(Philippe) Katerine

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8 December 1968

Born as Philippe Blanchard (nicknamed Katerine)  in Chantonnay grew up in a traditional catholic family. At the age of 8 in 1976, Philippe had open-heart surgery. From an uncle he got a guitar as a present and during rehabilition he learned to play it, having a fondness for Brazilian rhythms. Later he enrolled in Art College in Rennes (in Brittany). It was here that he started  writing and recording his first songs on an 8-track recorder in his student room. His first CD, 'les Mariages Chinois'. It was constructed of bits and pieces together with his sister, nicknamed Bruno to offset the feminine pseudonym of her brother, and his girlfriend Anne on vocals. The album was so strange that it was hard to pinpoint it. After the birth of his daughter Edie in 1993, Katerine started on a second album, 'L'éducation anglaise' which was released in '94. Lightness and mystery are still in place on this CD where Katerine doesn't sing at all. But more major attention comes when he covers  'L'Eté indien', the famous hit by French singer Joe Dassin, in a compilation dedicated to him called 'l'Equipe à Jojo'. Finally with third album 'Mes mauvaises fréquentations', the singer gets his first public success with the single 'Mon coeur balance'(my heart hesitates).
Parallel to his own creations, he worked for some friends. He produces Mercedes Audras' album in 1997 and two Anglo-Japanese singers, 'Les Sœurs Winchester'. He also undertook a musical collaboration with sixties actress Dane Anna Karina on which he re-did the old for the album ‘les Voix Si les Voix La’. In 2000 Katerine released a double album made up of two CDs which are very different in their content, and sometimes even sold separately. On one 'les Créatures' and on the other ‘l'Homme à trois mains’. Again consisting of improvisation, texts, collages he positions himself as an incomprehensible artist.

Still commercially he would sell a reasonable amount of albums. Katerine would also start working as an actor in 'Nom de code: Sacha', a medium-length feature film by Thierry Jousse. In 2001 he produces the album ‘ Azul’ of his new girlfriend Helena Noguerra. (sister of Lio). His 2002 album '8ème ciel', recorded with The Recyclers, featured two guest stars: a 70-year-old singer by the name of Général Fifrelin and an 11-year-old girl called Boulette. Continuing to flit back and forwards between the music and film worlds, Katerine composed the soundtrack to a new feature film by the Larrieu brothers, 'Un homme, un vrai' (which hit cinema screens the following year). In 2005, Katerine released a new album 'Robots après tout' (the title is a tongue-in-cheek reference to Daft Punk's 'Human after all'). This album found Katerine embarking in a new musical direction after splitting from The Recyclers. This time round, he worked alone in the studio with a groove box, a tiny machine on which he composed his songs in the most minimalist way possible. In 2006 he composes two songs for Nouvelle Star winner Christophe Willem. By 2007 Katerine also starts writing and releases a book called ‘Doublez votre mémoire (Denoël)’. Since he focuses on his film projects more it takes until 2009 before a new musical sign of life. He sings a duet with Etienne Daho interpreting his hit Le Grand Sommeil and he works together with Brigitte Fontaine for her new album. In 2010 he presents an experimental album filled with short collage-like songs. This changes once again in 2014 when he adapts disco for his 'sexy cool' album 'Magnum'.

On the web:

- Katerine's site: http://katerine.artistes.universalmusic.fr/

- Katerine's filmwork at IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/

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

Adriano Celentano (Italy)

What do we think:

DB: Sometimes it's a thin line between madness and genius. This certainly applies to Katerine whose work can be categorized between highly intellectual to insane attempts to commit commercial suicide. Depending on your point of view. In 1996 misplaced in the easy-tunes hype, he has absolutely nothing with that genre except that it all may be a bit exotic. I had the pleasure to catch a showcase by Katerine at Berlin's Popkomm in 2006. Seeing Katerine at work it dawned on me that it all may seem and sound like one big improvisation but that meanwhile Katerine is damn sure what he is doing. Somehow he is a sort of modern day Celentano mixing acting, writing, comedy and music in one big blender. I could also link him to a Dutch Eighties-band called Gruppo Sportivo whose material (although in English) show similarity.

Recommended albums:

♪♪ - Les Mariages chinois - 1991

- L'Éducation anglaise - 1994

♪♪♪ - Mes mauvaises fréquentations - 1996

- Les Créatures - 1997

- L'Homme à trois mains - 1997

- 8ème ciel - 2002

♪♪♪♪ - Robots après tout - 2005

♪♪♪ - Philippe Katerine - 2010

♪♪♪½ - Magnum - 2014

♪♪♪♪♪ = 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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