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Saturday, 11 February 2017

Friday’s French music break…on a Saturday - Victoires de la musique 2017 (with Calypso Rose)

Phew. That was a close one. It’s surely a sorry state of affairs for French popular music when a potential winner of its most prestigious annual music awards is an also-ran from the previous year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

Thankfully though sense prevailed and on Friday, Amir (a product of the TV talent show “The Voice” in which he finished third) failed to secure best original song at Les Victoires de la Musique, the French equivalent of the Grammys.

Instead it was the 25- year-old Vianney, winner of Best Male Artist in 2016, who scooped the prize with “Je m’en vais”.


Je m’en vais

Relief all round then as it proves there is some hope for the future of French popular music beyond talent show also rans who fail at Eurovision (hardly the arbiter of good musical taste), a belief further reinforced by the cleverly marketed (and undoubtedly talented) 25-year-old Jain picking up Best Female Artist.


Perhaps that was something of an orchestrated shoe-in as oddly enough someone had forgotten to include Canada’s global screamer Céline Dion in any category in spite of the commercial and critical success of her latest album “Encore un soir”. Love her or loathe her, the decision not to include her among the shortlist was…er…strange.

While Vianney and Jain (oh all right then AND Amir) were securing the future of French popular music for years to come (along with the excellent 20-year-old DJ Kungs - Valentin Brunel - Best electronic and dance album) some of the country’s Golden Oldies were marking their territory.

Unsurprisingly Renaud - who last year made a long-awaited comeback with the album (his first since 2009) “Toujours debout” - added to his career collection of gongs with Best Male Artist, although he missed out in the Best Album category to Benjamin Biolay’s “Palermo Hollywood” and after a decade apart, Louise Attaque marked their get together with Best rock album.

Calypso Rose (screenshot “Calypso Queen” official version)

As far as the most magical moment of the night…well apart from Imany calling for justice and equal treatment of different races during her gospel-inspired (and inspiring) performance of the superb “Silver lining (all clap your hands)" it had to be Trinidad and Tobago’s Calypso Rose (Linda McArtha Monica Sandy-Lewis) singing “Calypso Queen”.

An encore - the “stuffed suits” of the audience doing their thing and a declaration from the 76-year-old that she was now the ^Queen of France” after winning the Best World Music award was quite simply the highlight of the evening.

So here you are… this week’s Friday’s French music break - Calypso Rose with “Calypso Queen”.

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