Who knew that Paris had an underground old time American folk music scene? We certainly didn’t but it was there that this enchanting trio sprang and this, their debut album is certainly a breath of fresh air. The trio, French guitarist Léopoldine Guillaume, German fiddle and banjo player Julia Zech and American/Armenian double bassist Shushan Kerovpyan have been playing together since 2016 after meeting on a houseboat on a Parisian canal. Strangely, they plump for a Spanish title for the album, a Mirador being a Catalan term for a tower, but their pan European heritage is well displayed with several songs sung in French while their string band sound is peppered with elements of chanson and Hot Club like jazz fiddle. This element is finely blended with an astute grasp of American idioms as on the gospel infused Tell me Now.
The album opens in the heart of American folklore as they sing a Walt Whitman poem, Song To The Open Road which is Appalachian to the core while, later on, they offer the beautiful three part harmonies of Thorny Path which has an eerie fiddle solo straight out of Sleepy Hollow. Throughout the album the three players excel as a combo, the instruments perfectly played while their vocals, singly and together are a joy throughout with the seductive Belle Paresse perhaps the best example.
Almost inevitably, their blend of French language and American folk brings to mind the McGarrigle Sisters but their quirkiness, heard best on the closing two songs, How To Fly and Underwear In A Letter recalls The Roches. So, if a band which can combine The Roches and the McGarrigles are your bag, then grab this album. It’s rather lovely.