Music for the soul from radio France Culture

I have an odd relationship with the French public radio station France Culture. I am a little obsessed, not by their sage voices, but by their jingles, those short fragments of music that introduce different programmes.

I live with a Francophone who spends chunks of the evenings and weekends in the company of France Culture. I try. But it is difficult; all that Gallic pontificating, hour after hour. I am a linguistic cordonnier. I have large holes in my French. Black holes, some might say. But I get by.

When I hear the different musical intros to France Culture programmes, I have a Pavlovian reaction. Mercifully, I don’t salivate. Instead, I am filled instantaneously with joy. A rush of uncontrollable pleasure.

I now have a France Culture playlist. Highly recommended. The music is soulful, intelligent and it speaks to me. Perhaps I am over-compensating for my insipid connection with the spoken word that follows. The musical themes, mostly free of human voices, feature quirky riffs that communicate, as music does, in an other-worldly language that knows no barriers whether you are a shoe-maker, homemaker or falafel-maker.

When I first played my FC playlist to my partner, she was sick with Covid-19. She didn’t stop dancing for 15 minutes. She was masked, but she couldn’t mask her joy.


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Check the meanings of the words in bold in the text above at the bottom of this article.


It’s now your turn. Enjoy. Feedback welcome. Headphones recommended.


Programme : A voix nue

Ibrahim Maalouf. Track:  Essentielles




Programme: Culture monde

Fakear: Song for Jo




Programmes : Affaires étrangères

Cliff Martinez: Arbitrage



Programme: Carbone 14, le magazine de l’archéologie

Massive Attack:  Unfinished Sympathy



Programme : La Compagnie des oeuvres

The Avener : Panama


Programme: La compagnie des poètes

Andrew BirdFingerlings 4




Programme: Affaires culturelles

Nicholas Britell: Succession (Main Title Theme)



Programme: Chrétiens d’Orient

Peter Gabriel: The Feeling begins (Music for The Last Temptation of Christ)



Programme: Le cours de l’histoire

Rone: Origami



Programme: Etre et savior

Petit Biscuit: Sunset Lover (Theme discontinued. Sadly)



Programme: Grand reportage

Bonobo: Kerala



Programme: La compagnie des œuvres

Curtis Mayfield : Fly



Programme: Plan large

Isaac Hayes: Ray Fay Run (Kill Bill film 1)




jingle(s) two meanings:

1. a sound like small bells ringing that is made when metal objects are shaken together

In this article:  2. a short song or tune that is easy to remember and is used in advertising

to pontificate (about/on something): to give your opinions about something in a way that shows that you think you are right

mercifully: thankfully, used to show that you feel somebody/something is lucky because a situation could have been much worse.

Mercifully (or thankfully) it didn’t’ rain during our three day walk in the mountains.

insipid: weak, dull, unexciting.

After an hour of insipid conversation, I left.

a rush of pleasure: a sudden and intense feeling of pleasure.

quirky: odd, strange, different, can be both positive and negative.

He has a quirky personality. I’ve never met anyone like him.

other-worldly: connected with spiritual thoughts and ideas rather than with ordinary life

Garry Littman

Garry Littman est le fondateur de The Language House à Genève. The Language House propose des coachings d'anglais à Genève pour les particuliers et les entreprises, ainsi que des cours intensifs d'anglais dans les pays anglophones. Garry a été journaliste en Australie et en Asie, il a travaillé pour World Radio Switzerland.

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