Yini Bo by French band / collective Le Peuple de l'Herbe (SLYT)
In the imagination of a young Parisian named Pablo Padovani there’s a land called Moo. It’s a fantastical place that celebrates nature, the elements, romanticism and sweets [NSFW]. “I think you may like it if you like childhood, sex, dreams and surrealism,” Padovani [says]. “It’s a pornographic episode of Teletubbies mixed with Lord of the Rings.[...]The disc (Le Monde Möö by MOODOÏD) is a walk in the world Möö. This is a soft world made of cream hills and Turkish delight mountains. There are also Camembert mattresses and waterfalls of wine. This is a great, epic adventure."
In 1971 Jean Garetto and Pierre Codou began to dream of a radio station that could calm even the drivers stuck on the Paris Périphérique. It would play wonderful, unexpected music chosen by people who knew their onions. The tracks would be drawn from diverse genres and chosen to seque enchantingly. There would be no jingles, commercials or self-aggrandising DJs - not even defined programs - just some announcers chosen for their mellifluous voices but paid to mostly stay quiet. The result was - and is - FipRadio. Fans have included residents of Brighton in the UK who enjoyed an illegal re-transmission of the station for many years - and journalist David Hepworth who describes the thrill of hearing "a voice you want to marry whispering words you can't understand". Listen! [more inside]
Zic Zazou (French homepage) is a group of nine musicians who often play music using objects and toy instruments. Here is a delightful video of them performing the Habanera from Carmen in a workshop, with the workshop. [more inside]
"Euphoria", which won the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest (previously), is a #1 in several countries, including Ireland, Austria, and Switzerland Of course, it's not the only song charting internationally that you might never hear on US radio. It should come as no surprise that one can readily find international hits online. For instance - Sweden, #4: Panetoz - Dansa Pausa Sweden, #9: Mange Makers - Drick Den This doesn't purport to be an exhaustive list, but rather a jumping-off point. [more inside]
Telerama Concerts Privé, recorded live in Paris: Wilco - Bonnie Prince Billy - The Shins - Jonathan Wilson
Back in Town is a song by Izia, a French rock band fronted by and named for Izïa Higelin. Even though she comes from a showbiz family, the band initially found little favor on French radio. But after a string of blistering live performances all over France, the self-titled first album became a hit and won a couple of awards at the prestigious Victoire de la Musique ceremony, where Izia performed the song Let Me Alone. There are a bunch of live performances online, including of Life is Going Down, a cover of AC/DC's Touch Too Much and a duet with Iggy Pop. This past November, sophomore album So Much Trouble was released, featuring such songs as the title track, On Top of the World, and my favorite, Baby.
After Kad & Olivier sign off and the Satisfaction production logo fades, viewing audiences are oftentimes treated to a cold open of an empty talk show set... one that quickly becomes the impromptu dance floor for a shameless Frenchman making an absolute giddy fool of himself while lip-syncing pop songs alongside a menagerie of... wait, *what*?! That's right. The Late Late Show's Craig Ferguson appears to have a not-so-secret French admirer -- one who's not above ripping off both his opening titles and his signature dance sequences (including the iconic animal puppets): "ABC" by The Jackson 5, "Flashdance" by Irene Cara, "On the Floor" by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull, "Waka Waka" by Shakira, "Men in Black" by Will Smith, "Let's All Chant" by the Michael Zager Band, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!, "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls, and "Vive Le Vent (Jingle Bells)" by Tino Rossi. Luckily, Ferguson's sense of showmanship is more prodigious than litigious -- he responded to Arthur's "homáge" by booking a pair of translatlantic crossover shows, with Arthur visiting LA that week and Ferguson flying out to Paris just last month. Video of both shows (plus lots more) inside! [more inside]
Safari Disco Club / Que veux-tu double-feature music video for two tracks from Yelle's second album
Joe Dassin was the son of a Russian jewish American film director a Hungarian virtuoso violinist. [more inside]
Happy Bastille Day y'all! (previously) Why not celebrate with a few stirring renditions of France's first national anthem? You can get your La Marseillaise traditional, By Edith Piaf, by Django Reinheart and Stephane Grappelli, in a classic movie, in 1907, by a F1 Renault, all punked out, or as a Reggae (a performance of which lead to bomb threats, causing Serge to take the stage and sing it alone.)
"Imagine, amid the grey serge of wartime France, a tribe of youngsters with all the colourful decadence of punks or teddy boys. Wearing zoot suits cut off at the knee (the better to show off their brightly coloured socks), with hair sculpted into grand quiffs, and shoes with triple-height soles - looking like glam-rock footwear 30 years early - these were the kids who would lay the foundations of nightclubbing. Ladies and gentlemen, les Zazous." [more inside]
On September 10th, to celebrate their initiation week, 172 communications students at the University of Quebec at Montreal decided to put on a show. After weeks of preparation, the costumed and prop-wielding crowd enacted an exuberant, complex, and flawlessly-choreographed performance of the Black Eyed Peas song "I Gotta Feeling" that sprawled through the campus's multi-story Judith Jasmin Pavilion... and they did it all in one continuous take (on their second try). The feat is just the most recent example of "lipdubbing" -- a video phenomenon where a single camera moves through a crowd of highly coordinated lip-syncers in a single seamless take, with the original recording dubbed over the finished product. [more inside]
French musical comedies 1918-1940 [French]. Non-French can still appreciate the programmes, photographs, music and videos.
Emily Loizeau's Je Suis Jalouse was for me the kind of song that immediately makes you want more. Emily's debut album L'autre bout du monde (The Other Side of the World) was released in 2006. She began studying piano at the age of 5, and cites Georges Brassens, Bob Dylan, and The Beatles as her primary influences. Listen to more wonderfulness with Sister, Je Ne Sais Pas Choisir, or the title track from her debut album. More listening if you are at last.fm
The hippest of today's French youth can't get enough of Tecktonik--a dance (YT), cultural movement and apparent marketing ploy (in French), Tecktonic is a style of dance characterized by its lack of footwork and embrace of various ridiculous arm gestures. Coupled with a strong fashion sense (in French) involving copious amounts of neon, pseudo (or full-on) mullet haircuts and jeans that could be painted on, Tecktonik is a dance craze that, since its birth in 2000 at a Parisian nightclub, has only increased in popularity. [more inside]
YouTube user lightning49 has 160 of videos of French singers which she has subtitled with her translations. Her biggest collection is of Jacques Brel videos but there are also songs performed by George Brassens, Charles Aznavour, Edith Piaf as well as a smattering of other stuff. To start you off with a few songs here are three of my favorite songs by Brel, Je suis un soir d'éte, Le moribond and La valse à mille temp along with Charles Aznavour's La boheme, Edith Piaf's Milord and Georges Brassens' Les passantes.
Head over to Cheikha Rimitti's MySpace page and listen to the first tune up on her player (starts when you open the page), called Saida. Whoa! Is that badass or what? Well, there's 5 other tunes of hers there for your listening pleasure, covering a wide swath of stylistic territory within the Algerian music tradition she was such an important part of. Yet another MySpace page pays tribute (with 4 more songs!) to this powerful singer, and you can also learn more about her at the Cheikha Rimitti website, which is in French, but with links like "Musique" and "Vidéos", you shouldn't have too much trouble with it. There's an informative English-language video biography of this "Mother of Raï", not to mention this performance footage (with those fantastic flutes!) of Saida. [more inside]
Flamenco clearly belongs to spain. But so many immigrants came to France to find work or escape from the civil war that there is a small community of guitarists in southern France who are playing it with original voices. Bernardo Sandoval was the subject of a post in mefi music some time ago. Antonio "kiko" ruiz is about to come to the United States with Renaud-Garcia-Fons : their work can be seen here. Serge Lopez is another great guitarist who puts some guitar parts on his website. Salvador Paterna adds to the traditional sound of flamenco both the 'oud and the violin. They are all from or nearby Toulouse.
Remember these? Of course you do! Well, two new videos make for interesting comparison. Not Washington D.C. but Paris France. Not the subway station but the streets. Not classical but pop. Not Joshua Bell but The Shins. Begin armchair comparative cultural criticism.....NOW!
Ques ça c'est? Scopitones were film jukeboxes in post-war France. See Jacque Brel and Johnny Hallyday in vivid couleur! (via)
A bunch of videos of the great sui generis French band Magma, including what appears to be a complete performance of Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh. Can't understand the lyrics? Try a Kobaian dictionary [cache].
Bad acoustic cover songs with a French accent.
Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail. Best known as the drummer for 1970s punk band The Damned, Rat Scabies grew up with a father interested in the mysteries of the French town of Rennes-le-Château, which may or may not contain the Holy Grail and in the enigmatic priest Berenger Sauniere. Conspiracy theories surrounding the town first popped up in the 1970s book Holy Blood, Holy Grail and gained a certain amount of infamy in recent years from The DaVinci Code. Upon striking up a friendship with his neighbor, journalist Christopher Dawes, Scabies discovered common interests in conspiracy theories and all things paranormal and a shared hatred of the DaVinci Code. Now the pair wrote a book about their alcohol-sodden quest for the Holy Grail that asks the question: What happens when an ex-punk rocker goes looking for the Holy Grail?
Very Interesting French Music Video The movie is somewhat hard to explain without giving away the ending, but the movie addresses very interesting implications for the future of mankind.
French politicians polish cultural credentials. France's presidential hopefuls have begun pledging to defend the country's cherished culture, hoping to drum up support from artists worried that American films and music will steamroll finer French productions. This rhetoric makes it sound like American films are picking up guns to massacre poor defenseless French culture. Maybe American films are so successful because they give people something that the "finer French productions" don't, and if so, then is that such a horrible thing? After all, we are just giving the people what they want, right? And if that takes money away from more artsy productions, then whose fault is that anyway?