Anggun: France’s Choice for Baku!

Within the past few hours, France has announced their representative for Baku 2012: Indonesian-born R&B singer-songwriter Anggun.  The 37-year old Jakarta native (full name: Anggun Cipta Sasmi) has recorded over a dozen albums in French, English, and Bahasa, and has had hits all throughout Europe, and Asia.  She is also tangentially connected to the Eurovision world; her work on the soundtrack for the 2002 Danish film Elsker dig for evigt/Open Hearts had her collaborating with Neils Brinck, who represented the Scandinavian nation in 2009.

Anggun: France’s hope for Baku (image courtesy of wikipedia.org)

We don’t know yet what Anggun’s song will be; if past years are any indication, it might be a bit of a wait until we get all of the details on what broadcaster France 3 will present.  (A month went by between the announcement of Amaury Vassili and the presentation of “Sognu”, and the same went for Jessy Matador and his “Allez! Ola! Olé!”.  However, Patricia Kass revealed “Et s’il fallait le faire” only a day after she was revealed as France’s artist for 2009, so you never know what will happen!)  Anggun’s latest album, Echoes (or, in the French version, Echos) was released just this month, so it might be possible that she will use a single from this new album, just as Kass did when she released “Kabaret”. 

To hold us over until we get official word on France’s 2012 entry, here’s a sampling of some of Anggun’s biggest hits (or, at the very least, some of my favorites):

Her breakthrough came in 1997 with the release of “Snow on the Sahara” (or its French-language counterpart, “La neige au Sahara“):

Her 2005 single “Cesse la pluie” spent 23 weeks on the French Top 100, and was featured on the soundtrack to the film “Transporter 2”:

And her most recent release in Bahasa is entitled “Hanyalah Cinta (Just Love)”:

Anggun isn’t the first Indonesian to perform at Eurovision; Anneke Grönloh, Sandra Reemer, Dries Holten, and Justine Pelmelay were all either born on the island nation or have roots there.  Also, all of these artists performed for the Netherlands, while Anggun seems to be the first Asian-born artist to represent France.  With her diverse linguistic portfolio, and considering France’s penchant for having one of their national languages (whether it’s French or a rare foray into Corsican, Creole, or Breton) presented, it begs the question: will France 3 showcase Anggun’s distinct point of view and have her sing in Bahasa, or will she have to sing in French?

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Posted on November 29, '11, in 2012, France. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Woah… hello new site!

    And what did I say 2 November at 0:34 on your Face Book page?

    Did I mention I was on a majour “Hanyalah Cinta” binge at some point this year? What a song!

    Congratulations on your new site, by the way!

    • Thanks, Stefanos! 🙂
      And you were completely right…Anggun’s an established performer with a great repertoire and reputation. I can’t wait to see what she presents for the contest!

  2. I am really pleased that Anggun will represent us ! I hope the song won’t be disappointing, but given what we already know of her songs on the French charts at least, I am optimistic.
    I’d like a multilingual song though, rather than an entirely French sung song. I am afraid an entirely French sung song might never win again unfortunately…

    • Well, maybe if they bring back the language restriction…but if her song is as good as her past work, I wouldn’t be too shocked if she ended up *very* high on the leaderboard in May. Of course, it’s still way too early to tell, but I think Anggun will give France their best shot in quite a while.

  3. Plus, just as a bonus…if Monaco comes back this year (unlikely, but you never know), fans can use the Monegasque and Indonesian flags interchangeably! And then turn it upside-down…and you’ve got your Polish flag! Win! 😉

  4. Hi Sam,

    Anggun made a very popular song in France “La Neige Au Sahara”… in 1997. We didn’t really hear about her since then.

    I don’t think she’s pop and catchy enough to make France win, but if she decides to sing in English, have some dancers / singers on stage, she may take us to the 2nd / 5th position, which would not be so bad.

    But, as usual, I fear we’ll just have some pompous, “French cultural exception compliant” boring song. If I had the choice I would have picked up a more pop singer / band.

    • Hopefully, we’ll find out soon what we’ll see in Baku…has there been any indication from France 3 on when the song will be revealed?

  5. Hey, Sam :p

    I’m so glad we’ll know that there will be a touch of class so early in the game because even if she does pop I know she’ll focus on voice rather than show and she’s got quite the voice 🙂

  6. Samantha, I completely agree with your comment above:
    an entirely French sung song would have its own chances to win if the national language restriction rule were back, but in the nowadays contest, I doubt it. I would only have hopes for a top 5 finish depending on the song and the stage presentation of course (too soon to say).
    It seems the song will be known in January.

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