Mina Tindle: LIVE 27 April @ Barbican + press day + 28 May debut album out

Mina Tindle: LIVE 27 April @ Barbican + press day + 28 May debut album out

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Taranta is Mina Tindle’s debut album. Her name has been whispering through the pop-folk scene like a breath of fresh air for some years now. And a cosmopolitan name it is too (borrowed from Milo Tindle, a character in Joseph Mankiewicz’s 1972 film Sleuth) for a French singer (with Spanish roots) who has electrified anyone lucky enough to see her live or hear her self-produced songs. Now, after the buzz, the breakthrough, with a debut album that delivers on its promises - and much more besides. “It’s all there. It sums up where I’ve got to, but it’s also a new stage on the road.

But there were other stages before this one of triumph. The first was when, like many music-lovers of her generation (she’s 28), Mina Tindle – who was called Pauline at the time – saw the light in Catpower’s songs a dozen years ago. “When I heard her cover of ‘Satisfaction’ by the Stones, I fell in love with her voice. It knocked me over backwards, but I could identify with it. My first song copied Catpower. I discovered that singing wasn’t that hard – and that it was thrilling. But I already had a special relationship with music before that; my grandfather and my mother were both keen singers. I remember spending summers on my own at my grandparents’ in Spain. I sang as I played and my voice kept me company. But it took me a while to start taking it seriously.”

Second stage: A few years after her first song, the Parisian moved to Brooklyn for a work placement for her final year of studies. She lived upstairs from the Zebulon, a bar that put on three gigs a night. “I lived right above the stage and I didn’t get any sleep for eight months.” It was a wake-up call. She confronted her budding songwriting skills with her music’s American roots, met musicians, played her first gigs and formed a Franco-American band, The Limes, via MySpace. “The environment was good and things started to take shape.” Her profession was becoming clear, and when she had to go back to France, Pauline decided to make a go of it.

Third stage: “I wanted to make a record, but it was more about crafting an object than launching a career.” So she took her time. Back in Paris, she teamed up with the gang at Sauvage Records again (they would later release her first 45), had quite a few joint projects and experiences, played a lot of gigs (with Beirut, Lee Ranaldo and Alela Diane among others) and created a stir in the media. Then, again via MySpace, she met one of her musical idols, whose songs she used to sing when she was small: JP Nataf, former lead singer with The Innocents and one of the great craftsmen of French pop. Mina Tindle wrote to tell him she was longing to hear his second album. The ensuing correspondence proved fruitful and their admiration mutual. JP Nataf fell head over heels in love with Mina Tindle’s voice. He brought her in to sing on his own second album and then produced her debut album. This adventure, too, was a long haul. It took over two years to record Taranta (at Garage studios in Paris). “I didn’t have a ready idea of the record; we tried things out together. I learnt a heck of a lot from JP. He gave me confidence – he’s a perfectionist and a dreamer. He wasn’t in a hurry; we could’ve spent five years on this album. When we were mixing the final track, we found ourselves re-recording the drums at midnight. This album is all about my meeting JP.”



She’s responsible for the intimate, heartfelt songs she sings in a magnificent, magnetic voice that is delicate and sensual, profound and restrained at the same time, as if conjuring up memories of summer nights to make it through the winter. “I sing to cure myself of something,” she says discreetly, and the therapy is contagious. He’s responsible for producing a sound like a rising sun, scattering touching arrangements like intersecting rays and a multitude of subtle but sophisticated details.

Together they have made a debut album that sails off towards unknown horizons like a yacht driven by tropical winds on a quest for moments of voluptuous grace. On an album of inner journeys, we meet some of the great dreamers of modern pop music such as Feist, Catpower, Emily Loizeau, Emiliana Torrini, Regina Spektor and Kate Bush. Mina Tindle isn’t a singer under the influence, more a place of confluence. She sings mainly in English on Taranta, with a little French and even some Spanish. But her album title comes from Italy. “The last few years, I’ve spent my summers in the south, in Puglia. I’ve got a friend who’s really into the traditions - the tarantella, music and dance. There used to be a festival for women, for the mad women of the village, the depressives of the time… I wrote a song about that called Taranta. It isn’t on the album, but I will come back to that song some time. I’m waiting to be able to really bring it to life.” Another stage…

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