Les Nubians: Live Last Night

nubians

Live Last Night

By Sarah Godfrey

Back in the '90s, whenever hip-hop and soul artists wanted to add a little French flavor to their tracks, they called on sisters Helene and Celia Faussart, better known as Les Nubians. Although everyone from Guru to Talib Kweli has enlisted the duo for guest spots, and the Bordeaux-bred women heat up any track with their adorable pronunciation, they're definitely more than mere accents.

It has been a decade since Les Nubians' Afropop single "Makeda" topped the charts, but the women are still creating music that combines different languages and genres in innovative ways. "Are you ready for any kind of music?" Helene asked the audience at the beginning of group's show at the Birchmere on Wednesday night. When the crowd replied in the affirmative, Les Nubians began hopping between musical styles, including French pop ("J'veux d'la musique"), reggae ("Brothers & Sisters") hip-hop flecked R&B ("Temperature Rising"), and jazz ("Demain").

Although most of the material came from Les Nubians' 1998 debut, "Princesses Nubiennes," and its 2003 follow-up "One Step Forward," the sisters promised to deliver a new album sometime in early 2010. They gave a sneak preview of the new disc with the single "Libertéé," a soaring freedom song. But, in the end, despite all of the group's adventurous sound splicing, the people seemed most excited about a plain old cover song: "Tabou," Les Nubians' popular French-language reworking of Sade's "Sweetest Taboo."

By David Malitz |  July 9, 2009; 10:40 PM ET Live Last Night
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