SYDNEY FESTIVAL REVIEW: Camille

Owen Gill

French chanteuse Camille Dalmais brings her extraordinary blend of folk, soul, bossa-nova - and many other things that I can't identify - to Sydney as part of the festival.
SYDNEY FESTIVAL REVIEW: Camille
French chanteuse Camille Dalmais brings her extraordinary blend of folk, soul, bossa-nova - and many other things that I can't identify - to Sydney as part of the festival. On her own, she's a whirling ball of energy (who, for reasons I can't explain, reminds me of 1970's television star 'Pippy Longstocking'). Her backing group are also an act in their own right - seven people who variously sing, perform percussion using every part of the human anatomy, play piano, and generally keep the whole thing swinging along. If she reminds you of 'Nouvelle Vague' - the French group who specialise in unusual covers of new wave and punk anthems - then that's because she performed with the group. Really, the show that Camille has bought to Australia is a form of musical gymnastics and improvisation. Dalmais and her co-performers are willing to play almost anything (including, in the show we saw, a piece of fabric and sheets of plastic), and reproduce any sound (her two beat-boxing/rapping co-performers who can produce an urban soundscape using only their bodies and two mics). They are willing to dance to anything as well, and they are willing to improvise with borrowed shirts (you have to see that part to understand). I confess I am not an aficionado; the true believers probably got more out of last night's performance than I did. And she is probably an acquired taste. Nonetheless, for sheer adventurism and exuberance, Camille and her co-performers are highly recommended. Camille performs as part of the Sydney Festival at the City Recital Hall, Angel Place, until January 23.

About the author

Owen Gill is a Sydney-based reviewer for Arts Hub.