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Pic NIc S/T Pic Nic
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A recording of disarming delicacy, the only album by Pic-Nic was released by the Hispavox label in the hazy year of 1968 after the short, one-year life of the five-piece, and it featured a cover as innocent as touching which immediately invited to find out what was behind it.

The formation of the group began in 1966 Barcelona after the split of Brenner’s Folk, a short-lived band created by the Venezuelan musician Vytas Brenner. They included most of the original members of what later would become Pic-Nic, mainly guitarist Toti Soler, then 17, Jordi Sabatés and, of course, Jeanette. The rest of Pic-Nic’s line-up was completed by Isidoro “Doro” de Montaberry and Mexican Mario Alfonso “Al” Cárdenas. Jeanette (real name Janette Anne Dimech, born in London in 1951) was a child of the diaspora; her mother was from the Canary Islands and her father from the former Belgian Congo. From her native England the family had moved to the United States (Chicago and Los Angeles), where she would remain until she arrived in Barcelona as a 14-year-old, her tender voice carrying the echoes of Californian folk-rock.

Rafael Turia, a radio man and neat interpreter of Donovan songs in Spanish for Discos Belter, introduced them to the Hispavox label. Their official story starts after their meeting with the Madrid record company. They were lucky; there weren’t many labels with fewer tyrants and more talent per square metre: producer Rafael Trabucchelli got involved and that was it. He changed their original name to Pic-Nic and chose Jeanette as their vocalist. They recorded their first single, ‘Cállate niña’ / ‘Estrella negra’ (1967), which stayed as number one on the charts for ten weeks. After their equally successful second single, ‘Amanecer’ / ‘No digas nada’ (1968), they got working on what would be their only LP.

The album possessed a rare preadolescent lyricism, and Trabucchelli’s arrangements and production transformed the folk ballads into something never seen before, or since, in Spain. Besides the Vytas Brenner song ‘Te esperaré’, the covers of Peter, Paul & Mary’s ‘Tiny Sparrow’, Janis Ian’s ‘Society’s Child’ and the only track sung in English, bluesman Jesse Fuller’s ‘San Francisco Bay Blues’, were remarkable and their rendition rivalled the originals. Although there’s no better track than ‘Cállate niña’ to define the spirit of the album. A lullaby sung by two small girls after the death of the mother of one of them, it overflows with melody despite its simplicity, and its use of triangle, harmonica and a male backing vocal provide an absolutely ghostly quality.

Remarking the “Lolita” aspect of her personality, Jeanette would start a successful solo career two years later. She explored varied and attractive registers with Manuel Alejandro, José Luis Perales and Frenchman André Popp, all of them fondly remembered, but, as was to be expected, Pic-Nic never had a continuation.

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