Europopnewsletter January 2014



the online magazine and encylopedia about european pop and rock music


Newsletter, January 2014


"Hello Europopmusic fans..."


Here we are in 2014. Our sixth year as a European touchstone for anything good in music the European continent has to offer. As long as it is not sung in English. But you already knew that. In blog-country we had to say goodbye last month to the bloggers MusicfromNL that stopped after 3 years and MusicaItalia that said arrivederci after two years of bringing us Italian news. Sadly because they were a welcome reference to what was going on. That only gives us more motivation to keep our blog running and keep you informed via the website, twitter and facebook.

And after six years you also know that we kick of traditionally with Eurosonic in Groningen en the Festival della Canzone in San Remo. Two festivals that span the wide range of music we follow and report about. From the underground to the established. Of course we used the Christmas period to review the last remnants of new titles that were wandering about and emptied our Europopdesk. Dedicated fans who pay attention will have noticed we did not yet review the new Marie Frederiksson and Jana Kirschner (too name just two top-Europop acts). We didn't but maybe we'll make that up this month. And we only got ten fingers and four ears so bare with us. Below you find the albums we did review and some new additions to the ever growing encyclopedia.

And as always: ENJOY THE MUSIC.


  Music news and background articles  

2013 - the return of the orchestra
With 2013 behind us we can look back on an interesting year for European pop and rockmusic. Of course there was the usual extravaganza of artist going on the road and treating us on some great live music and live shows. Of course there was the Eurovision with some great and some not so great. And the usual gossip. And there were the artists that left us to join the eternal jam session in Heaven like Daniel Darc and Marek Jackowski. Or slip into old age dementia like Petr Hapka. But what was omnipresent was that the current economical, political and cultural crisis started to have its effect on and in music. The year started off with Shel Shapiro setting the Italian constitution to music. A reminder of the rights we considered normal before the economy screwed things up. The year continued with larger and more violent protest in countries like Turkey, Ukrain and Bulgaria. It sometimes felt that while we were writing our historical article on 1968 we see history happening all over again. So did the crisis also bring anything good? Odd as it may seem the answer is yes. With funding and sponsors backing out from the cultural market orchestra’s are having a difficult time to survive. And are suddenly willing and approachable for pop artists to record their music with an orchestra. And as a result create some of the best albums we heard this year. Etienne Daho, Kayah, Baustelle, Jonathan Johansson, Jenni Vartiainen, Flip Kowlier, Ornela Vanoni gave us some great and lush orchestral popmusic. It was a feast for our ears. Check our review survey for what we thought were albums that were worth noticing this year.

San Remo 2014; young talent review

In Italy the musical year traditionally starts with the 'festival della canzone' in the breezy town of San Remo. The 64th Sanremo Song Festival will be held from the 18- 22 February 2o14. Fabio Fazio will host the shows throughout the week (Tuesday- Saturday). The competition is always good for some musical highlights and gossip. The nice thing is that new and old battle for the honour of winning Europe's oldest song contest (the ESC was modelled after San remo). This year sounding names like Noemi, Antonella Ruggiero, Francesco Renga and Ron appear among the shorlist. Surprise contestant is Sicilian rapper Frankie Hi-NRG that was one of the founders of Italian hiphop. But according to us the most interesting part of the festival of the past year is the young talent section. It gives a glimpse in the future and also is a calling card what is hip in Italy. If we take the youngsters as a starting point this year we will see a return to traditional quality pop songs. Men and women with a guitar, a song and their voice. A quick review shows there is some heavy competition in that section this year. Bianca (Saprai), Diodato (Babilonia), The Niro (1969) and Filippo Graziani (son of the legendary guitarist Ivan Graziani) are very close to each other in sound. Rocco Hunt represents the rap-scene. Odd one out are the grumpy sounding Vadim and the minimal Zibba. I predict that Veronica de Simone will be the crowdpleaser with a classic but safe Canzone Italiana. You can check all young talents (and clips) at the San Remo website.


Eurosonic showcasing european pop/rock

In january European bands flock to the Netherlands, the city of Groningen, for the annual Eurosonic festivals where they can showcase themselves to European festival programmers and recordlabels. As usual the festival opens with the EBBS awardshow, hosted by BBC host Jools Holland. This year's winners Kodaline, Ásgeir, Jacco Gardner, GuGabriel, Nico & Vinz and Lukas Graham will perform. Furthermore there are performances by Maria Mena and former EBBA winner Caro Emerald. The EBBA Awards show will be streamed live on YouTube, Wednesday January 15 at 18:00 CET. Then on thursday and friday the cities venues are occupied by a string of bands from around the continent. Among them are personal favourites like La Femme (FR), Prata Vetra (LV), Eefje de Visser (NL), MØ (DK), Postiljonen (SW), Den Sorte Skole (DK) and stonerrockers Repetitor (SB). Check the line up at the Eurosonic website.


Game based on new music by Vetusta Morla

Is it a game, is it a new album?....both. The songs by Spanish indieband Vetusta Morla that they were writing anyway turned out to be the basis for a graphic game called 'Los Rios de Alice', a graphic adventure full of puzzles and characters in which the player to step into the songs of the Madrilean group. Each song accompanies an environment and passage that fits the universe in which Alice neters every time she falls asleep. A universe full of references and nods to the discography of the group. In between there are songs and soundscapes that are somewhere between acoustic and instrumental, with whispered vocals or singing in a "language of dreams" invented by the group. A total of fourteen compositions which dive into Alice's journey through her dreams. A bit 'Pan's labyrinth' meets Almodovar. With the project the band wanted to step out of their regular comfort zone and explore new ways of producing and translating their music. And deliver a new experience in listening to their songs.  It has been produced by the animation studio  Delirium Studios and the group's own label Pequeño Salto Mortal. The game was released in November 7 and the soundtrack to the game just hit the stores in Spain. A teaser for the game can be watched on Youtube.


Flip Kowlier:
Bernard Lavilliers:
Baron Samedi
Czesław Śpiewa:
Grać, Nie Srać
Julien Doré:
Martyna Jakubowicz
Burzliwy błękit Joanny
  Europopmusic artists (from the encyclopedia)  

Sébastien Tellier (France)

An artist that looks like Catweazle with the attitude a dirty pencilseller. Only in France. His music has that slick hornyness of Francis Lai and Emanuelle. A tat bit naughty, a tat bit weathered chique, a hint of a bohemiène . The spirit of the seventies lingers through Sébastian Telliers music which is not strange when you figure he grew up in the communinal enviremont of the Magma collective. The shows of Tellier are chaotic and sometimes sex and liquour infused (or so the stage act wants us to believe). But when he sits behind his piano and sets in ‘L’amour et la violence’ or ‘Sexual sportwear’ magic happens. The pieces fall together and some of the greatest loungy europop is flowing from his hands and voice. Mysterious, sensual and naughty, and probably one of the most genuine Euro electronic popcult phenomena’s to enter the ESC stage since Telex in 1980.. Go to artist page


Lucie Bílá (Czech republic)

Imagine an artist that is a sort of Nina Hagen singing the hysterical aria of Lucretia de Borgia and the dress sense of Cruela de Ville. You probably get something that is very close to Lucie Bila. With a voice that can sing ear splitting loud and a persona that can set a stage on fire she is quit something in the European pop scene. For foreigners it is sometimes unbvelievable that the hysterical musical outbursts belong to the absolute popdiva of the Czech republic. The Czech love Lucie and she is extremely popular. But that doesn't mean she has done any concessions. In a sense she still has the guts she took from her Heavy Metal period and combined that with show and style. It may not be for everyone's pleasure but it sure is unique..Go to artist page


Eleftheria Arvanitaki (Greece)

Her large international fanbase is not for nothing. Arvanitaki’s voice is as pure as her material is without any risk. This is a light version of Greek traditional music mixed with international traditional styles and pop. Polished but absolutely flawless. Perfection untill the smallest detail. Rest assured that is not a bad thing. You’ll get a pleasant aural experience from Arvanitaki. It is safe enough to play when your (grand)mother is around and you can wow your international friends with some great quality music. Very craftfull, very professional singer and musician. .Go to artist page


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