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Archived 'French Letter' columns...

All 'French Letter' articles published on CLUAS between January 2006 and March 2007 have been archived and can be found below. For the most recent French Letter articles be sure to visit the French Letter blog.

St. Patrick's day 2007 & Irish music in France...

Dateline: March 2007

St Patrick's Day & Irish music in FranceMarch and Saint Patrick's Day, when the expat's thoughts turn home. But don't fear that the lavish CLUAS Foreign Correspondent Expense Account is being wasted on homesick yearning for Tayto Crisps, Barry's Tea and TG4 weathergirls. Not at all! Instead, we're taking the opportunity to see how Irish acts are getting on in France these days. And hurrah! They're getting on very well! Read the full article...


Best French Music of 2006...

Dateline: December 2006

Best French Music of 2006In China apparently they curse you with "may you live in interesting times". Here in France in 2006, times are very interesting - and you wouldn't miss it for the world. The country has been shaken by protests, adrenalised and then traumatised by the World Cup, smitten by S?ol?e... and the soundtrack has been fantastic. Read the full article...

Prix Constantine: France's most prestigious contemporary music honour...

Dateline: November 2006

Prix Constantin 2006France's most prestigious contemporary music honour, the Prix Constantin, was presented at a ceremony in the Olympia theatre in Paris on 15 November last. The prize, named in memory of a late French music industry talent-spotter, is awarded annually to an artist or group who has come to prominence during the year. The ceremony consisted of a concert featuring ten short-listed acts, before the announcement of the winner and successor to Camille, last year's laureate.  Read the full article...

 La Rentr? 2006: what's stirring in the French music scene...

Dateline: September 2006

Charlotte GainsbourgSeptember in France means 'la rentrée' (literally, 'the return'), when everybody goes back to school, work and normal life after the whole country was practically shut down for the month of August. France's pop stars are also packing away their beach towels and getting back to the studio and stage. Autumn 2006 will see a flurry of activity on the French music scene.  Read the full article...

The latest Parisian bands angling for indie stardom...

Dateline: August 2006

Paris Calling'Paris Calling' is the name of a 2006 compilation album and a subsequent showcase gig in the French capital. As the Clash-alluding title suggests, the half-dozen or so bands involved see themselves as parishioners in the broad church of punk and new wave - and mass is in English. Photos are black-and-white, blurry and taken either in a crowded venue or against a blank wall. Read the full article...

Phoenix ready to make it big?

Dateline: July 2006

Thomas Mars of PhoenixIt's hard to concentrate on music at the moment when football, wonderful football, is demanding all your love and attention. The French rock scene, however, could soon have its own international champions before the end of the summer. Phoenix, from Versailles, have just released their third album "It's Never Been Like That" and big things are expected of them. Read the full article...

Rap and its constructive role in French society.

Dateline: May 2006

Disiz La PesteSo far this year there have been high-profile clashes on the streets of Paris lately between police and students protesting at the centre-right government's controversial labour laws aimed at the 18-25 age bracket. Following weeks of strikes, protests, student sit-ins, streetfighting, burning cars and omnipresent riot-police, the proposed laws were eventually scrapped. Read the full article...

The French success of Irishman Perry Blake.

Dateline: April 2006

Perry BlakeI braved the paddywagons around the Sorbonne last week to head to my favourite Parisian book- and record-store, Gibert Joseph halfway up the boulevard Saint Michel. There, I found a display for the new release by an Irish singer described on his album's promo sticker as 'le dernier dandy romantique' ('the last romantic dandy'). This wasn't the new Van Morrison record, then. Read the full article...

Irish music, as understood by the French...

Dateline: March 2006

Irish music in FranceSo it's March again, the month when a certain green-tinted festival will be celebrated around the world by ex-pats and non-Pats alike. France too will join in the fun. Last year, posters plastered across every metro station in Paris were promoting a huge St Patrick's night concert at Bercy, the equivalent of The Point. The advertising featured a young red-haired dancer, Book-of-Kells typeface and a list of Celtic regions - Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, the Isle of Man... but not Ireland! Surely some mistake? Read the full article...

Hallyday & Gainsbourg back in the news?

Dateline: January 2006

Johnny Hallyday and Serge GainsbourgNot to be confused with the Dublin-based cabaret singer of the same name, Camille and her album 'Le Fil' won the prestigious Prix Constantine for the most promising new act to emerge onto the French scene in 2005. Sounding both petulant and warm at once, this single is idiosyncratic and likeable. An approximate transcription of the backing vocal is 'splutter-groan-squeal-belch-fart'. Read the full article...

Voulez-Vous Rocker Avec Moi? The French rock scene.

Dateline: January 2006

Rock and Roll in ParisAs I sit on a terrasse sipping my café allongé and watching Parisian commuters scowl at tourists, I reflect on the many wonderful things about life in France - excellent food; streets alive with history and art; Juliette Binoche. Unfortunately, being the CLUAS correspondent in Paris involves listening to a lot of French alternative music - and French alternative music is quite dire. Read the full article...

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