Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Intensive Course in French Music

Ever heard an artist rapping in French? I laughed so hard the first time I heard one, I thought I would fall off my chair! To me it was just incompatible that such round vowels and all the burring and the attentively polished pronunciation from the French language could ever be used to slam something in protest. But the French have no fear, and a friend more versed than myself in the matter tells me that the French rappers are actually high on the quality scale in their field, second only to the ones in the United States. Who would've thought?...

I found out that French music is a great teasing subject in my conversations with the natives because they have this impression that somehow their music is one of the best music that ever existed (if not the best in the world!). It's not the first time when they think so, more or less rightfully, but when the engineer in me asked for some hard evidence - like in "cite five contemporary French artists, internationally known, like Michael Jackson or the Rolling Stones" I've been politely dismissed as ignorant and uncultured because I didn't recognized the names my interlocutor provided. And now, dear reader, please help the dented French honor to be repaired by adding in the comments below what French artists you do know (and I know), apart from David Guetta, Bob Sinclar and Daft Punk. Oh, and Celine Dion doesn't count, she's Canadian. ...and Édith Piaf is dead... I'm telling ya, it's a tricky one!

However, if you want an accelerated class in the wonderful exotic French music there's an easy and very effective way to do it: go see "Les Enfoirés" shows (the next one will take place tomorrow in Paris), a yearly musical event gathering on the same stage the most popular French artists of the moment to help raise funds for the Restos du Cœur charity. Now: enfoiré means umm... well... a jerk, it's an offensive term so don't call your future mother in law like that unless you want to cancel the wedding... After the term was made popular by the show it took a milder meaning, something like smartass, but still, it's safer not to use it in your day to day French talk.

The cream of the crop French musicians singing only the cream of the crop French music (the most successful songs, in order to appeal to the masses) what's more to be wished for? Each year there's a CD and lately a DVD issued with the whole spectacle and each year a motivational original main song is composed, song that usually becomes an instant hit.

The "Enfoirés" show has been a tremendous success even from its first editions, being inspired by the much loved French comedian, Coluche (a local Seinfeld), who founded the charity. People loved his sketches so much that they can still keep telling his jokes or puns during a conversation, after more than 25 years from his sudden death (a motorcycle accident). His spirit stays with the French culture and his charitable and artistic heritage continues to bring joy to the French souls.

Enjoy the show à la française!

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