Putumayo World Music is pleased to continue its tradition of presenting classic French music with its new collection, Paris Café. With selections by legendary singers of chanson, musette, Gypsy jazz and more, this album is a return to the bistros, cafes and cabarets of 1950s Paris.
The opening song by French chanson legend, Charles Trenet, sets the stage. While Trenet composed several other songs featured on this collection, here he sings the iconic “Douce France.” Another French star, Lucienne Delyle, follows with her beautiful rendition of the Cole Porter classic, “C’est Magnifique.”
Next we are treated to “Un Gamin de Paris,” a beloved song performed by one of France’s most respected chanteurs, Francis Lemarque. Worldly elements are sprinkled in with “Sweet Joy” by Raphaël Bas, who has become the face of French music in New Orleans since moving from France in 1991. Another French artist who spent considerable time in the Big Easy follows, as Norbert Slama sings the classic “Sous Les Ponts de Paris.”
No French compilation would be complete without “La Mer” (popularized in the US as “Beyond the Sea”), and this album includes a version by manouche (Gypsy jazz) interpreters Gypsy Jazz Caravan. Next, we hear the beautiful voice of French singer Isabelle Fontaine with her band, Duo Gadjo. America-based French musician Odile Lavault and her group Baguette Quartette tackle the timeless accordion-based musette “Flambée Montalbanaise.”
Paris Café closes with two exceptional, young singer-songwriters. Born in France and raised there and in several other countries, Francesca Blanchard covers the Carla Bruni hit “Quelqu’un M’a Dit.” Finally, Giorgis closes with a sparse rendition of the classic “Vous Qui Passez Sans Me Voir:” “You, who passes by without seeing me / Without even telling me good evening / Give me some hope tonight.”
Included in the booklet is a recipe for the Pépa cocktail, named after French silent film star Pépa Bonafé. Be transported to the bistros of Paris with this collection of classic French songs, Paris Café. Bon voyage!