To be a French rock addict in the 60s, 70s, even 80s meant having a persistent wry neck, by looking above the English Channel. How could the binary tempo have crossed the Atlantic Ocean but never reached France? To be honest we had had Téléphone -my very first concert- and Noir Désir, both excellent, The Stinky Toys for the punk, Etienne Daho for the pop and Marquis de Sade for the New Wave (the three of them from Rennes) and the invaluable Alain Bashung, but nothing like The Smiths, The Clash, New Order.
Was it the weight of the "chanson française" tradition? Our wordy language? That's still a mystery.
Anyway, everything changed one evening in 1992. Bernard Lenoir, the froggy version of John Peel, the pope of British pop, (yes, we had one, on the public radio!) programmed an unknown and young guy, without even a real name (Dominique A. aka Ané) who played, on a piano for children (a Bontempi organ, to be precise), a story about birds and their courage to sing in the frozen wind. A UFO.
And then, France entered the musical modernity.
In the same landscape, showed up Christophe Miossec and Sylvain Vanot. Same brand new way to explore the musical byways with a guitar, to torture the French between prosaicism and poetry. They gave French music its honor back.
Dominique A. still have a specific place. After a mega success in 1995 (Le Twenty-two bar), he put it all at stake on each new album. He's been to Greenland and stayed at Nanortalik where he wrote the eponymous song. And we've come full circle.