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Keren Ann


Country of origin:

Born in Israel, now based in France

Type of music generally:

Mellow, indie art-pop; chanson; some trip-hop/ectronic touches

Status:

Most recent release, You're Gonna Get Love (2016)

See also:

Keren Ann's site

Wikipedia's entry on Keren Ann

Keren Ann is also a member of the band Lady and Bird

Comparisons:

Suzanne Vega, Carla Bruni, Feist, Charlotte Gainsbourg

Covers/own material:

Own and co-written

General comments:

Keren Ann Zeidel comes from a multicultural background and her music reflects it. It's sometimes as soft as Stina Nordenstam's sometimes more abrasive, yet always lovely. sings softly but well. kinda classic french chanson meets suzanne vega. Works with the godlike benjamin biolay. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

French singer that I saw earlier this year in NYC—sings in both french and english—simply stunning performer must see—does a lot of interesting tempo things like veda in her songs...her band also consisted of a piano, bass, and french horn when I saw her (gordodo@optonline.net)

Keren Ann Zeidel is fantastic! I'd say her self-titled 6th album (if you count her twee-sounding Lady & Bird album with Bardi Johannson which you definitely should) is her best to date. Certainly in my top 3 of 2007. I bought all her albums in Paris last year and her style has changed remarkably during the years. On albums like La Biographie de Luka Philipsen, La Disparation ,and to some extent Nolita, she's embracing the French chanson tradition in the vein of Jane Birkin and Francoise Hardy (and later Coralie Clement, April March, Francoiz Breut, and Emilie Simon ... among others). Not as upbeat as Camille. The music has more of a film noir-feel and she tends to whisper while Camille sings out loud. I particularly enjoy Keren's quirky side project with Bardi Johansson, Lady & Bird. She's got that characteristic wisp of voice which is both charming and, when paired with the same guitar arrangements over and over again, a bit samey and now that I've heard what she's capable of I wish she had experimented more on her first releases. However, Not Going Anywhere is a stunner of an album. It's in English and it's quieter than her self-titled release, more like a crossover between chanson and guitar-driven singer/songwriting with strong material and a melancholic feel to it. I wouldn't call it background music, but this is really the album you would want to listen to on a Sunday morning while reading the morning paper. Her self-titled release is much more demanding and varied. We've got psychedelica like Mazzy Star, a bit of electronica, sheer pop music, and fully orchestrated balladry. If you combine Feist and Charlotte Gainsbourg you have an idea of the potential here. You should definitely get this album as well as Not Going Anywhere and possibly Lady & Bird if you like male/female vocals and retro-sounding material. (christina_skov@hotmail.com)

She's an artist that I'll probably always listen to no matter how good or bad her albums are. Her voice is beautiful. (lasherboy@gmail.com)

Comments about live performance:

saw keren ann last night at tonic in nyc...simply sublime :) her band consisted of her on guitar, a keyboardist/glockenspielist, violin, and french horn...
     seeing her live i definitely got more of the veda hille type feel of the songwriting, the voice and the instrumentation (albeit the slower mellower side), especially on the track "chelsea burns" off nolita. (2/18/05, gordodo@optonline.net)

Recommended first album:

Nolita or Keren Ann

Recordings:


La biographie de Luka Philipsen

Release info:

2000—EMI Music—7243 5 25087 2 3

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Keren Ann—clarinet (4); guitar (6, 11); piano (13); vocals

Guest artists:

Frankie Moulet—bass(1, 8)
Laurent Vernerey—bass (3, 5, 9, 10)
Benjamin Biolay—brass (7); guitar (1, 3-5, 7, 9, 12); keyboards programming and arrangements; piano (3, 6-8, 12); vocals (8); trombone (9); trumpet (11)
Christophe Morin—cello (1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12)
David Maurin—drums (1, 3, 5, 8, 10)
Lionel Gaillardin—guitar (9, 10)
Karen Brunon—violin (3, 4, 8, 10-12)
Florent Bremond—violin (1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12)

Comments:

Debut French language album is a moody beauty. Some reviewers have called it "Paris in autumn," which is such a good description (I think; I've never been to Paris) I'm borrowing it. I really like her subtle use of different styles—a bit of Latin here, some trip-hop there, straight pop in other places. It sets the songs apart so you can't quite pin them down. And the instrumentation is wonderful. (JoAnn Whetsell)

La Disparition

Release info:

2002—EMI (France)—5386252

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of gentle pop

Group members:

Keren Ann—vocals, guitare

Guest artists:

Denis Benarrosh—batterie (1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10); percussions (1, 2, 3, 5)
Lauren Vernerey—bass (1, 4, 5, 10); contrebass (2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9); piano (5)
Eric Sauviat—guitare (1, 2. 6, 8, 9)
Benjamin Biolay—Fender Rhodes (1, 4); arrangements et direction de cordes et orchestre (1, 4, 5, 6, 10); piano (2, 9, 10); guitare (4, 5), B3 (4); programming (4); trompette (7, 8, 9); claviers, mellotron (8)
Karen Brunon, Florianne Bannani, Fabien Boudot, Erick Lacrouts—violins (1, 4, 5, 6, 10)
Christophe Briquet, Estelle Villotte—altos (1, 4, 5, 6, 10)
Cyrille Lacrouts, Christophe Morin—violoncello (1, 4, 5, 6, 10)
Yannic Fonderie—claviers (2, 10); programmations (2, 4, 10)
Erwin Autrique—programmations (2, 4, 5)
Corale Womblientjes—choeurs (2, 10)
Lauren Monganas—direction de choeurs (2, 10); B3, piano (3)
David Maurin—batterie (3, 7, 8)
Master Fader Junior—sifflements (3)
Joni Mitchell—sample of "Chelsea Morning (4)
Isobelle Mattyseens—harpe (5, 6, 10)
Geert Boeckelandt, An Vervliet—clarinettes (5, 6, 10)
Wim Van Volsem, Bart Jonkers—bassons (5, 6, 10)
Peter Verhoyens, Marjolijn Von Mechelen—flûtes (5, 6, 10)
Elisabeth Scholoert, Johan Moeyersons—hautbois (5, 6, 10)
Johan Van Nestes, Alex Von Aeken—cors (5, 6, 10)
Bernard Viguié

Produced by:

Keren Ann Zeidel, Benjamin Biolay

Comments:

A gentle, sweet pop album. (Neile)

Not Going Anywhere

Release info:

2003—Capital Records/Metro Blue—7243 5 71211 2 5

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Keren Ann—vocals, guitar, keyboards, piano, programming

Guest artists:

Eric Sauviat—guitar
Karen Brunon—violin, backing vocals
Bardi Johannsson—guitar, fanfare programming, harmonica, percussion, backing vocals
Nicolas Giraud—trumpet
Laurent Vernerey—bass, piano
Jean Lamoot—programming
Benjamin Biolay—guitar, piano, trumpet, keyboards, string arrangements and direction
Yannic Fonderie—keyboards, programming
Denis Benarrosh—drums
Laurent Manganas—wind arrangements and direction
Karen Brunon, Floriane Bonnani, Fabien Boudot, Eric Lacrouts, Christophe Briquet, Estelle Villotte, Cyrille Lacrouts, Christophe Morin—strings
Geert Baeckelandt, An Vervliet, Wim Van Volsen, Bart Jonkers, Peter Verhoyen, Majolijn Van Mechelen, Elisabeth Schollaert, Johan Moeyersons, Johan Van Neste, Alex Van Aeken—winds
Isabelle Matthyssens—harp
David Maurin—drums
Bernard Viguie—ukulele

Produced by:

Keren Ann Zeidel (1-3, 5, 6, 9-11), Benjamin Biolay (3, 4, 7-9), Bardi Johannsson (11)

Comments:

A lovely, low-key album that has lighter pop moments as well as the moody work she's so well known for. I particularly like her orchestrations and the use of children's choruses (or what sounds like a children's chorus anyway) on two tracks, a technique that is rarely employed so well. I think this album is a fine introduction as well as a worthwhile listen for fans of her later work. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Keren Ann's Not Going Anywhere is absolutely fantastic. Not a bad track on it. It's very atmospheric—reminiscent of a time and a place that was much more pure and simple than the world around us now. It's funny, it's one of those albums that's perfect to listen to when you're happy, but also perfect to listen to if you're feeling sad. (lasherboy@gmail.com)


Nolita

Release info:

2004—Metro Blue—7243 5 63463 2 1

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Keren Ann—guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, sitar, piano, keyboards, programming, other instruments on "Nolita" and "Song of Alice," all other instruments and programming on "For You and I," vocals

Guest artists:

Laurent Vernerey—bass
Denis Benarrosh—drums
Karen Brunon—violin
Jeremy Turner—cello
David Maurin—drums, tambourine, cymbal
The Phillipsens—claps
Jean-Jacques Milteau—harmonica
Jesse Schiffren—violin, mandolin
Jack Petruzzelli—electric guitars, space, dobro
Nicole Renaud—soprano
Christophe Morin—cello
Avishai Cohen—trumpet
Jason Hart—mellotron, siren
Bardi Johannsson—all other instruments and programming on "For You and I"
Sean Gullette—story telling on "Song of Alice"

Produced by:

Keren Ann Zeidel

Comments:

Nolita is the first Keren Ann album I heard, and I still think it's her best. Moody, but not depressing. The sound reminds me quite a bit of Julie Doiron's sadcore and also of Hope Sandoval's voice, especially the hushed singing used in a lot of the songs. Four of the tracks are in French, and one (the title track) is a gorgeous instrumental. The album ends with the haunting "Song of Alice" featuring Alice's story narrated over strings. Beautiful all the way through. There is one kind of bouncy song that doesn't quite fit, but it does lighten the mood a bit. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Keren Ann's fourth album mixes English and French lyrics and is said to be inspired by New York. Her soft voice whispers its way through the songs, reaching a high on the hypnotic "Chelsea Burns". The entire album is a strong collection of atmospheric moods and the chanson heritage mixes well with the nods to the Velvet Underground's softer side. Jazz influences are also there as on "L'onde amére". The album is a classy collection all the way. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

The only record I have is Nolita, and I've found her to be well-above-average background music.
     I really like the weird track at the end with the dude speaking. (timjy@sbcglobal.net)


Keren Ann

Release info:

2007—Metro Blue—0946 3 85103 2 1

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Keren Ann—bass, Hammond B3, guitar, harmonica, programming, keyboards, piano, choir arrangements, string arrangements, vocals

Guest artists:

Thomas Semence—guitar, bass
David Maurin—drums, brushes
Albin De La Simone—Helmut keyboard-pipes, Hammond B3
Avishai Cohen—trumpet
Karen Brunon—violin; string arrangements (2, 3)
Christophe Morin—cello
Laurent Vernerey—bass
Régis Ceccarelli—drums
Dadi Birgisson—piano
Magic Malik—flutes, flute arrangements
Roland Hartwell—violin
Bjarki Gunnarsson—cello
Bruno Dejarnac—string recordings and additional production (9)
Ragnheidur-Arnbjorg-Gudrudur-Halldora—choir

Produced by:

K. A. Zeidel

Comments:

Keren Ann's eponymous faith album is simpler than the others, but it cuts deeper. There are fewer influences from jazz and chanson and more focus on the Velvet Underground style. She still mostly whispers but keeps one's attention better than before. She sings entirely in English and yet sounds relaxed about it. It's a superb collection of songs. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

Her self-titled album is good. It's not a classic, like Not Going Anywhere. My problem with it is that it doesn't have a consistent sound. Sometimes that's a good thing with artists, but with Keren Ann I'd rather her stick with a consistent mood for an album. Some of the songs are just a little boring, too. However, the album features a few amazing tracks, including "Liberty", "Lay Your Head Down", and the Mazzy Star-sounding "It's All a Lie". (lasherboy@gmail.com)


101

Release info:

2011—EMI—509999 46783 2 1

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Keren Ann Zeidel—vocals, guitars, synths, programming, Rhodes, moog, piano, choir arrangements; string arrangements (10)

Guest artists:

Philippe Entressangle—drums, crash cymbal, percussion
Laurent Vernerey—bass
Albin de la Simone—keys, synths, arpeggiator, Rhodes, piano, rhythm piano, helmut keys, Wurlitzer, background vocals
Bardi Johansson—guitars, siren guitar, bass, gong
Johan Dalgaard—solina, moog, vox
Shlomi Shaban—piano; solo piano (7)
Maxime Moston—horn arrangements, 2nd violin (3, 7); string arrangements (3, 6, 7, 9)
Chen Shenhar—1st violin (2, 8)
Avner Kelmar—2nd violin (2, 8); string coordination (2); horn arrangements (5); string arrangements (8); violin (10)
Galia Hai—viola (2, 8, 10)
Hila Karni—cello (2, 8, 10)
Karen Brunon—1st violin (3, 6, 7, 9)
Andra Voldins-Dix—viola (3, 7)
Anja Wood—cello (3, 7)
Louis Schwadron—French horn (3, 7)
Sefi Zisling—trumpet (5)
Yair Slutzki—trombone (5)
Ofer Peled—flute (5)
David Braccini—2nd violin (6, 9)
Carole Dauphin—viola (6, 9)
Miwa Rosso—cello (6, 9)
Halldora Vidarsdottir, Hildur Gudny Asgeirsdottir, Ragnheidur Erna Kjartansdottir, Vala S. Gudmondsdottir Yates—choir (2, 4, 6, 8, 10)

Produced by:

Keren Ann Zeidel

Comments:

By far my favourite album of 2011. Fabulous and sophisticated indie. I didn't think she (or anybody else) could beat her 2007 release, but she did. She has stopped sounding like Mazzy Star (not that I minded her sounding like them), her style is truly varied, a bit retro, fantastic lyrics, great voice, very stylish. She reminds me a bit of A Girl Called Eddy now. You simply need to give her a listen.
     "Blood on My Hands" is my favourite track and "101" is a close second. (christina_skov@hotmail.com)

a bit of a letdown (lasherboy@gmail.com)

This album is a bit of a different direction—brighter, more pop—so it took a while, but it's grown on me. (JoAnn Whetsell)


Further info:

Keren Ann co-wrote songs for Emmanuelle Seigner's debut album Dingue (2010). She and Bardi Johannsson, collaborating as Lady & Bird, released a self-titled album in 2003.

Compilation work includes:

  • "Berechov Haneshamot Hatehorot (At the Pure Soul Street" on Avodia Ivrit 60 (Celebrating Israel's 60th Anniversary, 2008)
  • "Life on Mars?" on We Were So Turned On: A Tribute to David Bowie (2011)
Collaborations include:

  • "Wayne Song—The Lake of Avallon" with Sidji Moon on their album Nomades (2009)
  • "To Die for Your Ideas" with Pierre de Gaillande on Bad Reputation: Pierre de Gaillande Sings Georges Brassens (2010)
  • "Ninety-Five Percent" with Pierre de Gaillande on Bad Reputation: Pierre de Gaillande Sings Georges Brassens (2010) and on Brassens, echos du monde (2011)
  • "Un tigan avea o casa" with Sanda Weigl on her album Gypsy in a Tree (2011)


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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