Sunday, July 09, 2017


What can I say about Zana Varo. Practically nothing.

While this “blog of less renown” has made a point of shining a light on deserving artists who are unique and under-appreciated in some cases, there’s usually SOMETHING about them SOMEWHERE else. Maybe there’s a YouTube video, or a discography, or at least you can count on seeing something for sale on eBay. 

Zana Varo? Of all the artists covered in all these years, she’s the most elusive. Go ahead and Google her. Check out not only eBay but which is specifically for people within the borders of France. Check everywhere and you’ll find…a mystery. 

Even indie artists have a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Usually a website, too. And if somebody who put out an album or two on a professional label is NOT active, there will be a few forlorn people grumbling “where is she” in some music forum or other. (Folk-rock singer Kathy Smith comes to mind). But Zana? Nada. 

I didn’t realize I’d found such a mystery woman when I picked up her album in Paris. 

Visiting Paris with the one you love is indeed romantic. BUT…it should not mean that a few hours can’t be spent in some cruddy flea market or narrow little music store or thrift shop pawing through vinyl and clattering through CD cases! Especially not 10 years ago, when mp3 files and piracy hadn’t decimated the music retail world and shuttered so many shops. 

I had come prepared, folks. I’d brought along a dozen or more CDs to use as trade barter, figuring that my IMPORTS would be SO rare in Paris, the store owners would gladly give me a good trade for their ordinary titles. So it was, that despite my fairly limited French, I was able to negotiate a very good deal with one store owner, swapping a few CDs I didn’t care about for a half-dozen French CDs that HE didn’t care about. Basically I was looking for anything that looked interesting. A sexy French woman on the cover? Oui. A moderately sexy one who might just be eccentric? Also, OUI. 

I figured that if I really liked a particular obscure French singer, I’d be able to find more. Or at least, more about her. 

Not in THIS case. I suppose a sure sign that I was dealing with someone not at the Mylene Farmer level, was that my copy was autographed. It’s usually the indie artists who’ve only pressed a few copies that happily sign to get a sale, or just sign and give away a copy to a friend or relative. 

I can’t say that Zana Varo caught my ear immediately. She didn’t. Sometimes, you need to hear music over a few times before something clicks and you think, “Hey, that’s GOOD.” I’d gotten some stuff that sounded GOOD right away, too. So I kind of filed Zana, and when it came time to cull the collection, well, she always stayed behind. Autographed, after all. And I’d put on the CD and think, well, ok, this isn’t bad. 

Last time I had some time, I looked her up (still nothing) and played the cut that had the most promising title: “Le Reggae du Cirque.” Hmmm. Not Mr. Kite, but yes. If you play it once, you might like it. Play it a few more times, and you might really like it. A Reggae Circus? As for the other title, talk about obscure, even “Google Translate” won’t touch it. I think you can translate "Peluchez Moi" as “My Plush Toy.” Which would make sense, considering the cover photo! Sapristi!

All that I know for sure, is that her material was written for her by the team of Louise and Jean Louis Richerme, who put out a Swiss album of their own synth pop in 1987. This seems to be the only album by Zana. I do know she made an appearance in concert in 1995. “…and that’s all I know.”

Zana Varo
Le Reggae du Cirque    Instant download or listen on line. No malware or spyware anywhere.

Zana Varo
  PELUCHEZ MOI   Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart pass words or RAR files.

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