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Four great Francis Cabrel songs for the classroom

I am a fan of Francis Cabrel. French friends introduced me to his music quite a few years ago and I used his songs many times in French lessons, from Year 10 (intermediate) to advanced level. Although he writes intimate love songs, he also follows that tradition of the singer songwriter with a social conscience. As a result there is much in his lyrics to chew on in lessons. Principally, though, he has a very clear voice and writes great music, strongly influenced by anglo-saxon musicians (e.g. Dylan) and the blues.

Here are four of his songs which work well in the classroom and which will get classes humming.  I have worksheets on naturellement.

J'ai peur de l'avion (from the album Sarbacane)

This is a heavy blues rock song in which Cabrel sings of his fear of flying. I used this song to tie in with the theme of transport. The lyrics and music are straightforward. A good song for intermediate level. I can't find this one online, so you'd have to buy the album, which is very good.

La Corrida (from Samedi soir sur la Terre)

Maybe Cabrel's most famous song. Dramatic music with a hispanic feel to accompany a trenchant attack on bullfighting. Get students to work out from whose point of view the song is sung. (Answer: the bull's.)

Madame X (from Hors saison)

A melancholic ballad about poverty. Very clear and effective lyrics. You could use this at intermediate or advanced level.

I couldn't find the original of this online, but there are covers.

Hors saison (from Hors saison)

Ostensibly about an out of season seaside resort, but this ballad is really about lost love. Better used at advanced level.


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