Yann Tiersen: Live in Santiago

French multi-instrumentalist and composer Yann Tiersen brought a quietly seated Santiago crowd to their feet at Teatro Nescafé de las Artes on Friday, May 28, in the first of two shows in the capital. Best known for the film score to Amelie, Tiersen returned for two encores in a surprisingly powerful set which was anything but minimalist.

Photo by Joanna Rozniak
Photo by Joanna Rozniak

Although most people may have expected eclectic, accordion-based, very French tunes at the show (especially considering the Amelie soundtracks on sale in the foyer), Tiersen’s set consisted mostly of raucous new songs earmarked for his latest album,

Photo by Joanna Rozniak
Photo by Joanna Rozniak

Dust Lane, set to be released later this year.

Melodicas, clarinets and violins still worked their way into the show, but with a five-piece band that at times featured all members singing, it was the powerful electric guitar, bass and swirling synths that prevailed.

The lyrics to the new single, Palestine, were solely the letters P-A-L-E-S-T-I-N-E repeated over and over again--a result that wasn’t the least bit tedious thanks to Tiersen’s ability to build layers of sound.

The biggest roar from the audience came when the lights dimmed and a spotlight beamed on Tiersen, alone with a violin, for Sur le fil. He kept the violin for the subsequent song, but ditched it within half a minute to pick up the guitar again and seemed

Photo by Joanna Rozniak
Photo by Joanna Rozniak

most comfortable lost in the chaos of synths and samples, squeezed between the lanky, engrossed keyboard player and bouncing, head-banging bassist.

Tiersen played a show in Concepción two days earlier, and his concerts held particular resonance for Chile: the performances were dedicated to the victims of the February 27 earthquake and tsunami. He has donated instruments to the child musicians of the Orquesta Clásica Juvenil de Talcahuano who lost their practice space and a large quantity of instruments during the quake.

Having last come to Chile in 2007, South America should be a regular stop for this socially-minded and always enigmatic musician.

Yann Tiersen
28 Mayo 2010
Teatro Nescafé de las Artes

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