Yann Tiersen

Yann you see?

Picture 1 Yann Tiersen

Ever since 1998 and Le Phare, the beacon of Yann Tiersen’s music has been shedding its light on the byways of French song. Just as the threesome of Léo Ferré, Georges Brassens and Jacques Brel lit up the evenings of the post-war generation, a dozen years ago Dominique A, Christophe Miossec and Yann Tiersen were bold enough to take on the same task. A holy trinity where Yann Tiersen, a true Rennes boy from Brest, is more than holding his own.

Do you know Amélie? The amazing story of an original soundtrack that became the anthem for an entire nation of film lovers? Yann Tiersen’s pastel, gently melancholic notes were originally intended accompany the dark imagery of Tod Browning’s film Freaks, adapted for the stage by a Rennes theatre group. That’s how it goes, from darkness into light, life doesn’t always turn out as you expected…

But before little Amélie grew up and became famous, there was Le Phare with its melancholic tunes, its Monochrome melodies and its misty sadness lying just beneath the surface, to accompany our strolls along Ushant’s shores. More than ten years and several albums down the line, Tiersen’s footprints are still visible, melodic and magnetic, in a mist of sea spray along coastal paths. 

One small step for an Absente

Friends come first, the Brassens song says – and Tiersen adopted the same policy for his memorable Black Session, on the Lenoir radio show at the National Theatre of Brittany. But Tiersen can also take the helm and be captain of his own ship. Alone at his Finistère studio, he composed, played and recorded Les Retrouvailles, playing every instrument – electric guitar, accordion, violin… No virtuoso, this Brest musician simply has a gift for bringing melodies to the fore. Ever since he was discovered in a Rennes bar by Hervé Bordier, the Transmusicales Festival’s one-time co-director, Yann Tiersen has taken a mischievous delight in covering his tracks. But from Rue des Cascades to L’Absente with a detour via Tabarly, there isn’t one single note, song or album that doesn’t bear his hallmark.