Editor’s note: This article was originally published April 26, 2014
There was not a packed house for Les Nubians first ever Austin performance at Empire Control Room on Saturday. Instead a crowd of perhaps 40 people crowded to the front of the stage. But the folks that showed up were fans. Though they speak fluent English, Hélène and Célia Faussart, the self-described "Afropean" sister duo, sing almost entirely in French. They did several notable collaborations in the ’90s but they’ve never scored a major hit in the United States. Nonetheless the predominantly female and majority black audience seemed familiar with their catalog, singing and dancing along enthusiastically.
For those of us who didn’t know the songs it was easy to get swept up in the magic. With silky smooth harmonies and funky, percussive grooves language didn’t matter. Beyond that the women exuded positivity. Their most recent album "Nu Revolution" is a call to arms, but it might the warmest call to arms in the world.
"Are you ready to sing with us so we can ignite this life?" they called from the stage early in the set.
It’s clear that the women genuinely believe that love can change the world. That if we can take moments to recognize the beauty of each other’s spirit, hopes and dreams, constructs like race and culture will stop mattering so much. And in a room full of people dancing with abandon and singing along to music written in a language most of them don’t understand it was easy to believe that they’re onto something.
"We have to sing because we plant love every day," the sisters explained. There’s no doubt that those seeds of love blossomed in the hearts of the Austin fans who took in their set on Saturday night.