Une Anthologie des Musiques Traditionelles
10-CD Boxed Set

Frémeaux & Associés FA 5260

Box cover picture This is not so much a review - I'll attempt that later - as an announcement of the availability of this fabulous 10-CD set of the traditional music of France ... a French Voice of the People, as its compiler, Guillaume Veillet, described it to me a few years ago when he had just received the go-ahead on the project.

The ten discs - almost 300 recordings made between 1900 and 2006 - comprising this anthology enable listeners to hear more than twenty languages spoken and sung in continental France: the Iangue d'oc and the langue d'oil; Breton; Basque; Alsatian, etc.; and in the French Overseas Territories:Tahitian; the languages of New-Caledonia, creoles from Reunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guyana ...  All 10 CD's cover picturesThe sources also extend beyond political borders to feature the music of the world's French-speaking minorities in Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada and the United States.  And finally, there are some examples of traditional music arriving in the course of the 20th century from more recent immigrant populations who today also constitute a part of France.  As can be seen on the picture to the right of the 10 CD covers, the scope of the anthology is very wide indeed.

I've only had time to listen to the first two CDs, but it's already clear that, despite all tracks being 'field' recordings, almost all are well recorded and well reproduced, and much of the singing and playing is just wonderful.  The booklet with each CD is fairly full and has the complete recording and performer details for each track, and a note about the song or tune ... however, there are no transcription of the song texts.  It's all in French, except for three and a half pages of 'General Introduction' to the series - which remains the same for each CD - and half a page relating to the specific CD.

For anyone with an interest in French traditional music, this set is a 'must-have'.  And, from what I've heard so far, anyone who cares about traditional music at all will find interest and inspiration a-plenty in this splendid publication - which is available at: for just €80 with free shipping worldwide.  And you can find full details, track lists, etc at:

Rod Stradling - 25.11.09

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