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New stars boost French music

Matthew Warren · 22 Jun 2011, 09:21

Published: 22 Jun 2011 12:06 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Jun 2011 09:21 GMT+02:00

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Long seen as a bit of an also-ran in the world of pop, French music is enjoying a resurgence.

That's the view of the music industry in France after a number of new stars have managed to break through in foreign markets.

While France has many home-grown stars like Johnny Halliday and Patricia Kaas, few have enjoyed huge success outside the country’s borders. A few notable exceptions include Vanessa Paradis, Air and MC Solaar.

That’s all changing, according to a report in Le Parisien. A new wave of stars is not only breaking into foreign charts but also doing it without having to sing in English.

French music industry executives are thrilled. “Our music is seen as almost exotic, something between the local music and the Anglo-Saxon style”, Marie-Christine Bloch of Francophone Diffusion told Le Parisien.

New stars include female singer Zaz, whose album has sold in over 20 countries and Yelle, who is about to play at a number of festivals with her group around Europe this summer.

The Belgian singer Stromae has attracted fans including US star Kanye West and will be supporting the Black Eyed Peas in their  Paris concerts later this week.

"Today, the french language isn't an impediment to export" says Antoine Gouiffes-Yann, head of international at Warner France. The company manages the singer Angunn whose song "mon meilleur amour" has been a huge hit in France. Angunn has achieved chart success as far afield as Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The Parisian group BB Brunes will get a wider audience when one of their tracks is used in the upcoming film L.O.L, a remake of a French film from 2009. The film will star Demi Moore and Miley Cyrus. Good news, according to Sophie Mercier, director of an organisation that promotes French music overseas (Bureau export de la musique francaise). “We haven’t seen an event like this since the success of Carla Bruni’s first album in 2001 which sold more than a million copies.”

Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

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