Are you an avid francophile who loves the music of France and the French diaspora? Are you trying to learn French and need some help getting the sound of the language in your ears? Are you simply cooking a meal featuring fabulous French food and need some appropriate background music to feature at your feast? Check out some of these phenomenal CDs in French from around the globe for some ideas.
Edith Piaf is an absolute must for any francophile's music collection, or any music collection, for that matter! Her stunning voice, incredible dynamics and sadly romantic songs continue to captivate listeners nearly fifty years after her death.
Cajun music favorites Balfa Toujours is chock full of songs in both Cajun French and Louisiana Black Creole French. This CD also contains the lyrics of the songs, as well as English translations, to help you wrap your ears around the sound of the Louisiana French dialects. Full disclosure: Balfa Toujours are close personal friends of mine.
Malian couple Amadou et Mariam was produced by Manu Chao and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2006, and achieved massive critical praise worldwide.
Celtic music fans will go crazy for this collection of traditional folksongs from Northwestern France. Close your eyes and envision the stunning abbey at Mont Saint Michel while you listen to this one, and you'll be all but transported!
Paris! They combine traditional French chanson with the sounds of Manouche jazz (a la Django Reinhardt), as well as Tango and American jazz. It's tres cool, and evokes a Paris both modern and classic.
Cameroonian bikutsi-pop band Les Tetes Brulees is somewhat hard to come by, but well worth the effort. The majority of the CD is in Cameroonian French, and that, combined with the effortless Afro-pop musical stylings, should make it irrestistable to any world music-loving Francophone.
Clifton Chenier is the undisputed king of zydeco, having basically re-invented the genre by combining blues, soul and R&B with the sounds of traditional Louisiana Black Creole music. He was a master accordion player, as well as a powerful vocalist, and this album, primarily in Louisiana Creole French, is exceedingly captivating.
hip-hop scene, and I first heard Senegal-born French rapper MC Solaar in the final episode of Sex and the City. Luckily, the DVD commentary on that episode provided his name, and the more I listened to him, the more I was hooked. His brand of hip-hop is a somewhat soft and clearly world-beat influenced, yet completely edgy and innovative.