Everything But the Escargot

Putumayo Presents Paris (Putumayo World Music)

Various Artists

By Cricket Bidwell

Even if you've never taken the most basic of French classes, this is a disk worth listening to. With some of the brightest stars in the Nouvelle Scene reinventing the French chanson sound, the result is very modern, yet classic at the same time.

On "Samba de Mon Coeur Qui Bat" by Coralie Clement, breathy vocals over a smooth samba piano melody are reminiscent of the bossa nova of "Girl from Ipanema." French-model-turned-critically-acclaimed-recording-artist Carla Bruni displays her musical talents on "Quelqu'un M'a Dit (Somebody Told Me)" with a wonderful delivery that is half-sung, half-spoken and entrancing. Tryo adds a pop-folky tune in "Serre-Moi," a sprightly acoustic number with reggae undertones. Pascal Parisot brings the '60s mod chanson sound to the present with "Je Reste au Lit," adding a touch of electronica to the mix.

The artists on this collection all take the best of the movement that dates back to the early 1900s, working in many influences from its revival in '50s and '60s Paris and opens up the sound with world influences, all the while remaining unmistakably French.

And, as with every disk produced by Putumayo World Music, a portion of the proceeds will go to helping those less fortunate around the world.

Get the groove at www.putumayo.com.