Chanson is a popular musical genre that came from France, which is characterized by a connected storyline, the presence of colloquial words in the text and a simple plot familiar to every listener.
The origin of the chanson
Chanson means "song" in translation. Originally in France, peasant choral songs were called chanson. Later, the songs of the peasants began to be sung by street singers, and the most beloved ones became folklore heritage. French songs entered Russian culture in the form of chansonettes - light songs of simple content. Merging with Russian songs of those times, they became widespread in the restaurant genre. Odessa coupletists became the founders of such a chanson, which is familiar today in cafes and restaurants.
Russian chanson could not develop openly at that difficult time, therefore, as a genre, it mainly existed “underground” and in places not so remote, where it received the color of prison romance.
In 1957, Yves Montand performed in Moscow, and the influence of chanson spread to various song genres, including pop and bard songs. In the 80-90s, Russian chanson gained great popularity and, thanks to the spirit of the "dashing" time, acquired the shade of a thieves' song.
Features of the chanson genre
The most basic distinctive feature of the chanson is the plot of the text. As a rule, a story from a simple life, accessible and familiar to every listener, is taken as a basis. Even the situation taken as a basis from the prison or thieves' fate of the heroes appears not in a repulsive, but rather attractive form, and the listener involuntarily begins to sympathize with the characters. Another feature of songs in the chanson genre is the writing of lyrics in a colloquial style and its connectedness.
Chanson is a unique genre that combines the romanticism of urban romances, the realism of military and prison life, and the emotional color of bardic songs. Due to the fact that songs in this genre are well perceived by ear, the text is very clear, and the plot is familiar. Chanson spreads very quickly and always finds its fans. Despite the fact that usually lyrical and often tragic storylines are taken as a basis, there are also funny works in this genre that are also loved and sung. Many songs in the style of chanson become hits, and performers always gather full houses, since this genre can rightfully be called folk and beloved. The most famous Russian chansonniers today are Grigory Leps, Mikhail Shufutinsky, Lyubov Uspenskaya, Mikhail Krug and others.