Katell Keineg: There You Go (1997)

katell-keinegListening to Katell Keineg, one is constantly aware of the duality in her music: modern and seemingly ancient, melodic with dissonant elements, soft but intense, deeply personal and unknowable.

Katell was born in Brittany, grew up in Cardiff, Wales, and currently lives in Dublin. When she was signed by Elektra Records in 1993, she was poised to become the “next big thing.” Unfortunately, management changes at Elektra left her with a contract to a record company that little cared about marketing her music, preferring to concentrate their efforts on pop music, which was becoming increasingly popular.

So Katell’s music remains mostly hidden to the world. I consider myself a fan and I sometimes don’t find out about new releases for months, if not years, after they’re released. Katell doesn’t seem much concerned with marketing, nor is there any real effort on anyone’s part to even keep her existing fans up-to-date. I signed up for her mailing list years ago through her website and I don’t remember getting any mail as a result. Katell released a 4-song EP called Y Gwyneb Iau/Trouble in January of this year, and I only found out about it while researching this post.

“Well, I guess it is a bit weird, getting up onstage and emoting — not that my songs are autobiographical! But at a gig, the exposure, the emotion, is through the conduit of a song. And, most important, it’s not just me; there’s an audience participating; we’re all there in the room together. That’s where the contact is. That’s where the religious element is.”

Katell Keineg, New York Times article, July 2, 2006

There You Go is from the album Jet, released in 1997. This video was recorded at The Living Room in New York City in 2006.

As much as I hate to say it, the word is never going to get out about Katell, one of the most gifted singer-songwriters of our time. Why? Funny you should ask. I’ll tell you the big secret:

Because music is dead.

Music died a while ago, and it went out with a whimper, not a bang. There are no longer any rock radio stations, other than stations that play “oldies” and alternative stations, which are an alternative to good music, mostly. There are stations like JACK FM that play a mix of music, but they never front-announce or back-announce the music (not that they’d ever play anything by Katell). How can they? They don’t have any deejays. Even the stations with deejays don’t announce tracks. Not that it would matter, since they don’t play anything worth listening to anyway.

Music is dead, unless your idea of music is rap or bullshit pop music (and if it is, I feel sorry for you). Music is dead, unless you call the phony crap that oozes out of American Idol music.

Music is dead, and Katell Keineg is too good, too honest, too intelligent, and too real to have a place in a music industry that is run by the cartel of gangsters that calls itself the RIAA.

So Katell continues to make the music that she wants to make, the way she wants to make it. And that’s why you probably never heard of her. And you’re the worse off for it.

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3 thoughts on “Katell Keineg: There You Go (1997)

  1. Hey nice post about one of my favourite artists! Dont think I agree with you on the music though – in fact I think with the internet it’s thriving more than ever. And radio stations like KCRW and KEXP as well as lots of others that play good independent artists.

    You can get Katells music on cdbaby.com, and be sure she gets paid a *lot* more than if she was on a major record label.

    Maybe you just had a bad day eh? 🙂

  2. Hey Stian, thanks for your comment.

    Your examples of good radio stations (one radio station in Southern CA, and one in Seattle) are the rare exceptions. I’m old enough to remember the early-mid 70’s, when FM radio was in its heyday, with stations like WPLJ and WNEW in New York City that had actual deejays who would tell stories, bring in guest musicians, and play what they wanted. There’s no comparison between those days and the stuff on the radio today.

  3. I discovered Katell somehow… can’t remember how or where, but… I’ve got three of her CDs… they are GREAT! Oh, I remember now… it was that video Franklin that I saw/heard that caught my attention.

    I do not think music is dead at all. In fact, I think it is being forced to change. I think that musicians are actually getting out there and playing more in order to make a living and relying less on album sales. They are also having to diversify and rethink how to apply their music in different ways or reach different audiences etc.

    I LOVE that I can listen to music for free on the internet or download entire albums. Then, if I really like it, I’ll head out to a concert, buy a t-shirt, get the album on vinyl, or make a donation directly (which I’ve done). Previously, the only way to discover new music for me was corporate radio, music TV channel (99% crap) and word of mouth. Then one day I discovered CBC Radio, university radio, and Co-Op Radio. Wow! And they’ve only become better over the years. CBC Radio One (mostly talk), CBC Radio Two (mostly music), and CBC Radio Three (all music) are fantastic sources for music of all genres. The shows “Drive” and “Q” have some very good interviews and those meaningful stories and tidbits of info you are looking for.

    http://www.cbc.ca/radio2/
    4 music channels, no commercials, listen in different time zones, archived shows and concerts…

    http://radio3.cbc.ca/
    http://www.cbc.ca/radio/

    I also like Jamendo.com and just listening to whatever I come across.

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