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Keren Ann - 2/22/18
at City Winery Boston
- 9:30pm (Estimated End Time)
Chapter 7. For about fifteen years already, Keren Ann’s albums are being leafed through and avidly read, like the pages of a great book. A book that narrates the course of life, its longings and desires, its past loves and its unquenchable passions. A book akin to a personal diary that would also be a universal one. A saga whose seventh volume, You’re Gonna Get Love, is both continuing and renewing.
There is continuity indeed, for it features familiar traits which have established her, the singing globetrotter and citizen of the world, as so singular a talent: her melodies, luminous in their straightforwardness, rich in their simplicity, and her sensual atmospheres imbued with melancholic beauty. There is renewal as well, for this album –her first solo effort in five years– reflects the experiences and life of a singer-songwriter at the pinnacle of her craft. This is an album that was delivered slowly, softly, echoing Keren Ann’s recent motherhood, whose blossoming can be perceived underneath the eleven tracks. This is a way to come back to the limelight after five years spent in the shadows, writing for other artists.
Although she has been hastily dubbed a “cosmopolitan singer” or a “nomadic artist,” she has always steered clear of any kind of labeling, be it geographical or musical. Born Keren Ann Zeidel in Israel to a Russian-Israeli father and a Dutch mother, she grew up in Paris. Dividing her time between Paris and New York, she has undertaken many projects in Iceland, explored several continents and performed in the United States as well as in Asia. She is fiercely attached to her artistic freedom, and to the human beings she has met along the way, travelling more as a conscious explorer than a roving adventurer. Following in the footsteps of artists who inspired her to embrace this beautiful fate (Dylan, Cohen, Springsteen…), she has devoted her life to songwriting and storytelling.
Keren Ann has not changed; she has simply grown. When she was ten years old, she dissected the textures and colors of Carole King’s Tapestry. Today, she is ready to travel hundreds of miles to see Randy Newman. Whether she writes in French (La Disparition [The Disappearance]) or in English as on her last albums, from Not Going Anywhere to 101 –“It’s my native language”, she reminds us, “I want the people around me to be able to understand my songs”–, her songs always display empathy for the characters she gives life to. And a little bit of herself always shows through in the tales she spins.
In this new chapter, crafted in Brooklyn and Paris, a gallery of tenderly sketched portraits can be seen between the lines: flames of the past that are still burning bright (“The Separated Twin,” “Again And Again,” “You Knew Me Then”), an all-too-charming bad boy (“Easy Money”), an impossible love story (“Insensible World”), a mother whose sons have gone to war (“Bring Back”), a much mourned father (“Where Did You Go”), and a nostalgia for places of belonging that are now out of reach (“The River That Swallows All the Rivers”).
The album features hints of revamped blues (“My Man Is Wanted but I Ain’t Gonna Turn Him In”), musical nods to James Bond and Lee Hazlewood (“You’re Gonna Get Love”), percussions inspired by heartbeats (“You Have it All to Lose”), guitar arpeggios and graceful piano, hypnotic tempos and ethereal laments, mystery and emotion. Renaud Letang carefully produced it all, recording live the beats and vocals: this was a new creative experience for the singer, who had always put together her records on her own until then, from planning to production.
Keren Ann is as eclectic as she is international: Anna Calvi, David Byrne, Iggy Pop, Luz Casal, Rosa Pasos, Jane Birkin and Françoise Hardy have covered her songs. She has written and made records with Emmanuelle Seigner and Sylvie Vartan. She also worked on film soundtracks (Thelma, Louise et Chantal, Yossi) as well as on theater scores (Falling out of Time, adapted from David Grossman), and collaborated with Icelandic musician Bardi Johansson on an album and an opera (Lady & Bird, Red Waters).
“To write is to leave a trace, the trace of an emotion”, she says. The singer-songwriter demonstrates it once again in You’re Gonna Get Love, the new chapter of her unique and captivating saga. Keren Ann, heart & soul.