I’m assuming like most cultures, the French hate cliches as much as any culture—especially when it comes to describing all things French. I mean, it’s too easy to fill up a beret of croissant filled images of all things Parisian. So on this week’s World Music Show (1/20), I’ll try to avoid using cliches to describe some of the great French music that will dominate the first hour like a shadow of the Eiffel Tower over a cafe.
We’ll kick off our musical Tour de France (sorry) by going back in time to checkout some fun pop music that was dominating the airwaves in the 1960s. We’ll hear a song about Blue Jeans from a Belgian-Italian singer who goes by the singular Adamo. This singer was the son of a miner and a housewife who rose to sell more than 100 million records.
Paired with him, like a good baguette and espresso will be tunes from the famous Jacques Dutronc, whose musical influences included sounds from British garage rock, ala the Kinks. We’ll hear his cover of Mungo Jerry’s “Alright, Alright, Alright”. And in another cover, we’ll also a cover of the famous Bacharach/David “There’s Always Something There to Remind Me,” done here by Sandie Shaw. She was part of the U.K’s beat scene.
From there, we’ll move forward to the past few decades to hear some French Nouvelle music, which really is a nod to France’s Chanson style (vocals and melodies). In this biscuit of tunes we’ll hear from Tetes Raides, Louise Attaque and La Tordue. Plus, later on in the hour and in the same vein, we’ll hear from the acrobatic band Lo Jo, who have yes—used actual acrobats in some of the stage shows.
In a nod to the legendary French raconteur Serge Gainsbourg, we’ll hear a couple of tribute songs. One featuring Marianne Faithful and Sly & Robbie and another done by Carla Bruni. This will lead us into some more contemporary tunes from the likes of the electronic trio We Are Enfant Terrible (who have been known to plug in a Game Boy on stage to get some of their sounds) and the band Aquaserge, who I’m thinking also are giving a nod to Serge Gainsbourg.
Rounding out the hour will be some French-Caribbean dance music from Wapa Sakitanou and then some acoustic music from Pascal Lejeune and the band Karpatt.
In hour two, we’ll give a mini-tribute the late singer and musician Dolores O’Riordan, who died suddenly this past week at the age of 46. Along with her band The Cranberries, she led the way in a 90s music scene that was also dominated by Grunge and unique styles.
Moving right along, we’ll then check out some beautiful Soukous Guitar music (not to be confused with Soukous dance music from General Defao and Gueatan System. This will lead nicely into some electronic Tango music from Gotan Project.
Also featured in this hour will be a string of tunes provided to me from my friend Josh, whose homemade CD features musicians such as Atreciopelados, Marisa Monte, Fatal Mambo and BiD.
The World Music Show will be your Saturday night companion from 8:00-10:00 p.m. on 88.9 WCVE Richmond Public Radio. You can stream the show via this website and checkout actual track listings. Follow the show on Twitter @wcveworldmusic and on Facebook at The World Music Show on WCVE.