Chanson: The French Singer-Songwriter from Aristide Bruant to the Present Day

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Overview

"The significance of chanson and its unique position in French culture is explored in this book. Focusing on the development of the singer-songwriter over the last 100 years, Peter Hawkins discusses in detail the contribution of the major practitioners of the genre, from Aristide Bruant in the late nineteenth century to the emergence in the 1990s of French rap in the form of MC Solaar. This succession of artists has elevated chanson to its full status as an artistic expression, embracing new technologies as they emerge such as the phonograph, radio, film, television, computerized music and video. More than a survey of a popular music genre, the book is a case-history of the adaptation of an ancient form to the demands of today's mass media." "In addition to discussion of individual performers, Hawkins tackles the difficulties of establishing an appropriate discourse for the discussion of chanson, and looks at the potential contributions of forms of literary theory, film criticism and sexual politics. Moreover, the book offers of sociology of chanson, the first time such a study has been undertaken for French popular music." "Well illustrated, and with select bibliographies, discographies and videographies for each of the artists discussed, this book is a gateway to the genre of chanson to which all future studies will need to refer."--BOOK JACKET.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Edith Piaf will be the most well known of the singers surveyed in this serious study of French song, a phenomenon that Hawkins (French, U. of Bristol, UK) characterizes as a central expression of French national identity that is nonetheless barely recognized officially. The text explores the roots and complex theoretical paradigms to be drawn from this art form in a lengthy introduction before turning to the development of the singer-songwriter of the last 100 years, each of those featured appearing in their own chapter with discography and videography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780754601029
  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 12/1/2000
  • Series: Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series
  • Pages: 246
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

List of figures
Preface
Pt. I A little theory goes a long way
1 What is chanson? 3
2 How do you write about chanson? 10
3 What is not chanson: some fine distinctions 23
4 The gender of the genre 35
5 The psycho-anthropology of everyday chanson 51
6 The Frenchness of chanson 59
Pt. II Practice makes perfect
7 Precursors 67
8 The charm of Charles Trenet 85
9 Charles Aznavour: a sentimental realist 95
10 Leo Ferre: creating a space for transgression 104
11 Georges Brassens: the appropriation of a literary heritage 124
12 Jacques Brel: the dramatic synthesis 137
13 Barbara: performing the feminine 150
14 Serge Gainsbourg: how to win by cheating 158
Pt. III Innovation and renovation: the Nouvelle chanson francaise
15 Bernard Lavilliers: carrying World Music on the shoulders 169
16 Renaud: the apotheosis of satire, parody and slang 178
17 Alain Souchon and Laurent Voulzy: Lennon and McCartney are alive and well and working in Paris 189
18 Michel Jonasz: a personal fusion 199
19 MC Solaar: a gardener of words 204
20 From one fin de siecle to another 213
Select bibliography and discography 221
Index 227
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