World Music At SXSW
11:21 am
Fri March 22, 2013

The Drifting, Laid-Back Sway Of Bordeaux's Alba Lua

Full interview with Clement and Benoit of Alba Lua

Clément, the lead singer of Paris-based French band Alba Lua, still calls Bordeaux his hometown and loves to talk about life in southwest France. Though they are proudly French, the name of the band is actually a mixture of Spanish and Portugese.

"Alba is the dawn (in Spanish), and Lua is the moon in Portugese... I like the association of the two words and sometimes you can see the moon in the daylight and it has always been beautiful to me."

The group's light and airy textures are reminiscent of American folk-pop of the 1960s; easy-going guitar progressions that make you want to sway back and forth, and lay the foundation for floating vocals that allow your mind to drift off to another place.

"It's true that you can not define your inspiration, it's everything," said Clement. "Everything around you, the world, history, activities."

"Girls," added Benoit, laughing.

Like many French musicians, Alba Lua is influenced by a quartet from Liverpool that you may have heard about.

"There's one little band - unknown - that's called The Beatles, and they've always been the biggest inspiration. I will never forget them; it is impossible."

The Beatles have had a massive influence on French musicians partly because the upbeat and pleasant songwriting style speaks to the refined nature of traditional French culture that seeks to not offend. The Fab Four's influence may also be evident in the number of French groups who decide to sing in English, which is a marketing and business decision as well.

"It's not important to sing in French," Clement said, "but the music I like and the way that English language makes you travel to play in other countries is really important. So singing in English is not my obsession, but it's better in many ways for many things like traveling. But I love French music too."

This is the groups first time in the United States and Clement said that it had been months in Paris where they had not seen the sun. When they got to Texas the 80 degree sunny weather was a welcome change - except for playing shows.

"The first show, yesterday, there was lots of sun on the stage," explained Benoit, "and as you can see I am red on the face. So that was funny because I was waiting for the sun for months - Arrrgh!"

Benoit plays bass and worked on trains before joining Alba Lua - he still works taking tickets. Clement is the group's guitar player and lead singer and is currently a student studying literature, but said that he is thinking about dropping out.

Hear more from Benoit, Clement and other World Music artists that performed at this year's SXSW on World Music with Deirdre Saravia this Saturday on KSTX at 8 p.m.

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