Monday, June 29, 2009

YASMINE - Belgian Leonard Cohen Fan - Hangs Herself

Placing a distant third in the coverage of celebrities who died on June 25th, Yasmine's departure at least got the front page in Belgium and the Netherlands. Elsewhere, it was Farrah and Jacko.

Known for covering Leonard Cohen songs ("Vandaag" was an entire album of Cohen material), the depressed singer was found hanging from a tree. Just two months earlier, her six-year marriage ended in divorce. They had a daughter, now three years old.

Yasmine (born Hilde Rens, March 3, 1972 – June 25, 2009) was from the province of Antwerp in Belgium, and was only 19 when she recorded her first album, "Mooi zo." She issued an album in every odd year from 1991 to 2001 (that's six, if you're counting).

2004 was the big year for the Leonard Cohen material, and a live concert DVD followed, with Yasmine covering "M'n Gasten" (The Guests), "In M'n eigen huis" (In my secret life), "Je Eeuwige Regenjas" (Famous Blue Raincoat), "Het Venster" (The Window), "Eerst nemen we Manhattan" (First we take Manhattan), "Je weet wie ik ben" (You Know Who I am), "Ik ben je man" (I'm your Man), "Wervelwind" (Avalanche) and others.

Motherhood seemed to take over as the more important aspect of Yasmine's life, with "Dans Me" her last single (2005) and "Licht Ontvlambaar" her last album (2006). She was probably also very busy with her other job...a television host (or "presenter," to use the European term).

Was Yasmine bleak? Yes and no. Though she could also handle minor-key ballads effectively, she was a polished singer whose hits were mostly very commercial pop. She was able to give her America-crazed fans in the Netherlands a taste of smooth R&B or lightly country-tinged rock in their own language.

Your samples:
LICHT ONTVLAMBAAR (translate it as "Highly Flammable.") Here's the title song on her last album, which includes some other spooky tracks (such as "Uur Blauw.") This dramatic and dark tune seems like it's going to morph into "First We Take Manhattan," but instead goes right into a hellish Dutch oven.
SUZANE/VINGERS OP MIJN HUID. Two songs on one download. First, a hit Leonard Cohen cover, performed live with Frank Boeiyen, followed by a sample of her smooth-groove work, the R&B-tinged tune that translates as "Fingers on my Skin." And yes, the rather abrupt ending is the song, not Illfolks editing.
IK VOEL ME BLAUW/RIJDEN. "I Feel Blue" and "Ride" were recorded in 2004. You don't need to speak the language...Yasmine's vocals betray ache, sadness, weariness and vulnerability. The heavy drums, the minor key guitar, and the gloomy violin help dampen the mood. Her suicide makes these two songs all the more chilling, poignant and depressing.

Update: Nov, 2011. Rapidshare's annoying "30 days without a download kills it" policy killed the original links. Below is a link for "FIRST WE TAKE MANHATTAN," via a better company.

FIRST WE TAKE MANHATTAN sung in Yasmine's native language


Els said...

The picture of Marianne is totally inappropiate.

Ill Folks said...

Marianne...yes, thanks, I have to agree.

I've replaced Marianne's photo with another shot of Yasmine, as she looked when she was "presenting" on TV.

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