French Would Teach: Les Yéyé

sylvie vartan, françoise hardy, sheila, les parisiennes, les yéyés

As a newly minted French teacher, I’ve been spending inordinate amounts of time trolling the internet for francophone music and videos that I can use in class. I’ve been very pleased with the results so far, and the gems that I’ve encountered have inspired me to start a new set of recurring posts: French Would Teach. For today’s installment, les yéyé.

The 60s are an era that everyone should at some point explore through youtube – especially through French culture. I admit I was fully aware of the term yéyé, since it’s also used in Portuguese. It’s a bastardization of the word “yeah” that was so often used at the time in American rock and pop. The term is used to label songs that were adapted from American hits into the French (or Portuguese) language and culture. It can also be used in reference to the rabid fans of said music.

But enough of dry history. Although the term refers to both the men and women of this musical movement, the reason for this post is that my eyes were very pleased with the adorableness of the women yéyés. With their bobs and boy cuts and their killer outfits, their presence in these mildly psychedelic videos from the 60s will have you smiling to yourself. My favorites are les Parisiennesthe inimitable Sylvie Vartan with her unexpectedly sultry voice, the gorgeous Françoise Hardy, and the hilariously childish Sheila. So here you have it, a taste of the yéyés: