Occitan troubadours resurrect long-forgotten form of Mediterranean entertainment to give it a new lease of life.
Back in the ’30s, Marseilles operettas were adored all over France, with works of composers such as Vincent Scotto crossing over to the big screen to be sung by the likes of Josephine Baker. But for their cinematic appeal, Moussu T and his troupe decided to cut down the internationalism of 2013’s "Artemis" and focus on their local roots. Peeling the decades-thick patina of pieces by old masters, mostly by Alibert, the ensemble uncover a new energy hidden in there and let it out.
Thus, one would be pressed to tell when “Entre Marseille et Toulon” was recorded, as this chanson has a timeless ring to it, yet the vaudeville vim of “Miette” and “Dans ma petite calanque” is sprinkled with a ska kind of dust and the steel guitar’s twang sends “Deux grands yeux noirs” to America, which betrays their latter-day provenance. Still, the playful origins of “Le Plaisir de la pêche” or “Adieu Venise Provencale” are proudly flaunted in full view. Turns out, infectious creations like these don’t need an operetta context to impress, and when “Vòli anar monte vas” ends the album with a roar, exhilaration sets in. Quite a way to bring past into the future.