"Americans who are finally getting used to the idea of their own country as multicultural are often surprised to find that France is undergoing the same stresses and gaining the same musical benefits. Les Negresses Vertes is a magnificent example of the latter. This group's cultural roots are partly in Paris, partly in Algeria and Spain, with healthy amounts of influence from Nashville and urban America. To all these should be added the theatricality of circus music three of the original members had worked in the Zingaro Horse Circus in Southern France, while a fourth was a professional clown. The combination of all these influences is jazzy, street-smart, and very danceable. While some members of the band were less than virtuosos on their instruments, they made up for this deficiency by laying down a boisterous party groove backed by a propulsive brass section. The alternation between Noel Rota's fast and furious solo vocals and the ragged choruses provided by the rest of the band adds to the complex dynamic of the group. Add to this the fact that Rota had a real gift as a songwriter and arranger, and you have a hit machine in the making. Mlah got an excellent reception from critics in Britain and the U.S., and several tracks even managed to get airplay despite the American tendency to ignore anything not sung in English. It was a great start for the band, though it is arguable that they never again approached this level of entertainment."
"Les Negresses Vertes' frantic swirling melange of European and African musical traditions provides as good a place as any to enter the swing doors accessing the cross-connecting corridors of World Music, the enjoyment of which need not be the preserve of balding ethnomusicologists with metaphorical butterfly nets. Their first album, from 1989, is a shuffling alphabet soup of sound which bulldozes across musical barriers with feckless abandon - serving up the overlapping sounds of rai, flamenco, ska and the crooning chansons to a divertingly dizzy effect."
01. La Valse
02. Zobi La Mouche
03. C'est Pas La Mer A Boire
04. Voila I'ete
06. La Faim Des Haricots
07. Les Yeux De Ton Pere
09. L'homme Des Marais
10. Les Rablablas Les Roubliblis
11. Marcelle Ratafia
12. La Danse Des Negresses Vertes
13. Hey Maria
14. Les Pere Magloire
Helno (vocals); Mellino (vocals, guitar); Mathieu Canavese (guitar, accordion, background vocals); Paulo (guitar, bass, background vocals); Abraham Sirinix (harmonica, trombone, percussion, background vocals); Twist (trumpet, percussion); L'Ami Ro (piano, percussion, background vocals); Gaby (drums, percussion); Iza, Juanita, Julo, Nono (background vocals)