Judge Brett Cullum discovers a new Canadian singer twirling in front of the pyramids. You may call that unique, but he calls it Thursday!
Who is this Chantal?
I have to admit when I opened the envelope and pulled out the DVD, I had to stop and think, "Who is Chantal Chamandy?" without even a hint of a successful answer. The story goes something like Alanis Morisette, but with less support and edge. Chantal was a teen pop singer in Canada known as Chantal Condor of the group Voggue. She disappeared in the mid '80s, and the now 36-year-old is launching a comeback with an indie record label made up of her husband and friends who contribute operating cash. Don't laugh too hard though, the spouse and buddies have spent half a million on Canadian advertising to promote her rise from the ashes. Like many artists, she used MySpace to position herself back into the public eye and even sold her comeback single, "Feels Like Love," at the Dollarama chain in Canada for a single dollar each copy. The next major stop in her self-promotion was a concert at the pyramids in Egypt (her birthplace), where she performed with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra and enough dancers to make Madonna nervous. Onboard as well were acclaimed director Gerard Pullicino (Beyonce, Madonna, Celine Dion), choreographer Genevieve Dorion-Coupal (The Beatles' "Love" by Cirque du Soleil), and set designer Guy St-Amour (also from Cirque du Soleil) to add their unique style to this special performance. This DVD, Beladi: A Night at the Pyramids, provides us with a look at the grand concert, and how the whole thing was rehearsed and conceptualized. No surprise, it makes Chantal Chamandy look like a really big deal. In truth, her voice is pretty and the songs have a Middle-Eastern vibe that will mark her place as a dance-world music artist. She reminds me of Sarah Brightman, who is a big deal, but has also been launched by her spouses after a failed teenage pop career. Perhaps Chantal will catch on.
This two-disc set comes courtesy of Chantal's husband's record label, Ninemuse. We get to see 17 songs elaborately staged in the dramatic setting, and everything looks very nice. The Dolby surround sound delivers a clear audio experience, and the lighting and visuals are crisp as well. The first disc is 90 minutes of the concert proper. The second disc includes almost two hours of rehearsal footage. All this is well-produced, slick, and surprisingly solidly executed, given the new record label and the nepotism surrounding it. Chantal and her hubbie know their stuff, and it's all gorgeous to look at and listen to. It's worth checking out if you like soft dance pop that has a Middle-Eastern flavor.
In the end, I have to say this one is certainly a well-priced and nicely
done package. Chantal delivers the goods, and now all we have to see is if
people clamor for it or reject it. If you're curious, you can check out her
official web site (see accomplices section) or cruise over to Amazon or iTunes
to hear samples. A good choice to start with Chantal Chamandy would be this DVD
set. Then you can see how striking she is in person, and how ambitious this
Canadian chanteuse truly is. The music industry will be in an uproar if she
makes it, because they will accuse her of buying her way to the top. But so many
have done this before, and I don't think this story is all that unique. It's
just amazing that a singer from almost nowhere can deliver a product as polished
as Beladi: A Night at the Pyramids and promote it through her own
company. Shhh! Nobody tell Paris Hilton…
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Scales of Justice
• Two Hours of Behind the Scenes Footage
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