Lyrics and Mother Language: Emotions Guaranteed

Sometimes my American friends believe funny things about France.

They believe that it is the most liberal country on earth. Um, the French are now quite divided around the issue of gay marriage.

They believe that everything from health care to education is free. Um, taxes are pretty high in France in order to afford the free stuff.

They also believe that French music is Edith Piaf – they all loved La Vie en Rose – Charles Trenet – they melt under Beyond the Sea, the American version of La Mer – and the accordion.

I must admit that, since my departure from my native land, I listen to old French music, too – I never did when I lived there.

But it’s a mistake to dismiss contemporary French chanson, which is in fact very dynamic.

Once in a while a young French singer or band catches my attention. Last night I heard Granville – their first album Les Voiles has been released two months ago. Okay, I have a confession: the singer is one of my daughters’ age so it made my mother’s heart melt and these young people are from Caen, located in my native Normandy, also where I completed my undergrad studies.

So Granville had two indisputable advantages. Still.

Although their songs are naïve and very much inspired by the French singers of the 60s – Françoise Hardy and France Gall, for instance – and by California bands of the same period of time, the band showcases a soft and yet modern France that my American friends don’t get to discover too often.

Granville’s lyrics are available from their official website. Very convenient: I drove my parents crazy when, as I a teen, I listened to the same record, again and again, until I could copy the lyrics.

I still granvillelike to read lyrics. Even in French. I might write more often in English, French remains my #1 choice when emotions are at stake.

Ask my husband and children: I always choose French whether I’m angry with them or want to comfort them.

That’s why we call our native language “mother language,” I suppose.

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