Trio Bacana: Transatlântikèr

March 31, 2021

Triple Play

Listening Post 296. From their name choices you might not guess that the women of Trio Bacana are French, residents of an ancient walled town in Brittany. Bacana is Brazilian Portuguese slang for “cool,” and the awesome trio’s 2017 debut album was an all-Brazilian affair. Transatlântikèr is an invented word combining the oceanic highway linking France to the Americas with kèr—meaning “village” in Breton and “heart” in Réunion Creole. Cultivating their roots in samba, bossa nova and baião, on their second album the women—Barbara Letoqueux, Enora Maillot and Enora Le Saouter—draw from a wider palette for a remarkable unity of sound, sharp harmonies, thumping percussion and light synths, spread over eight self-written compositions plus two well-chosen classics. They spin joyous, comical and sorrowful tales, in four languages, of family, love and betrayal, hangovers, kitchen sex and the kind of smoking that clouds judgment. The action starts with Já me cansei (I’m Tired of This, video 1), a throwing-in-the-towel ballad with an air of liberation. There’s still hope in A côté de toi (Beside You, video 2), a bouncy chanson about how to shape your man. In Rah Koëd (Squirrel, video 3) they take their tropical beat to a Breton folksong about a luckless rodent and the family that benefits from its demise. The title track links Réunion, France’s Indian Ocean department, with Brazil and Brittany in a maloya-flavored ode to keeping distinct cultures and rhythms alive (video 4). And the trio dips into Candomblé with Canto de Ossanha (Ossanha’s Chant, video 5), a Baden Powell-Vinicius de Moraes classic that approaches love with eyes wide open, observing, “A man who says ‘I’ll give’ won’t give/Because those who really give don’t brag.” Transatlântikèr is tight and spacious, full of contagious energy, connections and contrasts that thread home, heart and sound from far-flung shores into a single enchanting opus. (Klam Records)

Trio Bacana: Transatlântikèr
Barbara Letoqueux: Vocals, guitar, percussion
Enora Maillot: Vocals, percussion
Enora Le Saouter: Vocals, percussion

Guest artists
Etienne Callac: Bass
Jimmy Poleya: Drums
Soren Canto: Synthesizer


Já me cansei / I’m Tired of This
Barbara Letoqueux

(From the Portuguese lyrics)
I’m tired of this/I’m tired of waiting
To be good, to be loved, to be beautiful

As far as you’re concerned… I’m tired

I’m tired of one-way respect/Of not speaking up, of not noticing, of not caring
I’m tired of smiling as you make me suffer/Of singing in vain for nothing in return

I want to dream, I want to love and be loved/Just looking for it

Caramels and chocolates… sweets
Thank you, not for me, but you can give them to someone else!


A côté de toi / Next to you
Enora Le Saouter

(From the French lyrics)
To sit beside, to sit beside/To sit beside, beside you.

Look at her as she calls you/Turn around, she’s behind
Behind the life that you’re screwing up/So cut out the Picon beer

Cut out the Picon beer/Shape the man you worship
Even if it means suffering, even if it means parting
Love yourself under your mother’s apron strings

Cut out the Picon beer/Bury your doubts, say your prayers
Whether it means opening up, whether it means lying
Hide under your mother’s apron strings


Rah Koëd / Squirrel
Traditional from Vannes, Brittany

Sung in Breton, Rah Koëd tells the story of a family that has a squirrel in the house. When the butcher arrives the squirrel scurries around frantically until he bangs his head and dies—and the family eats it. The song was traditionally performed at Breton fest noz (night festival) parties that featured live music and group dancing.


Enora Maillot

Sung in Réunion Creole, the song speaks of the importance of preserving traditional cultures and rhythms, observing that “Brittany, Brazil and Reunion sing the same story,” that “there is the color of skin but there is no color of heart.”


Canto de Ossanha / Ossanha’s Chant
Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes

(From the Portuguese lyrics)
A man who says “I’ll give” won’t give/Because those who really give it don’t brag
A man who says “I’ll go” won’t go/Because when he’s gone, he won’t need to explain
A man who says “I am” is not/Because one who really is need not say

Pity the man trapped by Ossanha’s misleading chant/Pity the man who seeks love potions and spells

Go, go, go, go/Caracara, grab, kill, eat
Caracara, never dies of hunger/Love, suffer, cry, tell

I’m not the sort to indulge a story of forgetting/The sadness of a love that has ended
No, I’ll only go if it’s to see a star born/In the morning of a new love

Don’t fall for Ossanha’s chant/Because you’ll regret it bitterly
Ask your orisha/Love is good only if it hurts
Xango, Saravah

*Ossanha is the orisha (Afro-Brazilian deity) of leaves, herbs, healing and spells. The song expresses pity for those who try to control love by invoking spells from Ossanha.



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