Gamine – a biography
Claudia Barton, the chanteuse. Ian Williams, the pianist. Gamine, the concept.
Claudia and Ian met in London, after Ian had written a collection of songs with pop maestro Bill Pritchard. Groovy tunes in varying guises came out of these early writing sessions, and the resulting epic dance pop songs led to Gamine performing live as either a four or eight piece band.
One of the early single releases, ‘Westport Lake’, was backed with a moody, jazzy ballad called ‘Checkmate’. Essentially, this was a one-take recording of just voice and piano, but the reaction to it was so encouraging that this led Gamine to explore that dark musical avenue even further, and soon enough, a whole album’s worth of torch songs had been written.
‘Sabotage’, the album, was released on the band’s own label, Slaughterback, at the beginning of 2003. Recorded in a château in the middle of France, and containing ten vignettes of style and seduction, ‘Sabotage’ gained plenty of critical acclaim from the UK music press. Q Magazine called it “Ethereal mood music with a vintage sense of drama. Absolutely enchanting,” while Uncut described it as “Noir film scores and femmes fatales.”
Robin Proper-Sheppard from The Flowershop Recordings heard the album from a mutual friend, and decided he wanted to be involved with the band. The result? A new and improved version of ‘Sabotage’ that was licensed to Germany. So, with three extra tracks and a short film, ‘Sabotage’ got its first release outside of the UK, swiftly followed by a Russian version for the Soyuz label, which resulted in a festival appearance in Moscow.
In 2010 Gamine released a lovely new album, ‘You Can Cry (And Other Lullabies)’, an album of simple and beautiful piano-based lullabies, featuring pedal steel guitar and a lyrical contribution from Louis Philippe, which enhanced their reputation even further. They also took the trouble to dust off their trusty Super 8 cameras and put their dwindling stocks of Kodachrome to good use, making little promo films for ‘Motet’ and ‘The Sky’s Eyes’, which were included on the CD.
And in 2011 Gamine were happy to make an agreement with Japan’s Kilk label to release a new version of ‘You Can Cry’, which includes exclusive tracks recorded at the previously mentioned Moscow concert.
Gamine returned in 2020 with a pair of Christmas singles - versions of the traditional Christmas carol, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, one piano, one epic, available exclusively on their Bandcamp site.
For more information: www.gamine.net
Gamine's second album, You Can Cry (And Other Lullabies), released in 2009.
Gamine's second single, Westport Lake, released in 2001.
Gamine's debut album, Sabotage, released in 2006.
Gamine's debut single, My Virgin Summer, released in 1999.