CASH BOX August 13th 1986


"Seymour Stein is always looking for new things. And he has good taste," says Catherine Ringer of Rita Mitsouko. "He went to Paris and saw our video and listened to our music and said well maybe I can do something with them." Sure enough, Stein, the president of Sire Records, did do something with Catherine Ringer and Fred Chichin, who make up the French duo called Rita Mitsouko. The result is a hot twelve inch American, single called "Marcia Baila" that's poised for dance floor action around the world.

"When we recorded 'Marcia Baila' we thought it was a very good song," says Ringer. "But a very good song is not always a hit." She says an American album may follow if the single does well here ; their British LP was produced by Tony Visconti, who has manned the boards for the likes of T. Rex, David Bowie and The Moody Blues. The 'Marcia Baila' video is currently being translated into English and has been included in the Museum of Modern Art's collection.

Ringer seems incapable of using singular pronouns, preferring to speak in collective "our and we's that point up her interactive bent. "On stage I try to have a relationship with people and not present a perfectly complete project," she says. "We like truth and when we are not up we are not up." She enjoys singing with other people, particularly Chichin, and frowns upon groups whose members don't interact with one another. I like black music a lot because there is lot of singing together," she says. "White music tends to emphasize singing alone. I like to sing with other people. "

Ringer and Chichin, both in their late twenties, met while working together in a play. The name Rita Mitsouko was chosen because they simply liked the sound of the name ; they wanted a neutral sounding name, something that revealed as little as possible.

Ringer comes from a theatre background and has worked in experimental musicals, X-rated movies, and dance (in fact the name 'Marcia Baila' came from her dance teacher, Marcia Moretto, who recently died of cancer). Chichin came from the rock'n'roll side of things ; the music of his idols David Bowie and Iggy Pop inspired him to play guitar.

As befits their collaborative natures, the two split songwriting and arranging chores evenly. Though France is not exactly a rock'n'roll capital, Rita Mitsouko should go some way toward changing that. Ringer says that response to their recent Palladium show was great and that they're even better received in Belgium, Japan, and, of course, France. But as one listen to "Marcia Baila" will attest, this French duo with the Japanese name makes music that knows no borders.

Paul lorio