French Music Scene

Coeur de Pirate, from blogger.com

You know when you get this idea in your head and you feel the need to run with it? I’m getting that a lot lately and it’s produced yet another slightly random post. Although, that said, it’s Eurovision tomorrow, so one could see this as a delightful prelude into French music before we get to see the French performance tomorrow night. Last year France sent a guy named Amaury, who performed in Corsican. This year France are fielding a girl named Anggun, yes that really is her name; she’s originally from Indonesia, but is now a naturalised French citizen.

Other interesting (at least to me) names from the French music scene are:

1. Lola (song w/ English&French lyrics)

Not the name of an artist, moreover the name of a single by French pop-punk band Superbus, fronted by Jennifer Ayache. The song was released in June 2007 and reached #7 in the French charts. It was this song and the single released before it, Butterfly, which essentially established Superbus in the French conscious. The album they both came from, Wow, was Superbus’ third studio album and won Best Pop Album at Victoires de la Musique in 2007. My second favourite Superbus song? Nelly. In both cases the songs are about girls named Lola and Nelly, respectively.

The name Lola was originally a nickname for Dolores, which means sorrows, but has come to be popular in her own right, like so many other names in the England&Wales Top 100 for 2010 (Lola ranks at #33).

2. Béatrice

The real name of artist Coeur de Pirate, who is currently expecting a baby at the end of summer 2012. Fun fact: the French nickname for Béatrice is Béa, said bay-ah, not bee. She released her self-titled album in 2009, which went on to be nominated for a Juno award.

The name Béatrice in whatever form derives from the Latin beatus, meaning blessed or happy.

3. Nolwenn

A lass by the name Nolwenn Leroy was the winner of season two of France’s Star Academy. The winners of the other seasons were: Jenifer (S1); Élodie (S3); Grégory (S4); Magalie (S5); Cyril (S6); Quentin (S7); and Mikels (S8).

This is a Breton name, which means holy one from Noyal. The singer has helped to spur the popularity of this name, and she pronounces her name nol-wen.

4. Florent

In 1998, Florent Pagny won the Victoires de la Musique award for Male Artist of the Year. He’s had several no.1s in France since his début in 1988, the most recent being in 2003 with Ma liberté de penser, which held the top spot for 6 weeks.

The name Florent is the French masculine form of the Latin name Florentius, which means belonging to Florens; the name Florens itself means blossoming.

5. Édith

It would see wrong not to mention the great Édith Piaf in this list at least once; the lady behind the great NonJe ne regrette rien. French names are consider to be über chic, which may just give Édith the edge. To me, I’ve always seen Edith as a classic English name, so the accent took some getting used to, even for me. I guess it works fine for the French, but I question its need if one does not interact either with or in French.

The name itself comes from the Old English name Eadgyth, which means blessed war.

6. Mylène

Ms Farmer is one of the most successful artists in France, perhaps due to the fact that she holds the record for the most no.1 singles in the French charts; I have a friend who calls her France’s answer to Madonna. Many of you may now be familiar with Myleene Klaas, the British celeb who had a baby named Hero Harper last March.

As for the name, it is a shortening of the compound name Marie-Hélène.

7. Maé

Christophe Maé has been around for a few years now, and it’s his surname which caught my eye. Kind of apt really, given that it is still (just) the month of May. Christophe is another pop singer, although he’s more of a acoustic guitar pop-singer than a synthesiser one.

The name of the month comes from Maia, who was the Roman Goddess of fertility.

8. Mika

Now, this is an interesting fact: in the list of the Top 10 best-selling singles in France in 2011, only one was sung in French, and it was released by London-based Mika. You may have heard of him, he’s released several English-speaking singles over the years too, infact, Elle Me Dit was his first single in French and it clearly went down well with the general French public.

We’ve covered Mika a few times, most recently here, but the general gist of the name from the masculine point of view is that it is a variation/diminuative of Michael, which means who is like God?

9. Yannick

Yannick Noah was first a successful tennis player, and now he spends his free time carving out a music career. Yannick mostly sings pop songs; the last time I was in France his single Angela was getting quite a bit of airplay. For the Americans reading, Yannick’s son, Joakim Noah, plays for the NBA Chicago Bulls.

Yannick is a relative popularity in France, deriving from the Breton name Yann, which is their version of John.

10. Kyo

I’ve covered the band Kyo at least once before, notably here, so there’s nothing really new to report, except that Kyo are expected to reform in October this year. Well, that’s the latest rumour. They’re a pop-rock band who were especially popular in the early so-called noughties.

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Categories: French Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “French Music Scene

  1. Sebastiane

    I love Nolwenn Leroy! Amaury is currently kind of trendy in France, as is Maé which was originally a Breton short form of Mael.

    Like

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