blu, are now a major presence on the French music scene: an uncontested figurehead of Occitan music, the group is now making a name for itself beyond the frontiers of their homeland. Over the thirty years of their encounter-rich career (Massilia was founded in 1984), they have connected with many people, notably those in the Nordeste region of Brazil and singers like Lénine, Silverio Pessoa and Jamilson Da Silva. From this, the group has drawn their inspiration and fundamental principles. The influence of Marseilles music from the thirties and the popularity of its light operas have also made a major contribution to building the group’s repertoire. And aside from these influences, Moussu T e lei Jovents have managed to come up with their own style, half-way between ‘chanson’ and Mediterranean blues. Now recognised around the whole world, Moussu T e lei Jovents have come - like other world music groups - to represent the music of their home town.
Moussu T e lei Jovents work with almost the same team on their recordings as on stage: Tatou on vocals, Blu on guitars, banjo and vocals, Déli K on percussion and Denis Lo Bramaire on drums. For this occasion, the Brazilian percussionist, Jamilson Da Silva, with whom the group has worked since they started out, also accompanies them (here, he plays on the tracks ‘Le bateau’, ‘Monte vas cançoneta?’, ‘Mon drapeau rouge’ and ‘Embarcatz!’). For stage performances, they are joined by the bass player Steph Souba, for a show which will be, as always, full of good cheer but even livelier!
In 2014, the band had dipper explored the repertoire of his illustrious precursors from 1930's. As they ventured further into the world of operetta, these illustrious precursors, and above all the brilliant lyric-writer René Sarvil (René Crescenzo, to call him by his real name) became more and more relevant to what they were doing and thinking about until they started to feel like when they performed this music, they were playing their own compositions. It is in this spirit, and not as part of any attempt to research the past or keep it alive that they have put together this short anthology of songs which, to their mind, are not museum pieces, but lastingly effective examples of contemporary music : "Opérette", released in July, 2014.
Septembre 2016: new release "Navega!" on Manivette Records / World Village / PIAS