Les Fin'Amoureuses - Marion les Roses
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Marions les Roses Les Fin'Amoureuses
Marion les Roses
Alpha (www.alpha-prod.com)

Les Fin'Amoureuses bring together French chansons and Sephardic songs and present them with a surprising unity and a delicate grace. Purveyors of early music, the three women all sing and two play viols. Emmanuelle Drouet handles most of the vocals, and while she has a serviceable solo voice, a lovely spaciousness is created when the three sing harmonies. In general, the viols provide a droning accompaniment. The addition of dilruba, a bowed instrument from India, adds just a hint of Eastern spice to the sound.

"la galena"
"Marions les Roses"
One of the most seductive tracks, "La galena," is a Spanish song about a woman emerging from the sea. The singer's throaty alto is backed up by bowed and plucked viols, the plucking suggesting a guitar one moment, a harp the next. The intriguing medley, "Wa habibi/Adiéu Paure Carnavau," brings together a Maronite hymn, the text of which was originally written in Arabic, and a French carnival song, with a melody that is attributed to Pergolesi. But for real multi-culturalism, there's "Fel Shara' canet betétmasha." It's a Ladino song sung to a Turkish melody, with Arabic, French, Italian and English words. It has a gentle tango rhythm and a bit more vocal panache than most of the other tracks here. "Yo era ninya," a love song from Smyrna, has a haunting, melismatic melody and a subtle, sinuous viol solo at the end. The final two tracks are a study in contrasts. The perky paean to spring, "Voici le mois de mai," has a skippy melody and sweet three-part vocal harmonies. It is followed by the autumn song "Colchiques dans le pres," as pensive and still as the season. Though Marion les Roses is all over the map geographically, Les Fin'Amoureuses manage to find the unifying core at the center of these disparate musics. - Peggy Latkovich

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