Every musician likes to say how the city or venue they are performing in is one of their favorites. But whether the dead of winter or mid-summer, Julia Kantor and Paris Chansons, her French-music-with-a-Russian-twist band, may actually love coming to Minneapolis and the Dakota.
“The Dakota is one of our favorites,” said Kantor. “It has an incredible vibe and sound. We always bring a fresh show so there are songs they didn’t hear last time.”
Kantor said the group draws largely on a repertoire of French music from modern to classics while weaving in Russian gypsy classics and some favorites in Italian and Hebrew. The Los Angeles-based band will be playing the venerable Minneapolis jazz club on August 7 and 8 for 7 p.m. shows each night. Since their last visit to Minneapolis, Paris Chansons has performed at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., where they played a tribute show to the iconic French-Armenian singer Charles Aznavour. Kantor and her husband played in Thailand, which has strong French and Russian populations.
“What was moving to me performing in Thailand was that here we were, across the world, completely united by the music,” she said.
In the spirit of uniting people, Kantor is leaning on local cultural groups to help get the word out about the show, including the Museum of Russian Art, Alliance Francaise of Minneapolis & St. Paul, Russian-American Jews in Minnesota, Bonjour Minnesota radio, and the Russian-language newspaper Zerkalo. The first two groups are providing prizes for the cultural quiz that band will have during the show.
When it comes to constructing a setlist, Kantor looks at what they played on the last time they visited a city and makes changes to give the show a different feel.
“We always do something different to give a fresh experience,” said Kantor. “We know our audience and what they love, and we build a set so that there’s enough diversity.
“French music is loved by people around the world. We want to connect everyone to it.”