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Gabriel Yacoub


Country of origin:

France

Type of music generally:

Early albums traditional folk and electric folk; middle albums more experimental alternative pop/contemporary folk with traditional touches; later albums contemporary folk

Status:

Most recent album, de la nature des choses (2008)

See also:

Gabriel Yacoub's Site

Gabriel Yacoub's Myspace Page

Rootsworld's Gabriel Yacoub page (has samples and sales)

The Ectophiles' Guide entry for Gabriel Yacoub's former band, Malicorne

Comparisons:

Voice and experimental style very slightly reminiscent of Peter Gabriel. (Neile)

Covers/own material:

Traditional songs and his own material, and occasional cover songs

General comments:

Some people may know Yacoub from his traditional music days when he led Malicorne, the French equivalent of Steeleye Span with its electrified, traditional folk songs. Few people know his later work, like the final Malicorne albums (Le cathedrales de l'industrie actually was supposed to be a solo album, but was put out under the Malicorne name). He still does some traditional folk, but now focuses mostly something strangely contemporary and wonderful.
     There's something about his voice and sensibility that I just love, and so far I think I'm the only person on the ecto list who loves him and Malicorne's later work so excessively. Ah well, it may be because of my weird tastes for both traditional and experimental music. His discs all has musical moments so wonderful I can hardly bear to listen to them without trying to sit you all down to listen to them, too. This man knows how to craft a melody so it hits your spine and makes your heart leap. Or mine at least.
     Both vocally and in his willingness to experiment with what a pop tune can do remind me very much of Peter Gabriel. The music he plays is a combination of traditional songs and instrumentation, experimental sounds, and contemporary folk. (Neile)

Comments about live performance:

I've only seen Gabriel Yacoub live once and that was many years ago, but it was an unforgettable show. He was solo and because it was just him and his guitar it was quite stripped down compared to much of his studio work, but it was just as powerful. He has an amazing voice and presence, and projects it wonderfully. Don't miss him if he plays anywhere near you. (Neile)

Recommended first album:

My favourites are Elementary Level of Faith and Quatre. Either tri or je vois venir... would certainly be good places to start if you want a sampler or :yacoub: if you're into more acoustic-sounding things. The Simple Things We Said is the easiest to find in the U.S. (Neile)

Recordings:


Pierre de Grenoble

(as Gabriel et Marie Yacoub)

Release info:

Originally released in 1973; reissued by Boucherie Productions, 1996

Availability:

Try CDRoots

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of traditional folk.

Group members:

Gabriel Yacoub
Marie Yacoub

Guest artists:

Marc Rapilliard
Dan Ar Braz
Alan Kloatr
Dominique Paris
Gérard Lavigne
Gérard Lhomme
Christian Gour'han

Produced by:

Hughes De Courson

Comments:

This is a very traditional, stripped-down folk album that pre-figures the early Malicorne albums. It consists of traditional French songs played on a mixture of traditional and electric instruments. Definitely worth tracking down if you like electrified traditional folk. (Neile)

Trad. Arr.

Release info:

1985—Green Linnet Records—GLCD 3038

Availability:

Wide in U.S.; try CDRoots

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended if you like traditional folk

Group members:

Gabriel Yacoub—guitar, mandocello, vocals

Guest artists:

Marie Yacoub—vocals
Michel Hindenoch—vocals
Bernard Blanc—bagpipe, hurdy-gurdy
Barry Dransfield—violin
Jean Blanchard—bagpipe, diatonic accordion
Hughes De Corson—harmonium

Produced by:

Hughes De Corson

Comments:

Rather like early Malicorne though more acoustic. A lovely album with powerful (but not sweet) harmonies. If you're interested in stripped-down traditional material, this is a must-have. (Neile)

Elementary Level of Faith

Release info:

1987—Shanachie Records, reissued 1996—Boucherie Productions—DP3185

Availability:

Try CDRoots

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of experimental pop with traditional influences.

Group members:

Gabriel Yacoub—acoustic and electric guitars, DX7, vocals

Guest artists:

Ivan Lantos—sampling, sequencers proramming, piano, vocals, greengate, DC3 sampling and programming, double bass, kaval
Nikki Matheson—piano, DX7, vocals
Thierry Valette—saxophone
Jean-Pierre Arnoux—rhythm cymbal, drums
Marie Yacoub—vocals
Olivier Kowalski—bass, hi-hat
Alan Stivell—electric harp
Akira Satake—additional percussion

Produced by:

Ivan Lantos et Gabriel Yacoub

Comments:

Essential. This is one of the most powerful albums I know of, and one of my favourite albums of all time. Like Quatre this is a uniquely beautiful collection. A little experimental in the Peter Gabriel-ish vein, there are few songs as powerful and haunting as the love songs on this album (and I usually hate straightforward love songs). Only Yacoub could get away with a song like "Seduction" that is so lovely it affects me every time I listen to it—and I've been listening to it for 15 years now. For a long time this was one of the albums I most wanted to appear on cd—and it's finally available. Wonderful, simple yet complex music. (Neile)

Bel

Release info:

1990—Keltia Musique—KMCD 15. M 312

Availability:

Try CDRoots

Ecto priority:

Recommended if you like experimental folk/rock/pop

Group members:

Gabriel Yacoub—vocals, acoustic guitars, mandocello, mandolin, autoharp

Guest artists:

Nikki Matheson—vocals, keyboards, pennywhistle
Bryan Matheson—vocals
Gildas Arzel—vocals
Yannick Hardouin—bass, fretless bass
Erick Benzi—keyboards
Jean Blanchard—vocals, musettes du Centre (bagpipes)
René Werneer—violin and string arrangements
La Réjouissance Francaise—strings

Produced by:

Erick Benzi and Gabriel Yacoub

Comments:

While it's not as much of a stand out as Elementary Level of Faith or Quatre, Bel is still a lovely album with more of Yacoub's haunting tunes and simple/complex soundscapes. (Neile)

Quatre

Release info:

1994—Boucherie Productions (France)—BP3182

Availability:

Try CDRoots

Ecto priority:

Highly, highly recommended to anyone who is interested in beautiful songs with complex sounds yet simple structures.

Group members:

Gabriel Yacoub—chant, mandoloncelle, guitare acoustique, mandolines, autoharpe

Guest artists:

Nikki Matheson—chant, piano
Paul Brady—chant
Patrice Clementin—synthétiseur, programmation, kora, percussions, tonnerre, piano, gong, tampura, didjeridoo, orgue positif, orgamin, cordes, cromornes, caisse claire, choeurs sardes, orgue portatif, autoharpe, contrebasses, tablas, saz
Yannik Hardouin—basse
Jean-Pierre Arnoux—batterie
Nicolaïvan Mingo—guitares électrique, guitare slide acoustique
Gilles Chabenat—vielle à roue
Jean-Pierre Rasle—cornemuse (Northumbrian half-long pipes, musette 11 pouces)
Gildas Arzel—choeurs
Elizbath Boudjema—violin
Claire Hélène Schirrer-Gary—violon
Virginie Michaud—alto
Pascale Jaupart—violoncelle
Jean Blanchard—cornemuse (musette 11 pouces, 16 pouces)
Manu Le Houëzec—flûte traversière, tin whistle, sax soprano, cromorne, bombarde
Elie Achkar—qanun
Sylvie Berger—choeurs
Melaine Favenne—chant
Brian Gulland—basson, fluûtes à bec, hautbois, orgue positif, choeurs
Eric Montbel—cornemuse (16 pouces)
Robert Amyot—cornemuse (23 pouces)
Francois Hadji-Lazaro—accordéon
Ivan Lantos—kaval

Produced by:

Patrice Clementin et Gabriel Yacoub

Comments:

This has to be one of the most magnificent discs of all time—a definite permanent favourite for me. The basis of the album is traditional French/Celtic folk, but it moves from there into very contemporary music. It's mostly fairly quiet but powerful, and at times so achingly beautiful it hurts to listen to it. Quatre is essential. There are still hints of the Malicorne sound. Gabriel's voice is still wonderful but not classically "good"—at least I don't think so—but I'm not an expert. Still, I love his rough-edged voice—it's effective. Every song on this disc is good—and they add up, too. Quatre is not only his fourth official solo album but the songs all fit together under four themes: hymns, charms, liturgie, and speculations. The song that he doesn't fit into these themes, and put the lyrics in the booklet first even though it's the fourth (quatre!) song is the stupendous "Beauté/Twelfth Song of the Thunder". This is an amazing AMAZING song. There's also a song, "Les Blés sur l'Eau" that makes me incredibly nostalgic, it's so beautiful. (Neile)

Babel

Release info:

1997—Boucherie Productions (France)—BP3186

Availability:

Try CDRoots

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Gabriel Yacoub—chant, guitare acoustique, mandoline, mandolincelle, harmonica

Guest artists:

Yannick Hardouin—basse acoustique et électrique, percussions, tin whistle, chant
Jean-Pierre Arnoux—batterie, percussions, derbouka, potée
Patrice Clémentin—claviers, piano, programmation, Hammond B3, derbouka, didjeridou, flûtes, sanza, chant
Nicolaivan Mingot—guitare acoustique et électriuqe, e-bow, mandoline, dobro, programmation
Gilles Chabenat—vielle à roue
Kate & Anna McGarrigle—chant
Stephan Eicher—chant

Produced by:

Gabriel Yacoub et Patric Clémentin

Comments:

A new and wonderful release for Yacoub. Not as obviously brilliant as Quatre but powerful in its own right. Great songs, effectively written and with wonderful musicianship. Hard to ask for more. (Neile)

tri

Release info:

1999—Boucherie Productions (France)—BP3186

Availability:

Try CDRoots

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for those who want a sample of Yacoub's recent work

Comments:

This compilation consists of 4 songs from Trad. Arr., 2 songs from Elementary Level of Faith, 3 songs from Bel, 3 songs from Quatre, 3 songs from Babel, and one song from a compilation of French songs that isn't on any of the albums. While they aren't necessarily the songs I would have chosen, they still show a range of Yacoub's talent and appeal, and this certainly wouldn't be a bad starting place for anyone interested in sampling the work from his solo career. (Neile)

:yacoub:

Release info:

2001—Celluloud/Mélodie—67030-2

Availability:

France (Fnac) or try CDRoots or amazon.fr

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Gabriel Yacoub—guitare acoustique, mandoline, mandoloncelle a fileta, chant

Guest artists:

Jean-Pierre Arnouc—percussions
Jean Claude Auclin—violoncelle
Sylvie Berger—chant
Gilles Chabenat—vielle à roue
Hughes de Courson—claviers
Paul-Antoine de Rocca Serra—violoncelle
Yannick Hardouin—basse acoustique, orgue
Paul Jothy—percussions
Jorgi Kornazov—trombone
Fayçal Kourrich—violon
Ronan le Bars—uillean pipes
David Lewis—tompette, bugle
Nicolas-Yvan Mingot—guitares électrique & acoustique
Nathalie Rivière—violin
Martin Saccardy—trompettes
Ludo Vandreau—chant

Produced by:

"réalisé par Gabriel Yacoub & Yannick Hardouin"; 3 tracks réalisé par Gabriel Yacoub & Hughes de Courson

Comments:

I had to order this from a French online site with my very limited understanding of commercial French, but the disc arrived safely, and was absolutely worth the risk. This is quite wonderful. It's one of his more acoustic, lower-key albums and is really lovely. Full of yearning tones and harmonies weaving around the main vocal line that are beautiful enough to break your heart. Richard Shindell fans might be pleased to know that he covers "You Stay Here"—a gorgeous painful song (though I don't know the original to compare it with). (Neile)

The Simple Things We Said

Release info:

2002—Prime CD—PCD77

Availability:

See Prime CD's website; try CDRoots

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Gabriel Yacoub—guitar, mandolin, mandocello, autoharp, vocals

Guest artists:

Nathalie Rivière—violin, vocals
Yannick Hardouin—bass, mélodica, electric piano, vocals
Gilles Chabenat—vielle à roue
Jean-Claude Auclin—cello
Sylve Berger—vocals
Brian Gulland—bassoon
Nicolaïvan Mingot—slide guitar, guitar J.P. Arnoux—percussion
Kate & Anna McGarrigle-vocals
Elizabeth Boudjema, Virginie Michaud, Pascale Jaupart—srings

Produced by:

Gabriel Yacoub

Comments:

For those of you who have been hearing me rave about Gabriel Yacoub and never felt like paying import prices for his discs, he now has a new one just released by Prime CD (a label which should seem pretty familiar around here). It leans toward his folk rather than electronic side and is really lovely—it's a 2001 re-recording of songs that will sound familiar to the lucky few who have been following his work over the years. It does have his version of Richard Shindell's "You Stay Here". He does several songs in English and a few still in French. Really lovely and highly recommended. (Neile)

je vois venir...

Release info:

2004—roseau—ROS101.02

Availability:

France

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Gabriel Yacoub

Guest artists:

Yannick Hardouin, Vincent Leuterau, Sylvie Berger, Ludo Vandeau, Nicolas Yvan Mingot, Gilles Chabenat, Ronan le Bars, Brian Gulland, David Pouradier Duteil

Produced by:

Réalisé par Gabriel Yacoub

Comments:

Gabriel Yacoub live in recording is just as enchanting as I remember from when I saw him so many years ago. This is a collection that spans all of his styles: traditional folk, contemporary folk, and acoustic versions of some of his electronic songs. His voice is powerfully evocative and the music is wonderful. This is a two-disc collection of delights and well worth the import price. (Neile)

de la nature des choses

Release info:

2008—le roseau/editions des plantes—ROS 110

Availability:

France or places that carry imports; I had no trouble finding it online

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Gabriel Yacoub—vocals, guitar, 5-string banjo, mandolin, dulcimer, autoharp, harmonica, sonic landscape, backing vocals

Guest artists:

Gilles Chabenat—vielle à roue
Yannick Hardouin—piano, harmonium, bass, celesta, glockenspiel, backing vocals
Bastien Lucas, Johan Delvarre, Kilian Arzel, la bergère—backing vocals
Nicolaïvan Mingot—electric guitar
Julien Biget—guitar, mandolin, glockenspiel, backing vocals
Gildas Arzel—guitar, dobro, mandolin, harmonica, pedal steel guitar, backing vocals
Frédéric Paris—clarinet
Yannick Cluseau—percussion
Christophe Pereira—trumpet, bugle
Pierre Flandin—trumpet, bugle
Philippe chadel—trombone
Vincent Bellier—bass trombone, tuba, saxhorn

Produced by:

Réalisation—Yannick Hardouin

Comments:

This album starts with horns. Horns? The piano dominates for a while. Piano? Funny, with all the Gabriel Yacoub I've heard over the years I'd never heard him use piano so prominently as in this album, but quickly other instruments, more usually associated with Yacoub's sound come in. That is a touchpoint for describing this album—there are delightful, new, slightly surprising touches here, but still this is still a trademark Yacoub collection: by turns invigorating and heartbreaking. The use of different instruments (banjo!) lighten the album, make it a little playful, though no less poignant (that resides in Yacoub's songwriting and vocals and I can't imagine music by him without it). Altogether, this is a delightful album, different enough from what preceded it to feel that he's wholly invested in what he's doing and not just playing by numbers, and familiar enough that the trajectory his work is taking is still clear and uncompromised. Highly recommended to anyone who likes folk/pop. Everyone should have heard of him. (Neile)


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Entry last updated 2008-12-28 16:53:06.
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