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  • Pleins feux sur la chanson jeune public [Spotlight on the Children's Song]
  • Sibylle Weingart
Anne H. Bustarret , Pleins feux sur la chanson jeune public [Spotlight on the Children's Song] . (Series: Collection passeurs d'histoires. Didier Jeunesse) Paris: Didier 2010 219pp ISBN 9782278059225 € 22.50

In her introduction, journalist Anne H. Bustarret describes the general distrust of French adults against current "chansons" for children and young adults. It is mainly aimed at mainstream productions, characterised by silly or soppy lyrics set to less than mediocre music. This thorough survey reveals, however, that the French market also has something very different to offer. Drawing on forty years of experience in research, teaching, and broadcasting on "France Culture," Bustarret honors the contemporary French children's song as an integral part of children's culture.

The study explores a number of key questions: What role does the children's song play in today's early music education? Are lyrics allowed to say "everything," or are there limits to what is or should be said or sung? How do children's songs foster understanding across generational or cultural boundaries? How are they transmitted? Against the backdrop of these larger questions, case studies illustrate the functions of melodic structures, rhythm, and arrangements in specific contexts.

The book offers extensive information on France's most important singers and songwriters, composers, and production managers. It also features very personal statements by twenty-seven renowned figures from the world of the [End Page 71] "chanson jeune public," ranging from Anne Sylvestre to Yves Prual. Their insider's perspective allows readers to understand challenges and new developments in this cultural niche segment, which - largely unaffected by the increasingly fast-paced music industry - functions according to its own rules and is doing rather well despite the record industry crisis.

Bustarret gives valuable references to songs, CDs, and websites in the individual chapters, but unfortunately does not provide a complete discography at the end. The annex offers a bibliography for further reading, a list of useful addresses, and an index of proper names.



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pp. 71-72
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