Famous French Musicians – Part 2

In part one of looking at the most famous French artists and singers there has ever been, we looked at three very different artists including one that was Belgian.

The criteria of this list are not actually how many hit records they made, but more of how the artists helped to shape French music and the impact they had on the French music culture. We have taken more of a modern slant to start this edition of our blog with a band that was formed in Paris.

Kassav

Kassav

Some might say an unusual choice for this list, but Kassav have made their mark on the French music scene by making Zouk Music. Essentially Kassav is a Caribbean band even though they were formed in the French Capital in 1979. Their style in rhythmic, fast with a party carnival feeling to it. Together the band have made an impressive twenty albums, and a further dozen from solo works by the band members. The band play a sort of experimental version of zouk, and they have eleven members. With two lead vocalists, with tambour belle drums, African ti bwa and biguine it was an unusual format, mixing African and Caribbean influences into their music.

Coeur de Pirate

Better known as Pirate Heart, Canadian singer Beatrice Martin is well respected as a francophone singer. The talented artist is also a songwriter and a pianist, and she performs nearly all her songs in French. She is another artist that has been credited with bringing la chanson francaise to the younger French music fans in Quebec. When she released her first album back in 2009 it immediately hit the top five in France and the massive single taken from the album, Comme des Enfants became her theme song. Her music is sometimes classed as indie pop and to achieve her sound she uses many acoustic instruments obviously including the piano.

Maxime Le Forestier

The first violinist to appear in our blog is Maxime Le Forestier, or Bruno Le Forestier as he was one known. Maxime is an icon of music in France and developed his musical passion whilst serving his military service when he was in the parachute regiment. This inspired him for one of his most famous compositions Parachutiste.

Maxime Le Forestier

Sniper

Sniper

Hailing from the French town of Val-d’Oise on the outskirts of Paris, Sniper a hip-hop band led by Bachir Baccour and Ryad Selme. The band was formed in 2001 and soon after released their first album Du rire aux larmes (From Laughter to Tears). Sniper’s style is to mix wit with dark humor whilst confronting serious issues such as politics. Their song Pris Pour Cible, addresses many French social issues including immigration, poverty, racism, unemployment and failed relationships. It sounds that there are a lot of statements being crammed in one quite radical song, but the band handle the themes in a sort of humerus way and make them palatable. Back in 2003, Sniper brought Carved in Stone to the market which was based around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, no subject is taboo for Sniper and their music stands up for their political ideals.

In part three of this blog we continue our look at more modern French bands such as Zaz and Noir Desir as we conclude our journey into French music.