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17 June 1962

Lio was born on June 17, 1962 as Wanda Maria Ribeiro Furtado Tavares de Vasconcelos in Mangualde, Portugal. Lio's family settles in Belgium in 1968. The stagename Lio is based on a the character with the same name from a sixties comic strip by artist Jean-Claude Forest, author of the famous comic Barbarella. Lio is a lolitesque teenager that Barbarella must save from the bad guys. The resemblance between this little character and herself inspired Lio with both her pseudonym and her identity as an artist.

According to legend, Eric Verwilghem (aka Hagen Dierks, aka Jacques Duvall) met Lio in Brussels when she was only 14. Jacques Duvall was an aspiring actor, fresh from Jesuit school. A conscientious objector, he did his military service at the media library of Brussels where Lio's mother worked. By the time he met Lio, he had already made various attempts at songwriting: masquerading as a girl, he bravely sent lyrics to The Runaways, a group of preppy Californian girls produced by the mythical Kim Fowley. Lio, despite her young age, already displayed glimpses of the sexy and provocative pop icon she will become within a few years. She was musically inspired by the Ronettes, Supremes, Chiffons, Vervelettes, Vandellasand Blondie, but also by France Gall and Jane Birkin. Young Lio is determined to become a singer.

The adventure began in 1979, after two years of work, discouragements, and wrong tracks, when she and Duvall found in Marc Moulin (from the Belgium group TELEX) the ideal accomplice. The quartet Lio-Alanski-Duvall-Moulin proves fruitful and in 1980, Lio's first single is released: 'Le banana split' followed by 'Amoureux solitaires'. Both were multi-million-selling singles, which places Lio at the top of many European charts. The first album produced by the Alanski-Duvall-Moulin team is released all over Europe as well as Japan and estabilishes Lio as the perfect European electro pop starlet. In 1981, Lio records English versions of the songs of her debut album with Ron and Russell Mael, from the Sparks, who penned the new lyrics. The album, 'Suite Sixtine', features these songs plus various singles: 'Mona Lisa', 'Sage comme une image' and 'Baby Lou', a cover of Serge Gainsbourg. Originally, this album was only released in Canada.

'Amour toujours', the true second album, was produced by Alain Chamfort and released in 1983. Lio made her first appearance in the cinema under the direction of Chantal Akerman in a musical kitsch and pop film 'Golden eighties', followed by the film 'Elsa, Elsa' by Didier Haudepin.

In 1985 she meets Michel Esteban, cofounder of the famous New-York based label ZE Records, who had 'inadvertently' let go 'Le banana split' in 1979 when Duvall had offered it to him as a potential ZE Records release. Under the influence of Esteban, Lio's musical style evolves, underlined by the new single 'Les brunes comptent pas pour des prunes'. It is an immediate success and Lio departs for Los Angeles to record her next album, the well named 'Pop model'. Esteban calls upon an old acquaintance, John Cale, to co-produce some songs and to write strings arrangements for the album. Steven Stanley, formerly of the Tom Tom Club and engineer for Grace Jones and Bob Marley, records and mixes the album. The album produces several hits: 'Fallait pas commencer', 'Je casse tout ce que je touche', and 'Chauffeur'. The album release was followed by four concerts at the famous Olympia theatre in Paris.

In 1987 Lio gives birth to Nubia, her first child. In 1988, the Lio-Esteban partnership yields its second album, 'Can Can', recorded in Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro. Lio's new album 'Des fleurs pour un cameleon', was produced by Etienne Daho and was released in 1991. The record contained a cover of 'The girl from Ipanema'. Jean-Pierre Jeunet, director of the hit film 'Amelie', shot a promotional video for the song 'Lautre joue'.

In 1995, 'Wandatta' is released. It is Lio's most personal albums until then, where she no longer presents herself as a little lolita, but as a mature woman. Afterwards, she tours in France and in Japan. In 1998, a new partnership with Esteban brings an album in Spanish, recorded in Havana. Local stars also take part in it: Los Van Van and the 'old timers' from Buena Vista Social Club. The album, still unpublished, should finally come out in 2006 on ZE Records. The following year, Lio appears in 50 performances of the French adaptation of 'Seven brides for seven brothers', a musical staged at the 'Follies Bergères'.

In 2000, Lio records the album 'Je suis comme je suis', in which she interprets the poems of Jaques Prévert. She then goes on tour with the show 'Coeur de rubis - Lio chante Prévert', performed about 250 times throughout France, Europe and Northern Africa. The album 'Coeur de rubis', recorded during the tour, was released in 2004 and is Lio's first live album. Lio's next project is the theatre play 'Le bébé', an adaptation of the book by French writer Marie Darrieussec, staged by Marc Goldberg. It was performed over 250 times in the 'Studio Champs Elysées'.

In 2005, Lio's 25th year in music is celibrated with the release of completely re-mastered versions of the entire back-catalogue in digipack deluxe, including many bonus tracks. In 2006 she released the intimate, accoustic album 'Dites au Prince Charmant', on which we hear Lio as an authentic, grown up singer interpretating several beautiful songs in a very touching way. In 2009 she makes a return to rock with the group Phantom.

Lio, singer, actress and commedienne, but in the first place: mother of six kids: Nubia (born September 1987), Igor (born 1994), Esméralda (born 1995), Léa and Garance (born 1999), and Diego (born the 21 of May 2003). Her sister is actress/singer Héléna Noguerra.

On the web:

- Lio's website: http://www.universlio.com
- English biography: http://www.rfimusique.com/siteEn/biographie/biographie_6033.asp

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

MIA. (Germany)

Mecano (Spain)

What do we think:

PR: With her early hits in the beginning of the eighties, Lio co-defined 'Europopmusic'. She was the reason that millions of young people in the Netherlands (and other European countries) listened to French music again. And influenced by the Phil Spector as it may be, this music simply could not come from Great Brittain, let alone America. This was Europopmusic at its best! Even after almost thirty years, Lio's album still sound fresh and interesting. A lot of girls imitated her, none of the equalled her.

DB: At the start of the eighties Lio was a bit a housefriend to the new wave of electronica artists like Jacno and Telex. Hence that she played a (small) part on their albums and they returned the favour with her great debut. Poppy with naughty lyrics, just like the French like it. After that she played not a mayor part in French laguaged pop but delivered some nice and most of all happy albums. That is untill she commited commercial suicide with the Wandatta experiment. Great album by itself it has not much commercial appael. After that she popped on TV now and again but it took her years to record a new album. With a serious style change i might ad. More chanson like.


♪♪♪♪♪ - Lio - 1980

♪♪♪♪♪ - Suite sixteen - 1982

♪♪♪ - Amour toujours - 1983

♪♪ - Pop model - 1986

♪♪♪ - Can can - 1988

♪♪♪♪ - Des fleurs pour un caméléon - 1991

♪♪♪♪♪ - Wandatta - 1996

♪♪ - Lio chante Prévert - 2000

♪♪ - Coeur de rubis (live) - 2003

♪♪♪♪ - Dite au prince charmant - 2005

♪♪♪ - Je garde quelques images...(2cd best of) - 2008

♪♪♪♪- Phantom ft. Lio - 2009

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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