Desert Chanson? Frontier baroque?
French chanteuse Marianne Dissard wrote and recorded her first three albums of baroque desert chanson in her hometown of Tucson, Arizona. After close to three decades in the American Southwest, she now resides back in sunny Europe where, in between tours, she writes songs and her first book, ‘The Cat. Not Me: Junk Memoirs Of A Yogini” (2016).
Composed by Sergio Mendoza (Orkesta Mendoza and Mexxrissey) who joins the ranks of previous composers Joey Burns (Calexico) and Italian pianist Christian Ravaglioli, third album ‘The Cat. Not Me’ (2014) confirms the chanteuse’s ambition to bridge with meticulous arrangements and wrenchingly emotional musicianship the dramatic sensibilities of French chanson with the quirky, mariachi-infused, rough-and-tumbleness of Southwest art rock. American chanson?
After premiering ‘The Cat. Not Me’ in saloons across the American West in a live collaboration with Seattle musician Budo, Marianne now tours Europe with French guitar legend Yan Péchin (Bashung, Fontaine). Together with vocalist Allyson Ezell, they recorded the hybrid CD/Record ‘Cologne Vier Takes’, fourth installment in the City Series of road albums.
Marianne Dissard lived from her teenage years in the American West. She has toured her music worldwide, whether by foot with her donkey through the French Pyrénées or in China which she reached by Transsiberian rail. Trained as a documentary filmmaker in Los Angeles, she makes her own music videos and odd films. Since moving back to Europe in 2013, Marianne produced a couple of French artists including Orso Jesenska, taught yoga in Paris and collaborated with Berlin choreographer Ami Garmon.
French chanteuse Marianne Dissard was born in the Pyrénées and lived in the American West from the age of 16, most notably in Tucson, Arizona before moving back to Europe in 2013.
Singer, writer of lyrics and poetry, filmmaker and performance artist, Marianne Dissard has toured extensively the world over, either solo or backed by her American bandmates. Over the course of six acclaimed albums, unique hybrids of Americana and Chanson, she has collaborated with Tucson’s sweethearts Calexico, Howe Gelb, Naïm Amor, Sergio Mendoza and Brian Lopez and beyond Tucson with chanteuses Amparo Sanchez, Françoiz Breut and Fredda, Belgian rock star Arno, Orso Jesenska, Berlin choreographer Ami Garmon, Italian composer Christian Ravaglioli and Rhymesayers producers BK-One and Budo.
The third installment of the City Series of albums, ‘Cologne Vier Takes’, was released early January 2015 as a limited-edition analog/digital hybrid CD-Record. It was recorded in one-takes, one afternoon with bandmates Yan Péchin and Allyson Ezell.
Dissard’s third ‘official’ album, “The Cat. Not Me” (2013) was co-written and recorded with Sergio Mendoza (Y La Orkesta). It premiered at SXSW 2013 with Seattle musician/producer Budo and Andrew Joslyn (both with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis) on violin. After “L’Abandon”, hailed as a joyride, “The Cat. Not Me” harbors darker tales arising from the physical and mental exhaustion brought on by relentless touring.
In 2012, Marianne self-released the second installment in her “City Series” of albums. “Berlin Two Takes” (2012) was recorded while on tour in Europe with her Tucson band of Sergio Mendoza, Brian Lopez and Gabriel Sullivan and features a guest appearance by Belgium rock star Arno.
Marianne Dissard’s second ‘official’ album, “L’Abandon” (2011) was released on Le Pop Musik in early 2011 to critical acclaim, making several Top 2011 lists (Le Parisien, Bruxelles Mediatheque, Texas Public Radio and New York Music Daily). “One of the best dark rock records in recent years.” (Lucid Culture), “Quelle richesse, quelle diversité, quelle complexité !” (Le Parisien)
Produced by Marianne with Jim Waters (Jon Spencer, Little Rabbits) and BK-One (Rhymesayers, Brother Ali) ‘L’Abandon’was recorded with Christian Ravaglioli from Italy, Luke Doucet from Canada, Arthur Vint, Connor Gallaher, Sergio Mendoza, Brian Lopez and Thøger Lund. The companion film to the album, ‘Lonesome Cowgirls’, is a bawdy burlesque remake, directed and acted by Marianne, of the Andy Warhol’s 1968 Tucson western, ‘Lonesome Cowboys’. Marianne spent most of 2011 supporting the album on tour in China, New Zealand and Australia, Europe and North America, including a Pyrénées walking tour with her donkey.
In 2010, Marianne released her ‘intermediary’ album and the first in her “City Series”, the aptly-named “Paris One Takes” (2010) (“8/10″ Blurt, “a fantastic album. 4/5 Stars” Venus Magazine, “Definitely one of our favorite albums of 2010″ Lucid Culture), as a free download in gratitude to her fans. Marianne attended SXSW 2010, blogging about the festival for The Huffington Post and toured the US with Françoiz Breut, including a MOMA performance in NYC.
Between Chanson and Americana, Marianne Dissard’s enchanting debut album, “L’Entredeux” (Le Pop Musik 2008), was produced and composed by Calexico’s Joey Burns, with stellar contributions by friends from both continents, including Calexico’s John Convertino on drums, Naïm Amor, Rob Burger, Sammy Decoster and Mickey Raphael. “L’Entredeux” was released worldwide in the Fall 2008, with 15 months of touring from Europe to New Zealand and North America. The album won a prestigious Coup De Coeur from France’s Académie Charles Cros in 2009 and was voted in the Top 10 French albums of the decade by Francophile bloggers. “A moody, captivating album, with roots in Nick Drake’s introspection, Francoise Hardy’s romanticism and Nina Simone’s drama.” writes Blurt Magazine. A music video for “Les Draps Sourds” guest-features France’s pop stars Katerine and Dominique A.
The very, very first album is “Dedicated To Your Walls. May They Keep Blooming” (2006), recorded with Joey Burns on guitar and Marianne singing.
Calexico fans will recognize Marianne as Madame to Joey Burns’ lovestruck gold digger on Calexico’s hit single, “Ballad of Cable Hogue” from their 2000 album “Hot Rail”. She also duetted with then-husband Naïm Amor on the 2001 album “Tête A Tête/ABBC” by Amor/Belhom/Burns/Convertino before yielding to Joey Burns’ offer in 2005 to make an album together.
A prolific lyricist in both English and French, her words are sung primarily by herself but also by Françoiz Breut, Fredda, Howe Gelb, Naïm Amor and Amor Belhom Duo.
As a filmmaker, she has directed films for French TV Planête and TV Breizh, collaborated with famed documentary director Robert Kramer and poster artist Robbie Conal, directed the Giant Sand/Howe Gelb documentary “Drunken Bees” and a remake of Andy Warhol’s “Lonesome Cowboys” as well as several music videos for Amor Belhom Duo, Amor Belhom Calexico, Sergio Mendoza Y La Orkesta and herself. Marianne went to the USC film school in Los Angeles. While living in Los Angeles, she collaborated with filmmakers Gregg Araki and Clay Walker and interned at Alex Cox’s production company. In 1992, Marianne became the point-woman for fledging French distribution company Haut Et Court on the selection and successful release in France of independent films by Allison Anders, Alex Cox, Jon Jost and Jon Moritsugu.
An accidental actress, Marianne has appeared in her own films “Low Y Cool” with Robert Kramer on camera, and “Lonesome Cowgirls” as well as in Astrid Serafini’s NYC rock film featuring Nantes band Birds Are Alive.
As a multimedia performance artist with choreographer Ami Garmon, she was exhibited at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, France (Hiver de L’Amour), then got subsequently invited to be artist-in-residency and to perform at the Musée D’Art Contemporain, Marseille, France by Philippe Vergne (Walker Art Center), in Lisboa, Portugual and at the Paris Foundation Cartier. After this first exposure to performance art, Marianne put on a few haunted performances pieces in Tucson, Arizona, the downtown that had become her home by 1994. In 2009, Marianne invited Ami on stage in Berlin, Dortmund and on the Arte Lounge TV show, leading in return to a 2013 collaboration with Ami for her TanzFabrik Berlin creation.
During the 2004 US presidential election, Marianne launched the Tucson Suffragettes, a gang of sexy downtown political vixens who went after “virgin voters”, enlisting the help of Linda Rondstadt, Chuck Bowden, Shepard Fairey, Robbie Conal and the Tucson arts and music community.
In no particular order on the music side…. Marianne is featured, alongside Jane Birkin and Françoiz Breut on the 2007 “Filles Fragiles” CD compiled for Dutch label Essential Dance Music by Guuzbourg and the 2009 Universal Australia compilation “Ballade en France”. Marianne contributes, alongside Devendra Barnard and Bill Callahan, to the CD tribute to American folksinger Kath Bloom by Australian label Chapter Music (Feb09) and to compilations that include the “Christmas In Tucson” CD produced by Olivier Mosset with tracks by Bob Log III and Al Foul. For that release, Marianne collaborated with Jonathan Richman’s drummer Tommy Larkins to cover the 1980 British hit, “Stop The Cavalry”. She also wrote an original Christmas song with Amparo Sanchez of Amparanoia, included in Germany specialty label Trikont’s 2008 Christmas compilation. Le Pop Musik has included Marianne in their 2008 “Les Filles Le Pop” compilation and Virgin Australia will release a French-themed compilation with track “Les Draps Sourds”. Finally, UK label Regular Beat Recordings released a split 7 inch vinyl with Alaska in Winter, featuring Beirut, on the flipside while Italian band Desing produced another split single, with artwork by Howe Gelb’s daughter, Patsy. Again, from Italy, band Sea of Cortez and pianist Christian Ravaglioli collaborated with Marianne on a studio track in the spring 2009 in Tucson, leading to Marianne and Christian co-writing her second album, “L’Abandon”, in 2010. A first 7 inch vinyl (4 tracks with bonus 11 tracks digital download) was self-released in the spring 2006, selling out shortly afterwards. Marianne has performed extensively with Tucson guitarist Matt Mitchell, recording tracks for compilations and their own amusement. The 11 tracks demos to “L’Entredeux”, with Joey Burns on guitar, are available as album “Dedicated To Your Walls. May They Keep Blooming”, both as AIFF CDr and on I-Tunes. France’s prestigious Académie Charles Cros awarded “L’Entredeux” their Coup De Coeur 2009. Marianne has been backed on tour by some of Tucson’s finest: Sergio Mendoza, Brian Lopez, Clay Koweek, Arthur Vint, Andrew Collberg, Geoff Hidalgo, Naïm Amor, Marco Rosano, Thøger Lund, Connor Gallaher, Vicki Brown… as well as by Rob Hecht, Scott Tixier and Olivier Samouillan from outside of Tucson.