Artist Details

Les Nubians

biography

The women of Les Nubians were shaped by many influences. Les Nubians has its genesis in a small town in the South West region of France where the Paris-born sisters Hélène and Célia Faussart lived as teenagers after returning from several years' residence with their parents in the African country of Chad. With a French father and a Cameroonian mother, Hélène and Célia experienced cultural dissonance in the rural Bordeaux region. After their father's death, Célia joined her sister in Bordeaux and they helped found a cultural collective, Les Nouveaux Griots, a "griot" being a traditional African storyteller and historian, all with the goal of increasing awareness of African and Urban cultures. A chance meeting with jazz legend Abbey Lincoln, who encouraged the sisters to sing, led to the formation of Les Nubians. In the beginning they sang acapella due to their difficulty finding musicians who would back them. Their unique sound led to a recording deal with Virgin Records and in 1998 their debut album, Princesses Nubiennes was released in Europe, where initially it enjoyed only modest sales. But the albums innovative mix of hip hop, neo soul and African music found an audience in America and "Makeda" the first single from Princesses Nubiennes became an urban radio hit. The video for "Makeda" garnered heavy rotation on BET and VH-1 Soul while a DJ Spinna re-mix generated strong club play. Characterized by a marriage between Sade and Erykah Badu, "Makeda" was the right sound at the right time. Massive media attention, successful tours and a Grammy nomination followed as well as nominations for two NAACP Image Awards and two Soul Train Lady Of Soul Awards; one of which Les Nubians took home as 1999's winner for Best New Artist Group or Duo.

In 2003, Les Nubians released their second album One Step Forward a conscious evolution of their style. They sang more in English on this album, largely as a result of their American experiences, which made them far more fluent in English."  Restlessly creative, the sisters graced 2005 not with a new Les Nubians album but with a spoken word project that brought together talented spoken word artists under Les Nubians' umbrella. By now Les Nubians was in demand around the world as a performing act, which they felt fostered both personal and artistic growth--the fruit of which is revealed on Nü Revolution. Their pan-African vision remains as vibrant and clear as ever, as expressed on "Africa For The Future" from the new album.