10 Facts About the Fete de la Musique Every Music Fan Should Know.!

Every year on the summer solstice in June, music fans and musicians alike take to the streets and celebrate their love for the musical arts. This celebration, which began in Paris, now takes place all over the globe. Here are ten facts about the Fete de la Musique and the music industry in France that every true fan of the event should know!

 

1. More than 120 countries are now involved in Fete de la Musique.

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The Fete de la Musique originated in Paris in 1982 and has since gone on to spread around the world. Over 700 individual cities in more than 120 countries have their own Fete de la Musique celebrations including: Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Russia, Australia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, the United States, and of course, France.
The original purpose of the celebration is to promote music in two different ways. The first way is through both amateur and professional musicians encouraged to perform in the streets under the slogan of "Faites de la musique", a homophone of Fete de la Musique which means “make music”. The second is to organize free concerts spanning all genres of music, made accessible to the public.

2. C’est en 1968 que les classements des meilleures ventes de disques font leur apparition en France.

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Le hit-parade est alors lancé et maintenu jusqu’en 1977, pour être finalement remplacé par le Top 50.
Louane a réalisé un tour de force incroyable en devenant en 2015 l’artiste la plus achetée dans les bacs en France (selon le Syndicat National de l’édition Phonographique). Forte du succès de ce premier album, et à seulement 19 ans, l’artiste obtient la Victoire de l’album révélation de l’année en février 2016. Louane s’est fait connaître en 2013 grâce à l’émission télé The Voice, la plus belle voix. Elle parvient à se hisser en demi-finale, mais ne remportera pas le titre cette fois. Louane a également remporté le César du meilleur espoir féminin pour son interprétation de Paula Bélier dans La Famille Bélier. Actrice et chanteuse reconnue, Louane a décidément un très bel avenir devant elle !

3. The Number 1 song in France at last year’s Fete de la Musique was “Goodbye” by Feder feat. Lyse.

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The song “Goodbye” by Feder featuring Lyse was first released on 2 January 2015. The deep house and trance song was producer by French DJ and record producer Feder who hails from Nice originally. He gained in popularity in 2014 after moving to Paris and recording a remix of Rodriguez’s track “Sixto”. The remix of Goodbye also features the vocals of Anne-Lyse Blanc, known professionally as Lyse.
Lyse has come under fire my many in the French music industry for singing in poor English. She joins the ranks of French Tobacco, When We Were Young, Yael Naim, and Marina Kaye. Kaye in particular received harsh criticism for her song “Homeless” for her thick accent and incorrect pronunciation of English-language words in the tune.

4. The Fete de la Musique takes place on the day of the summer solstice.

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The Fete de la Musique is meant to be a day-long celebration of music devoid of any and all financial gain or burden. As it is meant to take place in the streets, squares, public gardens, courtyards and halls, it should be free to the public. Performers are also expected to donate their services and not demand any payment in return. Some more non-traditional locals have been used for performances over the years like a hospitals and museums. This is an event of volunteers and lovers of music who come together to celebrate something they all hold dear.
This celebration is held every year on or around June 21st, as it is the day of the summer solstice and the longest of the year. This was done purposefully to allow the celebrations to last well into the evening.

5. Many thought that the Fete de la Musique would never take off.

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The first Fete de la Musique in 1982 was quite different to the event we know today. In 1982, the celebrations featured a few jazz and rock bands playing open-air concerts for the general public, as well as choir groups and individuals with small instruments performing in front of courtyards, in squares and on sidewalks. Some American bands and artists even came to perform for the event.
Multiple music styles and genres were represented on that first date, everything from rock to jazz, traditional folk, reggae, classical and Latin. A newscast from the 21st of June, 1982, showed that some artists were not optimistic about the idea and thought that it would be a once-off occasion that would never really take off. Turns out, they were very, very wrong.

6. “Encore un Soir” was written in honor of Dion’s late husband Rene Angelil.

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In January 2016, Celine Dion lost her husband of 12 years, Rene Angelil to cancer. Just four months after his death she released her song entitled “Encore un Soir”, dedicated to his memory. In the song, which was co-written and produced by Jean-Jacques Goldman, she sings about the passing of time and her desire to spend just one more evening with him by her side. The song debuted at number one in France after just three days of sales.
This is the first single off of Celine’s upcoming French language album, set to be released later this summer. Rumors have been surrounding the record claiming that the entire album will be dedicated to her late husband. Only time will tell.

7. Jack Lang founded the Fete de la Musique.

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Jack Lang is a French Politician who served as the Minister of Culture between 1981-1986 then again from 1988-1992. He came up with the idea after a study on the cultural habits of the French in 1982 found that in all the population, five million people, meaning one child in two, played a musical instrument. He began to dream of this music filling the streets and being shared. With the help of Maurice Fleuret, France’s Director of Music and Dance, he launched the first Fete de la Musique in 1982 in Paris.
Lang later went on to round out his political career as Member of the French National Assembly for Loir-et-Cher, Mayor of the city of Blois, and Education Minister of France. Today he is a member of the French National Assembly for Pas-de-Calais’ 6th constituency.

8. Stromae lost his father to the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

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Stromae, real name Paul Van Haver, was born to a Rwandan father and Flemish mother in Brussels, Belgium in 1985. His father was a successful architect who was killed in the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Stromae began his musical trajectory early on, taking up drums in his early teen years. He began his professional career in 2000, when he appeared as a rapper under the name Opsmaestero. He later changed this to “Stromae” which is the French vernacular verlan for Maestro.
Although “Up saw liz” was his first official single, he burst onto the scene and gained in popularity with the release of his second single, “Alors on Danse”. The song reached number one in almost 20 countries including: France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Turkey, Russia, Switzerland and Germany, where it remained for a lengthy 57 weeks.

9. Émilie Simon both wrote and produced her song “Fleur de Saison”.

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Émilie Simon is from Montpellier, France and has been a singer, songwriter and composer for most of her life. She rose to fame initially in 2003 with the success of her critically acclaimed self-titled debut album, Émilie Simon. Following her achievements in France, she began to record and release music in the United States, followed by a brief tour of New York and Los Angeles to promote her music.
In 2004 she met producer Luc Jacquet who had contacted her to compose the original soundtrack for the upcoming documentary about penguins entitled “March of the Penguins”. The film was released in 2005 and became a surprise overnight success. However, when it was released in English in the United States and Canada, the soundtrack was changed to a more traditional score by Alex Wurman.

10. Tchaikovsky was unimpressed with Claude Debussy’s work and turned him down. 

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Famed French composer Claude Debussy was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye near Paris in August 1862 as the eldest of five children. He began piano lessons aged seven and fell in love with it. At 10, he began his studies at Paris Conservatoire, where he remained for the next eleven years. He studied composition alongside other music greats like Émile Durand and César Franck. After he failed to seize the premiere prix for piano, he abandoned his dreams and instead went travelling with Tchaikovsky’s wealthy patroness, Nadezhda von Meck. He continued to compose however, and in 1880 von Meck sent Debussy’s Danse bohémienne to Tchaikovsky himself.
Although Tchaikovsky wasn’t terribly impressed, Debussy eventually won the Prix de Rome for composition and reignited his passion. His music is hugely iconic today, but was not very popular or well-received at the time. Some of his music, like the “Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune” for example, was so harmonically unusual that critics at the time rejected it and wrote it off as terrible and lacking finesse.