The Different Types of French Music – Part 2
France is very proud of its culture, and its musical heritage is a large part of that culture. By law French radio stations are forced to play French language songs a minimum thirty five percent of their air time, and this has recently been reduced as it used to be forty percent.
The French government saw a danger to their coveted musical heritage from the invasion of other influences outside France. In 1994 the 40% radio quota was introduced. This has made the evolution of modern French music rather confusing as many new artists prefer to sing in English to accommodate a wider international audience. All this being said, the strong music genres of France flourish which does include modern genres such as pop and rock music.
The pop music of France is really popular in Europe although it is barely heard in the two biggest influential popular music countries, namely America and Great Britain. It has emerged from both the ye-ye scene and rock music. Ye ye was a sort of European pop music of the 60’s and the term was actually derived from a British expression that was yeah yeah made extremely popular by bands like the Beatles. The English pop scene has always influenced the French style of pop music, and French artists such as AaRON, Alizee and Salvatore Adamo credit English influences.
French rock music has firmly got its roots dug into France, unlike pop it has for the most ignored the massive rock scenes elsewhere, especially British. French rock music is proudly produced in France and mostly sung in French. It adopted the 70’s new wave scene erupting all over Europe but making it definitely distinctly French, bands such as Pulsar, Ange and Eskaton started to pop up and the fans loved them. French bands did take some notice of what was happening over the English Channel at the time and Punk Rock appeared in France with artists such as Oberkamf, Metal Urbain and Stinky Toys leading the way.
Things started to evolve in the 1980’s with all the political change in Europe and many new progressive rock and ordinary rock bands started to reappear. Their sound is fresh and uniquely French but they can compete well against their American and British counterparts. The French music scene is quite unique, during all the upheaval of evolution of popular music in Europe the traditional popular genres of folk, country, chanson and of course classical remained as popular as ever. The French tradition of everything French must be embraced should be applauded, whether it should be as extreme as laying down laws to radio stations is another matter, but one can understand the reasoning behind it. Many countries music scenes have collapsed under the pressure of the mega musical cultures of America and Britain, their artists have left their homelands to study in New York or London and create their music on foreign soil.For such a country like France for that to happen would be unthinkable, and if the French government adopts a protective proverbial arm around the shoulders of its artists to protect their musical heritage, let it so be.