Two years after the pandemic stymied their debut at the famed Coachella stage, French disco pop band L'Imperatrice is having their California moment. "It's a cherry on top," said vocalist Flore Benguigui, speaking in English to AFP. "I think it's magic." The six-person funk-inflected pop and nu-disco group-formed in Paris in 2012 -- has finally made their way to the Coachella stage as part of a tour promoting their second album, "Taku Tsubo."

"The world is different from, like 20 years ago... I think people are more open to different languages. People are maybe a bit more curious," said keyboardist Charles de Boisseguin. "French-maybe it's also a bit mysterious," he added. The band-whose additional members include Hagni Gwon (keyboards), David Gaugue (bass), Achille Trocellier (electric guitar) and Tom Daveau (drums) -- has several EPs under its belt but had only released one full-length album when the pandemic struck.

The shutdown gave L'Imperatrice peace and quiet to put together their second major record. "We worked quite efficiently," said Benguigui, explaining how they built their own studio, preparing for their reemergence and eventual tour.

(From left) Members of French pop band L'Imperatrice Hagni Gwon, Charles de Boisseguin, Flore Benguigui, Tom Daveau, Achille Trocellier and David Gaugue pose for AFP at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California.

'Tears of joy'

Sporting a neon pink bob and a purple-fuchsia ensemble from designer Pierre Cardin, Benguigui said the return to performance post-coronavirus restrictions has been electric. "We could really feel the energy; some people actually cried tears of joy... They were really welcoming, and relieved to finally see live music," she said. "Every concert is different, and we were so happy to be here at Coachella," Benguigui said.

On the Gobi stage, one of seven at the festival in the Empire Polo Club in the desert city of Indio, hundreds of people turned out for the French act. Decked out in red and mustard yellow outfits emblazoned with hearts, l'Imperatrice had their audience dancing nonstop throughout their 40-minute set. The group will play Coachella's second string of dates next week, as they continue on their tour of the United States.  -  AFP