View Full Version : Looking for really good French cafe/bistro music

Carnac the Magnificent!
01-08-2005, 04:04 PM
I'm hosting a cocktail party to benefit a group of nonprofits and would like to make the event French-themed.

A friend suggested French music. About all I know of that is from what I remember on a recent business trip in Paris and Lyon--inside a cafe or bistro. I have no idea how to describe the music, other than charming and, um, very French sounding. I recall an accordion and, yes, soulful French singing.

Any suggestions?

01-08-2005, 04:10 PM
Having never been to France, I can't tell you what the cool kids there are listening to, but you might like Edith Piaf or Jacques Brel (I think he's actually Belgian, but he sings in French a lot.)

Starving Artist
01-08-2005, 04:14 PM
In the televised version of Cirque du Soleil's Alegria, there is a wonderful Canadian singer named Francesa Gagnon who sings the role of the White Singer. Alegria is heavily French-flavored and her website (which is currently undergoing renovation, I just found out) has formerly been in French only so I suppose most of her singing is "Frenchish". ( :p )

I don't know if you're looking for instrumental music only, but if not you might want to check out some of her music and see if it has enough of a French flavor to suit your needs.

teela brown
01-08-2005, 04:28 PM
I like this (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00000AVEO/ref=pd_bxgy_img_2/002-2737147-4395236?v=glance&s=music) CD. It's fun to play when I serve up a French cafe-style dinner at home. It has a little of everything - accordion music, Edith Piaf, Django Reinhardt, happy stuff, sad stuff. I highly recommend it.

01-08-2005, 04:41 PM
If you're looking for a stereotype go for :
Yann Tiersen (Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulin, L'Absente)
Jacques Brel
Serge Gainsbourg
Nina Simone

But bear in mind that the last time I was in France, I heard Nelly Furtado more than anyone else ;)

Hey, It's That Guy!
01-08-2005, 06:50 PM
I highly recommend '30s jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and his usual collaborator, violinist Stephane Grappelli. Both were terrific instrumentalists, and they have that classic "French bistro" sound you're looking for.

Hunter Hawk
01-08-2005, 07:03 PM
You might want to check out Paris Combo. I haven't heard much by them, but what I did hear was good.

01-08-2005, 07:26 PM
In addition to those listed above, you might also consider checking out Les Accordeons de France (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00000JR09/103-0985132-1202218?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance), or for something more modern, but still French-ish sounding (big -ISH there), check out Pink Martini (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0002S94WK/qid=1105233941/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/103-0985132-1202218?v=glance&s=music&n=507846). Edith Piaf is a must - she's fantastique! I own this one (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000002UYD/qid=1105234268/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/103-0985132-1202218). - for $7.99, it's a bargain! (links to Amazon site with sound samples)

Bon chance! ...with the party, I mean.
(alright, I really just wanted to say something in French)

Cat Fight
01-08-2005, 07:29 PM
I can't recommend Carla Bruni enough. Great sound, great lyrics, and she works just as well as background music (though her style may be a bit brunch-y for a cocktail party).

01-08-2005, 07:41 PM
Madeleine Peyroux (www.madeleinepeyroux.com/) sounds a lot like Billy Holiday. But she has her own sound going on. Her "Careless Love" is wonderful.
Some of her works are in French, some not.
If you go out to purchase some French-themed music, you will find a lot of what's been mentioned here.

01-08-2005, 07:48 PM
Soundtrack to Amelie.

The Scrivener
01-08-2005, 09:20 PM
If you liked actress Julie Delpy's songs in Before Sunset, you might want to check out her solo album. (I'm only familiar with the movie, but I love it.)

01-08-2005, 09:48 PM
Edith Piaf would definitely be the obvious choice. If you want something hip and modern, try and get a hold of one of the "Buddha Bar" CDs. There are a lot of compilations with names like "Cafe in Paris" -- try the world music section.

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