Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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A simple introduction to chanson

I'm happy to admit to eclectic musical tastes. I've already confessed to enjoying progressive rock, English folk, ambient and trance. But now it's time to admit to another string to my musical bow: chanson.

Now a very French amalgamation of cafe jazz and traditional folk styles, but dating back to the Middle Ages, chanson is still a popular form of music in the francophone world. Popular singers like Charles Trenet had careers that lasted more than half a century. It's a style of music that has an innate romanticism, and yet a practical and down to earth view of the world. And it's a style of music that gives the accordian a prominent role...

There have been attempts to translate chanson into english, but on the whole these are failures - I only have to point to the many versions of Charles Trenet's "La Mer". But still the rolling chords of chanson drift into the night, and into the hearts of its listeners.

Jenet's wonderful film "Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain" is at heart chanson given form, and it's no surprise that Yann Tiersen's soundtrack is built on the musical tropes of good chanson. The CD mixes chanson with his music, and can be purchased here.
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