La Femme is a psychedelic surf-guitar-dance-music band out of France that JUMPED on the music scene in 2013, with their phenomenal first album — Psycho Tropical Berlin. In short order they became the hottest band in France, with some of most exciting live performances ever recorded.
Six performers usually grace and have graced the stage for La Femme:
- Co-founder, keyboardist, song writer, and co-lead vocal Marlon Magnee,
- Co-founder, lead guitarist, co-song writer, and secondary male vocal Sacha Got,
- Lead vocal and keyboard player Clémence Quelennec,
- Bass Player Sam Lefèvre,
- Drummer Noé Delmas,
- Percussionist Lucas Nunez Ritter.
From the beginning, there were other female vocalists who sang with the band, such as Clara Luciani, Jane Peynot, and Marilou Chollet. But Quelennec cemented herself as the main female vocal — singing with the band nearly 100 percent of the time.
Some money has been put behind La Femme — as numerous high-end videos have been built for them, with elaborate story lines (see below), and their live performances are often eccentric theatre, with models and dancers added to the mix.
The Genius of Marlon Magnee, & Sacha Got
But at the core is a riveting, melodic, intense psychedelic surf sound that ratchets up during their live performances into a Frenzy. Behind it all is the genius music-making work of Marlon Magnee, the main composer, keyboard player, lead male vocal, and co-founder — and Sacha Got, co-composer, guitar player, backup male vocal, and co-founder.
As an example, here is La Femme at Julliet in 2013 — one of the best recorded live performances of a band you’ll ever see. The intensity rises and keeps rising as the performance continues:
The full concert has been removed from youtube. Here’s a snippet at least:
After Tropical Berlin came their second album, Mystere, in 2016 — another masterpiece that cemented the band with their live performances as a top draw in France, and all over Europe, and in the US — at 1,000-seat music venues.
In 2021, the band released Paradigmes — another terrific album with hypnotic, psychedelic dance songs — but there was a noticeable change — lead singer Quelennec was barely to be found on the album — she sang background on one song.
The Story of La Femme
The story of La Femme has changed through the years — especially recently, when lead singer Clémence Quelennec seems to have left the band — no official announcement has been made but she’s not there anymore. She was either forced out or left by her own choice — and her history with the band completely written out. If you check the current wikipedia entry for the band — she is not even listed in the main text of the band’s history. As if she never existed, even though she has been the central point, lead singer, and visual focal point in live performances for years.
Clemence is the greatest in-place rock-and-roll dancer in the history of music. It can be seen in any of La Femme’s live performances, such as this outdoor one:
Clemence’s tenor voice was perfect for the band, her duets with lead male vocal Marlon Magnee and secondary male vocal Sacha Got were magical. Clemence did have a tendency to occasionally hit a sour note — and one wonders if Magnee at some point felt that hurt one too many songs. Or if the parting was a Jefferson Airplane-esq falling out, as Clemence was becoming the voice of the band.
Magnee and Sacha Got founded the band. The original story published years ago in numerous places was that a group of friends got together to create the band after a trip to California. Magnee and Got met Clemence online and she joined as a lead vocal.
La Femme’s Music
Personality issues aside — La Femme stands out for the magical compositions of Magnee, the vocals and dancing of Quellenec, the psychedelic surf guitar of Sacha Got, and the percussion of Lucas Nunez Ritter and drummer Delmas, plus the bass of Lefèvre.
It is a band full of riveting, ratcheting, melodic ENERGY and FUN — Lucas Nunez Ritter brings a lot of that Fun to the fore.
La Femme Live
I’ve seen La Femme three times — a free concert in Central Park, and two concerts in back-to-back years at Warsaw in Brooklyn. The concerts at Warsaw are the best, most energetic live performances I’ve ever seen by any group (and have seen ACDC, Rush, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Pink Floyd, etc, etc, etc).
Here is their song Vagues — a personal favorite as it is with many La Femme fans — it starts off slow but works up to a searing, psychedelic guitar solo by Sacha Got.
Here is La Femme the year before at Warsaw in 2016 — I was using a crappy cell phone to record and it is overmodulated — but you can see the energy:
Here is La Femme at Central Park:
Now that COVID has cleared, La Femme is in full tour — in the US. Normally a special treat, it is a bummer that Quellenec is no longer with them. She was more than icing on the cake — she was part of the essential fabric of the band. She has been replaced by another female lead vocal — but nobody can match Quellenec’s dancing skills, and the tone of her tenor — albiet imperfect at times — is missed.
La Femme’s Official Videos Tell Stories
La Femme have put some spectacular work into their officially released videos — each telling intricate stories.
Here are examples:
Other Recommended Videos to Watch:
There are so many great La Femme videos — live concerts and studio videos. Here some good ones:
Sacha Got’s psychedelic guitar stands out here:
Other Performances to Watch: