This weekend Sydney celebrates all things French with the annual So Frenchy So Chic festival. Sydneysiders can experience the joys of French food, wine and music in the beautiful leafy surrounds of Bicentennial Park in Glebe.
On the music front one of the most exciting acts on the bill is three piece L.E.J, pronounced Elijay, who have carved out a cult following worldwide with their covers and originals which incorporate classically trained vocal harmonies, percussion and cello.
Lucie Lebrun, Elisa Paris and Juliette Saumagne have been friends since childhood and have all studied various forms of classical music alongside each other for almost 15 years. Growing up in the suburbs of Paris though Elisa says that they have always had a wide range of musical influences from every genre, hence their decision to not pursue classical music exclusively.
“It was really just instinctive to pursue this kind of music instead of classical music because we wanted to be on stage and dance with people, you can’t really do that and tell people to scream with you in classical music.” explained Elisa.
Classical music can be a very niche genre but it is also known for its ravenous fan base so obviously when L.E.J took a chance by blending classical with other genres they were understandably “scared” of the potential reaction.
“We know these are two very different worlds and we took a big risk blending them,” said Elisa, “People either love the classical style or they hate it. It’s a part of our DNA though so we could never take that side of us away even though we didn’t know if it would work or not.”
Since breaking through in large part thanks to their yearly summer mashups from 2014 to 2016 L.E.J have now begun focussing on creating their own original music, which Elisa said is “a lot scarier.”
“When you rearrange songs from other people you know that at the heart of it people enjoy the original work so hopefully they’ll like your interpretations. When you write your own music though it’s all about your own life, your own thoughts and lyrics so if people don’t like it that’s it.”
During their time here in Australia this week as part of So Frenchy So Chic though L.E.J have been pleasantly surprised by the overwhelmingly positive reaction of audiences to their original tracks.
“It was absolutely incredible to see people dancing along and knowing the lyrics to our songs.”
Jan 20. Bicentennial Park, Glebe. $89-$99+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.sofrenchysochic.com.au