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Friday, 6 September 2013

Friday's French music break - Stromae, ""Papaoutai"


Time to own up.  Friday's French music break this week isn't French at all.

At least, it's not sung by a French artist.

It's the latest hit from Belgian singer-songwriter Paul Van Haver, who goes by the stage name of Stromae ("Maestro" in verlan).

Stromae (screenshot from interview with Marie Drucker on France 2 television, August 2013)

You might remember him from a couple of years ago, with his breakthrough  hit "Alors on danse" which made number one throughout much of Europe in 2010.

The 28-year-old is back with "Papaoutai" ("Papa où t'es?" or "Dad, where are you?") the debut track from his album released just last month "Racine Carrée".

"Papaoutai" has already peaked at number on here in France and the follow-up track, "Formidable" looks set to do the same.

It's not just the hypnotic combination of electronic music and hip hop  - the very essence of his music - that makes the song work so well.

It also has a distinctive rhythm or beat, and lyrics that'll probably resonate with anyone who has had a less-than easy relationship with their father.

Or, as his Facebook page says, "He applies more than ever a unique recipe: putting strong words to a catchy beat."

For example

"Tout le monde sait comment on fait les bébés
Mais personne sait comment on fait des papas"

Not bad for a "pop" song - are they? A modern-day Jacques Brel (it has been suggested) who has a knack for putting strong lyrics together with tunes that are not entirely what you would expect.

In this case the absence of a father with an almost joyous melody. A sort of musical counterpoint?

Anyway, Here's Stromae with ""Papaoutai"" - try to sit still while you listen.

And while you're about it, why not check out the follow-up "Formidable" (excellent song and video in its own right - take a look and a listen)

If you fancy seeing Stromae live, he's on tour throughout Belgium and France from November this year, with extra dates being added as some venues sell out. And he'll also be playing in Berlin and London next year.

Music Maestro!

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