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Youn is my tenderness! I’ve been following her for ages, and this magician overwhelms, delights and moves me every time. When she takes to the stage, all she has to do is sing 3 notes to put the audience in her pocket without ever, ever playing the bit….

And then she starts off softly, as she often does, with luminous clarity of diction and a rather low voice that allows itself a few small bursts of power in the upper register, giving a small idea of her potential and the range of her tessitura. She then reverts to gentleness on the second track, which, like all the others, is from her pen. Youn‘s gentleness is not only of great artistic value – and she’s backed by a first-rate band totally committed to her cause – it’s also of real therapeutic value.

Some will tell me that it should be reimbursed by the health system, but this point of view seems a tad vulgar to me.

No, Youn, I repeat, is a magician, a real witch of jazz singing and of singing in general. Some claim that, since she signed with Warner, she no longer does jazz but pop. Let them go and buy a pair of ears, milk the cows or herd the oxen in the vast desert plains of pathological deafness!

Whatever she sings, Youn, with the voice she has, makes honey of it and distills it for us with her heart as much as with her larynx.

Here, as I write, she roars and rumbles briefly, while her cats paint a harmonic, melodic and rhythmic landscape in pastel shades, but without the slightest hint of mawkishness.

Youn and her men never indulge in superficial, facile prettiness. They always navigate in the deep waters of beauty, and here at the Théâtre de la Mer, where the Deep Blue Sea throws its waves against the rocks, it’s a spectacle… come on, I’ll say it again… magical.

She finishes with an encore of “Avec le Temps” by that rich anarchist, Léo Ferré, where her sidemen take fabulous little solos. Then she gets them to sing along, reminding me – all things considered – of a Schubert’s sublime lied for female voice and male choir, “Ständchen (Zögernd leise), D.920“. 

Then she launches into a rock (you’re right, guys and dolls: it’s not jazz anymore- Hi !Hi !Hi ! What a jerk this Quénum can be sometimes!) and her sidemen again take beautiful solos on which she dances softly on the spot. After three encores (the Théâtre de la Mer audience just won’t let her go and shiii…… – pardon my vulgarity – I mean peste, poix, diantre fichtre-foutre, as Brassens’ ghost sings, watching all this from the Cimetière des Pauvres where his skeleton lies, even though he wished to be buried on the beach at Sète —”Quand part le car pour Caen? Le car pour quand part à 7.” (Sorry, the pun can’t be translated. Try on DeepL if you like but it won’t work!) said his great and fat friend Raymond Devos — damn, then, this audience has got it right, although it’s hard to keep a straight face when Youn is singing. After three encores, as I said before you interrupted me – stop right there or I’ll get angry – she lets her voice swell to a primal scream. And this isn’t supposed to be jazz? I’ll refuse to speak to anyone who says so, and they won’t be able to stand it for long.

Thierry Quénum, who goes off to smoke his pipe – like the Great Georges (Brassens) – to recover from all these emotions that…

Line Up:

Youn Sun Nah: Vocals

Brad Christopher Jones: Double bass, electric bass

Thomas Naïm:  acoustic and electric guitars

Tony Paeleman: Piano, Fender Rhodes, synthesizer

©Photos Pierre Nocca

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