Francos of Montreal | The symphony of Zaho de Sagazan — 98.5 Montreal

Francos of Montreal | The symphony of Zaho de Sagazan — 98.5 Montreal
Francos of Montreal | The symphony of Zaho de Sagazan — 98.5 Montreal

It was eminently nice to see Zaho de Sagazan again, Saturday evening, at the MTelus, during the last evening of the 35th edition of the Francos de Montréal.

See again, because she performed in the same room in June 2023, opening for Frenchwoman Juliette Armanet, during the previous Montreal festival of French-speaking music.

But that was before the harvest in February 2024 of four trophies for his album The symphony of lightning at the Victoires de la Musique and the global showcase of his interpretation of Modern Loveby David Bowie, for the director of barbie, Greta Gerwing, at the Cannes Film Festival in May. In June 2023, Zaho-Agathe Le Moniès de Sagazan – her full name – was still under the radar.

Not anymore, especially not after his recent visit in April to Club Soda. Result: the MTelus was packed when she showed up on stage at 9:15 p.m., thirty minutes after a dynamic opening act from the duo Bibi Club.

The shrill cries heard as soon as the lights went out were silenced in three seconds, as soon as the Frenchwoman began solo and delicately with the keyboard-voice interpretation of Blood Fountain, with a beam of light aimed at her. Sometimes the simplest and most refined entrance on stage causes more impact than the most explosive backfire.

Zaho’s magnetism

Suspended on Zaho’s lips, were we, during this opening and during Suctionthis time, with his keyboardist and drummer, when the lyrics “I want one last cigarette/last cigarette/last cigarette/This will be my last cigarette» come back like a leitmotif. From the outset, we felt the artist inhabited.

Smiling and cheerful, the singer-songwriter explained her way of constructing some of her love songs before performing My strangersitting on the end of her keyboard player’s stage.

“I think about a guy for 5 days, I lock myself in my room, I write a song and I move on.” Generally, things go well, as long as she doesn’t fixate on it for several years…

Another French song offered on keyboards or melodic pop mixed with techno, Zaho de Sagazan navigates between two poles, often going from calm to storm, sometimes, in the same song.

The Sleepers made all the couples in the audience coo as they kept hugging on the floor. Splendid moment of common sharing. Tell me that You Love Me, for its part, had even more universality. The appetizer with the caressed ivories had similarities with Chopin, while the singer’s unique voice for this bittersweet title took us straight back to Françoise Hardy.

Bewitching, the Frenchwoman blew a kiss to the crowd on the floor during I dream while standing, before going to the level of the spectators at the front of the stage, for the first time, during Sadness.

To be sensitive, to be alive

She noted that “managing emotions” was not her strong suit for long, but that “to be sensitive is to be alive and we are never too alive.”

The presentation came at just the right time, before the interpretation of the monumental Symphony of Lightning during which the audience sang the chorus with fervor. There is nothing like seeing more than 2000 people singing in unison to measure the incomparable power of song and music.

If Zaho waddled and bent her knees during a few offerings at the start of the course, she dropped her pretty jacket before Don’t look at you which caused the mercury to rise. The sequence with To dance catapulted the MTelus above the clouds mentioned in The symphony of lightning. Undulating, moving, jumping, the singer, like a hurricane, surveyed the stage from East to West, twirling in front of an excited crowd beating time.

Four times, the musicians slowed down the rhythm to restart the musical high again. The MTelus floor was then the best dance floor in town. The whole thing lasted almost ten minutes before Zaho finished the marathon song lying on his back.

Anyone looking at the song selections offered in other cities knew that 99 Luffballoons, of Nena, would follow. But when she sat down at the keyboards for a few moments to start the song, Zaho said: “I’m going to do it in German!”

Think about it… We were treated to the true original version of the 1980s classic. No idea how good the German sound was even though I just came from Austria, but it sounded convincing. A lady I met at the exit confirmed that the Frenchwoman’s German was worthy of note.

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