Les Nubians

Princesses Nubiennes

by J.P. Theberge


Les Nubians are a couple of French-African sisters who bust out in Lauren Hill style R&B and soul. The catch is that much of their music is in French. Now I know what you’re thinking: French music, what good is it? (Edith Piaff notwithstanding) But honestly, these French-African babes from Bordeaux bring something to the French table that mainstream French music could never bring: soul—and lots of it. I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up their latest album, “Princesses Nubiennes.” According to nubienne numero un, Hèléne Faussart, “this album is a kind of travelogue, a kind of journey through all the different kinds of music of the African Diaspora.” This becomes strongly evident throughout the album as soul, R&B, gospel and hip-hop are intertwined to create a unique and distinctive afro-centric sound.

Born in France of a Camerounian mother and a French father, they spent part of their early childhood in Chad. Thematically, the songs on the album reflect that multi-national upbringing and touch on issues of social consequences, world citizenry and a forward-looking introspective on a positive future. The first track on the album, “Demain” has a funky soulful groove to it and, as the title suggests (“tomorrow” in French), it is a testament to that forward-looking positivity.

cover art

Les Nubians

Princesses Nubiennes

The track “Makeda” is a homage to the African queen, Makeda, wife of the biblical Solomom, as a symbol of female pride, strength and beauty. There is a also badass version of Sade’s Taboo on this album infused with phat basslines on the R&B tip.

While all but one song on the album is sung in French, the only language necessary to feel their soulful mood-enhancing vibe is the language of music. For those still aching to know what they’re actually singing, the liner notes offer English-language versions of the songs. To sum it up, take Sade, add some Lauren Hill, throw in some MC Solaar and some Wyclef, and you got Les Nubians.

//Mixed media

Con Brio: The Best New Live Band in America?

// Notes from the Road

"There’s a preciousness to McCarter and the rest of the mostly young band. You want to freeze the moment, to make sure they are taking it all in too. Because it’s going to change.

READ the article