tUnE-yArDs is the moniker of American multi-instrumentalist Merrill Garbus. Her first full length as tUnE-yArDs, Bird Brains, was released in August 2009 on British independent record label 4AD. Before working solo, she was part of the band a Sister Suvi.
Last night in Cannes, Merrill walked on stage bare foot and ready to give it all! First there was this amazing voice, enhanced by African-influenced drums, bass and ukulele. Then there was Merrill’s natural ease on stage, her instant bond with the audience and her warmth. Song after song the atmosphere got more intimate and we got acquainted with an artist whose positive attitude is incredibly contagious.
tUnE-yArDs’ do-it-yourself approach to music, which was the motto of the self-recorded and self-produced debut Bird-Brains, works like a charm on stage. It seems like the songs on the album find their true meaning during this performance, as if their existence on a physical record was too limiting for them and they needed to be played out in the open to really shine. It may be due to Merrill’s experience of living in different places (Kenya and Quebec) or maybe just her personality, but all through the performance there is a clear impulse to share and open up, to communicate and create a real dialogue with the audience. As a matter of fact, the singer repeatedly addressed the audience in French
tUnE-yArDs’ debut album Bird-Brains is availabe worldwide since November on 4AD and you can buy it on . It was first released as a limited edition vinyl and cassette in June 2009 via the Portland-based imprint Marriage Records. It was then remastered at Abbey Road Studios by Christian Wright and the new version includes two bonus tracks: “Want Me To” and “Real Live Flesh.”
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