My latest hidden gem is Virginie Lacour-Puiboube, bandleader with ‘Laughing With The Raindrops’ which is the title of her latest project and also the accompanying album.
Virginie who lives in Londinium originates from Paris so to make her feel at home I interviewed her wearing a beret with a string of onions round my neck. She also pointed out that I smell of garlic and Gauloises – well I aim to please:-)
Because Virginie is French – Ooooh La La! I began the interview:
‘Bonjour, Comment allez vous?’ and added, ‘See? I am not just a handsome, charming, loveable, megastar imp who is irresistible to ladies but also bilingual’ to which she replied:
‘I do see, indeed, although …….. for now I only see evidence of your bilingualism.‘
Hmmmmmmm I see this one’s going to be trouble!
The first track I heard by LWTR was ‘That Angolan Guy. It reminded me of Steely Dan so I asked if they had been an influence and bearing in mind I’m not really a big jazz fan who are her other influences who I probably won’t have heard of:
Steely Dan? Never heard of them. I have listened to so much music in my life that it is difficult to tell what my influences are. Chronologically and avoiding those you probably won’t have heard of: Bach, Debussy, Ravel, John Coltrane, Claude Nougaro, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Patrice Rushen, Weather Report, Earth Wind and Fire, and er, well yes, Steely Dan, of course.’ (This girl is such a tease!) ‘I equally love the stuff Donald Fagen and Walter Becker have done separately. I also like African music, Brazilian music and Salsa.‘
You can listen to That Angolan Guy here:
Next I asked Virginie what brought her to Londinium:
‘The overnight coach from Paris, circa 1984 brought me here.’
OK enough lady! As I told Art Block I will do the jokes if you don’t mind!
She ignores me and continues:
‘The vibrant music scene was alluring and I had an irresistible juvenile desire to run away from hypocrisy and start a band in London.’
Virginie not only writes all the song lyrics but she writes and arranges all the music too! I asked her what instrument she plays:
‘I play guitar and yes I write all the music and the arrangements as well as the lyrics. However, when it comes to horns, the beautiful horn arrangement on ‘That Angolan Guy’ is by Gabriel Keen, the wonderful pianist in the band. Alexander Keen who is the wonderful bass player has also contributed some beautiful horn arrangements. I like to delegate.’
Right, now she’s beginning to get on my nerves! I have to tell her what’s on my mind:
So…….You not only write your own lyrics but you also write and arrange the music and get world class musicians to play for you which is all very nice bu t ………. Should you not be at home doing the washing and ironing??
<Gongle’s mouth falls open at the response and he thinks to himself….. Why are earth women so disrespectful to their male superiors?>
Humph if you were married to me you’d be told, ‘PUT THAT GUITAR DOWN AND MAKE MY TEA WOMAN!
Ahem, now, where was I? ….Oh yes,
‘You say you like Jazz but …. I thought that was a man’s perfume? Is that why the Angolan guy dumped you?’
‘Correct, it is a man’s perfume by Yves Saint-Laurent, there is a version for women as well and I believe there is also a version called Live Jazz. However, for future reference, Jazz is also a major Art form of the 20th Century involving instrumental improvisation, for men and women and often is live.
As for That Angolan Guy, don’t listen to rumours, Gongle. I was never involved with him. He is a fictional Angolan refugee who was hoping to find love, fortune and happiness in 1990’s London but became disillusioned and withdrew from his social life, and nobody could understand why, though the song suggests that reality (oh dear the R word) was a bit of a let-down versus what he had imagined London would be… I would like to think things improved for him later on, in another song, That Angolan Guy II, or That Angolan Guy 2.0 ?‘
You know, the more I talk to Virginie, the more I like her! I mean it’s obvious from her comment about the ‘R’ word that she’s taken the trouble to read the first chapter of my book – which incidentally, can be found on the ‘about’ page on my blog:-)
I was curious to know how she came up with the name for her band so being highly intelligent and a great interviewer I asked:
‘How did you come up with the name ‘Laughing with the raindrops? I mean ……rain really annoys me! I hate getting my suit wet when I’m running from my mansion to my chauffeur driven car. Who laughs at rain for goodness sake?’
‘It’s a euphemism for having sex or you might call it making love.’
<Gongle has a choking fit, Grimniens are very coy and don’t use words like that! Actually, thinking about it, it’s her accent ….. I think she meant sax – as in saxaphone ….yes that’s it, phew! – wipes brow>
‘‘I wrote a song with this title. It is about two people who meet occasionally to have sex (laughing with) because it alleviates the pain caused by life (the raindrops). It’s about taking things in your stride, acceptance and resilience, enjoying the moment. I wrote the song when I formed the band in 2013 and it seemed like a good name for the band as well. Please note: it is not laugh at but laugh with.’
What do you hope to achieve with your music? Are you hoping to be a billionaire Megastar like me or do you just want to be a bit famous like, say, Paul McCartney?
‘I enjoy being a hidden gem. It’s pure, it’s classy, and it’s good clean fun.’
[Well it was until you started talking about saxaphones! TCH!]
‘I can live like a millionaire without any money. It would be good to have patrons who pay for recording studio time so I can produce one album every year. I was recently surprised to find out the demographic group that had most affinities with my music was males aged 18-24 years old. So I would like to give those fine young people with good taste more songs to listen to.’
Great answer Virginie! Yes, if you’re a hidden gem you are a member of a very select club:-)
Time for another track methinks:
You want to hear a joke? Ok ……..
What do you call a man with a spade on his head?
Doug:-) <roars with laughter at his own hilarious joke>
Virginie is well known around London’s jazz venues such as Map Studio Cafe in Kentish Town (lefty Bohemian) and Toulouse Lautrec Brasserie in Kennington (Fringe/Daring/Gay/Vibrant/Jazz).
‘Both venues feature famous acts on a regular basis and it is cool to perform there so I am proud to have played there recently.’
She has also played at the Barbican foyer and of course she is now known as Gongle’s latest hidden gem:-)
Virginie you were a joy to interview and thank you for the laughs. If you ever get bored with music and housework you could always try your hand on the comedy circuit:-)
Merci mon ami.
You can visit Virginie’s website here:
and if you subscribe you get a free track plus lyrics!
You can also subscribe to her YouTube channel Raindrop Music: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2O3KsvHzJAnCFAMCwtptyQ
and follow her on Twitter:
As I always say, if you like the music PLEASE buy her records. It’s only fair that musicians get something back for all their hard work!