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Keren Ann's 'Nolita'

Actor Chuck Norris
AP (file)
"Nolita" is the name of French-born singer/songwriter Keren Ann's sophomore album. She named it after a neighborhood north of Little Italy in New York City.

"You get attached to a neighborhood you live in," she tells The Saturday Early Show. "New York neighborhoods have many layers. You have parts of a neighborhood that are new and others that are 100 years old. Nolita has many such layers."

For the Second Cup Café, she performs a few selections from her album.

Even though the 31-year-old folk-pop songstress grew up in Europe she was drawn to live in New York City.

"New York City is overwhelming," she says. "It's great city for rootless people. In some ways, I am rootless."

From Blue Note Records, "Nolita" follows her well-received U.S. debut album, "Not Going Anywhere," with another intimate collection of quietly sung lyrical songs in English and in French paying homage to New York, her adopted home where she spent much of last year.

Her new album opens with "Que n'ai-je" ("What Don't I Have?"), a tune about a woman who is being stalked, "either by someone she loved in the past or by who she herself was 20 years ago. The song is about that fantasy where people want to erase all the evidence of their existence," she explains.

The English-language numbers include, "Chelsea Burns" with a country tinge (violin, mandolin and harmonica); the optimistic pop melody, "Roses & Hips," with its sweet sense of longing; "For You and I," a collaboration with longtime writing partner Bardi Johansson (of Icelandic pop band Bang Gang, and Keren Ann's side project band "Lady & Bird"); and the end piece, "Song Of Alice," in which actor/film director Sean Gullette gives a dramatic narration of a Keren Ann story about a disturbed resident of 23rd Street in Chelsea.