France has always been the European center for art as well as music. This country has a wide variety in terms of music, with different genres being appreciated at all levels. There are many areas in France where folk music is very much appreciated.
Different eras saw different styles that emerged. There were also other influences from outside France. Over the years, France has seen many famous musicians who have excelled in this art. Here's a look at some famous French musicians from different periods of time.
Claude Debussy (22 August 1862 - 25 March 1918)
Debussy took to the piano at the age of 7. His love and skill for music was obvious by the age of 11, at which point he was sent to the Paris Conservatory to learn music further. Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (1894), Images (1905-1912) and Nocturnes (1897-99) are his orchestral works.
Debussy revealed Richard Wagner to be one of his biggest influence and the Javanese Gamelan to be one of his biggest interests. He composed timeless masterpieces such as "La Mer" and "Clair de Lune" from "Suite Bergamasque".
Maurice Ravel (7 March 1875 - 28 December 1937)
Born in Basque town of Ciboure, Maurice Ravel was to become one of the most celebrated French composers. He would often work alongside Claude Debussy, with whom he enjoyed friendship and later, professional rivalry. He is perhaps most remembered for his work on "Boléro".
Ravel was a highly educated man, who served his country during World War I. Ravel was influenced to some extent by Debussy, as well as poet Edgar Allen Poe. He will always be remembered for famously quoting, "The only love affair I have ever had was with music".
Charles Camille Saint-Saëns (9 October 1835 - 16 December 1921)
The French composer had a rough start to his career, with several failures while participating in many competitions and orchestras. But he persevered and eventually gave us creations such as "Danse Macabre", "Samson et Dalila", and "La Princesse Jaune".
Gipsy Kings (1978 - present)
This group of French Musicians is best known for their Rumba Flamenca style. Gipsy Kings became popular with their eponymous first album. The tracks, "Djobi Djoba" and "Un Amor" were very much well-loved. This group also recorded for the movie "Bedazzled".
They also won the Latin Grammy Award for the album "Love and Liberte" in 1993. Their music has a certain rumba flamenca style influnced by pop. The songs composed by these musicians have often been used for the beautiful dance styles like Salsa and Rumba.
Vanessa Paradis (22 December 1972)
Vanessa Paradis is a very famous French singer and actress. Her first chance to fame was when her talent was discovered in a television show in 1980. In five years, she soon recorded her first ever single titles "La Nagie des surprises-parties". This single however was not a big hit. This song was also released in UK where it reached the number three slot.
By the age of 19, she became fluent with English. Her other self-title album "Vanessa Paradis" did manage to top the UK charts. The song, "Be my Baby" was a great hit from this album. From there, she went on to bag awards for her acting skills and even endorsed brands such as Coco Chanel. There on, Vanessa had many more releases and awards to her credit.
Mylène Farmer (12 September 1961)
The singer of "Désenchantée" and "C'est une belle journée" is very well-known in her country. Mylène has sold more than 30 million records, and has most number one hits on the French charts (13). Although Mylène was born in Canada, her family moved to France when she was 8.
She fell in love with acting and singing when she was 17, and has pursued it ever since. She quickly became one of France's most progressively controversial artists with sex, religion and politics being her main topics to write and sing on.
Daft Punk (1993 - present)
Daft Punk consists of two members - Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter. This duo is known for songs that belong to the French House scene. Their first successful single happened in 1995 when they recorded the song, "Da Funk". Soon this group signed a contract with Virgin Records in 1996.
Then followed their debut album titled "Homework". It has a wide variety of interesting mixes of techno and electro styles as well as acid house. Their earlier song, "Da Funk" was also included in that. The most successful single from this album was 'Around the World'. This song had a repetition of this line with some great background music score.
From there on the duo, Daft Punk went on to release their second live album titled "Alive 2007". Daft Punk are also known for their different styles adopted in their videos which feature animation or various effects.
Stephane Grappelli (26 January 1908 - 1 December 1997)
This famous jazz violinist was one of the first of the all-string jazz bands. Born in Paris, he had very difficult beginnings in an orphanage because he lost his mother when he was only 4. His father had to leave him to fight in World War-I.
He began his career in music with a violin. Post war period, he found opportunities with hundreds of other artists in terms of recordings. From there on, he recorded many albums. He was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.
Dionysos (1993 - present)
Dionysos remains one of the most surreal French bands ever. Their style and music have redefined French rock ever since they started out. With over 600,000 album sales in France alone, they still create startling imagery and songs the same way they did before.
Indochine (1981 - present)
Indochine is easily one of the best-selling French rock bands, with over 10 million albums and singles sold. They were one of the most famous bands throughout the 80s, as well as early 2000s with releases like "Paradize".
These were only a few of the many famous French musicians that brought fame to their country. It only gives a glimpse to the kind of art that is seen out here!