Voilà! The inaugural France Rocks Summerfest– or should we say, France Des Roches Fest D’été (no, no we shouldn’t)– kicked off Memorial Monday with a performance by “guitar orchestra” composer Rhys Chatham, and continues on June 3 with a performance at Le Poisson Rouge by French pianist and composer Maxence Cyrin (known for his solo piano covers; check out his 2009 cover of “Where Is My Mind” by The Pixies). The seven-week showcase of French music will include more than 30 musical acts performing a range of indie rock, pop, electronica, jazz and world rhythms at more than 25 venues across Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx.
Some shows are ticketed, but a good number (11 at last count) are free. Standouts include Scarecrow, a quartet that incorporates electronic elements into their blues-hip hop act “thorned from a dobro or scratched from an old vinyl”; Yael Naim of “New Soul” Apple Macbook Air ad fame; General Elektriks, the musical project of keyboarder Hervé Salters (who has played keys for the likes of DJ Medhi and Blackalicious); psychobilly rock band La Femme; multi-disciplinary French legend Charlelie Couture; singer/songwriter Ayo (check out her duet with Citizen Cope “Justice”); Lisa Simone, daughter of Nina Simone (duh); Cyrille Aimée (she’ll be singing at Joe’s Pub, but she has previously played at Smalls, one of the other festival venues); and emerging bands such as Her, Beau, and Club cheval.
Mercis go to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Bureau Export, the Institut français and the City of Paris for the music, all part of “Tandem Paris-New York 2016, a transatlantic cultural exchange between Paris and New York.” Through October 2016, cultural institutions in New York and Paris will be presenting music, dance, cinema, literature, theatre, visual art, language, gastronomy, and digital innovation events from the partner city. Over in France, Bronx hip hop legend KRS-One will be closing the Paris Hip Hop Festival; graffiti artists Sonic, Part One and T-KID 170 will be arting at the Sevran Street Art Festival; New York City Ballet will perform 20 ballets at Théâter du Châtelet; the “Cinéma Au Clair de Lune” festival will put on 10 outdoor screenings of films like West Side Story and The Age of Innocence, and so on.
Purchases for ticketed events should be made through the venue where the performance is taking place. We’ll update this story with links to more information about the dance, cinema, literature, et al. events taking place in New York when it becomes available June 7.
FRANCE ROCKS SUMMERFEST 2016 LINEUP:
June 26: Dahlia Dumont @ Brooklyn Public Library, Grand Army Plz. (3:00 pm or 4:00 pm–TBC) FREE
June 30: Jacques Schwarz-Bart @ National Sawdust Factory (TBC)