In 2020, Juliette Meyer (vocals, lyrics) brought together Thibault Gomez (piano), Fanny Lasfargues (electro-acoustic bass) and Benoît Joblot (drums) to create Haléïs. Haléïs, which means ‘resounding cry’ in old French, is a blend of chanson and jazz, without being vocal jazz. Its influences are less Billie Holiday than Babx, Jacques Brel or Barbara. With its repetitive rhythms and exhilarating build-ups, the song format dominates, but there is always room for improvisation. While Meyer arrives with lyrics and compositions, there is a second phase of collective writing – resulting in an organic unity between the voice and the instruments. Meaning and sound intertwine to form the flesh of an open sound material.
Imbued with the marked metrics of the French language, the texts of Juliette Meyer (who has a literary background for a reason) are full of poetry. Under the tutelary aegis of René Char, her favourite writer, she unfolds the lyrical experience of an I inhabited by absence, heartbreak and silence. This dark universe is matched by ethereal, swirling music, as if sound were the breath the speaker lacks. Similarly, the black-and-white imagery of the lyrics is counterbalanced by a beautiful palette of timbres and colours. Anchored in darkness but turned towards light, Haléïs is characterised by an atmosphere of chiaroscuro.