Right now, OrelSan has no fewer than 9 singles in the Top 50 charts. That makes him one of the hottest contemporary French singers right now. OrelSan is a French rapper, songwriter, record producer, actor and film director. Being a white rapper, but also because of his musical style, pundits have compared him to American rap legend Eminem. Perhaps a lazy comparison? Look out for his latest hit featuring Stromae, called La pluie (lyrics here).
French TV channel TV5 Monde has produced some educational resources using one of OrelSan’s songs, Plus rien de m’étonne.
Isabelle Geffroy, better known by the nickname Zaz, is a French singer-songwriter. She mixes jazzy styles, French variety, soul and acoustic for a unique sound. Isabelle became famous with her hit Je veux (lyrics here), taken from her eponymous debut album. Furthermore, she has sold over 3.4 million albums worldwide. As a result, she is amongst the best-known French singers in the world. Just google her name and you will find tons of ready-made resources to exploit her songs in class.
Soprano is a French singer and rapper of Comorian descent living in Marseille. And he is one of the only rappers who raps without cursing. His latest hit, Mon précieux (lyrics here), describes the special relationship he has… with his mobile phone! Consequently, this can be a very interesting song to study in a French lesson. The song is part of his latest album, L’Everest.
Ready-made educational resources for several of his other songs are available on the TV5 Monde website.
Tété is a self-taught French musician born in Dakar, Senegal. He moved to France as a 2-year-old after his mother, from Martinique, and his father, from Senegal, divorced. Described as a French Jeff Buckley, his intimate music style combines blues, folk and pop. He blends influences including the Delta Blues, Lenny Kravitz, The Beatles and Bob Dylan.
Educational resources for his song Mon trésor (from his Le sacre des Lemmings er autres contes de la lisière album) are available on the TV5 Monde website. Also, check out the video clip for Le Magicien, in which Tété holds handy cue cards with words from the song – ideal for language learners!
Mathieu Peudupin, known as Lescop, is a French cold-wave singer who has been described as “the perfect mix between Etienne Daho and New Order”. His poetic lyrics have also drawn comparisons with Gainsbourg’s songs. Lescop’s eponymous debut album opens with La forêt (lyrics here), a song which explores the moments before someone is shot; this evokes Camus’ L’Étranger, as some critics have pointed out. His songs’ lyrics are extremely rich and evocative, making them ideal for language lesson use.
Archipol, a Breton singer-songwriter-poet, conjures up a world where the barrier between the digital and the human can be porous. How many other writers could adopt the personalities of a critical supermarket trolley, a (female) satnav voice who falls for her charge or a street convinced of its generosity in providing a bed for the homeless on its pavements?
Archipol and his co-artists lyrically and ironically reproduce the frustrated love affairs and paradoxes of a technological world to appeal to a teenage audience. Chiefly, their underlying aim is to encourage us all to maintain our humanity and rise above the virtual chasm by asserting our individuality. Enjoyable works of art in their own right, the songs from his latest album Drôle de monde are ideal for developing a range of language skills in the context of relevant vocabulary, structures and grammar. What’s more, Linguascope has developed a handy photocopiable workbook with everything you need to exploit the songs. Sample pages can be downloaded here.
Are you a fan of any French singers not mentioned above? Let us know in the comments!