Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • US aid drops begin in besieged Iraqi town of Amerli

    Read more

  • Poland's Tusk, Italy's Mogherini set for top EU jobs

    Read more

  • Filipino UN troops escape Islamists in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Pakistani protesters clash with police outside PM's house

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • S. Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

France's Eurovision song is making headlines

Latest update : 2008-04-19

"Divine", the song by Sébastien Tellier chosen to represent France at the Eurovision competition, is provoking an outcry amongst the defenders of the French language. And with good reason: it's sung in English.

The grumbling by French language defenders is getting loud. The origin of their outcry: the Eurovision song contest. “Divine,” the song by French musician Sébastien Tellier, chosen by France 3 TV to represent the French nation in the European song competition, is sung in English.

 

For National Assembly deputy François-Michel Gonnot of President Sarkozy’s centre-right UMP, this is unacceptable. He told AFP that we “can’t on one hand force French radio stations to employ quotas for French songs […] and then go to Eurovision with a French singer who has decided to sing in English.” He continued, “I’m asking the channel [France 3] to be a little consistent. The defense of the French language is part of the channel’s responsibility, and it’s decided to broadcast this English artist…”

 

Culture minister Christine Albanel said that “it’s a pity” that the artist chose the “language of Shakespeare” to represent France. Then the Minister of State for Cooperation and the Francophony, Alain Joyandet, “enjoins Sébastien Tellier and France 3, which selected him, to consider a way that they could honour the French language.”

 

Marc Tessier, the musician’s producer, responded on Europe 1 radio: “Sébastien Tellier has been singing for ten years in German, French, Italian, Spanish…it depends on what inspires him. He is like all musicians, free to choose what he wishes. When France 3 called us to broadcast the song, it happened to be that it was in English. Tellier tried to adapt it into French but it didn’t work.”

 

A question of inspiration

 

Musicians like the singer Camille as well as Mark Daumail, from the pop folk duo Cocoon echo these statements, saying that the choice of language depends on one’s roots and inspirations… Jean-Benoît Dunckel, one of the two members of the electro-pop group Air said to FRANCE 24 in January that “in French, we have all the weight of French literature and poetry, so the comparison is difficult. With English, we put more emphasis on the sound, contrary to French, where the lyrics are most important.”

 

 

“This debate smells a bit moldy,” says Stéphane Elfassi, director of RecordMakers, Tellier’s label, about these criticisms. “It’s a little outdated, in 2008, to make people believe that French culture has come down to one three-minute French song on Eurovision,” he says, adding, “Daft Punk, Air and Sébastien Tellier are developing a new culture seen overseas as being of the present and corresponding to the times. Sébastien is defending France’s colours and very proud to have been given this mission with the objective of doing better than in previous years.” And for a reason: no French artist has won the competition since 1977.
 

Date created : 2008-04-17

COMMENT(S)