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Francofonique! 25 Amazing French Favorites

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Sound Travels is all keyed up on the arrival of Milwaukee's only French festival: Bastille Days. Bastille Days starts today and continues throughout the weekend and will be featuring a bevy of local acts, notably Paul Cebar as well as som internatinal ones, with the Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars headlining on the main stage in Cathedral Square on Saturday night. If you wanna see the Storm The Bastille Run and witness history as I am prdicting a bicyclist winning the foot race (that cyclist WILL be moi btw.)

And we're celebrating the festivities going on through the weekend with a long list of some Sound Travels favorites that all happen to be in French. These tunes are by no means THE difinitive list (because that's been done, and is largely a survey of past tastes) but it's a good one and features classics as well as more modern tunesthat have caught my ears over the years...

Also, this list is not a ranking, it's a list; I hate ranking songs, that's like ranking your children according to how much you love them and who does thaaat? In any case, here's my list (with the ones I played highlighted.) On a side note, one of our excellent summer interns, Justin Barney has also posted a list of his French faves as well...


  • Eartha Kitt "C'est Si Bon"- Yves Montand is perhaps more famous in France for his version of the song, but it was Eartha Kitt who made it a hit here way back in 1954. I love her verion, and simply think it's sexier...


  • Edith Piaf "La Vie En Rose"
  • Charles Trenet "Douce France"
  • Jacques Dutronque "J'ai Mis un Tigre Dans Ma Guitarre"
  • Eileen "Ces Bottes Sont Fait Pour Marcher"
  • Django Reinhardt "Belleville"
  • Françoise Hardy "Le Temps De L'amour" - Francoise Hardy is still a star in France where the 69 year old icon is still holding it down. She is also one half of a music power couple, having maried pop star Jacques Dutronq back in the days when that didn't happen nearly as much as it does these days...
  • Serge Gainsbourg "Requiem Pour Un Con"
  • Charles Aznavour "La Bohème"
  • Sylvie Vartan "Son of A Preacher Man"
  • Gillian Hills "Zou Bisou Bisou"


And some, more modern favorites...

  • M "Belleville Rendez-Vous"
  • Oxmo Puccino "365 Jours"
  • MC Solaar "Nouveaux Western" - A hip hop pioneer in France, MC Solaar was also among the first to catch American ears. In the early 90's, he was a colaborator on Guru's Jazzmatazz series, and even his early material still holds up to the boom-bap test.
  • AIR "La Femme D'argent"
  • Cœur de Pirate "Danse et Danse"
  • Zaz "Ni Oui Ni Non"
  • Ben l'Oncle Soul "Soulman"
  • Féloche "La Vie Cajun"
  • Big Red "Je Prends le Mic"
  • Yelle "Ce Jeu"
  • Caravan Palace "Beatophone"
  • Daft Punk "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" 
  • Yannick "Ces Soirees La"
  • Manu Chao "Bongo Bong/Je Ne T'aime Plus" - Manu Chao is actually a Spaniard, but he was raised in France where he remains popular to this day. Actually he's popular everywhere; and his sound is all summery, full of good vibes and good times...