By Nathan M. Walters, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – John Lydon’s screech on Public Image Ltd’s “This is Not a Love Song,” is not everyone’s cup of tea.  Yet, when Nouvelle Vague, the sugary sweet-voiced bossa nova-inspired French musical project, offered up its sultry rendition of the post-punk tune it drew the attention of a broader audience.  Nouvelle Vague returns to Rio this week for a much anticipated Friday night performance at Circo Voador.

Glamorous and sensual Nouvelle Vague at Circo Voador, photo by sinisamars/ Flicker Creative Commons License

Marc Collin, founder, producer, and musician of Nouvelle Vague, talked with The Rio Times about the project’s past, future, and performing in Rio.

The project, formed around the sounds and ideas of the French new wave movement of the sixties, has reinvented the works of punk and new wave legends.  Among them: The Clash, Sex Pistols, Joy Division, XTC, and Depeche Mode, only to name a few.

The project’s self-titled first album, released in 2004, was a breath of fresh air for punk enthusiast (maybe less so for punk purist).

Nouvelle Vague recaptured the spirit of rebellion from the bands of the early seventies.  The meaning of Johnny Rotten’s snarl was not revived with studded dog collars and mohawks, but in petit French voices hovering over acoustic arrangements of the seminal tracks that started the movement. It was as punk as Sid Vicious tearing through Sinatra’s “My Way” in the film “The Great Rock n’ roll Swindle.”

“The idea was to prove somehow that all these new wave and punk bands had written songs that became the classics of my generation,” says Collin.  “After this amazing success with the first album, I’ve tried hard to make some evolutions keeping the same concept.”

Each of Nouvelle Vague’s albums is a new experience, never just a cover of a song, but rather, a new perspective on the original.  Collin’s choice and arrangements of tracks, as well as the vocal talent that has participated in the project, has earned Nouvelle Vague a strong following. Yet, now, after five albums, Collin is looking in a new direction.

Friday night’s Nouvelle Vague performance guarantees to drawl a crowd, photo by Neon Tommy/Flickr Creative Commons License.

“Recently I’ve decided that after five albums and almost ten years it’s now the time for a big change!  A new start,” says Collin.  “So the next album will be titled  ‘Nouvelle Vague by Nouvelle Vague’ and it will be our own songs sung by the project’s singers.”

This is exciting news for the project that has made its name in reinterpreting the songs of others. Collin expects the new album to be released in March but, for now, is keeping his attention of Friday night’s show, only one of two in Brazil this time around.

“We’ve played in Brazil four times.  Our previous shows at Circo Voador were amazing. I often say it was probably our best concerts ever due to an amazing crowd.”

Friday’s show is not a must-see only because of Nouvelle Vague’s great music.  This performance will also include stage production designed by famous French fashion designer Jean Charles de Castelbajac. “This will be a special show we’re performing this time, very glamorous and sensual.  I’m very proud of it and hope the audience will love it,” says Collin.

Nouvelle Vague’s return to Rio is a homecoming of sorts.  Collin’s approach to the project is rooted in the bossa nova style that was born in Rio (Brazilian singers have also been participated in the project’s recordings).

“It’s the whole starting point, arranging all these songs like if they were performed by Brazilians singers and musicians in the Rio in the sixties,” states Collin.  “I’ve completely imagined this script even before trying to play the songs like that.  It was a kind of vision!”

Those in Rio on Friday are strongly suggested to venture out to Lapa to see Collin’s vision at Circo Voador.

What: Nouvelle Vague
Where: Circo Voador  – Rua dos Arcos, S/N, Lapa
When: September 14th, 11PM
Price: R$80 to R$179

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