Symposium Entertainment – Frenchy & the Punk

Frenchy and the Punk PosterAs was revealed by our poster exposure, Frenchy and the Punk will be headlining the entertainment line up for this year’s International Steampunk Symposium which takes a different path from the usual line up of bands you would expect at a steampunk convention. Not surprisingly, Frenchy and the Punk will be representing France as Samantha Stephenson sings many of their popular songs in French!

For those who have never seen this fantastic band before . . . how to describe them? Well, imagine Django Reinhardt, The White Stripes, Johnny Ramone, Siouxsie Sioux and Edith Piaf jamming together at an event hosted by Deepak Chopra and Toulouse Lautrec. This is what it might sound like.

A sultry French-born singer, percussionist and a fiery punk rock guitarist from the golden days of the hardcore scene blended their diverse talents to form Frenchy and the Punk in 2005. The unlikely pairing has since released 6 full-length CDs, produced a live concert DVD and have performed all across the U.S. and in Europe. In May 2012, Yahoo Music called them one of the top 25 duos in the US. Their show is a carnival of two that will take you from Paris to CBGBs and back again. A rollicking flapper folk punk cabaret with cleverly crafted songs, Taiko meets Rio de Janeiro pounding drum instrumentals and true DIY attitude.

FrenchyFrenchy, Samantha Stephenson, whose roller coaster journey went from artist to MBA graduate to full time performing artist, paints pictures of lust, love, intrigue and unbridled joy. Whether singing in French or English, her invitation to surrender yourself in the present moment is irresistible. As Frenchy and the Punk’s lyricist she draws inspiration from art, dance and travel. She has lived in France, England, Brazil and the US and spent time in West Africa. She studied art at The National Academy of Design and Art Students League in New York City. She began her dance training at the Royal School of Dance in England and performed in dance troupes in Boston and New York and studied piano and voice throughout her teens.

Scott HellandScott Helland is the Punk, whose serpentine guitar lines and creative guitar looping technique perfectly complement the playfulness and spirit of Frenchy’s lyrics. Helland was co-founder and bassist of the legendary Massachusetts hardcore punk band Deep Wound, whose members included future Dinosaur Jr. members J Mascis and Lou Barlow. Deeply entrenched in that 80s hardcore scene, Scott’s follow up band, Outpatients, shared the stage with some of the biggest bands of that underground movement like Black Flag, Husker Du, GBH, Agnostic Front and CroMags. The scene is now documented in two films, in which both bands are a part, American Hardcore and All Ages. After 13 years of touring in the US, Argentina and Canada, the band split and Scott heeded the call for musical experimentation and switched to acoustic guitar and began his journey into folk, medieval, ambient, soundscape and cabaret styles. From 1996 to 2005 he put out 7 solo CDs. In a complete about face, in 2002 his Earthbound CD was in the New Age charts and in 2004 his music was licensed to the Opera Winfrey show.

Frenchy and the Punk Stage

Fast forward a few years and the music that Helland and Stephenson started writing together in 2005 was to take on a more cabaret bent and bring back the intensity of those early days. In their eight year collaboration as band mates they have poured their vast collective musical and life experiences to create a theatrical and compelling sound and style. They are now one of the top featured and sought after acts worldwide of the burgeoning cabaret and steampunk movements.

The duo’s music, magnetic stage presence, charm and exhilarating performances have attracted a consistently growing and loyal fan base around the world. The new CD Elephant Uproar released in March 2013 highlights the duo’s rabid drumming instrumentals. Be sure to check out their earlier releases, the frenzied fun of the Hey Hey Cabaret CD (2012), and their break through 2010 CD release, Happy Madness.

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