A Short Guide to French Music {day six}

{day six} A Short Guide to French Music

 

I’ve talked before about my mostly but not quite hate-affair with French music. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t exactly have a great reputation around the world. Music doesn’t come up in the top 5 ‘best things about France’, and that is mostly, in my opinion, because  the French language doesn’t lend itself to simple lyrics, and simplicity pretty much defines most contemporary music. Instead it is all about poetry and emotions, so singing in French about being ‘in da club’ and what not, is just weird. French lyrics can be very intricate but tend to win over musicality, which doesn’t translate well into music that non-French people can understand. You get a lot of musical poetry, which is great if you understand French, but can be pretty uninspiring otherwise.

 

That’s not to say that all French music is bad, not by a very long shot, but you may not have heard of most of our most famous artists so today, let me introduce you to them by running through the last 60 years of French classics. All of the artists mentioned are famous and many have had enduring appeal in my home country, including some having reached national treasure status.

 

If you want to listen to any of these guys, you can check out the Spotify public playlist I’ve made for the occasion.

 

Note: Some of these artists have careers spanning many decades and I have ‘tried’ to categorise them by genre (if very specific) or by their most popular decade. It was a difficult one to judge so if there are mistakes, they are all mine. I have also had to miss a lot of very popular artists because there are just too many and it could quickly become overwhelming.

 

 Classic French Music of the WWII Years:

  • Edith Piaf
  • Charles Trenet

French Music of the 50s:

  • Charles Aznavour (still going strong today at 91 yrs old!)
  • George Brassens

French Music of the 60s:

  • Jacques Brel
  • Claude François
  • Jean Ferrat
  • Jacques Dutronc
  • France Gall
  • Mireille Mathieu
  • Sylvie Vartan
  • Françoise Hardy

French Music of the 70s:

  • Serge Gainsbourg
  • Véronique Sanson
  • Michel Berger
  • Johnny Hallyday (the Biggest French star ever)
  • Sheila
  • Michel Sardou

French Music of the 80s:

  • Mylène Farmer (if you’re going to youtube her, she’s NSFW, guys, seriously NSFW)
  • Jean-Jacques Goldman
  • Vanessa Paradis (who made a come back in the 00′)
  • Daniel Balavoine
  • Téléphone
  • Francis Cabrel

French Music of the 90s: (I grew up with these guys!)

  • Patrick Bruel
  • Pascal Obispo
  • Zazie
  • MCSolaar
  • Celine Dion (seriously, her French albums are nothing like her English-speaking ones)
  • Noir Désir

French Music of the 00s:

  • Alizée,
  • Calogero
  • Phoenix
  • M83
  • M

French Music of the 10s:

  • Stromae
  • Indila
  • Cats on Trees
International crossover:
  • David Guetta
  • Daft Punk
  • Air
French metal/less mainstream stuff, as recommended by my husband Badgerman (He Who Knows His Stuff):
  • Gojira
  • Alcest

the ‘local flavour’ album: Brittany has been producing some rather unique stuff over the years, Manau was on the radio when I left France 15 years ago popularising ‘celtic rap’.

The ‘I don’t know what I’m talking about but it exists’ French Hip-Hop and Rap:
    •  L’Entourage
    • Georgio
    • Guizmo

The bonus American but sounds totally French: Madeleine Peyroux

31 days button - Frenchify your life # font x400

What I’m Into – June 2015

What I'm Into June 2015 header

Summer’s here! I’m very excited, what’s not to like about sun and heat? Quite a lot, if you’re to believe 75% of the British population. Roads melting, trains not working because the heat is making the tracks buckle (but why? They have trains in hot countries, do they use different metals?), dogs dying in cars because people are stupid, take your pick. Anyway I love summer, even (especially) at 30 degrees when you can spend the evenings with open doors and eat lots of barbecued meat.

I’ve been wondering what I’ve actually done since March and the answer is: lots and lots of study. But I still carve time for non-work activities, otherwise I wouldn’t have much to talk about.

What I’m watching

Once Upon A Time, Arrow and Outlander have finished for summer so I’m watching a bit of Grimm (for reasons unknown, it’s OK but not mind-blowing). I’m also re-watching Fringe from the comfort of my own bed now that we’ve put a TV in our bedroom. I love it, both the show and the tv in bed. It feels slightly decadent.

What I’m reading

With all the reading I’m doing for my studies, I’ve not made much headway into my to-read pile. I’ve been reading a bit of Outlander (well, I’m re-reading book 3, Voyager), also Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist, and Greg Boyd’s Benefit of the Doubt. All highly recommended by me.

What I’m listening to

The new Matt Redman album, it’s a good worship album, and also I was at the Abbey Road Studios recording and I even have my signature on the album artwork (how cool is that), so I was always going to get it; and random stuff on the radio. I’m trying to think of anything I’ve particularly liked this month and nothing is standing out.

The Chemical Brothers’ Glastonbury set I watched on tv was epic but that Kanye West is a douche. I don’t care if he’s a misunderstood genius or wildly overrated. Seriously.

Favourite photos

girls in Bing & Flop masks

What I’ve been doing

At Work: work is actually the easy bit of my life right now. Three days a week, I travel through country lanes to my remote work location deep in the Sussex countryside and spend a few hours completing admin tasks in good company. What’s not to like? it’s only short-term until Christmas and perfect for now.

At Home:

  • We celebrated Luciole’s 2nd birthday, which was a rather subdued affair due to chickenpox! Little Girl had it first for a whole 7 days, and Luciole has just come out with it today, so I’m at home on unpaid leave for another week. Happy days! We did eat an enormous cake and Luciole loved her presents.

chocolate and strawberry cake

  • We’ve been slowly working on the house, we now have curtains and blinds everywhere apart from the kitchen and office. The next bit project is tackling the office properly. Remember when it looked like this?

state of the office on 030415

  • Well, now it looks like this, which is barely an improvement, but I’m trying to organise the office papers and eventually it will look fabulous. Maybe. You know what they say: the more space you need, the more you want.

state of the office as of 050715

  • We’ve had builders in to sort out a few issues with the house whilst it is still under warranty as new houses are. It was built last winter and as the timber is drying out in the heat, it is causing all sorts of weird things, all of which are only cosmetic so far, thank goodness.

At School:

Online studying is still school, right? I’m really pleased with the fact that I completed the first unit of the business course at the beginning of June and submitted my assignment on time. It was really intense for the last three weeks though. I was working every evening for 3 hours 7 days a week. I should know in the next couple of weeks whether my work is of the right standard, and if I have passed the unit. It has been fairly stressful and I honestly don’t know how I am going to sustain it. This brings me nicely to the next thing:

At Home on the Blog

What with everything that’s been going on, my presence online has been really sparse, and that’s really all I’ve been talking about.

  • Finding a suitable work/life balance is my priority right now and is very much a work-in-progress. If I’m honest, I doubt I will be able to blog more than once a fortnight, but hopefully when I do, it will be decent content.
  • My search for this elusive balance coincided with the release of the new 2015/2016 Erin Condren planner, which I discovered accidentally last year and put on my ‘one day’ list. I’m a big fan of planners and have used one for the last three years so I bit the bullet and bought one. I proceeded to write about why I like planners and this one in particular in my most gushing post yet. It’s a beautiful thing. Stationery lovers unite!

As always, I’m joining in with Leigh Kramer for this post. You can check out her link for better book and music recommendations from across a great range of well-read bloggers.

 

 

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What I’m Into – March 2015 Edition

Notebook

Man, it has been an AGE since I last participated in What I’m Into!

Since then (wow, it was October…), I have: moved house, found a job, started the job, become a student again, settled into a completely new routine with the kids, bought curtains, had a terrible cold, caught up with lots of wonderful tv shows, ate my weight in curry with lots of girls from church, celebrated my 35th birthday (yikes), got lots of new books, and generally felt a bit overwhelmed by it all.

We had planned to have a house-warming party towards the end of the Easter holidays. I am now sitting on the sofa, thinking about the state of the house, the number of unopened boxes in the spare room and the lack of curtains and blinds in most of the house and I laugh quietly to myself. My younger self by 2 months was so naive.

So anyway, let’s rewind a bit a take a look at the interesting things I’ve done over the last few months.

What I’m Watching

I finished Parks & Rec and I’m now bereft of comedy in my regular viewing habits, as all the other shows I watch are really quite different: Once Upon A Time, Arrow and Castle. I’m watching season 4 of all of these. I’ll be honest, OUAT isn’t what it used to be and is dragging a bit. Arrow, though, is coming up to a belter of a season finale if the trailer is anything to go by! And then of course, Outlander is coming back.

I’ve not watched any films recently but I’m planning to take Little Girl to see Cinderella at the cinema. It will be her first ever cinema outing and I’m not sure she will cope with sitting through a full-length feature but we will try, and she’s beside herself with excitement, which is worth it.

What I’m Reading

Once again, I received Lots Of Books for my birthday, and I’ve been ignoring them all and re-reading Anne Of Green Gables from start to finish; it’s been a nice treat after the whirlwind of the last month. I’ve just started Windy Poplars and keep having visions of the film and Anne and Katherine Brooke’s hideously gloriously puffy hair-dos.

All my other books are still in boxes and will remain there until we have resolved the problem of ‘the office’. I should think that the pictures below are self-explanatory.

state of the office on 030415

What I’m Listening To

I’ve not been listening to anything new of late. The news that Thrice were coming to the UK to do one date at Hevy Fest was enough to make me dig out Beggars, although I doubt I’ll be able to see them live. I hope this is a sign that they have got back together and may be working on a new album.

I’m very embarrassed about this, but I like a lot of the songs from the 50 Shades movie. Not because I’ve seen the film (and I never will, because whatever people say, emotional abuse is not sexy), but the songs have turned up on Spotify and get played on the radio a lot, and I just really like the songs from Ellie Golding, the Weeknd and the Beyonce Crazy in Love remix. They’re all on YouTube so I don’t have to buy anything, thank goodness.

Favourite Photos

Badgerman finally transferred his iPad pictures over and these ones are my favourite. the one on the left is so good for so many reasons: not only is Little Girl looking at the camera, she is smiling AND posing? What’s happened to my child the fake smiler, where has she gone to and who is this imposter?

Fav photos march 2015

What I’ve Been Doing

  • I, ahem, made an Easter Bonnet for Little Girl.  I don’t understand the point of this, or why pre-schools have an ‘Easter Bonnet Parade’. Life in the UK doesn’t get quainter, or weirder, than this. The making of the hat was a last-minute, night before sort of job. The worst thing is I know it’s only the beginning, as British schools are in the habit of wanting kids to do all sorts of things at home that end up being a massive craft-oriented time-consuming task for the parents. I’m dreading all the World Book Days and nativities that require me to pretend I know how to sew.
  • These last couple of weeks, there have been fevers and colds and I got coughed on quite a bit so now I can’t breathe or taste anything.
  • My birthday was fairly uneventful because we moved house the week after and honestly, it was just all too much for me.
  • I got given a car, and I don’t know what to say about it that won’t sound completely trite and underwhelming compared to this complete whopper of a gift. Our friends are amazing, wonderful, super generous and I totally don’t deserve them.
  • I started an admin job three days a week, which has been fine apart from that one day I had to take off because Luciole was ill. Three weeks into a new job, way to make a good impression! My colleagues are good fun and it’s great to be out of the house and suddenly have something else to think about rather than just kids 24/7.
My 'I Got The Job' present. Basically all my favourite things.

My ‘I Got The Job’ present. Basically all my favourite things.

  • Because I’m a bit nuts, I have also started an online course in business management. It’s a proper degree (well, a BTech actually) but it’s meant to be worked around a full-time sort of life doing other stuff. We’ll see how that goes, won’t we?
  • You might have noticed I updated the look of the blog, again. As much as I loved the featured post slider and will miss it (until I find a design I like that has one), I hated that there was so much block black colour on the page and I didn’t need the menu on the left hand-side.

At Home On The Blog

I haven’t really done a round-up since last October, so here’s what happened:

November 2014

  • I wrote about bilingualism and language: we attended a really helpful session with a language therapist who put our mind at rest about Little Girl’s development. The best thing was the information sheet she provided on what normal speech development looks like.
  • I reminisced about my experience of culture shock, homesickness and general emotional upheaval when I first came to England. There are roughly 4 stages people tend to go through and it turns out I’m pretty normal. This is one of these times where the motto of ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’ is actually meaningful.
  • I started participating in Five Minute Friday, in which you set your timer to 5 minutes and write on the day’s given prompt. It’s a nice little writing challenge. That week, the prompt word was Still.

December 2014

This is the month when the world exploded in activity. There was Christmas, I had a bad cold virus for much of the month and we were suddenly buying a house.

  • I revived an old post for a Christmas craft idea for people who can’t craft: a magnet advent calendar for the fridge, which sounds pretty cool if you ask me, and is even cooler in real life.
  • I shared our news that we were buying a house and what it’s like to be a first-time buyer in the south of England.
  • There was another Five Minute Friday post, with a timely prompt: Prepare.
  • As we drew nearer to Christmas, I shared some of my French Christmas Eve Traditions. Everyone who asks me about my French Christmasses ends up hearing about No Potatoes Christmas, which I will forever be bitter about.
  • Wow, I really was in the Christmas spirit this year, because I also put our Christmas Day Menu up for inspiration, shock and awe.
  • I mentioned in the Christmas Menu post that I would translate the recipe for my Raspberry and Lychee Chocolate Log, and so I did. It’s easy to make, promise.

January 2015

February 2015

  • Five Minute Friday on Keep, again incredibly timely.

March 2015

And that’s all folks, we are all caught up!

You can check out what everybody is into over on Leigh Kramer‘s blog.

 

 

What I’m Into: October 2014 Edition

What I'm Into Oct14 header

October has been a month of new routines, desperately hoping nobody would get ill and longing for a holiday breather. The girls’ sleep got all messed up and I got tired and frustrated with things and I’ve been distracting as a coping mechanism without realising it. I don’t feel like I have the words for this weird malaise quite yet but I am trying. It didn’t help that the clock change a week ago means that the sun now goes down around 5 pm and it’s making me feel quite depressed. Ugh, I hate this time of year.

What I’m Watching

Regular shows: Once Upon a Time, Dr Who, Arrow. And Castle is back so we’ve started season 4.

Films: Sightseers – it’s a tale of murder in the Lake District. I guess it counts as a black comedy but I tell you, it totally freaked me out, as much for how gory it was as for how casually evil yet disturbingly banal the characters were even in their mental disturbance. I’m never going on a caravan holiday, ever.

What I’m Reading

I finished Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander) and A Dance With Dragons: Part 2 After the Feast and loved both so much! You can read my reviews on Goodreads.

What I’m NOT Reading

It’s not that I don’t want to, honest. I’m that overwhelmed with it.

unread pile 011114

What I’m Listening To

In the charts: I fell in love with Say Something by A Great Big World. It’s a bit of a predictable choice for me, what with all the nice piano, clear harmonisation, pretty tune and the heavy dose of melancholy. I had no idea Christina Aguilera was singing until I saw the video, and omg is she over-acting.

The bigger surprise has been how much I have liked All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor. I like the strong lyrics and it’s ever so catchy.

 

Badgerman has been playing a lot of Royal Blood lately and I generally think he has interesting and eclectic taste (when he’s not listening to Mastodon – that’s not really my thing). Rock seems to be enjoying a revival of sorts and I like it. Little Monster is wonderful.

Unfortunately, for all the hype, I couldn’t get past the first track from shameless ad-whore U2‘s new album. They either need to reinvent themselves musically or come to terms with not being big news anymore, either way, it sounded like U2 and yeah, meh.

I listened to the new Coldplay album and although I like a couple of tracks, I’m not bowled away either.

Favourite Photo

MOBY and wine

What I’ve Been Doing

– The nearly-new sale I attended was a complete wash-out. For some reason, the unused bottles of talcum powder went in a flash, and I sold maybe three other items and that’s it. Considering how much time and effort went into preparing for the event, it was not good value for money. I made back what I’d put out for the table and then maybe another £15, and promptly spent half of that on a Cinderella Barbie for Little Girl. I came home knackered but still determined to get rid of all my baby clothes somehow. Ebay here I come!

– I have never celebrated Hallowe’en; it didn’t exist in its current form in France when I was growing up and it’s only recently that the practice of trick or treating has become popular in the UK but for the last three years, we have tried to develop some basic pumpkin-carving skills. This year, to please Little Girl, I went for Hello Kitty, which came out great, although Badgerman later admitted to being surprised at my success because he initially thought I had shot well over my capabilities and was never going to manage anything decent. Thanks for the vote of confidence then…

hello kitty pumpkin 2014

– For a true Hallowe’en fright, I give you my attempt at a Roast Pumpkin Cheese Fondue as I threatened to do last month. I overbaked the pumpkin; it burnt, leaked and caved in a bit on the side and looked quite shocking, as the photo below can attest, but it tasted like heaven. It’s honestly the easiest thing to make. A 1.5 kg emptied pumpkin will take about 1 hr to cook in the oven first at 180C, then layer all your ingredients in the cavity (300 g grated cheese, 2 tbsp white wine, 2 tbsp creme fraiche and a chopped shallot) and roast for another 30 mins. You can’t go wrong. Unless you’re me.

I also made a Lancashire Hotpot, which looked and tasted amazing but yeah, again, I forgot to take a pic of the inside. I’ll share this recipe another time for sure because lamb stew is The Daddy.

Things we ate in Oct14

 

At Home On The Blog

– This month’s been very slight on posts. I battled with S.A.D. and general tiredness and couldn’t get the resolve to be productive and write anything. Somehow it ended up being a food month!

– I did share a typically French recipe for a tasty cheese-free alternative to pizza that ought to please big and small people of all ages. And you can always put cheese on top if you really must.

– The Indian food experiment finally took off. We were late getting it started so both the September Tandoori Night and the October Butter Chicken Night happened in October. No one complained.

So that’s what I’ve been doing this month. Be sure to check out all the other entries over on Leigh Kramer’s website.

 

 

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What I’m Into – August 2014 Edition

What I'm Into Aug 2014 header

My artistic landscape gardener of a brother’s gorgeous garden

Ah, Summer. I loved you whilst you were here. But it looks like you’ve gone and aren’t coming back! We’ve had a great summer, full of parties and a long holiday feasting and sadly for August, not a lot of sun! So let’s join in with Leigh Kramer and recap this busy month.

What I’m Watching

Regular shows: I’ve caught up with The 100 and the Great British Bake-Off (oh the drama…) since coming back from holiday, and of course, Dr Who has just started again, yay!

Emma Approved concluded, and I have no plan to start watching another online show at present, and that’s it for tv and films. We watched a fair amount of Tinkerbell at my parents but little else.

I’ve also not watched any Friends over the last month however so I’ll be getting back on it in September.

What I’m Reading

To my astonishment, I won a couple of books at the end of July, and so whilst on holiday I had the pleasure of reading The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. It was an enjoyable read, and you can take a look at my short review on goodreads.

I spent a lot of time reading Tsh Oxenreiders’ Organized Simplicity: A Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living in order to get in the right frame of mind to tackle the bottomless pit of clutter that is my house. I’ve not finished it, but I’ve started putting its recommendations into action. (as an aside, I’m embarrassed to confess that I have no idea how to pronounce ‘Tsh’; is it like Tish? If anyone knows, please leave a comment, thanks!)

I also read What Type am I?: Discover Who You Really are by Renee Baron, which is an easy-to read MBTI Personality Types for Dummies – style book, and confirmed that I am indeed an ISTJ. Hello, me!

What I’m Listening To

I had the music video channel on a lot this month and it was an interesting experience. Whenever I visit France, there’s always a typically French wispy-voiced waif earnestly simpering a ballad in duet with an equally smarmy bloke; and there was certainly a bit of that going on. But there were also a few catchy offerings, like the number one from Black M ‘Sur Ma Route‘, and Cats On Trees ‘Siren Call‘.

Favourite Picture

all the blingWhat happens when you buy new shoes for your child? All the bling comes out!

20140814_view from restaurant

Le Pont St Etienne, Limoges, France

What I’ve been doing (and notable feasts)

  • We kicked off the month with Badgerman’s 40th birthday party, which was just a big excuse to eat lot of barbecued meat, including the delicious Moroccan merguez below. I was witness to some amazing physical prowess from one of the guests, who managed to take a bite out of an enormous sandwich comprising of skirt steak, a whole flat mushroom and blue cheese sauce. I was too busy doing the same to take a picture.

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  • Two days later, we left behind a rather large amount of trifle, banoffee pie and a freezer full of skirt steak to our lovely house-sitters, who helped us keep the flies at bay by eating all the leftovers and leaving the place way cleaner than we’d left it.
  • I am officially not a fan of long car journeys with kids. But we survived the two days it took us to get to the middle of Nowheresville, France. After that it was all fun and frolics (minus the sun), mostly eating cheese and dry sausage and drinking Belgian beer.
  • Badgerman ate this thing:

20140814_starter

It’s salmon on a bed of cucumber and apple and 5 berry cream, served with a Piquillo pepper sorbet. I had a bite (I was only allowed one :-p ) and yeah, it was really quite amazing, especially that initially weird sorbet.

At Home on the Blog

  • August was a light month. I had minimal interaction with the internet and focused on having fun with the girls and reading. I only gave in and posted after visiting a French doctor, which was an odd affair.
  • Since I got back home last week, I shared my new-found resolution to keep my house tidy, and this time, I have a cunning plan.

And so that’s it for August! I should have plenty to report in September once I get back into the swing of things.

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