The Limiñanas: A Psychedelic Tour De France

This article originally appeared in MOJO and on

AS SONG SUBJECTS go, listing an old family recipe sounds tasty, but hardly artful. However, for French duo The Limiñanas, culinary instructions proved to be the starting point for their chic brand of garage-rock-infused psych.

“We didn’t have any particular plan or ambition when we started,” explains guitarist/singer Lionel Limiñana of how the tempting recipe ended up as the lyrics for Migas 2000, one of the first songs he and his drumming/ vocalist wife Marie recorded.

Hailing from Perpignan, a French Mediterranean port close to the Spanish border, the pair played in various punk acts before opening their record shop, Vinyl Maniac. Their next collaboration, The Limiñanas, took on a more serious focus after the family were caught up in the 2010 Haitian earthquake while visiting the country to adopt their son.

“When we went back from Port-Au-Prince, we decided to do exactly what we want!” says Lionel of the life-changing experience – at the last minute they changed hotels, and their original choice collapsed in the quake. “In short: record music and live intense life situations. The principle of second chance.” After gaining attention via venerable social network MySpace, four full albums, a joint record with French veteran Pascal Comelade and a B-sides compilation followed. The duo’s fifth album Malamore, is, like its predecessors, full of baroque guitar riffs, trance-inducing drum loops and cinematic atmospheres.

Recorded in their home studio, the duo’s output has been enhanced by collaborators ranging from oud players to chanteuses, Peter Hook to Francesca Cusimano, an Italian co-worker from Lionel’s old office job who had “a great accent”. The open approach is in part due to Perpignan’s status as a crossroads city. Informed by Catalan, Jewish, French and Algerian family roots, ideas and cultural strands that have travelled across the Mediterranean also pepper the band’s sound.

“The Limiñanas are a combination of all these elements,” says Lionel, noting that the clearest example of their multicultural approach are their lyrics, sung in English, French and Italian. “It’s different each time,” he explains. “You should choose the right language according to the type of sound, the riff. I think Italian and English are the two best languages for pop music. The Italian pop sound is crazy, really classy.”

It’s an effective melting pot. Speaking of cooking, what’s the Migas 2000 recipe actually like? “Migas are a Spanish popular dish including bread crumbs and meats,” Lionel says. “The song is the exact recipe of my grandmother, if you follow her instructions you will obtain a delicious dish, but you must have a strong stomach!” Guts – something The Limiñanas possess in spades.

Fact Sheet

  • For fans of Suicide, Serge Gainsbourg, The Stooges (“with Ron Asheton”).
  • At live shows the duo throw in a few covers. Randy Alvey’s Green Fuz and The Lords Of The New Church’s Russian Roulette are currently in the set.
  • KEY TRACKS: My Black Sabbath / Kostas / Je Ne Suis Pas Très Drogue

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