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Jeanne Cherhal

   
 

Chanson Française lives on!

   

 

  

 

It's referred to simply as La Chanson Française.  In the 40s, 50's and 60's, legendary singers such as George Brassens, Yves Montand, Édith Piaf, and Charles Aznavour made this music famous. In the ensuing decades, artists such as Serge Gainsbourg and Georges Moustaki took up the heavy mantle of their predecessors, and were themselves followed most recently by the inevitable Nouvelle Chanson Française -  singers such as Stéphane Sanseverino and Vincent Delerm.

They sing of eternal themes: love and betrayal, hope and deception, freedom and oppression.  But it's their unique mixture of attention to language, raw emotional delivery, and almost nostalgic regard for the difficulties of life that sets them apart.  They are ballad singers, poets of song whose goal is to set music to words as much as the other way around.  They sing a cappella or accompanied by a simple guitar, usually alone on stage or in intimate cafés or larger arenas such as l'Olympia.  Attending a concert is a quasi-religious experience, a communion between artist and audience.

The latest star to enter the firmament of La Chanson Française is Jeanne Cherhal, a thirty year-old wisp of a girl with feline features who sings playful ballads replete with poetic phrasings.  While she traces her artistic influences to singers such as Brigitte Fontaine and Barbara Streisand, her thin tomboyish figure recalls Françoise Hardy, her frank delivery Édith Piaf, and her piercing lyrics, Patti Smith.  Cherhal released her most fascinating album  L'Eau in 2006.  Her style as she delivers these complex, playful and sometimes haunting songs is simple and direct, as fluid as the water she sings about so enchantingly on the title track.  Cherhal celebrates the quirky and the romantic, the frivolous and the serious.

Cherhal's songs reveal new layers at each listening, uncovering new subtleties. Vive la chanson française! .

 

Listen: L'Eau, Jeanne Cherhal

 

Tags:  music  france  

 

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