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French Songs

(1969) by Leo Ferr : following the students revolt of 1968, a period of politically engaged songs,…

French music is alive and well !Young groups and French singers keep the tradition of French songs (the importance of lyrics) associated with a new form of music (integrating an African or Arab sound). Among them :

French music and the exception culturelle francaise

but do, r, mi, fa, sol, la and si .

. Very often they are based on a triple time rhythm and use instruments like the accordeon.

A few good sites on French singers paroleschanson-franaise, etc…

1939-1945 (chansons sous lOccupation) :

who performed in cabarets on the Left Bank in Paris) : poetry, humor, provocation ; he was considered a master by such great singers as Jacques Brel, Leo Ferr

1960-1970 (gnration Y-Y) :

— Children songsinclude :Au clair de la lune(see below),Le Bon Roi Dagobert, Cadet-Rousselle, Frre Jacques, Sur le Pont dAvignon,etc…(everybody knows them…)

from 1870 to 1945, with large excerpts, lyrics and historical comments, many links to other sources. It includes the50 best French songs, from

of great singers (Piaf, Brel, Brassens, Aznavour, etc…)

An example of the merging of tradition with new forms is the singer (of Arab origin) Rachid Taha singing with his group Carte de Sjour (Green Card) the old (1943) Charles Trenet standard Douce France

(1984) by Telephone : the music isd more important than the lyrics ; big concerts…

Places and sites to find French music and lyrics

elected Entertainer of the Century by CNN and Time (2000) (credit)

, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris

some of the most famous relate to a specificmonth in Paris,

DID YOU KNOW THAT…..? On French TV and radios and in CDs, there is of course a very fierce

: love and glamour in 1920s Paris, discoveringjazz, ..

: (J.Brel, G.Jouhannest), Jacques Brel, 1972 (Polygram)

A site with a lot ofresources and links

More to come…. Other names suggested by visitors include William Sheller, Mylene Farmer, etc…

(R.Schan), Renaud (1988 Virgin France)

and many young singers, often from African or North-African origin, introduce a new form of songs,…

Click here and listen to my 10 favourite French songs

, St.Martins Press, New York, 1999

Music, with singers like Amadou et Mariam

is Frances most popular female rapper. Born in Cyprus and raised in a Paris suburb, Diams is part of a new generation of French singers with immigrant roots. In her hit song, Ma France moi Diams, who wears baggy pants and keeps her hair cut very short, captures the feelings of the disaffected youth who dont relate to traditional France.

This page is one of the 10 most visited pages of the site. If you like this site, please bookmark it or create a link.

(1940s-1960s), nicknamed le fou chantant (the singing crazy man) : poetry, cheerfulness, jazz …

Listen to my favourite French songs

USEFUL TIPS……Every year, since 1976 the Mecca of French songs is theFestival de Bourges(in the center of France) in April. Very popular French singers include Francis Cabrel, Jean Jacques Goldman and the most promising young French singers seem to be Vincent Delerm, Mathieu Chedid, Benabar, Sanseverino, Thomas Fersen. Another very interesting Summer festival devoted to French singers is the Francofoliesde la Rochelle (in July). More aboutfestivals.

you dont call the notes A, B, C, D, E, F and G

DID YOU KNOW THAT …… ? If a French person can sing ONE song or play ONE tune, he/she will sing . The words are Au clair de la lune, mon ami Pierrot, prte moi ta plume pour crire un mot…..etc i.e. My friend Pierrot, under the moonlight, please loan me your goose quill : I want to write something (its more poetic in French !) and the tune goes like this.

listen to oneof his most beautiful songs !

(1950s-1970s), representative of the chanson dauteur (authors song, i.e.where the lyrics are essential or chanson Rive Gauche i.e.

(1913) by Georgel : cabaret songs, often saucy, popular entertainment, …

, Claude Nougaro, Jacques Douai (the French Pete Seeger), etc…

: reflecting French society, French songs are very open to foreign cultures and the most popular singers include MC Solaar (black rap), Zebda group (arab), Khaled (arab), etc… The future of French songs is clearly ethnic,at the image of the country.

1990-2004 (rap et musiques plurielles) :

, they love songs and they have great singers. Among them, Flix Leclerc, a kind of founding father figure, Gilles Vignault, Robert Charlebois, Richard Desjardins, etc… and many more. If you love songs in French, when in Montral or Qubec, spend an evening in a boite chansons (a caf with singers)

, St.Martins Press, New York, 2001

with Indochine, les Rita Mitsuko, Noir Dsir or Mano Negra (with Manu Chao, who now sings alone)

policy : minimum 40% of French music on radio channels (see the site of the French regulator -CSA- and comments about the Sept.30, 1986 Law creating quotas : 25% or 60% for stations with a particular broadcasting policy regarding creation, 40% as a standard rule)

Read about theMusic Museumin the Cit de la Musique, in the Parc de la Villette (Paris)

DID YOU KNOW THAT ? When you learn music in France (and in other Latin countries),

is alive and well in Paris : see where.

, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French

Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French,

1900-1914 (Cafconc et Cabaret) :

by Jacques Brel (who was Belgian) :listen to it

include Raphael, Cali, Sanseverino, Benabar, etc

1918-1930 (les annes folles) :

1945-1960 (de Saint-Germain-des-Prs la Nouvelle Vague) :

This page is still under construction : pleasewriteto me to help to improve it.

Jaime flaner sur les grands boulevards

Harriet Welty Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French. Order her books:

1930-1939 (de leuphorie la dbcle) :

(excerpts, upcoming events, testimonials, etc..)

1970-1980 (engagement ou divertissement) :

Music is very popular, with groups like NTM or singers like Diams or MC Solaar.

(1930) by Lucienne Boyer : chanson raliste (very depressing…) or very sentimental,..

1914-1918 (Chansons dans la guerre) :

USEFUL TIPS..Theradio stationfor Rap and Rock & Roll is Skyrock (96Mhz) and if you want to know where to go to listen to music, from the smallest cafs (with an unknown group of singers performing) to the largest concert hall, readLYLO( les yeux les oreilles : i.e. Eyes and Ears, bi-monthly, more than 1000 concerts in hundreds of places n Paris for the coming 3 weeks) : you can find it (for free) in most musical bars and concert places in Paris

The new France resulting fromimmigrationis not only represented by suburban riots. Thanks to ethnic diversity, there is an incredibly rich new generation of young singers,movie-makersandwriters

(Francis Lemarque, probably the most popular song about Paris, for the French)

, Leo Ferr, enregistr en public en 1969 (Meridian)

like Edith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier, Michel Sardou,Johnny Hallyday(the most popular French singer from the 1960s to his death in 2017), etc…

(1966, J.Plante, C.Aznavour), Charles Aznavour, enregistr en public Janvier 1978 (1998 EMI Music)

Visit the sites of the singers with their biography, discography and the

(1914) by Bach : patriotic songs,…

France is the only country in Europe where national music is predominant (2/3 of the number of records sold). Why ?

lyrics are more important than the music

Paris has always been a source of inspiration for poets and singers and some of the most popular French songs are about Paris.

DO YOU KNOWJOHNNY HALLYDAY? He died in December 2017. Very few Americans knew him and all of those who did mocked him and looked at him with scorn. Why? The 74-year old rock singer was among the most popular French singers but it is understandable that for most Americans, the words a French rock singer may sound as unexpected as an English chef. However, Johnny was clearly a national monument and hundred of thousands of fans, including the President of France, attended his funeral.

(1942) by Charles Trenet : nostalgia,…

, David Guetta has sold over 40 million records worldwide.

— In 2004, the Bibliothque Nationale de France organized an (excellent) exhibition called One Hundred Years of French Songs. Each decade was illustrated by the 10 best songs of this period. Among them, I have selected the following :

(1966) by Barbara : at the same time, discovering rockroll (Johnny Hallydayetc..) and the top moment of chanson dauteur…

: several large stores : 24 Bld des Italiens 75009 Paris, 136 rue de Rennes 75006 Paris, 74 av. des Champs Elyses 75008 Paris, 109 rue Saint Lazare 75009 Paris, etc…

A good way to understand a people is to listen to its music. French songs have a special flavour, a

. Here are the figures for 2003 : French songs represent 22% of the market on radios, 60% of CDs sold. This is considered a relatively improved situation. Read about the

(XIXth Century commercial malls) include one or several shops with old musical scores (Passage Jouffroy, Passage Verdeau, Passage Vivienne, Passage des Panoramas, etc…)

listen to oneof his most beautiful songs !)

places and sitesto find French music and lyrics

Visit a remarkable site, with more than350 old French songs(but of course you have to know the name of the song)

Read about French artistsno one knowsoutside France (andUS artists the French likethe best) and discoverunknown Paris.

(1960s-1980s), an excellent musician, creative and open to all forms of music influenced many of the younger French singers such as Jean Jacques Goldman, Benjamin Biolay, Sanseverino,…

1980-1990 (le temps des groupes) :

Best links for thelyricsof French songs andto order online


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