La Musique, Paris
At any given time you will come across musicians performing in the many "tourist" areas in the city. Montmatre is just one of the many places that I have enjoyed a little bit of street music while strolling the streets.
Stop for a minute and enjoy the music, but don't forget to drop a euro in the box.
Is it possible that I discovered Paris through this song composed by Cole Porter (who lived in Paris around 1918) for his show "CanCan" in 1953, many years before I actually visited Paris for the first time?
I Love Paris in the spring time
I Love Paris in the fall
I Love Paris in the summer when it sizzles
I Love Paris in the winter when it drizzles
I Love Paris every moment
Every moment of the year >
For me the best performance is that of Lucienne Delyle in 1954. Lucienne Delyle (1913 -1962) was a French very popular singer in the 1940 - 50s.
With her warm voice tone and perfect diction she was also excellent in "C'est Magnifique" from the same musical "CanCan" from Cole Porter.
One of the best and most original songs about Paris remains for me "Il est cinq heures Paris s'éveille" from and by Jacques Dutronc a French singer, songwriter, composer, guitarist and actor (born 1943 in Paris).
My photo of the Jardin des Tuileries, not at 5 am but around 8 am, still empty under a grey cloudy sky makes me think of his song:
Le café est dans les tasses
Les cafés nettoient leurs glaces
Et sur le boulevard Montparnasse
La gare n'est plus qu'une carcasse
Il est cinq heures
That song makes me remember that that I spent my first night in Paris (1962) sleeping on a bench near the Petit Palais gardens (Paris in those years was very safe).
Indeed at five o'clock the starting traffic woke me up: "Il est cinq heures Paris s'éveille".
I found a student hotel for the next nights.
There was a time, long time ago, where the "chanson française" was at a top. Those were the years 1950 - 60. A perfect combination of melody, text and singers with voice and good elocution.
Think of Edith Piaf, Jacques Brell, Charles Aznavour among many others.
One of these popular singers was Lucienne Delyle who started in the 1940s with:
Sur les quais du vieux Paris,
Le long de la Seine
Le bonheur sourit, >
and in 1950 with the famous (at least for the French) "Sous les ponts de Paris" about the "clochards" sleeping under the bridges of the Seine:
Sous les ponts de Paris, lorsque descend la nuit,
Tout's sort's de gueux se faufil'nt en cachette
Et sont heureux de trouver une couchette,
Hôtel du courant d'air, où l'on ne paie pas cher,
L'parfum et l'eau c'est pour rien mon marquis
Sous les ponts de Paris. >
Lucienne Delyle had a warm voice tone, perfect diction at the service of a beautiful folk song directory. She was a great performer of the French "chanson de charme".
I discovered her in the 1950s with her outstanding interpretation of "C'est magnifique" and "I love Paris" from Cole Porter in "CanCan".
It's not exactly a local custom, more an universal custom in a local flavour.
In all the Metro lines in the world it is common to see someone playing guitar or accordion or any other light instrument. But a full camera orchestra... only in Paris!
This is a cultural musical event at night all over the city, as years went by it has become more and more popular,and there are stand by musicians some amateurs all over the city
its a great time to be in Paris is there is any. All began in 1982 and to the rest of Europe in 1994. All in English at this webpage
there is special transportation this y ear only 3 euros for the whole day and night of the event on any type of public transport,information on transport in French from RATP
for a presentation in French for Paris, with the spectacles guide of Paris here
Rue Mouffetard is a market street which has many restaurants, shops, and cafés, and a regular open market. At the southern terminus is the Square Saint-Médard where there is a permanent open-air market. It is closed to normal motor traffic much of the week, and is predominantly a pedestrian avenue. I am sure it is always a beehive of activity, but on Sunday mornings, it is quite special. A local accordianist, Christian, plays what I perceive as popular songs, mostly French, but with others thrown in. There were a couple of dancers whom, I feel sure, are part of his troupe and are fun to watch, but anyone is welcome to dance and a lot of folks do. There were also ladies there who passed out sheets with the words to the songs, so many of the crowd sing along. Up and down the street are buskers of various sorts and one that particularly caught our attention was a juggler with a fishbowl, with live goldfish, on his head. A most enjoyable way to spend a Sunday morning in Paris!
If you are interested, I have posted videos of the dancers and the juggler on my Paris Intro page:
Sacre Couer predominates over Paris and it is visible practically from any point, as Tour d'Eiffel. The fine view at evening Paris opens from basils. A lot of people gather on a ladder, including amateurs of Beatles. They play guitars and sing, I have sung with them together "Close your eyes, and I'll kiss you, Tomorrow I'll miss you... "
You can watch my 3 min 01 sec Video Paris goodbye! out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
Walking around one Saturday afternoon I came across this group of classical musicians in front of the Palais-Royal gardens. I'm not a classical music lover at all so I have no idea at all what they were playing. But the enthusiasm and the energy they were putting into was something I could understand, so I left a small note and went on my way, happy with the pleasure they'd given me.
The young lady with some kind of a drum near Notre Dame collected a croud with her unusial perfomance. (see pic.)
This is no surprise that the music festival "World Music Day" taking place in Paris . On June 21 every year since 1982 amateur and professional musicians are encouraged to perform in the Paris streets and many free concerts are organized.
Mneka, Ry Cooder, Marianne Faithfull, Sally Nyolo, Jane Birkin, Goldfrapp, Toufic Farroukh, Queen, Mr Scruff, Mozart, Jimmy Scott, Mickey 3D, Neal Casal, Souad Massi, Norah Jones, The Psychedelic Guitar Circus, Eminem, Les Rita Mitsouko, Beverly Jo Scott, Louis Armstrong, Redbone, Wes Montgomery, Tom Waits, Pergolese, Fenetik Music, Toma, Zuco 103, Le Hammono Inferno, The Volunteered Slaves, Placebo, Jean Louis Murat, Kathryn Williams, Steve Shehan & Baly Othmani, Ben Harper, Bernard Lavilliers, Beethoven, Taj Mahal, Stan Getz, Bryan Ferry, Luigi Boccherini, David Bowie, Isaac Hayes, Sven Van Hees, Patti Smith, Os Originais Do Samba, Julien Clerc, The Turtles, Tok Tok Tok, The Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Amy Winehouse, Israel Kamakawiwo Ole, The Holmes Brothers, Christian McBride, Massive Attack, The Temptations, Ukulele Club de Paris, King Crimson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Yves Montand, U2, Quincy Jones, Madeleine Peyroux, Serge Gainsbourg, Beck, Bjork, Billie Holliday, Chris Rea, Eva Cassidy, Kent, Ras, Gabin, The Roots, Pulp, John Hammond, Buddy Guy, Sapho, Orquesta Aragon, Susheela Raman, Death In Vegas, Santana, Count Basie, The Tab Two, Joe Sample, Bobby Womack, Tala, Astrud Gilberto, Peter Sellers/Sophia Loren, Anna Maria Jopek, Mongo Santamaria, Paolo Conte, Petula Clark, Moby, Carla Bruni, Ruben Gonzales, War, Billy Branch, Stanley Clarke, Enya, Gigi, Al Cohn, Pink Martini, and Tiny Tim.
What do these artists/composers have in common? All are featured on the playlist on FIP, a remarkable French radio station.
Why I love it: 1. The breadth of their play list is incredible. It spans hundreds of years, and every musical genre imaginable. The mix is full of surprises, flowing seamlessly across genre and era. 2. No commercials. 3. No annoying DJ's, just infrequent, brief talk between the music. 4. You can listen to it, free, on the internet.
When in Paris, tune to FM 105.1
Right now: Go to the web site, then click on "écouter"
My first trip to Paris happened to fall upon the Fête de la Musique, an eventful music festival that happens every June 21st. Music is everywhere you go! Free concerts are also everywhere. Walking down the Champ de Mars at night, there was a free concert going on. My friends and I encountered a bunch of French men on roller skates. When they saw us, they screamed, "I LOVE America!!!" To sum it up, it is crazy, chaotic fun. However, it gets annoying when you try to get some sleep!
Most barrel organs are accompanied by a man and monkey, but I have never seen one in Paris. In fact this is the only organ-grinder I have ever seen. Paris has more street artists than anywhere else in the world: everything from creators of colored chalk sidewalk murals to flute concerto players with amplified recorded orchestral backup and hordes of mimes. This display was located in the gardens of the Champs-Elysees just below the Rond Point by the Petit Palais.
The Olympia Music Hall is to Paris what Carnegie Hall is to New York City-- a mythical, almost mystical venue for outstanding artists. Since 1889 Parisians have thrilled to top musical telent at this location. Like Carnegie Hall or Radio City Music Hall, the Olympia had a near dance with a wrecking ball, but saner minds prevailed.
I've had the pleasure of seeing two performers here, Liane Foly some time ago and Lara Fabian a few weeks ago. Lara was superb, stellar, outstanding, breath-taking, superior, soul-shaking... a true peak experience. Her voice, stage presence, beauty, and great band made for a truly remarkable evening. All this was enhanced by the musical ghosts wandering the Olympia Hall. I know I caught a glimpse of Edith Piaf, and was that Josephine Baker in the corner of my eye?
On the stage in the coming months: Van Morrison, Art Garfunkel, Roch Voisine, the Scissor Sisters, Madeleine Peyroux, Lynda Lemay, Laurent Voulzy, Pat Metheny, Eddy Mitchell, Zucchero, and Patti Smith! Visit the website for a complete schedule.
28, boulevard des Capucines - 75009
Photo by Anthony Atkielski
Liane Foly is my favorite French singer, and easily hold a spot in my list of top five favorite singers ever. Great music transcends language, and this is great music. You can fully appreciate the drama, emotion, range, spirit, and power of these songs without speaking a word of French. If you do know some French, you will be touched and moved by the words as well.
The song "DOUCEMENT" is simply gorgeous. You will note a Brazilian flavor in some songs, thanks in large part to the amazing background vocals of Trio Esperanca, three lovely and talented Brazilian women (whose acapella CD's are woth checking out). “Au Fur Et à Mesure” is another marvelous, mellow song.
Liane Foly's greatest hits CD gives a retrospective of her career so far. This CD is called “Au Fur Et à Mesure: Best Of.” Surprisingly, my favorite song, "LES PETITES NOTES" is not included on the greatest hits CD. I recommend the CD titled “Les Petites Notes” which contains this song plus a lot of Brazilian flavor songs.
I had the pleasure of seeing Liane Foly perform in Paris at the Olympia. She is one of those rare talents who sounds even better live. Backed by a tight jazz band, she sparkled and soared that evening.
For a delicious taste of French music, try Liane Foly. You can find her CDs on Amazon.