|Genres||Pop, World music, chanson, jazz, cabaret|
Paris Combo is a musical group based in Paris, France, fronted by the vocals of chanteuse Belle du Berry. The group has an eclectic style, blending elements from the traditional French chanson and pop, American jazz and swing, Roma music, and North African music. They have performed live all over the world.
The mainstream success of their second album «Living Room» (2000) gave the group a unique status as a French indie band capable of drawing crowds not only in France, where the album went gold, but also in Australia and the USA where they have chalked up over twenty tours. Returning to performing in 2011 after a five-year hiatus, the group made their US comeback at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and went on to release their fifth album, simply entitled «5», on the DRG/eOne label. Media response to «5» was enthusiastic and in 2013-14, they sold out venues across the country with their first US tours in a decade and a triumphant return to Australia in 2015.
Belle du Berry, guitarist Potzi and drummer François first performed together in Paris as members of a quirky retro revue, “Les Champêtres de Joie” which went on to collaborate at the closing ceremony of the Albertville Winter Olympic Games in 1992. Du Berry and Australian-born trumpeter-pianist David Lewis met while performing together at the “Cabaret Sauvage” and in 1995 the group began to hone their sound playing in cafés and barges along the Seine under the name “Paris Combo”. Du Berry, whose musical roots go back to post-punk bands, cites influences such as Arletty, the French singer-actress of the ’30s, but also the Surrealists and a panoply of more recent artists including the B-52’s. Potzi’s Django-influenced guitar often mixes with François’ ska or Latin grooves to create a fascinating blend. Lewis, who had previously played with a wide variety of French bands including Manu Dibango and Arthur H, attributes the group’s approach to Paris’ cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Paris Combo’s eponymous 1997 debut disc arrived as the swing revival was in full bloom, yet the band’s wide-ranging mix of musical influences instantly set them apart from other groups in the genre, winning critical praise and appealing to international audiences. The momentum continued with the release of their second album, “Living Room,” which went gold in France in 2000, and confirmed the group’s international standing, with tours of the United States, Australia and Asia and a nomination at the French industry awards, Les Victoires de la Musique. The following year Paris Combo released their third set, “Attraction,” with a series of concerts at the prestigious Cité de la Musique in Paris. Their fourth album, “Motifs,” 2004, was supported by a tour that included Australasia, Brazil and the iconic Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles where the group was accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.
Paris Combo's latest album, «Tako Tsubo» was released worldwide in 2017, and again accompanied extensive touring in the US, Australia and NZ and Europe.
- Belle du Berry, French, lead singer and accordion player
- Potzi, self-described Gypsy of Algerian descent, guitarist and banjo player
- François-François (a.k.a. François Jeannin), French, percussionist and singer
- Mano Razanajato, from Madagascar, bass player and singer (until 2011)
- Emmanuel Chabbey, bass player (2011–2017)
- Benoit Dunoyer de Segonzac (sincer 2017)
- David Lewis, from Australia, trumpet and piano. David moved to France in his early twenties and studied at the Paris Conservatoire. He made a name for himself on the French music scene playing with Arthur H and Manu Dibango.
In 2006, David Lewis' mother, Elaine Lewis, published "Left Bank Waltz", a book of her experience as an Australian expat in Paris as she pursues her dream to create the "Australian Bookshop", a hub for Australian arts and culture in Paris. The book is rich with details of Paris Combo, including the musicians' early careers, the Parisian music and arts scene, and the band's first gig.
In early 2003, Paris Combo's "Terrien d'Eau Douce" won in The 2nd Annual Independent Music Awards for Best World Song.
- 1998 – Paris Combo (Tinder Records)
- 2001 – Living Room (Tinder Records)
- 2002 – Attraction (Ark 21)
- 2005 – Motifs (DRG Records Incorporated)
- 2005 – Live (DRG Records Incorporated)
- 2013 – 5 (DRG Records Incorporated)
- 2017 - Tako Tsubo (DRG Records Incorporated)
- Calabash Music - Paris Combo – accessed January 7, 2006
- Feature article on Paris Combo from Rhythm magazine – accessed January 7, 2006
- Paris Combo Biography – accessed January 7, 2006
- NPR review of Motifs album – accessed January 7, 2006
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