The internationally celebrated artist, award winning French singer and composer Camille releases ‘OUÏ’, her fifth studio album and first for Nonesuch Records, in the United States on October 13, 2017.
Recorded over a year in La Chartreuse, a 14th century monastery-turned-artist’s residence in Avignon, France ‘OUÏ’ is a cornucopia thrumming with folk, hymns, ballads, pop, lullabies and breathtaking a cappella.
“The story of the album is like this, moving from the arcane drums” – percussion is used throughout as the bedrock – “to the treble and harmonics and light in my voice.” An instrument of exhilarating range and phenomenal power, Camille’s voice provides all the vocal parts on ‘OUÏ’. “All the voices are telling a story,” she says, “and I am all the voices.
Co-produced by Camille with two of her longtime collaborators, composer and multi-instrumentalist Clement Ducol and sound and mixing engineer Maxime Leguil, and featuring the versatile Moog analogue synthesiser, ‘OUÏ’ is a work with a pulse. “It really resonates,” says Camille, “On some songs there are no drums, just this sub-bass like a kick drum, which leads the way and gives it a beat.”
While she sets out to write politically charged songs inspired by drum-driven French traditional dances, that reflect upon the country’s recent, tragic events, she was equally led to something peaceful, vowel-oriented and vibrational in her exploration of sound.
The latter explains the album’s title, ‘Oui’ – ooo…eee – a playfulness with sounds and language, a breaking free from its oft imposed restrictions. Becoming a mother for the second time also had a bearing – “Having my children made me want to dive again into the spring of life, of love, of sound. All this mothering has led me to an approach of fluidity, I am enthusiastic about the cultural renaissance that is coming up, this going back to earth.”
‘Fontaine du Lait’, the album’s first single, with its flute sounds and arrangements that overlap like a waterfall, evokes this concept of fluidity. “Everything flows in this track,” says Camille. “I stretch French words so that they feel fluid; I think we the French need to be less strict. Sound making helps us all feel more open, don’t you think?”
Two traditional French music pieces play their part in ‘Je méne les Loup ‘and ‘Twix’ whilst ‘Seeds’, the album’s only English language song, is about reaping what we sow. ‘Lasso’, with its uneven rhythms and lyrics about throwing, spinning but never quite catching and ‘Sous Le Sable’, an ode to a mysterious woman named Laure/L’Or who lives below the sand.
Overall it’s the French language and the magic of sound that dominate ‘OUÏ’. It also pays tribute to Camille’s father – “My father was a singer and whilst he didn’t do music for a living he definitely showed me the way. This is the first time he won’t hear a new album of mine, which is maybe why I called it Oui – Ouï – like ‘heard’. I wanted to make something so vibrational, so beautiful, that he can hear it where he is. Music has always helped me communicate on another very subtle level.”
Having earned a stellar reputation for her live work – running the gamut from sold out cross art form happenings from Paris to London and Sydney to a pared down tour of chapels in the Le Beaujolais region – Camille will celebrate ‘OUÏ’s release with a tour of her native France throughout the summer months.
European dates are expected to be announced in due course.