100 ESSENTIAL FRENCH SONGS YOU MUST HEAR Part 1: The 1930s, 40s & 50s

best-french-songs-30-40-50-modSee also:

We all  love music. Music can touch our deep feelings, it can make us cry or smile, it empowers us… A melody can also transport us: by just listening to it, we can be right away elsewhere, or find ourselves in another time! Moreover, music helps us deepen into a country’s culture (so does cinema, or gastronomy). So, today I propose you to time travel to France!

Whether you need to practise your French, you want to (try to) understand French people’s personnalité, or you just love French music -like I do-, check out these 100 beautiful songs that are really representative of France’s rich culture and history. The list is divided by the year the songs were released:

Amusez-vous bien!  (Enjoy it!)

1) Lucienne Boyer  “Parlez-moi d’amour” (1930)

This beautiful song (means “Tell Me About Love”) gained wide recognition after featuring in the film Casablanca; you may have also heard it in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. It was also recorded by other French singers, maybe the best known is the cover by Dalida.


2) Josephine Baker – “J’ai deux amours” (1931)

Although American-born, Josephine Baker became best known in France. This was her fétiche song, which contained the famous lines: “I have two loves, my country and Paris”.


3) Fréhel – “Si tu n’étais pas là” (1934)

Parisian singer Fréhel, one of the most famous singers of the 30s -also known for her tormented personal life- sings this beautiful song, which was featured in the soundtrack of the film Amélie.


4) Maurice Chevalier – “Paris sera toujours Paris” (1939)

French actor, cabaret singer and entertainer, Maurice Chevalier was also a Hollywood star. This oh-so-Parisian song (means “Paris will always be Paris”) was recently recorded by Zaz.


5) Tino Rossi – “J’attendrai” (1939)

“I will wait” became the big French song during World War II (is actually a French version of the Italian song “Tornerai“). It has been covered many times -the most popular was  Dalida’s– and has featured in several films.


6) Léo Marjane – “Seule ce soir” (1941)

Marjane’s song (she’s now 104 years-old!) would become one of the best-loved songs of its time, as it captured the feelings of the many people who were experiencing wartime separation (the title means “Alone Tonight”).


7) Charles Trenet – “La mer” (1946)

Right after its release, “La mer” became a massive hit, and has remained a chanson classic ever since. It has been recorded in many languages (“Beyond the sea” in English) and featured in numerous films.


8) Édith Piaf – “La vie en rose” (1947)

This was Édith Piaf signature song. It has been covered by several artists over the years, including a 1950 version by Louis Armstrong; a cover version in 1977 by Grace Jones was also an international hit.


9) Yves Montand – “Les feuilles mortes” (1949)

“Autumn Leaves”, with lyrics by the great French poet Jacques Prévert, was initially made famous by Yves Montand, but it has been covered many times over the years, being the most famous those by Nat King Cole, Miles Davis and Eric Clapton.


10) Jean Bretonnière – “Sous le ciel de Paris” (1951)

The song “Under the sky of Paris” was composed for the namesake film. Since its release, it has been covered incessantly. Notable versions are those of Edith Piaf, Yves Montand, Michel Legrand, and lately Zaz.


11) Juliette Gréco – “Je suis comme je suis” (1951)

French actress and popular chanson singer, devotee of the bohemian fashion of post-war France’s intellectuals, Gréco sings “I am what I am”, a poem by Jacques Prévert, which talks about women, seduction and the need to accept ourselves as we are.


12) Yves Montand – “À Paris” (1953)

Singer and actor, Montand has starred in numerous American films. His recognizably songs, especially those about Paris, became instant all-time classics (C’est si bon is another great song).  Zaz has lately covered the song in her album about Paris.


13) Gloria Lasso – “Étrangère au Paradis” (1955)

This is the French version of “Stranger in Paradise”, a popular song from the musical Kismet.


14) Jacques Brel – “Ne me quitte pas” (1959)

The title means “Don’t leave me”. It is a beautiful, melancholic song by Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel. It has been covered by many French  and foreign artists (I love the one by Yuri Buenaventura!); it has also been translated into and performed in 26 languages! A well-known adaptation in English is “If You Go Away“.


15) Édith Piaf – “Non, je ne regrette rien” (1959)

If I would have to choose the best French song of all times, without any doubt it would be this timeless masterpiece. “No, I regret nothing” is a such a powerful and moving song, with so unique style; no wonder none of the many recordings attempted has become recognizable. If you love cinema, you certainly heard it in Inception; I truly recommend you to see the remarkable biographical film “La môme” (a.k.a. La vie en Rosewith amazing Marion Cotillard in the role of Piaf.

See also:

YouTube playlist here



Stromae papillon

Μετά την Ελλάδα, θα ήθελα -μετά τα πρόσφατα τραγικά γεγονότα- να κάνουμε ένα μουσικό ταξίδι στο Βέλγιο… Και αν σκέφτομαι Βέλγιο, ένας καλλιτέχνης έρχεται αμέσως στο μυαλό μου: ο Stromae.

‘Ισως μερικοί από εσάς αναρωτιέστε, ποιος είναι ο Stromae;

Αφίσα του Stromae σε έναν τοίχο στο Ώστιν, Τέξας

Μπορεί να μην έχετε συγκρατήσει το όνομά του, αλλά κατά πάσα πιθανότητα θα έχετε ήδη ακούσει -και χορέψει- μία από τις απόλυτες επιτυχίες του: το Alors on dance, το οποίο το 2010 έφτασε στην κορυφή των charts στις περισσότερες χώρες της Ευρώπης. Η φήμη του όμως έχει πλέον ξεπεράσει τα ευρωπαϊκά σύνορα: σε μία πρόσφατη περιοδεία κατάφερε να ξετρελαίνει και τους Αμερικάνους.

Αλλά ο Stromae -το όνομά του προέρχεται από την αντιστροφή των συλλαβών της λέξης Maestro– είναι επίσης ένα σούπερ σταρ στο YouTube: τα βίντεό του έχουν ένα δισεκατομμύριο προβολές!!

Ποιο είναι, άραγε, το μυστικό της επιτυχίας του Stromae, ιδιαίτερα λαμβάνοντας υπόψη πως τραγουδάει μόνο στα γαλλικά; Η μελωδική του μουσική; Οι βαθυστόχαστοι στίχοι; Το αινιγματικό του παρουσιαστικό;

Stromae yellowΑν και η μουσική του έχει επιρροή από ηλεκτρονικούς και hip hop ήχους, δεν περιορίζεται μόνο σε αυτούς: κάποια τραγούδια έχουν αφρικανικούς, άλλα latin ρυθμούς, οι οποίοι αναμειγνύονται αρμονικά μεταξύ τους. Αλλά αυτό που κάνει τον Stromae να υπερέχει από άλλους καλλιτέχνες είναι ότι, στα δήθεν ελαφρά ακούσματα των τραγουδιών του, κρύβεται ένα ισχυρό κοινωνικό μήνυμα: μιλάνε για το AIDS, τον καρκίνο, τις σχέσεις, τα σεξουαλικά κλισέ … Ωστόσο ο Stromae πιστεύει πως το να καταλάβεις τους στίχους δεν είναι και απαραίτητο: «Κανείς δεν καταλαβαίνει Αγγλικά [στο Βέλγιο], αλλά όλοι ακούνε αγγλική μουσική, γιατί μπορούν να διαισθάνονται το συναίσθημα και το groove των τραγουδιών, και αυτό φτάνει για να χορέψουν και να νιώθουν τη μουσική», λέει χαρακτηριστικά.

Η εκκεντρική του εμφάνιση ήταν αναμφίβολα καθοριστική για την ευρεία του αναγνώριση: τα εξωτικά φυλετικά χαρακτηριστικά, το σκούρο δέρμα και τα πράσινα μάτια του -ο πατέρας του ήταν από τη Ρουάντα, η μητέρα του είναι Βελγίδα -καθώς και το εκφραστικό, μελαγχολικό του βλέμμα. Και φυσικά το εξίσου εξωτικό του ντύσιμο, το οποίο συνδυάζει με απόλυτο στιλ την βρετανική κομψότητα και την αφρικάνικη αισθητική.

Επομένως, ίσως το μυστικό της επιτυχίας του είναι πως ο Stromae συμβολίζει την Ευρώπη: είναι ένα μείγμα από διάφορες φυλές, στυλ και πολιτισμούς, προκλητικός και αντιφατικός, με απόλυτη προσοχή στην αισθητική, με ελαφρότητα αλλά και κοινωνικά ευαισθητοποιημένος…

Stromae Cheese

Το πρώτο hit του Stromae ήρθε σχεδόν κατά τύχη: ενώ εργαζόταν ως μαθητευόμενος σε ένα βελγικό ραδιοφωνικό σταθμό, ο μουσικός παραγωγός άκουσε το “Alors on dance” και αποφάσισε να το παίξει. Η επιτυχία ήταν άμεση. Τα πιασάρικα beats του τραγουδιού παραδίδουν ένα μήνυμα: «Η ζωή είναι χάλια, ας χορέψουμε”, και το τραγούδι ήρθε στο κατάλληλο μέρος, τη κατάλληλη στιγμή: στην αρχή της οικονομικής κρίσης της Ευρώπης το 2009. Το βίντεο δείχνει έναν άντρα απελπισμένος με τη ζωή του και την κοινωνία, έτσι το μόνο που του έχει απομείνει είναι να χορέψει.

Το πρώτο του άλμπουμ, το Cheese, κυκλοφόρησε το 2010. Εκτός από το smash hit “Alors on Dance” περιέχει και άλλα ωραία κομμάτια, ίσως το αγαπημένο μου είναι το “Te quiero”.

Stromae Racine Carree

Το αριστουργηματικό του δεύτερο άλμπουμ, το Racine Carrée (“Τετραγωνική Ρίζα”), το οποίο κυκλοφόρησε το 2013, είναι ακουστικά πιο ποικιλόμορφο και ολοκληρωμένο, ενώ διατηρεί παράλληλα τους βαθυστόχαστους στίχους. Συμπεριλαμβάνει πολλά υπέροχα τραγούδια, τα περισσότερα εκ των οποίων έχουν φτάσει στο νούμερο 1 των charts της Γαλλίας και του Βελγίου. Είναι δύσκολο -αν όχι αδύνατο- να επιλέξω μόνο ένα τραγούδι από αυτό το άλμπουμ. Αυτά είναι μερικά από τα αγαπημένα μου:

Papaoutai” (“Papa où t’ai/Μπαμπά που είσαι”) μιλάει για απόντες πατέρες: ο πατέρας του Stromae σκοτώθηκε κατά τη διάρκεια της γενοκτονίας στη Ρουάντα, και ο ίδιος μεγάλωσε με τη μητέρα του. Στο πολύχρωμο, οπτικά άψογο βίντεο –με περισσότερα από 300 εκατομμύρια προβολές στο YouTube!– ένα αγόρι χρησιμοποιεί έναν κούκλο για να αντικαταστήσει τον πατέρα του:

Stromae Tous les memesFormidable”, είναι η ιστορία ενός αστέγου. Το βίντεο έγινε viral στο YouTube: για να το κάνει χρησιμοποίησε κρυφές κάμερες σε μια στάση του τραμ και προσποιήθηκε πως ήταν μεθυσμένος.

Tous Les Mêmes” (“Όλοι ίδιοι”), στο βίντεο ο Stromae εμφανίζεται ντυμένος μισός άνδρας, μισός γυναίκα, και αναλύει διάφορα στερεότυπα για τις διαφορές μεταξύ φύλων.

Carmen” χρησιμοποιεί κινούμενα σχέδια για να περιγράψει τους κινδύνους της υπερβολικής χρήσης των μέσων κοινωνικής δικτύωσης:

Quand C’est?” (Πότε είναι; στα γαλλικά ακούγεται σαν “Καρκίνος”) είναι το τελευταίο του βίντεο, περίτεχνο και σκοτεινό, όπου εξερευνά τον φόβο και τον πόνο που μας προκαλεί ο καρκίνος:

Μάθε περισσότερα για τον Stromae εδώ:

Stromae Mosaert

Η σελίδα του στο Facebook  

Ο λογαριασμός του στο Twitter 

Το fashion label του Mosaert


Stromae papillon

After Greece, I felt compelled to travel -musically speaking- to Belgium, moved by the recent tragic events… When thinking Belgium, one artist comes straight away to my mind: Stromae.

Many of you may wonder, Who the hell is Stromae?

Stromae poster on a wall in Austin, Texas

If you live in Europe, chances are that you have already heard -and danced- one of his absolute hits: Alors on dance, which in 2010 topped the charts of most European countries. His fame though, has now largely exceeded the European borders: in a recent tour he managed to take the USA by storm.

But Stromae -his name comes from reversing the syllables of Maestro–  is also a YouTube superstar: his videos have one billion views!!

So, what’s the secret of success, particularly for someone who sings only in French? His melodious tunes? The meaningful lyrics? His enigmatic look? The answer is: all of them!

Stromae yellowAlthough his songs are influenced by electronic and hip hop music, they are not confined to these two genres: some songs have african, other latin sounds, blended harmonically together. But what makes him excel above other artists is that, under the easy-listening rhythms, a powerful social message is hidden: he tells stories about AIDS, cancer, relationships, sexual clichés… Yet Stromae believes that understanding the lyrics is not that important: “Nobody understands English music [in Belgium], but everybody listens to English music, so we can understand the feeling, understand the groove, and it’s enough actually to dance on it or to feel”, he says.

Stromae’s eccentric look has certainly been instrumental for his wide recognition: the exotic racial features, dark skin and green eyes -his father was from Rwanda, his mother is Belgian- as well as his expressive, melancholic regard. And of course his signature, equally exotic dressing style: a blend of British elegance and African aesthetic.

Thus, maybe the secret of success is that Stromae is a symbol of Europe: a mixture of races, styles, and cultures; exhaling a great deal of contradiction and provocation; with utmost attention to aesthetics; weightless but socially engaged at the same time…

Stromae CheeseStromae’s first hit came almost by chance: while working as a trainee at a Belgian radio station, the music manager heard “Alors on dance” and decided to air it. The success was immediate. The song’s catchy beats deliver a message: “Life sucks, so we dance”, which came out in the right place, the right time: at the beginning of Europe’s economic crisis back in 2009. The video shows a guy feeling hopeless about his life and society, so the only thing left is to dance.

His first album, Cheese, was released in 2010; besides the smash hit “Alors on Dance” we find other nice tracks; maybe my favourite is “Te quiero”.

Stromae Racine CarreeHis masterful second album, Racine Carrée (Square Root), is musically more diverse and accomplished, while preserving the relevant lyrics. Released in 2013, it contains many wonderful songs, most of which have reached number 1 in France’s and Belgium’s charts. It is difficult -if not impossible- to pick a single song from this album; these are some of my preferred ones:

Papaoutai” (“Papa où t’ai/Papa where are you”) talks about absent fathers -Stromae’s own father was killed during the Rwandan genocide, and he grew up with his widow mother. In the colourful, visually  impeccable video -with more than 300 million views!- a boy uses a mannequin to replace his absent father:

Stromae Tous les memesFormidable”, a story about a drunk homeless, went viral on YouTube: to make the video, he used hidden cameras at a tram stop and pretended to be drunk.

Tous Les Mêmes” (“All the same”) features Stromae dressed half a man, half a woman, and depicts various stereotypes on gender differences.

Carmen” uses cartoon to accurately describe the dangers of social media overuse:

Quand C’est?” (When is it?; in French sounds like “Cancer”) is Stromae’s latest artful, dark video, where he “explores the pain caused and inevitable fear of cancer”:

More info here:

Stromae Mosaert

His Facebook  page

His Twitter account

His fashion label Mosaert


Zaz photo

Continuing our musical trip, we leave Latin America and fly back to Europe, more precisely to France, through the sounds of the amazing voice of Zaz. With her gypsy jazzy style and her sultry voice, which reminds us of Edith Piaf, she will instantly set us in a french mood…


Zaz albumIsabelle Geffroy (that’s her real name) made its maiden appearance five years ago with the album Zaz, with which she managed to have all Europe singing the addictive “Je veux”. The album went double platinum in France, while the song “Je veux” stayed at the top of most European charts for several weeks. After this massive hit, she became the most listened French singer abroad and, according to an Internet survey in France, the favorite French musician in 2010.



Zaz Recto verso

Her second album, Recto Verso appeared one year later. Like Zaz’s debut, Recto Verso became double platinum in France, and was certified gold in several European countries. Her international following kept growing, and during 2012 Zaz toured throughout Europe, Japan, and Canada.





Zaz ParisBy the end of 2014, Zaz released her latest album entitled Paris, where she pays tribute to the “City of Lights”. The album was produced by the legendary Quincy Jones, who was impressed by her voice and style. It includes three collaborations with Charles Aznavour, John Clayton and Nikki Yanofsky. Paris resulted in Top Ten chart placings across Europe, and was followed by a succesful (ongoing) world tour.




The video I chose for this post is from her last album. The song is called “Sous le ciel de Paris” (under the sky of Paris). Listen to it, and you will want to get your ticket to Paris right away…

More info at http://www.zazofficial.com


Leaving from Cuba and the sounds of Buena Vista Social Club, we fly south and land in Uruguay, or more precisely, Rio de la Plata, to join a Uruguayan – Argentinian band: Bajofondo. Bajofondo banner_bajofondo Bajofondo is an 8-member group led by Gustavo Santaolalla, two-times Oscar winner for the soundtracks of ‘Babel’ and ‘Brokeback Mountain’. Their music is usually characterised as electrotango, that is, a blend of acoustic tango and electronic music. Bajofondo, together with Gotan Project are the two best known representatives of this genre, and they are regarded as the groups who brought tango back into mainstream. Santaolalla, though, prefers to call their music “Contemporary music of Rio de la Plata”, the river that separates (and unites) Argentina and Uruguay…

Bajo-Fondo-Tango-ClubThe band was founded in 2002 with the name Bajofondo Tango Club, and that is also the name of their first album. Bajofondo Tango Club had a great success and won a Latin Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album. According to the BBC, the band has produced “something new which is at the same time respectful of tradition”, and “earned the admiration of a wide and growing audience, both at home and abroad”. This is the song “Perfume” from that album: bajofondo_mardulce_portada In their outstanding second album Mar Dulce (2008), there was a clear intention to work together with other artists: Elvis Costello, Nelly Furtado, Gustavo Cerati, la Mala Rodríguez, to name a few. Maybe my preferred song of this album is “Grand Guignol” (check out this live video at the obelisco in Buenos Aires), but here I include a more “electrotango” song called “Pa’bailar” (to dance) featuring Japanese bandoneonist Ryōta Komatsu: Bajo Fondo PresentePresente, launched in 2013, is their third, more personal album; no special guests featuring this time. Bajofondo members state that their music has evolved and exceeded the limits of electronic tango, and they describe their latest album as a mixture of milonga, tango, folklore, rock, hip-hop, electronica, jazz and classical music, for his orchestral base. From this album, the song “Pide Piso” (ask for the [dance] floor) summarises very nicely this blend of sounds:   But the musicians of Bajofondo -Juan Campodónico, Luciano Supervielle, Javier Casalla, Martin Ferres, Gabriel Casacuberta, Adrian Sosa, Veronica Loza and Gustavo Santaolalla- have great energy also on stage; it’s really worth seeing them live, if you have a chance. And there is a possibility you will, since they are touring non-stop all over the world and being part of the biggest music festival worldwide. In the meantime, enjoy them here!

For more info, check their official site here or their more updated Twitter account here.


If we talk about Latin America these days, most likely Cuba comes first to our minds. For that reason, our virtual musical trip today will take us there, with the sounds of the legendary Buena Vista Social Club.

Havana collage

Buena Vista Social Club is a Cuban band, whose name was inspired by a 1940’s member club in La Havana. It was created in 1996 by Cuban musician Juan de Marcos Gonzalez and American guitarist Ry Cooder, but included as well traditional Cuban musicians, who had performed at the original Club: Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer and Ruben Gonzalez, among others.

Buena Vista Social Club bvsc_02

The recording of this band was a great success, and inspired German director Wim Wenders, who captured two live concerts in Amsterdam and New York, interviews to the musicians together with images of La Havana for a documentary, also named Buena Vista Social Club.

Both the recording and the documentary started what many called “Cubamania”, inspiring people to get acquainted with cuban music and salsa dance. Although the original band only performed live twice, some members of the original group (Guajiro Mirabal, Aguaje Ramos and Barbarito Torres) continue to perform together as a part of the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club, while Omara Portuondo and Eliades Ochoa have their own group.

Here it goes then, my personal tribute to La Havana and Buena Vista Social Club with this amazing live presentation at the Carnegie Hall of New York…

For more info, check the official site of the band


 Photo credits
Peter Hubler, Flickr.com; Ramon Rosati, Flickr.com; Artur Staszewski, Flickr.com; Franck Vervial, Flickr.com; Alfredo Miguel Romero, Flickr.com



Συνεχίζουμε το μουσικό μας ταξίδι στη Λατινική Αμερική. Αυτή τη φορά ο προορισμός μας είναι η Χιλή και η μουσική της Ana Tijoux θα μας πάει εκεί. Η Ana (ή Ανίτα) γεννήθηκε στη Γαλλία το 1977 από Χιλιανούς γονείς, οι οποίοι εξορίστηκαν κατά τη διάρκεια της στρατιωτικής δικτατορίας του Πινοσέτ. Αυτό σαφώς επηρέασε τον χαρακτήρα της και το μουσικό της ύφος: γίνεται ράπερ, το οποίο της επιτρέπει να εκφράσει τις βαθιά κοινωνικές και πολιτικές της πεποιθήσεις. Η ίδια γράφει, συνθέτει και εκτελεί τα δικά της τραγούδια.

Το 1993 επέστρεψε στη Χιλή, και μετά από μερικά χρόνια συμμετέχοντας σε διάφορες μπάντες και συνεργασίες, ξεκίνησε τη σόλο καριέρα της. Το 2009 κυκλοφόρησε το ευρέως αναγνωρισμένο, υποψήφιο για Grammy άλμπουμ, 1977. Το τραγούδι 1977 ακούστηκε, μεταξύ άλλων, στην αμερικανική σειρά Breaking Bad.

Anita Tijoux Vengo1618493_10152215792566983_546540150_n

Το τελευταίο της album Vengo, που κυκλοφόρησε στις αρχές του 2014, ενθουσίασε κριτικούς παγκοσμίως: “Σχεδόν τέλειο” δήλωσε το NPR, “Από τα πιο εκθαμβωτικά hip-hop που ακούσαμε φέτος”, δήλωσε το MTV. Δικαίως, Vengo μόλις έλαβε μια υποψηφιότητα Grammy για το καλύτερο άλμπουμ της Λατινικής Αμερικής στην κατηγορία “Urban, ροκ και εναλλακτικά”.

Προσωπικά, βρίσκω πολύ ενδιαφέρον τον τρόπο που η Ana Tijoux συνδυάζει το χιπ χοπ, την παραδοσιακή μουσική των Άνδεων και τους πολύ προσεγμένους στίχους, οι οποίοι μιλάμε για την κοινωνική δικαιοσύνη, τον καπιταλισμό, το περιβάλλον, το φεμινισμό …

Πρόσφατα, το Κέντρο Τέχνης Walker της ζήτησε να γράψει ένα op-ed: το εξαιρετικό “La Cultura de la Basura” (Ο Πολιτισμός των Σκουπιδιών), όπου αναλύει, χωρίς να μασάει τα λόγια της, το μισογυνισμό και την “υπερ-σεξουαλικοποίηση” του σώματος της γυναίκας στην μουσική βιομηχανία.

Το τραγούδι που επέλεξα λέγεται, όπως και το άλμπουμ, Vengo (‘Ερχομαι) και το video είναι μια ζωντανή εμφάνιση στο στούντιο KCRW.

…. «Έρχομαι ψάχνοντας έναν ιδανικό

κόσμο χωρίς τάξεις που μπορούν να σηκωθούν, έρχομαι …

Με τα μαύρα μας μαλλιά, τα ψηλά μας ζυγωματικά,

Με την ινδιάνικη υπερηφάνεια χαραγμένη στην ψυχή μας,

Έρχομαι. “…




anatijouxWe continue our musical trip within Latin America. This time our destination is Chile; the music of Ana Tijoux will get us there. Ana (or Anita) was born in 1977 in France from Chilean parents, who were exiled during Pinochet’s military dictatorship. This certainly influenced her character and her musical style: she becomes a rapper, which allows her to express her strong social and political convictions. She writes, composes and performs her own songs.

In 1993 she returned to Chile, and after some years performing in different bands and collaborations, she started her solo carrier. In 2009 she released the widely acclaimed, Grammy-nominated album 1977. The song 1977 featured, among others, in the American series Breaking Bad.

Anita Tijoux Vengo1618493_10152215792566983_546540150_nHer latest album Vengo, released early 2014, thrilled critics worldwide: “Virtually flawless” stated NPR; “Some of the most dazzling hip-hop this year” said MTV. Fair enough, Vengo just received a Grammy nomination for Best Latin album in the category Urban, rock or alternative.

Personally, I find very interesting the way she combines hip hop, traditional andean music and very thoughtful lyrics, talking about social justice, capitalism, the environment, feminism…

Recently, she was asked by the Walker Art Center to write and op-ed: the outstanding “La Cultura de la Basura” (The Garbage Culture), where she analyses, without mincing her words, misogyny and the hypersexualization of the woman’s body in the music industry.

The song I chose is called like the album, Vengo (I come) and this is a live performance at the KCRW studio.

….“I come looking for an ideal

of a world without classes that can raise, I come …

With our black hair, our high cheekbones,

With the Indian pride tattooed in our souls,

I come.”…





Today our musical destination is Brazil, this time with the sounds of bossa nova. And for that, nothing better than the voice of Bebel Gilberto,  so amazing that it literally transports you there….

Bebel’s talent is not by chance, it’s in her genes! She is the daughter of Joao Gilberto and the Brazilian singer Miucha, and the niece of Chico Buarque… What else can we say?

As a child she had already started singing with her mother, but she became worldwide known after the release of her amazing album Tanto Tempo (2000). Since then, she released four more albums, her last one this year, called Tudo. Her songs have been featured in several films and TV series, and she was the voice of the bird Eva in the animated movies Rio and Rio 2

The video I chose is one of my favourite Bebel’s songs, it’s called Samba da Bencao. This is a live version featuring in Rio de Janeiro. The song, her voice, the musicians, the stage by the sea, Rio as a background, they are just… pure magic!!


My first musical post will be dedicated -of course!- to tango. This time in its more contemporary form, electronic tango, of which undoubtedly Gotan Project is one of its best representatives.

Actually, only one of the three Gotan Project members (Eduardo Makaroff) is Argentine, the other two being Swiss (Christoph Muller) and French (Philippe Cohen Solal).The name Gotan comes from the inversion of the two syllables of “Tango”, something commonly used in lunfardo (Argentina’s argot). Their first album, La Revancha del Tango was released in 2001, and was a huge success. Songs like Santa Maria (del Buen Ayre) and El capitalismo foráneo (with the voice of Evita Perón) featured in movies, TV series and commercials. The following albums, Inspiración Espiración and Lunático, although less successful, were acclaimed by the public and critics.

I had a hard time deciding which video I would include in this post, but I finally chose one from their latest album, Tango 3.0, released in 2010. The song is called La Gloria, where we hear the voice of a very famous football commentator, Victor Hugo Morales, who instead of commenting on football players and shouting his signature “goooool”, he presents the members of the group and finally shouts: “goooootan”…. I feel this video combines very nicely the two biggest passions of Argentines: tango and football…

Enjoy it!