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'Edith Piaf meets electro' - 5 things to know about France's 2023 Eurovision entry

The Local France
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'Edith Piaf meets electro' - 5 things to know about France's 2023 Eurovision entry
Canadian singer La Zarra will represent France at Eurovision in 2023. Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP

As Europe prepares for the 2023 Eurovision song contest, here's a look at this year's French entry, described as a modern remake of the classic French 'chanson' tradition.

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1 It's in French 

You might think it is self-evident that the French entry would be sung in French, but actually not. The 2022 song was sung in Breton - check it below below to hear what France's most-spoken regional language sounds like.

 

Previous entries have mostly been in French, but there are regular controversies when a Eurovision song has some words or even a whole chorus in English - the matter has even been raised several times in the French parliament. 

2 But the singer is not French

The song will be performed by La Zarra - who was actually born in Canada, in the province of Quebec. Quebecois French can be quite different to that spoken in l'hexagone - to the extent that French-speaking Canadians are sometimes subtitled when they appear on French TV.

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La Zarra, who is of Moroccan heritage, now lives and works in France.

3 It's a 'chanson'

The song draws on the French 'chanson' tradition - think Edith Piaf or Jacques Brel - but given a modern electro spin. It was was co-produced by the duo Banx & Ranx, who have previously been behind mega hits for the likes of David Guetta, Dua Lipa and Ellie Goulding, among others. 

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The classic French 'chanson' has a strong focus on the lyrics of a song, with the words clearly enunciated and the music more in the background.

READ ALSO 5 things to know about French 'chanson' music

Because of this, they're a great learning aid if you want to hear French pronunciation and accent (although there's no need to replicate Piaf's fabulously rolling R in everyday conversation).

 

France sent a 'chanson' style song to the 2021 contest - Barbara Pravi with Voilà - and finished a very creditable second.

4 It's about love, of course

Singing about love is statistically likely to get you points at Eurovision, although peace is also popular while inter-European military conflicts of the 1800s have been known to be a winner (Abba and Waterloo in 1974).

La Zarra says her song is "about the universal approach to love, the importance of loving oneself and the strive towards achieving complete happiness in what can often be a complex world".

5 It has a very French title

The song is called Évidemment, one of those French words that every language-learner should know. Translated as 'of course' or 'evidently' French people constantly sprinkle it through their sentences to give extra emphasis to what they are saying.

Here's the chorus of La Zarra's song;

Évidemment
Toutes ces belles promesses que j’entends
C’n’est que du vent

(Of course
All these beautiful promises that I hear
They're just hot air)

Évidemment
Car après l’beau temps vient la pluie
C’est c'qu’on oublie

(Of course,
Because after the good weather comes the rain,
That's what we forget)

C’est toujours trop beau pour être vrai
Mais c’n’est jamais trop laid pour être faux
Évidemment
Elle ne ‘sera plus jamais la même
Cette fille d’avant

(It's always too good to be true
But it's never too ugly to be wrong
Of course
She'll never be the same
That girl from before)

And here's the song in full

 

The final of the Eurovision Song Contest is on Saturday, May 13th and will be screened on France 2 from 9pm. As a member of the 'big five', France gets an automatic pass into the final.

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