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France: Flags in music

Last modified: 2024-04-27 by olivier touzeau
Keywords: music | obispo (pascal) | drapeau (le) | captain samourai flower | idealiste | orelsan |
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Choralies flag

[Choralies flag]

Flag of Choralies - Image by Ivan Sache, 23 January 2012

The town of Vaison-la-Romaine (6,201 inhabitants in 2008), located 50 km of Avignon, is famous for its Gallo-Roman and medieval heritage.
The Choralies (website), a choir festival, have been organized in Vaison-la-Romaine every three years since 1953 by the À Cœur Joie movement (website), founded in 1948 by César Geoffray (1901-1972), a choir director from Lyon. The movement's name is based on a pun on à cœur joie, lit. "at heart's joy", meaning "tremendous", and chœur, "a choir". Geoffray believed that singing would help the young generations to recover from the chaos of the Second World War. He also decided to bring back choral music to its popular roots. Geoffray is considered as the father of the revival of French choral music in the 20th century.
Officially recognized in 1950 by the Ministry of National Education, À Cœur Joie organized in Chamarande, near Paris, the "Cham50" festival. Involving several hundreds of singers, with a closing concert given in the prestigious Salle Pleyel in Paris, the festival was, unfortunately, spoiled by rain. Georges Durand, the director of the À Cœur Joie choir in Avignon, proposed to relocate the festival to a more sunny place in Provence. In November 1952, César Geoffray met Théo Desplans, Mayor of Vaison-la-Romaine, who agreed to organize the festival in his town. The first Choralies of Vaison-la-Romaine were organized in August 1953.

César Geoffray founded in 1960 with Gotfried Wolter the European federation of youth choirs "Europa Cantat. À Cœur Joie contributed in 1982 to the set up of the International Federation for Choral Music. The 12th Choralies, organized in 1986, grouped more than 6,000 singers. In 1992, short after the end of the 14th Choralies, river Ouvèze flooded Vaison, claiming 37 lives and destroying the À Cœur Joie buildings. The National Youth Choir was created in 1999. À Cœur Joie International, grouping associations from France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, England, Romania, Canada, Morocco, Tunisia, Democratic Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo was recognized as an international NGO in 2005.
The today's Choralies gather for one week professional, semi-professional and amateur choirs giving performances in the Gallo-Roman theater and the cathedral of Vaison. Concerts are also organized in the streets of the medieval town and in some neighboring villages. Workshops and classes are also given for choirs of all levels.

The 20th Choralies were organized in Vaison-la-Romaine from 31 July to 10 August 2010. During all the festival, the Choralies flag (report and photos by Hervé Calvarin) was hoisted on the old castle of Vaison, dominating the medieval town. The flag (photo) is vertically divided red-yellow, with, in the middle a letter "C" orthogonally rotated and vertically divided white-blue. The "C", standing for "Choralies", is rotated to form a stylized heart symbolizing À Cœur Joie.

Ivan Sache, 23 January 2012

Captain Samouraï Flower's flag

Captain Samouraï Flower is the latest incarnation of the French singer and songwriter Pascal Obispo (b. 1965; this is his real name, in spite of being the perfect anagram of Pablo Picasso).
After having released his first record in 1990, Obispo became increasingly popular in the 1990s and started in 1997 a fruitful collaboration with several artists, including Florent Pagny, Johnny Halliday, Patricia Kaas, Natasha Saint-Pier, Zazie... Obispo is known for his sincere commitment in AIDS prevention and research fundraising.

On 20 April 2009, Pascal Obispo, under the name of Captain Samouraï Flower, released on the Internet his new record, Welcome To The Magic World Of The Captain Samouraï Flower.
On the same day, he released the single record Le Drapeau (The flag). The cover of the record shows Captain Samouraï Flower standing in the desert, holding a big green flag with a flower emblem skewed to the hoist, made of a green and blue representation of the heart surrounded by yellow petals. Captain Samouraï Flower reflects the concern of Obispo for environmental issues, being "a messenger of the new generation, an idealist very concerned by ecology."
The videoclip of the song Le Drapeau, whose chorus includes tous le même drapeau (all [under] the same flag) shows several copies of the flag, in most instances with 13 petals. As on the cover, the flag appears only as a painting.

The flag is shown in a few scenes of the clip of the second single record Idéliste, released on 6 July 2009.
This clip's making-of filmlet shows the real flag.

Captain Samouraï Flower will start a tour in spring 2010, in which the real flag is expected to appear.

Ivan Sache & Jan Mertens, 10 October 2009

OrelSan's Civilisation flag

[Choralies flag]     [Choralies flag]

OrelSan's Civilisation flag - Images by Ivan Sache, 31 May 2022

OrelSan (Aurélien Cotentin, b; 1982) is one of the most popular French rappers; he also forms the Casseurs Flowteurs duo with the rapper Gringe.
After having released a few self-made clips on Myspace and Youtube, OrelSan was signed in 2009 by the label 3eme Bureau. His first album, "Perdu d'avance", featuring the hits "Changement" and "No Life", was certified platinum (100,000 copies sold). At the time, French rap was dominated by two antagonistic styles, a commercial one and another connected to street violence. OrelSan initiated his very own style, portraying an immature loser living in a small town, where he wasted his time watching porn films and playing video games. Two years later, his second record, "Chant des Sirènes", was certified double-platinum. In 2017, the third one, "La Fête est finie", was certified platinum within one week. The clip of the hit "Défaite de famille", filmed with an iPhone and featuring OrelSan playing all the members of the defeated family, is worth a visit. [source: Biography, Radio France]

OrelSan's fourth album, "Civilisation", released in autumn 2021, was certified diamond (500,000 copies sold) within 161 days, which is the record for a French rap album.
The cover of the record features the flag of the post-apocalyptic civilization imagined by the singer ("a kind of micronation"). The flag has been produced in the cloth; it is featured in different clips, during concerts of the "Civilisation Tour", and offered for sale.
OrelSan explained the flag as follows:
"I kept the red and blue of France. I added green for the countryside et nature. On the right is featured Photoshop transparent background on which you can add whatever you want so that everyone can appropriate the flag. I added a star to symbolize a weapon and defense, but a gentle one, a shuriken (ninja star). I used black as a symbol of respect, mourning and acknowledgement of errors. [source: Interview, NRJ Radio, 26 November 2021]

See official videos: La quête, Jour meilleur, L'odeur de l'essence and pictures: photo, photo, photo, photo.

Ivan Sache, 31 May 2022