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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Marianne Dissard gears up to go global

    Marianne Dissard
    Marianne Dissard

    Marianne Dissard was born in a small town in southwestern France but has come to call Tucson home. This weekend, the French crooner will regale her new home with a jam-packed album release party for her newest work, L’Abandon.

    “”To me, it’s an ambitious album,”” Dissard said. “”The first one I’m producing; the first album where I feel in control of what I want to say, how I say it and the people I say it with.””

    Dissard, who came to Tucson as a filmmaker in 1994, has been getting more and more involved in music ever since she arrived.

    “”I slowly turned into a singer through the influence of the Tucson music scene and the gentle prodding of some of the musicians here,”” Dissard said.  

    Dissard’s music, especially in L’Abandon, an album sung almost completely in French, has an uncanny way of synthesizing a large number of aesthetic musical backgrounds.

    “”I see it as a gift to be able to talk about Tucson to the outside world and send CDs out into the world, saying this is how I’d like to imagine Tucson: as a place where cultural identities get churned into something that’s hopefully positive and beautiful. It’s like a great lab,”” Dissard said.

    But there’s something about her music that’s very French. Dissard sees this as a blending of the two identities, French and Tucsonan.

    “”I sing in French. It’s very important to me,”” Dissard said. “”And this album is very, very steeped in European culture. It was conceived in Europe. It has that perspective.””

    But at the same time, Dissard said the album expresses ideas that are universal.

    She described the first track, “”La Peau Du Lait,”” as a political conversation about France, though it is tied to themes that resonate in the U.S.

    “”The first track talks about the current cultural climate in France. What I heard on French radio reminded me of the kind of propaganda you heard about on 9/11. So going back to France is not this nostalgic trip,”” Dissard said. “”It’s like wow, the bullshit is international. It’s the same type of propaganda that you’re going to get there that I’ve grown to hate here,”” Dissard said.

    As Dissard croons soft French vocals to a background of piano, guitar, accordion and other vocalists, L’Abandon churns musical identities not only with its distinct mixing of instrumentation and lyrical choices, but also with a wide-ranging group of artists whom Dissard has met through her artistic journey throughout the world.

    Gabriel Sullivan, a local Tucson musician who plays bass, upright bass and sings backups for Dissard’s band, has also been experimenting with global sounds such as Latin cumba and Eastern European gypsy music in his own musical career.

    “”Her album’s got a real Tucson vibe. Lots of people contributing, a lot of different styles. Somehow it all comes together,”” Sullivan said.

    Sullivan plays in other bands in Tucson, including his solo project-turned-nine-piece-band Taraf De Tucson, and Y La Orquesta, a band in which he plays with tour-mates Sergio Mendoza, who plays guitar and sings backup for the band, and Brian Lopez, who plays drums, keyboards, samples, and does some vocals.

    Overall, L’Abandon seems to show what a musical melting pot Tucson is.

    “”Tucson’s really lucky right now. The music’s kind of hidden from the rest of the world. There’s a new wave of musicians and artists. I think it’s only a matter of time before people pick up on it,”” Sullivan said.

    Sullivan said touring with Dissard is an exciting and unusual experience.

    “”I think this will be a real special tour. Me, Brian and Sergio all play together. This is the first time we get to be someone else’s band. It’s going to bring out so much in Marianne’s record and so much musically in all of us,”” Sullivan said.

    Even with her upcoming European tour, Dissard says that Tucson is her home, and from her music, it’s clear that the city has been influential to her.

    “”I have such an emotional investment with how the city’s doing, how the music scene is thriving, how I can help with what I know and my particular position in life and ability to connect with the outside world,”” Dissard said. “”Of course I’m from Tucson. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.””

    Festivities begin at The Screening Room on Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. with the screening of a film that Dissard made in Tucson: “”Drunken Bees,”” a film about low-rider bike culture in Tucson.

    On Jan. 22, “”Lonesome Cowgirls,”” a remake of Andy Warhol’s “”Lonesome Cowboys,”” which was released at The Loft earlier in 2010.

    That night at Club Congress, Marianne will perform with tour-mates and local Tucson musicians Brian Lopez, Sergio Mendoza and Gabriel Sullivan along with special guests Silver Thread Trio, Salvador Duran, Jon Villa and Connor Gallaher. Afterward, album co-producer and DJ BK-One will host an afterparty at Vaudeville Cabaret.


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