Catherine Ribeiro


22 september 1941

Catherine Ribeiro was born in Lyon as a child of Portuguese parents. In 1958 she moves to Paris to take acting classes with Raymond Girard. In 1963 she plays her first part in a movie called 'Carabinieri'. She plays the role of Cleopatra and meets Patrice Moullet which takes the lead role. The play is followed by the movie ‘Buffalo Bill’ where she plays a squaw. In 1964 she is asked by Studio Barclay to record an ep called ‘Estudio’. Three more ep’s would follow before she would leave Barclay again. In 1968, she teams up with Patrice Moullet for his new musical group 'Group 2 bis'. A year later their first album is released. In 1970 the name of the group is changed into Alpes, with which she performs on the festival of Aix-en-Provence for 100.000 people.

During the seventies Ribeiro turns more radical in her lyrics accusing the French state of bad politics and turning heavily to the Humanist movement. Robeiro + Alpes record the album ‘Paix’ (1973) for the Fete de l’Humanité in Grenoble. The period 'Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes' will culminate in 1980 after nine albums 33 tours at Philips and more than 500 concerts in larger rooms or festivals in France (Olympia, Bobino, Wagram Hall, Theater of the City Hall Mutuality Day Humanity etc.), and worldwide (Cathedral of Brussels, Zagreb, Cuba, Algiers, Barcelona etc.).

Between 1982 and 2002, Catherine Ribeiro interpreted a large repertoire of classical French chansons by Jacques Prevert, Édith Piaf, Aragon, Gérard Manset and Léo Ferré among others. At the end of the eighties she becomes very outspoken in promoting tolerance towards immigrants. She writes articles about the subject for several magazines and delivers the song ‘Allah’ for Veronique Sanson. In the nineties she is mostly on tour and releases not much music. Her 1995 concert at the Bouffes des Nord is later released on dvd.

In 2003 Ribeiro is very outspoken about the war on Iraq, condemning it with a petition. In 2002 Ribeiro + Alpes is revived and a new album is released in 2006: 'Catherine Ribeiro chante... Ribeiro Alpes', containing live performances from 2005 including the song 'Pierre et le vent'. In 2005, after three years of preparation, she finally takes the stage again with the Alpes members. In 2008 this live performance is repeated.

On the web:

- Catherine's website: http://www.catherine-ribeiro.com

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

Léo Ferré (France)

What do we think:

DB: Some call her the highpriestess of French chanson and in a way her performances have something of a pagan gathering where she evokes the spirits and taunts the gods with her forcefull performance. Ribeiro has a voice that could guide ships in the night. Harsch, radical, relentless. When she sings, you listen. It's as simple as that. Her lyrics are always a bit on the gloomy side, or rantings about the misdoings in the world. Note that her record company added a special line on her albums in the 70's that the opinions ventilated on her records were solely the opinion of the artist. OK, Ribeiro doesn't give the sweet french girl routine but if you dare to step into her world there is some great music to discover.

PR: Françoise (our friend from Paris record store 'La Compagnie du Disque') introduced us to Catherine Ribeiro. According to her, Catherine was (and still is?) highly emotional and intense (and sometimes even unstable), but one of France's best singers. She is definitely right about that last statement. Ribeiro combines traditional French chansons with progrock and political mantra's and she turnes it into a completely new art form. Looking at the dvd of her '95 live eprformance, Françoise is also right about her being very intense and emotional. She sometimes sings like she carries all the weight of the world on her shoulders. For the rest: DOUBLE BASS has described it perfectly; step into Ribeiro's world and you will not be disappointed...

Recommended albums:

♪♪ - Avec 2bis - 1969

♪♪ - N° 2 - 1970

♪♪♪ - Âme debout - 1971

♪♪♪ - Paix - 1972

♪♪♪♪ - Libertés? - 1975

♪♪♪ - Jacqueries - 1978

♪♪♪♪ - La Déboussole - 1980

♪♪♪ - Soleil dans l'ombre - 1982

♪ - 1989... déjà ! - 1988

♪♪♪♪ - Tapages nocturnes - 1987

♪♪♪♪♪ - Fenêtre ardente - 1994

♪♪♪♪ - Vivre libre - 1995

♪♪ - Alpes - Live Integral - 2008

Further listening:

Jusqu'à ce que la forme de t'aimer me manque - 1972; Le Rat débile et l'homme des champs -1974; La Solitude - 1975; Le Blues de Piaf - 1977; Le Temps de l'autre - 1977; Passions - 1979; Percuphonante - 1986; Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes - 1988; L'Amour aux nues - 1992; La Symphonie pastorale, André Gide - 1995; Chansons de légende - 1997; Live au Théatre Toursky - 2002; Catherine Ribeiro chante... Ribeiro Alpes - 2006

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