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Emmanuelle Parrenin

Prog Folk

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Emmanuelle Parrenin Maison Rose album cover
3.61 | 10 ratings | 3 reviews | 20% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ce Matin A Frémontel... (2:45)
2. Plume Blanche, Plume Noire (3:01)
3. Liturgie (3:12)
4. Thibault Et L'Arbre D'Or (4:01)
5. Ritournelle (2:29)
6. L'Écharpe De Soie (1:56)
7. Topaze (6:40)
8. Belle Virginie (1:35)
9. Ballade Avec Neptune (3:02)
10. Maison Rose (2:34)
11. Après L'Ondée (3:03)
12. Le Rêve (1:42)

Total time: 36:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Emmanuelle Parrenin / vocals, hurdy gurdy, spinet, dulcimer, percussion
- Bruno Menny / percussion
- Didier Malherbe / flute
- Yan Vagh / guitar, vocals
- Denis Gasser / guitar
- Doatea Bensusan / vocals

Releases information

LP Ballon Noir BAL 13001 (1977) France
CD Musea FGBG 4354.AR (200) France
LP Lion BAL 13001 (2008) US
CD Belle Antique BELLE 091589 (2009) Japan

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the addition
and to Todd for the last updates
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EMMANUELLE PARRENIN Maison Rose ratings distribution

(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(10%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (20%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Todd
5 stars Ethereal perfection!

I'm certainly no expert when it comes to Prog Folk, let alone the Chanson tradition of French folk artists. But I have been absolutely enchanted by Emmanuelle Parennin's 1977 album, "Maison Rose." Her combination of beautiful melody, ethereal vocals, delicate textured guitars, mystical hurdy-gurdy sounds, and forward-thinking/progressive approach come together perfectly for what is, for me, the perfect Prog Folk album, and one of my favorite albums period.

The title "Maison Rose" refers to the pink house where Emmanuelle was born and grew up. Her parents were classical musicians?her father a first violinist and her mother a harpist?who had escaped German forced labor camps because of the intervention of a conservatory director. Her father was given the house?the Maison Rose?where Maurice Ravel used to live and compose. Emmanuelle's father's quartet also lived in and practiced in the house, exposing Emmanuelle to constant classical music.

Emmanuelle's early experiences with music, including hanging out with Eric Clapton and the Yardbirds while on a trip to England, led to her involvement in the early French folk movement. She was part of a group of folk musicians that created Le Bourdon in 1970, a folk club whose founders travelled around France and recorded old songs that they found, eventually donating them to a museum. Emmanuelle was enthralled by the human side, the dancing and singing, which ironically planted a seed that led her away from the French folk movement. She felt the movement was becoming too purist and exclusive and was losing its human touch. Her album "Maison Rose" was her first recorded output while she was trying to transcend the boundaries of the folk movement?while clearly the music is based on the folk traditions and style that she had played and recorded for several years, this album was definitely forward-thinking and determined to break new ground.

Perhaps the best example of this is the song "Topaze." While it is the most forward-looking song on the album, it is also the most atypical song in the collection. It is made up of hurdy- gurdy manipulation and improvisation overlying a heavily doctored rhythm track that anticipates trip-hop well before its time. This song and approach encouraged her future endeavors, as she eventually left the folk scene she had helped to foster and engaged in contemporary dance for several years until a fire in 1993 damaged her inner ear. When she finally returned to music in 2011, this was the predominant path that she chose to pursue.

The other songs on the album, even if not quite as progressive as "Topaze," are each adventurous in their own way. My favorites are the quirky fragile melody of "Plume blanche, plume noir," the gorgeous layered harmonies of "Thibault et l'arbre d'or," and the delicate guitars and hurdy-gurdy of "Ce matin à Frémontel?"

Whether or not you are a Folk lover, if you love beautiful, transcendent, transporting music, you owe it to yourself to find this album. Visit her bandcamp page (link on the artist page) for streaming. This easily gets the highest grade from me. (If you're interested, seek out the wonderful interview done by David McKenna on

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Perhaps the best known of Emmanuelle Parrenin's albums, "Maison Rose" might initially sound like a product of the early 70s. This impression eventually yields to the realization that such a synthesis of styles could only have come about later in that decade. On the surface an acoustic folk record by this talented multi-instrumentalist, it transcends easy labeling through its frequent ambient textures that veer closer to Klaus Schulz than Gabriel Yacoub.

Parrenin possesses an earthy and versatile voice within a range of mellow folk and jazzy realms, with "Thibault et LArbre D'Or" and "Plume Blanche Plume Noire" being high points of both respectively. Still more stunning is the appropriately dreamy and hypnotic "Le Reve" that closes the disk in a minimalist chant of sorts backed by flute and delicate acoustic guitar.

The album is at least half instrumental, and here is where it gets a bit less convincing. Not that there is anything wrong with the atmospheric nature of most of these pieces, but on a short LP- length work, they amount to interesting transitional material without the requisite adhesive effect. "Topaze" is certainly involved and experimental, notable for percussion and studio effects but not worthy of its near 7 minute length. The one that best stands alone is the eerie "Apres L'Ondee", an inductive slice of acoustically based electronica.

Viewed through anything other than rose coloured glasses, this very tranquil reissue is not even a minor classic, but it is still worth hearing if you are into its composite influences and not hampered too much by labels.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

Although Maison Rose wasn't Parrenin's first album (she'd made a few under various names), it definitely the one she's remembered for by the semi-mainstream folk public. Originally released in 77 on the Ballon Noir label (like the other French prog-folk marvel Ripaille), Emmanuelle wrote and played almost alone the hug majority on this album. If there are some guests (including Gong's Malherbe) and co-writing credits, the only other fairly constant person is drummer and effects man Bruno Menny. The rather naive artwork is a good indication of what to expect from the calm brand of folk, where singer-songwriter songs alternate with more experimental instrumental folk track, the latter being obviously the more interesting for the proghead. All of the medieval instruments (among which spinet, hurdy and dulcimer) are played by Emmanuelle, and her crystal-clear voice illuminates Gasser or Vagh's guitar-based songs.

Around half of the tracks on Maison Rose are fairly straightforward (ala Vashti, Sill, Denny or Shelagh), like Ce Matin, Plume Blanche, Thibault or later on with the more traditional Belle Virginie or the title track (with multi-tracked vocals) or the buns Voyage Migrateur. Of course, once the needle or beam hit other tracks like the superb Liturgie or the medieval Ritournelle (a sort of jig), the string-laden Echarpe or the awesome dronal and ambient Apr's L'Ond'e (segueing in the album-closing R've), then the proghead can soar into the stratosphere. The real masterpiece is the almost 7-mins Topaze, where Menny's hypnotizing drum beat and his strange noises and freaky arrangements allow Parrenin to pull wails and screams from her instruments. Just that track alone is almost worth the price of admission. The Neptune piece bears a slight Indian influence, due to a tambura- sounding dulcimer.

The CD reissue comes with a bonus track that was recorded in the same session, but intended for another soundtrack project, but it fits in perfectly with the album's general direction, but might have been better placed earlier on the album, rather than tagged-on at its end. Of course, we can thank the Musea team for unearthing this little gem, which has become on of their best seller, and not least, provided Parrenin enough light to return in the last two years to her musical career after having raised her family. Definitely an enjoyable gem that's worthy of your investigation, but I wouldn't call essential listening for a prog folkheads novice.

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