Paris on your mind? Lets take that thought into your ears. Whether you are thinking about your upcoming holiday and want to get into the mood or already in Paris, here is our Yellow Flat short and subjective guide to French (or at least French singing) artists to enjoy. Tune into your favorite streaming service or buy some CD’s, a baguette some cheese and a dry rose. Can you see the Eiffel Tower in the distance?
1. It will always begin with Edith Piaf, France’s answer to Billy Holiday, a tragic figure with a powerful voice all her own. Nicknamed the little sparrow, her music was covered by countless jazz stars from Louis Armstrong to Ella Fitzgerald. Must listen to: La Vie En Rose and No, Je Ne Regrette Rien. (I regret nothing). She rolls her rien de rien like no other. You can learn more about her at www.edithpiaf.com.
2. Django Reinhardt. The father of what is now called Gypsy Jazz., born in Belguim of Romani or “gypsy” heritage. His jazz hot style of guitar playing inspires countless musicians today in festivals throughout the world. Try his work with violinist Stephane Grapelli with the Quintette De Hot Club De France form the 1930’s. Timeless. Learn more at: http://www.redhotjazz.com/django.html
3. Jacques Brel. Brel, another Belgian born singer, is cited as a powerful influence on many well know songwriters throughout the world and covered by singers from Ray Charles to Frank Sinatra. Listen to Ne Me Quittez Pas to start and keep the tissues handy. http://www.jango.com/music/Jacques+Brel
4. Serge Gainsbourg. Gainsbourg is widely regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of our century. A provocateur and satirist, his late 60’s hit Je T’aime, featuring some rather explicit sounds drew a rebuke from the pope as is considered one of the most erotic songs ever recorded. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Je%20t’aime…moi%20non%20plus
5. Johnny Halliday. Is there a French Elvis? If so, it is Johnny Halliday. Sure the music is derivative, but isn’t all of rock and roll just that? Listen to Souvenier Souvenier as he sings in French with a country twang. Following what seems to be a trend, he is of half Belgian, half American family roots. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Hallyday
6. Carla Bruni. Model. Wife of Nicolas Sarkozy. And decent singer too. A good source of current French songs delivered in a variety of musical styles. Follow her at: https://twitter.com/carlabruni
7. Keren Ann. Contemporary, smooth and sensual, this Israeli born singer resides in France. Her music could be described as easy listening but that would be unfair. It is easy but not simple. http://www.kerenann.com
8. Benjamin Biolay. One of the younger stars of the French music scene and gossip pages. Ennui lives on even when you are dating supermodels and look like one. http://www.benjaminbiolay.com/en
9. George Brassens. French song writer and poet. Known for his scathing indictments of high French society, it’s just him and his guitar. An amazing life story, like Gainsbourg, that influenced his songwriting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Brassens
10. Maurice Chevalier. OK, I couldn’t get through the list without it. Finish the day with Maurice and try not to smile, you won’t succeed. As he sings, ‘Paris sera toujour Paris. Paris will always be Paris’. He will always be the voice associated with cabaret and France. http://compmast.tripod.com/chevalie/chevalie.html
Now where is that baguette and the rest of the Rose…..