Marianne Dissard's Latest, 'The Cat, Not Me,' A "Strange Album"

Mar 25, 2013

Marianne Dissard is an artist in every sense of the word.

She is a filmmaker, a poet, a singer, and not a single word or movement is wasted. When she plays live, all these elements combine on stage to deliver a story of depression, exhaustion, frustration, intrigue and joy.

The Tucson Music Factory showcase on March 12 at SXSW was the debut of her live collaboration with Budo, a Seattle-based producer and multi-instrumentalist who is known more for his work in Hip Hop circles than World Music.

"It was the first time I got to play with Josh (Budo) and Andrew Joslyn on violin, and I loved it. So putting aside all the issues related to playing a showcase in the festival here - you don't know what your sound is going to be like, you don't know who's going to show up, you don't know who's going to be at the door waving people in, you don't know the price of the drinks - it worked out great, I'm quite happy with the new collaboration. I'm thrilled."

This current stage lineup takes the group through several shows that end in Tucson, Ariz., for her farewell show. Marianne was born in France but has lived in Tucson for the last 20 years. She is now moving on to Palermo, Italy, where she will set up her European base.

"I realized that I've been in the Southwest for so long that I need sun. I cannot be in Germany or anywhere north of Lyon. Snow just boggles me."

Her latest album, "The Cat, Not Me," is in the final mixing stages and was produced by Sergio Mendoza, her drummer of three years.

Tucson Music Factory Showcase at Brass House in Austin, Texas.
Credit Chris Eudaily / TPR

"He's an orchestral type, he needs layers of things and brass and tons of stuff. So I come to him with really dark thoughts and dark songs and wanting something to reflect my state of mind the last year, which was really dark, and the shock of those two forms of expression - the darkness I brought in and his joy, his energy - we did a strange album."

Though the album title is in English, the songs, like all the songs Marianne has recorded to this point, are in French; however, a year ago she was planning on recording her new album in English.

"I love the French language and it's a battle I want to keep fighting. I've been away from France for so long - I don't really live there - but there's a part of me that still wants to be accepted there, that still wants to belong to France."

Marianne's love of the French language led to a question about style in her native tongue. She said that the flow of the French language tends to lock people into phrasing, but her and some of her musician colleagues wanted to stretch it in the same way that American singers bend English.

"There's one song on the album that I wrote in fake French because I said, 'Well, people will listen to the album not knowing the French language so I might as well just loosen up on my writing and write a song in French - in something that passes as French - but is not grammatically correct, that's just words, and see where that opens up the language for me.'"

Marianne plans on releasing her version of "The Cat, Not Me" on vinyl - the version that she produced and mixed - but will have Budo remix the album for CD release.

Marianne has released a couple songs off of "The Cat, Not Me." Take a listen.