reality bites: “chanteuse”

chanteuse (n.f.)  : female singer

This past rainy Wednesday, I hit up the West Village bar à vin, Buvette, with la musique, la bouffe, et la mémoire on my mind.

I was meeting with Georgia, an Irish chanteuse, and a friend/colleague from my own collegiate jazz-singing days.  She knew me before my foodie/franglophone phase, when one was more likely to find me vocalizing than philosophizing about the perfect oeufs mollets.

I met this amie from my past in the epitome of my here-and-now – all food, and distinctively frenchy. Perching at the bar, apron-and-tie’d dandys served us heirloom légumes, grilled baby artichauts, and brandade de morue.  Deciding between two Languedoc whites, we noted: one had a nicer début, the other, a better fin.  We went for the fin, thinking that it’d be more fun in the long-run.

Sipping and nibbling, we slipped back into our old habitudes – talking of life, love, and jazz.  The conversation itself an interesting improvisation – an abbreviation of 3 years past, editing and reinserting all that seemed important.  Après dîner, I walked her to a nearby free-jazz concert, then moseyed off under the spattering rain, contemplating jazz, and jazz chanteuses in particular.

In the past year that I’ve left France, I’ve discovered a treasure trove of francophone muses – my “jazz-ladies”.  Trans-atlantic femmes who have sung me to sleep (or to work, or to play), keeping my pseudo-parisian cool in the hot mess of Manhattan.

Maybe these days I’m on a video kick, or maybe it’s just an aural-fixation, but here are a few of my favorite
chanteuses franglophones.

Cyrille Aimée (French), “Love for Sale”

Stacey Kent, (Americain) “La venus du mélo”

Melody Gardot, (American) “Les étoiles”


bar à vin > wine bar 

buvette > establishment where one drinks

la musique, la bouffe, et la mémoire > music, food, and memory

oeufs mollets > “medium-boiled” eggs, cooked white/runny yolk

amie > friend

légumes > vegetables

artichauts > artichokes

brandade de morue > a paste made with salt cod, potato and cream

début > beginning

fin > end

habitudes > habits, tendancies

Après dîner > after dinner

francophone > french-speaking

femmes > women


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