THE FLEADH FEATURE-
The epithet ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ could have been invented with Les tlegresses Vertes in mind. Swaggering out oi the same dark, smoke-tilled comer oi Gallic culture as circus troupe Archaos, this disreputable eleven-strong musical ‘tamily’ adopted an insult tor a name, wrote a clutch oi songs liberally peppered with the kind oi French words you don’t team at school and announced their existence to a bemused public with their debut album Mlah, in 1980. A noisy, brassy,
melodic melange oi Paris cale songs
and Mediterranean tolk, reeking oi Gautolses and vin rouge, oozing sex, style and seii-parodic sophistication, it sold 350,000 copies worldwide. Suddenly the words ‘Green negro women?’ were on everybody's lips. Les llegresses emerged irom the cultural and musical larrago oi Parisian post-punk, an unholy alliance ot musicians and ex-circus periormers who iound their name when they gatecrashed a village hop in eastern France. ‘Get lost, you bunch oi negresses vertes‘ was the memorable tum oi phrase with which they were
Rob Strong would be the last man in Dublin to take any kind oi musical
credit tor his son's recent roaring success on the music scene. But Andrew didn't lind that soul voice oi his under a bush. The larynx delinitely takes alterihe Da.
Rob‘s scorching blues voice has been iamous on the Irish music scene tor decades. Gigs with his long-running , band The Rockets were always hot I attractions. Young Andrew lirst came :
under the blues iniluence at the age at eleven, listening to his tather's Ray Charles and Otis Redding records.
At sixteen, when Andrew was roped into a rehearsal session in Dublin, it wasn't altogether surprising that his rendition oi Mustang Sally hugely impressed some onlookers.
It just so happened that one oi them
: was movie directorAlan Parker, who
promptly oltered young Andrew the lead role oi Deco in his upcoming iilm,
shown the door, having milled local leathers withthelr danceitoor antics and dyed green hair. ‘ln France people will make up special phrases to insult you - it’s not a problem,’ says vocalist/guitarist Steiane Metlino, ‘and it’s a great name.’
Musically speaking, they stood out irom the crowd by becoming one oi the law French outllts to make it big without imitating British or American styles. ‘What we did was really work on our iniluences, the music irom our backgrounds, the traditions we knew,’ says Melllno. ‘Some at us come irom
The Commitments. In Dublin, it’s considered good manners to respond in the alllrmative to a reasonable otter like this. 80 Andrew did the decent thing and accepted.
The rest is Hollywood history: a number one box-oliice smash hit ior Deco and the Dublin cast. BAFTA awards all round. The Commitments soundtracks 1 and 2 going gold and charting nicely, thank you. And Rolling Stone magazine claiming Strong Jnr as the Face and Voice oi rock 'n’ roll in the 90s.
Still nineteen, Andrew is besieged with lurther otters ol tilm work, but he has chosen to concentrate on his lirst love - real music-making. Upcoming gigs include supporting Elton John in Copenhagen, ditto tor Prince in Dublin, coming to Glasgow lor this lirst Scottish/Irish Fleadh, then heading to London tor the Finsbury Park bash.
Otherwise, it's iull steam ahead on his debut album. Signed to MCA, Andrew’s lirst album is due out in the autumn and he intends to make this one really count. Contributors include Messrs Jackson and Wonder, and i hear Andrew is putting his soul into it. The Da would expect nothing less. (Ces Cassidy)
writing, less based on the spoken
theSouthoiFrance, the resttrom Paris, and so we’re mainly drawing on types oi music irom these places.‘ r j Parisian muslcis based on the waltz and the accordion, strongly inﬂuenced by Musette, who was very important in the 40s and 50s; then that get mixed with gypsy music irom Northern Europe, which also brought a jazz iniluence irom people like Diango Reinhardt. There’s a special Parisian style oi writing songs - lots at playing with words, lots at slang. Whereas music irom the south oi France has a much more Latin sound, with elements irom Spain, ltaly, Algeria and involves a much simpler, more poetic way oi
With a second album, Famille tiombreuse, released earlier this year, whichretained the exuberance oi Mlah while lleshlng out the sound with more elaborate, big-band instrumentation, Les ttegresses Vertas are shaking oil the ‘French Pogues' tag and torging their own highly distinctive identity. it their sparkling set at Glasgow’s Big Day a couple oi years back is anything to go by, they’ll certainly be giving the irish a run tor their money. (Sue Wilson)
We Free Kings
The Humpii Family The River Detectives Stockton‘s Wing Sharon Shannon Boys DiThe Lough Frankie Miller Capercailiie
(Not in order oiappearance)
Van‘s set starts at 7.40pm and goes on till 8.30pm. Fifty minutes of Morrison magic. See you there. (Ces Cassidy)
I The 4 Of US are three young brothers and a bass-player from Northern Ireland, who
busked around France to buy their first proper instruments, just a few years later finding themselves signed to CBS and going platinum in Ireland with their debut album Songs for the Tempted. Ranging from R&B-driven rock to dreamy acoustic pop. their sound has been described as ‘so upfront it‘ll knock down your front door and pin you to the wall; so subtle it‘ll slip through an open window while you sleep and wake up beside you‘. They believe that ‘rock music should unsettle you‘, their stated aim is ‘to be a great
rock band‘, and they seem closer than most to realising that particular young man‘s dream. (Sue Wilson)
I The Pearltlshers are the only unsigned band to play the main stage at the Flcadh. This Glasgow-based foursome have been movin‘ on up the old-fashioned way— gigging hard, releasing singles on their own label. doing the rounds of support slots and NB appearances. It seems to be paying off, though. with a Virgin publishing deal. headline status in Mayfest‘s ‘Night of
Glasgow Bands‘ at the SECC and tours this year with Tori Amos and Capercaillic. Their user-friendly brand of guitar-and-piano-driven
melodic rock calls to mind
Summerhill and the Hothouse Flowers,
thougharecentsingle 3 B-side‘Corazon‘hasa
spangly lyrical freshness all their own. Just the thing for a lazy Sunday
afternoon. (Sue Wilson)
I Capercailiie shrug off lazy comparisons to Runrig and Clannad. The Scottish seven-piece seem poised for the big breakthrough from folk
circuit to mainstream. Having beguiled Radio l 015 into giving a Gaelic song (their last single, ‘Coisich a Ruin', now out
. again on an EP) extensive
daytime airplay, they released their first major label LP, Delirium, in October and have just completed a successful Scottish tour. Their trademark technique
involves doing interesting.
unexpected things to traditional Gaelic music. like laying Karen Matheson's memorable vocals over backing mixtures of folk, funk. fusion, Latin and jazz. though they are also
writing their own,
English, material these days. They play a mean set ofjigs, too. (Sue Wilson)
The List 22 May — 4 lithe" i992 9