Category Archives: France
Some National Finals are a single-day affair, while others slowly curate their list of finalists over sets of semis and heats. France, however, in their first public selection since 2007, decided to go a bit unorthodox. Three entries were performed on the show Les chansons d’abord, hosted by 2001 Eurovision 4th-place finisher Natasha St-Pier, and the phone lines were opened. And they were kept open for nearly a month. Read the rest of this entry
Back in late January, broadcaster France 3 revealed that “Nouvelle Star” champion Amandine Bourgeois would be following in Anggun’s footsteps and heading to Eurovision this May. It’s been a long wait, but the 33-year-old singer’s entry, “L’enfer et moi (Hell and Me)” has finally been introduced to the public. Read the rest of this entry
Continuing their trend of selecting an artist internally, broadcaster France 3 has delved into their Rolodex of reality television victors and pulled out a versatile, promising name: Amandine Bourgeois. The winner of Season Six of “Nouvelle Star”, the now-33-year-old singer impressed judges on the show with songs ranging from “Nothing Compares 2 U” to “Rehab” to “Bring Me To Life“. Now she’s impressed a panel of musical experts from France Télévisions, who have given her the ticket to Sweden. Read the rest of this entry
As the National Final season winds to a close, often times the biggest news to come from the delegations between their selection and Eurovision itself is the release of their Promotional Video. They might be a simple edit of live performance footage, or they might pull out all the stops and put together something that would make people wish that MTV hadn’t replaced music videos with “Jersey Shore”. (Or maybe that’s just me…)
Over the past few days, a number of countries have presented their preview clips, and you can expect many more to follow in the coming weeks. Let’s take a quick look around Europe, shall we? Read the rest of this entry
After much speculation (and a bit of an unanticipated leak from Amazon.fr), France’s Anggun has released “Echo (You and I)”, her entry for Baku. Written by William Rousseau, Jean-Pierre Pilot, and Anggun herself, the song was mixed by Veronica Ferraro, who has collaborated with superstar David Guetta.
Listen to the track after the jump:
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.
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”. Read the rest of this entry
Since 2008, France has chosen their Eurovision representatives and songs via an internal selection. Over these past few years, broadcaster France 3 has given us genres ranging from ambient electronica to jazz chanson to afro-dance-pop to operatic bolero, with results generally bouncing around the middle of the scoreboard (often despite expectations or critical acclaim). One thing is for sure: over the past few years, variety has been key. You can’t expect France to offer up the same thing twice in a row anymore, which leaves us with the question: what should we expect them to serve up in Baku next year? Well, as a fan with way too much time on her hands during the off-season, allow me to come up with a few suggestions. (Again, as I said when I did this series last year, these are only my opinions, and I do not intend to start any rumors.)
1) Caravan Palace: Following Raphael Gualazzi’s surprisingly high result for Italy on 2011’s scoreboard, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a rise in the usage of jazz or other unexpected genres in future Eurovisions. Continuing on with that trend, might I recommend taking a look at Caravan Palace, an electro-gypsy-swing combo:
They seem to be masters at crafting jazzy earworms that sound both classic and updated at the same time, and any band that can claim both Django Reinhardt and Daft Punk as influences is more than fine with me! It’s hard to find music that you can both dance to and chill out with, but this Parisian group has found a nice balance. Plus, considering Baku’s surprisingly avid fondness for jazz, this might be an interesting option for France 3 to consider…
Over the past week, a number of new videos have been released for this year’s Eurovision hopefuls. Let’s have a look, shall we?
First up, Armenia has revealed the official clip for Emmy’s “Boom Boom”, featuring German-Armenian boxer Arthur Abraham:
Well, at least the Armenians are probably realizing just how kitschy their song is…having Emmy and her pals dance around in a ring, wearing bedazzled boxing gloves and randomly turning into comic book characters is a pretty decent sign that they’re taking “Boom Boom” with a grain of salt (and I, for one, could use a margarita after watching it. Oy…)
Next up, we’ve got Armenia’s cross-Caucasus neighbors (and perpetual rivals) Azerbaijan, who released a second clip for Eldar and Nigar’s “Running Scared”:
Compared to previous years’ entries from Baku, “Running Scared” is elegant, subtle, and sweet. The video is visually beautiful (not only because of the landscapes, but also for the copious shots of Eldar and Nigar!). I’m not quite sure why Azerbaijan insisted on recording a second video for “Running Scared”, as their first version was definitely not unpleasant, but considering the country’s penchant for Eurovision excess, they probably just figured that any money spent was money well spent.
We’ve also seen the premiere of Latvia’s “Angel in Disguise”, by pop duo Musiqq:
Another simple, straightforward song with an equally straightforward video. My only concern is that by putting the chorus’s lyrics right up on screen, the fact that Musiqq is singing in so-called “Eurovision English” is put front and center. It’s not grammatically perfect, and it becomes more noticeable when lyrics like “stare me with candy eyes” are repeatedly displayed. Marats and Emīls are definitely easy on the eyes, though, and “Angel in Disguise” is the only ESC entry this year where I actually like the random rap-break.
Croatia’s Daria Kinzer has just released translations of “Celebrate” in Russian, French, and German, bringing the number of versions released to this point up to six (including the original Croatian and the first English rendition, “Break a Leg”). I’m personally still waiting on Esperanto, Swahili and Hawaiian, but maybe that’s just me…
Finally, French tenor Amaury Vassili has recently re-released his second album “Canterò” with “Sognu” added to the track listing, as well as a new, English-language version of this year’s Eurovision entry, entitled “I Would Dream About Her“. I personally prefer the original Corsican version, but as Amaury will not be using this new translation on stage in Düsseldorf, it’s a bit of a moot point.
…and I think I might be in love.
As expected, France has taken a complete 180 degree turn from last year’s Afro-Caribbean club jam “Allez! Ola! Olé!” “Sognu”, performed in Corsican, is a operatic bolero performed by one of the world’s youngest professional tenors. Twenty-one-year-old Amaury, a native of Normandy, rarely sings in French, preferring to record songs in Italian or English. France, however, being France (remember, this is the country that argued in Parliament over whether their 2008 entry should be performed in English or not), will have their song performed in Corsican, the language spoken on the island where Napoleon himself was born and raised. This will be only the second French ESC entry where not a word of the French language will be heard, the first being 1996’s “Diwanit Bugale“, performed in Breton.
I am not a musicologist, or even an aficionado of opera. I am a proud Josh Groban fan, and I took a few trips to Lincoln Center as a schoolgirl, but that’s really the extent of my experience in this genre. I am, however, very impressed by Amaury’s talent, especially considering his age, and I hope he’s as good live as he is on the studio recording of this single. Obviously, “Sognu” is not the typical Eurovision entry, and it will not be to everybody’s liking. However, between Amaury and Italy’s Raphael Gualazzi, we’re seeing a few songs that step outside of the expected ESC mold of Schlager, Ballads, and Europop and take a risk by bringing unexpected genres to the event. Many “mainstream artists”, especially in Western Europe, tend to pooh-pooh Eurovision, claiming that it’s no longer a musical competition, but rather a popularity contest or a political event. If Amaury or Raphael make a big enough impact on the scoreboard, we might see opinions like that start to shift.
Or at least I can hope, right?