Malicorne (band)

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Malicorne (band)
Malicorne le 14-09-2012 a Chateau-Thierry.JPG
Malicorne performing in September 2012
in Château-Thierry, France[nb 1]
(L-R: Gilles Chabenat, Marie Sauvet, David Pouradier Duteil, Gabriel Yacoub)
Background information
Origin Paris, France
Genres French folk music
Canadian folk music
Folk rock
Progressive rock
Years active 05/09/1973[1]–22/07/1989[2]
15/07/2010[3] (unique show)
Labels Hexagone
Ballon noir
Elektra Records
Hannibal Records
Disques Vogue
Boucherie Productions
Le Roseau
Associated acts Gabriel Yacoub, Marie de Malicorne, La Confrérie des Fous, Le Quatuor
Website Gabriel Yacoub Official website
Members Gabriel Yacoub
(lead vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo)
Marie Sauvet
(lead vocals, dulcimer, psaltery)
Yannick Hardouin
(bass guitar)
Gilles Chabenat
David Pouradier Duteil
(drums, percussions)
Nicolaïvan Mingot
(electric guitar)
Past members Hughes de Courson
Laurent Vercambre

Malicorne are a French folk and electric folk band formed in September 1973[1] by Gabriel Yacoub, Marie Yacoub (now Marie Sauvet), Hughes de Courson and Laurent Vercambre. They flourished in the 1970s,[5][6][7] broke up three times in the 1980s[2][8][nb 2] but re-formed twice in the early 2010s[9][10][nb 3] and are currently touring and working on a new studio album.[11]


1973-1977: The traditional years[edit]

Gabriel Yacoub and Marie Yacoub formed Malicorne on 5 September 1973[1] (naming it after the town of Malicorne in north-western France, famous for its porcelain and faience). For two years, Gabriel had been a member of Alan Stivell's band, playing folk-rock based on Breton music. He sang and played acoustic guitar, banjo and dulcimer with Stivell, appearing on his 1972 À l'Olympia breakthrough (live) album and his 1973 Chemins de Terre (studio) album, before leaving at the end of Summer 1973 to form his own band, intending to popularise French music the way Stivell had popularised Breton music. Since several of their albums are called simply Malicorne it had become the custom to refer to them by number, even though no number appears on the cover at all.

Released in October 1974, Malicorne 1 consisted of the four founder members, that is the Yacoubs, Hughes de Courson and Laurent Vercambre. The combination of electric guitar, violin, dulcimer, bouzouki and female vocalist immediately brings to mind Steeleye Span, their English equivalent, thus placing them squarely in the electric folk genre. These four musicians were, between them, masters of twelve instruments. Their first four albums (one album released each Fall from 1974 to 1977) consisted of mostly traditional French folk songs, with, per album, one or two songs written by Gabriel Yacoub, one or two instrumentals and a few music and lyrics borrowed from some Canadian versions of the songs and instrumentals. Again like Steeleye Span, they occasionally sang group harmonies a cappella. On Malicorne 4, they were lastingly joined by a fifth member, Olivier Zdrzalik, on bass, percussion and vocals. The exuberant art-work on the album sleeves, featuring elves and dragons, makes them collectors pieces.

1978-1980: The experimental years[edit]

L'Extraordinaire Tour de France d'Adélard Rousseau, dit Nivernais la Clef des Cœurs, Compagnon Charpentier du Devoir (1978) was very much a concept album, concerning a guild craftsman's travels around France, with an implied spiritual exploration. It is perhaps the most exciting of their albums, with some gothic and prog-rock elements in the music. Like their next album Le Bestiaire, it consists mostly of songs by Gabriel, with a few by Zdrzalik and de Courson. The range of sounds of these albums is huge. Their appeal goes beyond the French-speaking world, and still gives them a dedicated following, but most of the albums are only sporadically in print. Some sections are clearly classical music, but electronic wizardry and bagpipes also appear.

1981-1989: Excess and decline[edit]

The size of the band grew to seven members, including at one point, Brian Gulland from the English group Gryphon. Their commercial success enticed them into pure pop. Balançoire En Feu (1981) was a disappointment to many. They disbanded in early 1982 at the end of the album supporting tour. In February 1986, his record company convinced Gabriel Yacoub to record a new album under the name Malicorne, thus reactivating the band including new members. Les Cathédrales de L'Industrie (1986) began with an epic folk-rock track. One of the other tracks, "Big Science 1-2-3" is in the style of Peter Gabriel, Laurie Anderson or Gary Numan. About a year after the album release, the band embarked on a 2-year extensive tour to support the new album, starting on 10 July 1987 at Les Francofolies de La Rochelle Festival, France and ending on 22 July 1989 in Saint-Gouéno, Brittany, France at the Festival des Tertres, France – a final show that would become the last Malicorne show for the twenty-one following years. Indeed, Malicorne disbanded at the end of the tour.

1989-present: After the Malicorne break-up[edit]

The three Malicorne compilation albums Quintessence (1978), Légende (Deuxième Époque) [1978-1981] (1989) and Vox (1996) show the vast range of Malicorne's work. Marie de Malicorne, a compilation of Malicorne tracks featuring only those sung by Marie, was issued in September 2005. In 1990, Gabriel and Marie appeared as a duo in a low-key event in London. All of Malicorne's songs were in French, apart from a few words of English on their final album. At their concerts they made some announcements in broken English. Gabriel continued to record as a solo artist. All his solo albums are available on CD but one: Tri, his unique compilation to date (released in March 1999), now out-of-print.

2010: One-off reunion show[edit]

Twenty-one years after their last show under the name Malicorne, the band reunited the classic line-up along with guest musicians and performed a one-off reunion concert on 10 July 2010 at Les Francofolies de La Rochelle Festival at the Grand Théâtre de la Coursive in La Rochelle. A CD and a DVD of the performance were released in March 2011.

2011-present: Rebirth[edit]

Forming a new band, embarking on a new tour and planning a new album[edit]

In November 2011, 38 years after the release of their debut album Pierre de Grenoble, Gabriel Yacoub and Marie Yacoub (now Marie Sauvet) announced the formation of a new band under the name Gabriel et Marie de Malicorne, including four other members: Yannick Hardouin on keyboards, acoustic bass guitar and backing vocals, and Gilles Chabenat on electro-acoustic hurdy-gurdy (two Gabriel Yacoub's long-time music partners, performing with him as a trio since 2005), David Pouradier Duteil on drums, percussions and backing vocals (already part of the line-up at the July 2010 one-off reunion concert in La Rochelle, France) and new comer Romain Personnat on diatonic accordion, harmonium and (mostly backing) vocals.

The new band also announced that they would embark in July 2012 on a concert tour entitled "Almanach Tour 2012-2013" and record a new album at the end of 2013.

Almanach Tour[edit]

During the Almanach Tour, the new band performed in France at indoor, outdoor, smaller or bigger venues, specially during open-air summer festivals. During the first 6 months, out of 8 dates, the band performed 5 dates in Brittany where Malicorne always enjoyed a great popularity. The tour continued beyond 2013, visiting the whole country and three foreign countries (including two French speaking neighbouring countries): Belgium in 2013, the Netherlands in 2014 and Switzerland in 2015.

Back to the Malicorne name in late 2012[edit]

On 20 September 2012, the Malicorne official Facebook page announced that the 6-member band had decided to become simply Malicorne, after the eponymous duo had realized that the new name «didn't work», that «in people's mind, this remained Malicorne».

A new comer in mid 2013, Romain Personnat's departure and Laurent Vercambre's return in late 2014[edit]

A seventh musician is present on stage at the Malicorne concert on 24 May 2013 in Aubervilliers, appearing to be one of Gabriel Yacoub's long-time music partners: guitarist Nicolaïvan Mingot. Malicorne performed again as a 6-musician band at the following concert on 6 July 2013 at the Gooikoorts Festival in Belgium but at the next Malicorne show on 14 July 2013 at the Château d'Ars Festival, Nicolaïvan Mingot was back on stage with the band. Since then, he has permanently joined the band.

On 14 July 2013, during the Château d'Ars Festival, Malicorne's founder member Laurent Vercambre joined the band on stage as a guest musician to perform a few tracks, firstly as a solo violonist and secondly within the nyckelharpas duo he had formed at the time with nyckelharpist Eleonore Billy. This was the first time Laurent played again with the band since the one-off reunion show Malicorne performed (exactly) three years earlier on 15 July 2010 in La Rochelle. Thereafter, Laurent supported Malicorne at their concert on 20 September 2014 at Le Trianon in Paris, France, their first major show in the capital city since their previous one twenty-six years ago (on 5 March 1988 at the Théâtre Déjazet).

On 17 November 2014, the Malicorne Facebook page announced that Laurent Vercambre on violin and nyckelharpa has permanently returned into the band, replacing Romain Personnat, starting from December 2014. The new line-up gave its first show on 17 January 2015 at the Théâtre des Feuillants in Dijon, Burgundy, France. Romain Personnat had definitely left the band after a last 2014 concert on 11 November in Coutances.

New EP, new single and new album[edit]

On 24 June 2015, Malicorne confirmed that their new studio album was still in preparation, confiding « taking the time necessary to obtain an album of quality » and announcing « hoping anyway to release [...] some time in October 2015 » two discs : a 4-track EP « to set the tone of the album » and a vinyl record (including two versions) of a new track, "Les Cendres de Jeanne", a song written by Gabriel Yacoub about Joan of Arc. Finally, only the vinyl was released on 10 December 2015 under the name Johanne, including two different versions, the A-side version entitled "Les Cendres de Jeanne" (written by Gabriel Yacoub / Nicolaïvan Mingot) performed by Malicorne, the B-side version entitled "Ghjuvanna" (written by Gabriel Yacoub / Nicolaïvan Mingot / Laurent Vercambre) performed by A Filetta, a Corsican band, Malicorne's long-time friends.

Laurent Vercambre's departure in late 2015[edit]

In mid September 2015, the Malicorne Facebook page announced Laurent Vercambre's permanent departure from the band after Laurent had spent nine months within. Indeed, Laurent had plans to develop new musical projects.


Malicorne performing in August 2013 in Anost, Burgundy, France[nb 4]
(L-R: Gilles Chabenat, Marie Sauvet, David Pouradier Duteil, Gabriel Yacoub, Yannick Hardouin, Nicolaïvan Mingot and Romain Personnat)

Once they had gained a reputation in France, Malicorne toured in French-speaking Canada. The album En Public (1979), recorded live in Montreal, makes it clear that they were more than a studio band. They toured over 800 venues in Europe, Canada and the United States.



Current members[edit]

Past members[edit]

Former members[edit]

  • Hughes de Courson – 1973-1976, 1977-1978, 1981 (producer and guest recording musician only), 1995 (unique performance), 2010 (unique show)
  • Laurent Vercambre – 1973-1976, 1977-1978, 1995 (unique performance), 2010 (unique show), 2013 (as a guest musician at the Château d'Ars Festival), 2014-2015
  • Max Picout – 1973-1974 (touring only) – bass guitar
  • Pierre Kerhervé – 1975-1976 (touring only) – bass guitar
  • Olivier Zdrzalik-Kowalski – 1976-1986, 2010 – bass guitar
  • Claude Alvarez-Pereyre – 1976-1977 (touring only)violin, electric guitar
  • René Werneer – 1976-1977 (touring only) – violin
  • Brian Gulland – 1979 (only guest recording musician on En public), 1979-1980 – bassoon, cromorne, flute, harpsichord, keyboards, saxophone, oboe, vocals
  • Patrick Le Mercier – 1979-1982 – violin, electric guitar, Scottish bagpipes, gaita, lyra, cromorne, vocals
  • Jean-Pierre Arnoux – 1979-1982, 1986-1989 (recording and touring) – drums, percussions
  • Dominique Regef – 1979-1980 – cello, rebec, hurdy-gurdy, sanza
  • Félix Blanchard – 1982 (touring only) – keyboards
  • Michel Le Cam – 1984 (touring only), 1986-1989 (recording and touring) – violin, mandolin, accordion, vocals
  • Gérard Lavigne – 1984 (touring only) – bass guitar
  • Jean-Marc Alexandre – 1984 (touring only) – electric guitar
  • Frank Gliksman – 1984 (touring only) – drums
  • Patrice Clémentin – 1986 (guest recording musician only), 1987-1989 (touring only) – synthesizers, sequencers, vocals
  • Frédéric Mathet – 1987-1988 (touring only) – bass guitar, clarinet, vocals
  • Nikki Matheson – 1987-1989 (touring only) – keyboards, tin whistles, vocals
  • Romain Personnat – 2011-2014 (touring and recording) – diatonic accordion, harmonium, vocals

Guest recording musicians[edit]

  • Dan Ar Braz – 1978 – electric guitar
  • Michel Santangeli – 1978 – drums
  • Bruno Menny – 1978 – orgue à voix ("voice organ") (also a recording studio assistant)
  • Alain Roux – 1979 – harmonica
  • Iván Lantos – 1981 – Bulgarian bagpipes, kaval flute
  • Véronique Harvey – 1981 – backing vocals
  • Jim Cuomo – 1981 – saxophones
  • Bertrand Darin – 1981 – piano
  • Michel Bourzeix– 1981 – xylophone
  • Richard Galliano – 1981 – accordion, bandoneon
  • Alan Kloatr – 1986 – uilleann pipes, tin whistle
  • Olivier Daviau – 1986 – chabrette
  • Jean-Michel Kajdan – 1986 – electric guitar

Guest live musicians[edit]



Pre-Malicorne Albums[edit]

  • 1973: Pierre de Grenoble (studio album "#0" as Gabriel & Marie Yacoub)

Malicorne Albums[edit]

  • 1974: Malicorne 1 (aka "Colin") (studio album #1)
  • 1975: Malicorne 2 (aka "Le Mariage anglais") (studio album #2)
  • 1976: Almanach (studio album #3)
  • 1977: Malicorne 4 (aka "Nous sommes chanteurs de sornettes") (studio album #4)
  • 1978: Quintessence (Malicorne Best Of #1: 1974-1977)
  • 1978: L'Extraordinaire tour de France d'Adélard Rousseau (studio album #5)
  • 1979: En Public (live #1: partial live recording of 2 shows on 2 & 3 December 1978 at El Casino, Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
  • 1979: Le Bestiaire (studio album #6)
  • 1981: Balançoire En Feu (studio album #7)
  • 1986: Les Cathédrales de L'Industrie (studio album #8)
  • 1989: Légende (Deuxième Époque) [1978-1981] (Malicorne Best Of #2: 1978-1981)
  • 1996: Vox (Best Of #3: Malicorne songs only performed a cappela)
  • 2005: Marie de Malicorne (Best Of #4: Malicorne songs only performed by Marie de Malicorne (aka Marie Yacoub now Marie Sauvet))

Malicorne Singles[edit]


Except for two singles (released in 1986 and 2015), the Malicorne singles were mostly not-for-sale promotional singles:

  • [#1] 1975: Martin (A: "Martin" (1975) (3:05) / B: "Ronde (Instrumental)" (1974) (1:49)) (Hexagone 881 002)[nb 7]
  • [#2] 1975: J'ai vu le Loup, le Renard et la Belette (A: "J'ai vu le Loup, le Renard et la Belette" (1975) (2:27) / B: "Marions les Roses" (3:28) (1975)) (Hexagone 881 004)
  • [#3] 1975: Marions les Roses (A: "Marions les Roses (version courte spécial radio)" (1975) (2.57) / B: "J'ai vu le Loup, le Renard et la Belette" (1975) (2.27)) (Hexagone 882 001)
  • [#4] 1976: La Jambe Me Fait Mal (Noël est arrivé) (spécial radio) (A: "La Jambe Me Fait Mal (Noël est arrivé)" (1976) (2.00) / B: "Quand Je Menai Mes Chevaux Boire" (1976) (3.45)) (Hexagone 882 006)
  • [#5] 1976: Almanach (spécial radio) (A: "La Fille au Cresson" (1976) (3:35) / B: "Branle de la haie" (1976) (2:05)) (Hexagone 882 007)
  • [#6] 1978: La Chica De Berro (La Fille Au Cresson) (A: "La Fille Au Cresson" ("La Chica De Berro") (1976) (3:37) / B: "Quand Je Menais Mes Chevaux Boire" ("Cuando Llevaba Mis Caballos A Beber") (1976) (4:36) (Mediterraneo (Spain) 01.0383/6)
  • [#7] 1978: À Paris la grande Ville (A: "À Paris la grande Ville" (1978) / B: "La danse des damnés" (1978) (Ballon Noir Bal 45001)
  • [#8] 1986: Dormeur (A: "Dormeur (version radio 3'50)" (1986) (3:50) / B: "Dormeur (version album 4'42)" (1986) (4:42)) (Celluloïd CEL 1942) (non promotional single)
  • [#9] 1986: Big Science (1.2.3.) (A: "Big Science (1.2.3.)" (1986) / B: "Sorcier" (1986)) (Celluloïd CEL 1945)
  • [#10] 2015: Johanne (A: "Les Cendres de Jeanne" (2015) / B: "Ghjuvanna" (2015)) (self-production – only available in one format: 33 13 rpm / 30 cm / 2 tracks vinyl record) (non promotional single)


  • Arnaud Choutet, Malicorne, Le Mot et le Reste Edition, Marseille, June 2016, pp. 176[18]


  1. ^ On 14 September 2012 in Château-Thierry, Picardie, France during the Patrimoine vivant Festival
  2. ^ In early 1982 at the end of their Balançoire En Feu tour, at the end of their Summer 1984 US & Fall 1984 France tours and on 22 July 1989 in Saint-Gouéno, Brittany, France at the end of their Les Cathédrales de L'Industrie tour.
  3. ^ On 15 July 2010 for a unique reunion show at Les Francofolies de La Rochelle Festival in La Rochelle, France and starting from 27 November 2011.
  4. ^ On 16 August 2013 in Anost, Burgundy, France during the Fête de la vielle en Morvan.
  5. ^ In June 1995, at the Passage du Nord-Ouest in Paris, France, the three other Malicorne former members joined together with Gabriel Yacoub at the end of one of his solo shows to perform a capella one of their most famous song, "Marions les roses".[14]
  6. ^ The Canadian a capella folk music band Les Charbonniers de l'enfer joined Malicorne on stage to perform together one of Malicorne's classic songs "Les Tristes Noces" from their milestone album Almanach (1976).
  7. ^ Martin was the very first Malicorne single, released in early 1975, following the release in October 1974 of their debut album Malicorne 1, their record company considering their first album was laking a commercial track.[17]


  1. ^ a b c En Public (1979) live album CD booklet.
  2. ^ a b Choutet, p. 102.
  3. ^ Choutet, p. 154.
  4. ^ Malicorne's Facebook page > Post on 27 November 2011, 01:20pm (no longer online) announcing the formation of the new band under the name "Gabriel et Marie de Malicorne".
  5. ^ Choutet, p. 19.
  6. ^ Choutet, p. 49.
  7. ^ Choutet, p. 81.
  8. ^ Choutet, p. 94.
  9. ^ Choutet, p. 153.
  10. ^ Choutet, p. 159.
  11. ^ Choutet, p. 165.
  12. ^ Choutet, throughout the entire book.
  13. ^ Légende: Deuxième Époque (1989) compilation album CD booklet.
  14. ^ Choutet, p. 128.
  15. ^ "Malicorne - Discography". 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2016. 
  16. ^ "Hexagone". 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2016. 
  17. ^ Choutet, p. 40.
  18. ^ "Malicorne, Arnaud Choutet". June 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016. 

External links[edit]

Websites in French