The music of Paris...
February 24, 2010 8:34 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for music that evokes the spirit of Paris. Have any recommendations?
posted by the christopher hundreds to Media & Arts (34 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Edith Piaf.
posted by fire&wings at 8:34 AM on February 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Dimitri From Paris-- Sacrebleu
posted by mireille at 8:37 AM on February 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

J'ai Deux Amours by Madeleine Peyroux - or originally Josephine Baker.
posted by rongorongo at 8:41 AM on February 24, 2010

Pretty much anything by Stéphane Pompougnac. Check out the Hotel Costes albums particularly.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:45 AM on February 24, 2010

Le Festin by Camille

Also, the entire soundtrack from Amelie
posted by castlebravo at 8:47 AM on February 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'd definitely go for an accordion : Marcel Azzola, Daniel Mille, Marc Perrone, Richard Galliano, Lionel Suarez.
posted by nicolin at 8:49 AM on February 24, 2010

Yves Montand - Rue St. Vincent
posted by ryanshepard at 8:50 AM on February 24, 2010

Paris Combo

Mano Solo
posted by idiomatika at 8:56 AM on February 24, 2010

Here's Edith Piaf with a cute cartoon.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:59 AM on February 24, 2010

St. Vincent - "Paris is Burning"
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:00 AM on February 24, 2010

A lot of what Django Reinhardt recorded with the Hot Club of France works for me, too.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:03 AM on February 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

The "Paris" and "French Cafe" CDs from Putumayo are surprisingly great starting points.
posted by sarahsynonymous at 9:06 AM on February 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Which spirit of Paris? It's a big city with a long history. The music that says "Paris" to me most right now is Justice: Cross, but I'm guessing that's not what you have in mind. Senegalese rap would qualify too.

For romantic nightclub singer Paris, anything by Edith Piaf or Jacques Brel. For Americans-imitating-Paris I love Pink Martini's album Sympathique, all the more authentic because you still hear it in cafes all over Paris. For delicate classical Paris, I love Satie's Gnossiennes. For modern classical Paris deeply steeped in mystical catholicism, anything by Olivier Messiaen. Debussy, Boulez, Saint-Saens too, if you want classical.
posted by Nelson at 9:06 AM on February 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

The soundtrack to Amelie is a pastiche of various stereotypically old parisian styles of music, for instance: Yann Tiersen - La Noyee
posted by phrontist at 9:12 AM on February 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Gershwin's An American in Paris? (Here's a YouTube of the first part).
posted by tomcooke at 9:27 AM on February 24, 2010

I love "Quelqu'un M'a Dit" by Carla Bruni. The lyrics have a very Parisian take on love.
posted by Hwaet at 9:34 AM on February 24, 2010

Check out some Yann Tiersen or the soundtrack to Paris Je T'Aime.
posted by i_cola at 9:37 AM on February 24, 2010

Benabar, Jacques Brel, Serge Gainsbourg, Vincent Delerm

It's hard to find but there is a soundtrack album from the film Paris Je T'aime.

Also the soundtrack to the film simply titled Paris that was out last year. I like this because it has a lot of different genres, and has a lot of sort of multi-ethnic urban jazz.

Also, Nthing from above Pink Martini, Paris Combo, Erik Satie, and the Amelie soundtrack.
posted by dnash at 9:41 AM on February 24, 2010

April in Paris
posted by hortense at 9:42 AM on February 24, 2010

I've always found John Cale's Paris 1919 record, and particularly the title track, evocative of Paris. Of course, he's Welsh, and I've never been to Paris, so who knows.
posted by koeselitz at 9:49 AM on February 24, 2010

The album "Sibérie m'était contéee" by Manu Chao.
posted by neroli at 10:15 AM on February 24, 2010

My favorite?
Charles Trenet!!
posted by Mr.Me at 10:49 AM on February 24, 2010

Perhaps: Jonathan Richman - Give Paris One More Chance - really a song for people who are trying to look up musical references to Paris: he lists them in the lyrics.
posted by rongorongo at 10:51 AM on February 24, 2010

Poulenc's song cycle "Tel Jour, Telle Nuit" is nice, and the seven individual pieces are each rather short. Some are very fast, some more lyric, and the whole thing is a setting of some French surrealist poetry. There is a recording out there of Pierre Bernac singing with Poulenc playing. 20th century, but very musical and hummable tunes.
posted by amtho at 10:57 AM on February 24, 2010

Je Ne Veux Pas Travailler - Pink Martini
posted by 3mendo at 11:09 AM on February 24, 2010

The Baguette Quartette is a San Francisco Bay Area group that plays music that was heard in Paris between 1920 and 1940 on street corners, in cafes, and in popular dance halls. Led by accordionist Odile Lavault, its repertoire consists of valses musettes, tangos, pasos dobles, fox trots, marches and realistic songs. They have recorded four CDs: TOUJOURS (2004), CHEZ MOI (2001), RENDEZ-VOUS (1998), and L’air de Paris (1995).
posted by TDIpod at 11:19 AM on February 24, 2010

I have a CD that I picked up years ago called "Dinner in Paris" which has lots of stereotypical accordian tunes such as one associates with old-style Parisian cafés or restaurants. It's quite lovely; cheerful and yet relaxing...

It was part of a series of "Dinner in ____" music CDs, meant to serve as background music for a themed dinner; there were even a few recipes included in the CD liner.
posted by Jade Dragon at 11:47 AM on February 24, 2010

Quando m'en vo from La Bohème
posted by turbodog at 11:50 AM on February 24, 2010

Jacques Brel, "Au printemps"
or yeah Assassin L' Etat Assassine
posted by runincircles at 12:59 PM on February 24, 2010

The soundrack for the 1966 film Un homme et une femme by Francis Lai. I found it on vinyl at at thrift store (which is the perfect way to listen to it) and fell in love.

My webfilter at work limits me to Wikipedia and Metafilter so this is the only link I can come up with right now:
posted by a.steele at 1:10 PM on February 24, 2010

Francoise Hardy is so awesome, so awesome.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:46 PM on February 24, 2010

For '60s + '70s: Jacques Dutronc, Jacqueline Taieb, Serge Gainsbourg, Francoise Hardy, France Gall, Sylvie Vartan, Marie Laforet.
More recent/poppy: Yelle.
More instrumental: Yann Tiersen.
posted by blackcatcuriouser at 1:56 PM on February 24, 2010

No one's mentioned Jacques Brel's Les prénoms de Paris, which is fabulous. Similarly fabulous is the bilingual Les Rendez-vous by Manu Chao. You also can't go wrong with MC Solaar. Sinsemilia is a fun pop-reggae band.
posted by Kattullus at 3:05 PM on February 24, 2010

cheesy, but the soundtrack of "french kiss" with Kevin Kline
posted by meijusa at 11:29 PM on February 24, 2010

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