Months ago, I had thought of blogging about this video. And then I forgot. And then last week, I remembered.
It's one of the most famous French-produced music video, when the genre blossomed in the mid-eighties. Since 1985, "Marcia Baïla" by les Rita Mitsouko is a song that have made people danced wild in most home parties - it's a bit like Billie Jean, in that it never fails to get people on the dance-floor even when everybody is lingering on in the kitchen, trying to re-invent the world in conversations. It's "the" party song, full of life, of energy, of freedom and yet, it talks about... death and cancer (of the dancer Marcia Moretto). It's probably also one of 1st example in France when the success of a song is not only due to the lyrics and the music but also to the video. Directed by a young creative talent at the time, Philippe Gautier, it soon became the reference. He incorporated influences from other art disciplines: dance (flamenco and modern jazz), painting and performance. 8 graphic artists were involved (Richard Beaudemont, Nina Childress, Jeff Gravis, Anne-Iris Guyonnet, Ricardo Mosner, Sam Ringer, Xavier Veilhan, William Wilson). And of course, costumes were designed by newcomers Jean-Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler. When the music TV channel, TV6 started to broadcast in 1986, it was one of the most popular videos. And every time I watch it now, I see myself as a kid in front of the TV, dancing to it, trying to follow the surreal movements of singer Catherine Ringer. My mum regards the song as one of her favorite, ever. In regards to music, it was also very different from the usual french pop, actually I'm not even sure there was anything such as french pop... Les Rita Mitsouko managed to bring to a bewildered mass audience a concentrate of indie and pop from the UK and the States.
We have the music video as a trace of that time as it truly epitomizes the eighties extravaganza in France, and let's not forget the simple pleasure of watching and listening to it. It still is in every way modern.
Fred Chichin, the composer and guitar player, half of les Rita Mitsouko, died last week of cancer at 53. I love his George Harrison look-and-feel in the video.