French Worship Music

This page is dedicated to compiling online resources for French Worship Music.

It will be an evolving work that grows and hopefully is kept up-to-date as I have time.  I will open the comments on this page so that others may give their input.  If I find the input useful, I’ll incorporate it into the body of the page.  I’m writing from the perspective of an American living in France who is active in worship leading in a French context.  That will make me more aware of certain things and less aware of others.  Hopefully the input of others will eventually balance things out a bit more!  By the way, most of the sites are IN FRENCH and I can’t insure that all sites which offer purchasable items will be able to sell to all countries.

There will be several sections reflecting the different aspects of research that might bring people to this page:

Lead sheets/sheet music

The following sites offer compilations of song sheets either as lyrics, lyrics with chords or sheet music.  Some are free and some are not.

  • Jeunesse en Mission (YWAM)http://www.jem-editions.ch/index.php/partitions/recueils.html The worship song books J’aime l’Eternel 1, 2, and 3 (also known as JEM 1, 2, and 3) are without a doubt the most comprehensive French Worship songbooks and are certainly the most used in the Francophone community worldwide.  They can be purchased at the boutiques listed in the “Buying” section below.  Any decent projection software that caters to the Francophone world (see below) will have these songs included.  There is an interesting story about these songbooks (see the History section below).
  • Shir.fr http://shir.fr is an amazing site with chorded lead sheets downloadable in many different formats, including ChordPro, which, with accompanying software allows you to easily transpose your songs to any key you want. They have 1,100+ songs now and continue to add new ones.
  • LTC – LTC/Asaph is a significant organization in the promotion of Christian Worship music in the French-speaking world.  They operate as the official translation body of non-French songs into French.  They collect and pay royalty fees to the artists for the use of their music.  They have a large, searchable database of lyrics which are also cross-referenced by English titles if the song originally comes from English.  This is good first place to go to find lyrics.  You can also purchase lead sheets with chords, song books, CDs of worship compilations, mp3’s, etc. If you’re looking for an official translation, this is the place.  Here are the links:
  • JEMAF – This is a fascinating and unique site.  Christian Hoffmann has created Midi and Noteworthy Composer versions off all the JEM worship song books as well as the Ailes de la Foi song book.  While this may not the best way to get an overall idea of how a song sounds with a full band, it does two very important things: 1. Allows one to listen specifically to the melody of a song as it is intended to be played (rhythmically at least). 2. Using software that interacts with midi files, one can create sheet music or use the midi files with a digital audio workstation or instrument to create/perform the songs. Here’s the site: http://jemaf.free.fr/sommaire.html#musique
  • Hillsong – Many of the ever-popular Hillsong worship songs have been translated into French.  You can go to: http://translations.hillsong.com/ and sign up for a service to be notified of any new songs translated into the language of your choice.  After signing up you’re taken to a page where you can download all the translations to date as a zip file of PDFs.  The song sheets are lyrics only, but if you can’t find chords for Hillsong songs…well, you have not looked very hard!
  • My song sheets – I’m pretty particular about my own lead sheets so when I was still using paper lead sheets I would create my own using a set of Microsoft Word macros to help me arrange things to my preferences.  I also have a fair amount of bilingual lead sheets to help me lead worship in multilingual situations.  You can find my lead sheets here (Word documents): http://leighweb.com/wp-content/uploads/songsheets/french/index.php The zip file at the top contains all the documents.  I have since migrated to using SongBook software and computers and tablets instead of paper for my lead sheets. So this resource is no longer regularly updated.  That being said, there are still a lot of classic French worship lead sheets that can be found here.
  • Individual artists – Individual artists and groups will often have their lyrics and their lyrics + chords available for free download on their individual sites.

Listening

Buying

Here are several online boutiques where you can buy CDs, mp3s, song sheets, music books, etc.  Amazon and iTunes are also increasingly “normal” outlets for French worship artists.

Software

This would be software which helps with such things as projecting words of songs, manipulating song sheets and music, etc.  It is a VERY non-exhaustive list, but also touches on some of the more used programs in France.  Additionally several of the projection software options give access to a large database of lyrics of French Worship music.

  • OpenSonghttp://www.opensong.fr/ – OpenSong (which is created originally by English speakers) has been widely accepted in the Francophone world.  One reason is the huge number of songs that can be automatically added to the database of songs (some 3000 titles) from some of the most well-known song books.  Free
  • Psalmohttp://www.psalmo.com/ – Psalmo is a song projection software with some ties to Jeunesse en Mission (YWAM), and as a result comes with all the songs from JEM 1-3. Commercial
  • OpenLPhttp://openlp.org/fr – I’ve included this as I think it is a good all-around solution (certainly among the free ones) and it can import databases from, for example, OpenSong, making it a good possible solution in a French context. Free
  • WebAsaph Airhttp://www.ltc-asaph.com/webasaph – This is lyric projection software distributed by LTC and is available for free use if you have a license with LTC.  The advantage here is that you have the 4000+ songs in the LTC database at your disposal.  Free with LTC license
  • VideoPsalmhttp://videopsalm.weebly.com/ – This is also a lyric projection program.  It is free and has a very large database of songs available to it.  It was written by Francophones so it is oriented to a French context, though increasingly used in other languages.  This may be the best free solution out there for song projection. Free
  • OnSonghttp://onsongapp.com/ – OnSong is an iOS tablet app which allows the musician to have all their music at their finger tips, as well as rudimentary projection of the songs.  It is gaining momentum here in France and the shir.fr site provides good integration with it.  Commercial
  • SongBook https://linkesoft.com/songbook/index.html – SongBook is an alternative to OnSong and runs on iOS, MacOS, Android, Windows PCs and Windows tablets.  This is the software I’ve chosen for my lead sheets now that I’ve abandoned paper.  Depending on the version it also permits projecting the screen the artist is using so that others can see the lyrics.  Active development, multi-platform, a responsive developer and an inexpensive price makes this software a great choice for abandoning paper.  It also integrates well with the shir.fr site by its use of the ChordPro format.
  • SongPresshttp://web.skeed.it/index.php?id=38 – When using a database of songs formatted in ChordPro (like from shir.fr), SongPress, which runs in Windows, can help you with formatting of the songs.  Free
  • MuseScorehttp://musescore.org/fr/t%C3%A9l%C3%A9chargement – MuseScore is a music scoring program.  The interest of having it on this list is for those who would want to have real sheet music (with notes) for a song and only have a midi file at their disposition (from the JEMAF site listed above).  MuseScore allows you to import the midi file and create sheet music from it.  Free.

Centers/Ministries

While worship music is being written all over the place in France and the Francophone world, here are a few “hotbeds” or concentrations of music creation and some ministries helping to foster the activity.

  • France en Feu – France en Feu began from a vision of all of France being an altar of worship – like a country that was a 24/7 prayer and worship house.  To that end France en Feu has been helping foster the movement of worship gatherings in France.  They’ve also become involved with growth of Houses of Prayers (HOPs) in France as well.  The team that coordinates France en Feu is spread out over France.  The leader is Fabienne Pons, one of the pioneers of worship music in France.  Web site: http://franceenfeu.com/
  • JEM Musique Suisse (YWAM) – The YWAM Music ministry has been a major player in all aspects of creating, promoting, and playing worship music in the Francophone world.  Many of the worship leaders involved in this ministry have become well-known song writers and contributers to French Worship music. Web site: http://jem-musique.ch/
  • Toulouse – Toulouse is the home of one of the pioneering French Worship bands, “Flamme”.  “Flamme” is no longer together but their leader, Fabienne Pons, and the church they came out of, Assemblée Chretienne de Toulouse (http://www.act31.com/) are still very involved in cultivating worship in France via the France en Feu initiative, a house of prayer, a prophetic school, etc.
  • Paris – Certainly a center of so many things in the Francophone world.  Several of the worship leaders whom God is using to shape the French worship “voice” live in Paris.
  • Houses of Prayer – The House of Prayer (HOP) movement is having an impact on the worship of France.  France en Feu has a part of their ministry dedicated to the furthering of the HOP movement in France: http://franceenfeu.com/activites/maisons-de-priere  Here are some of the Francophone HOPs that are blazing that trail:

History

Check it out on Amazon.comI can’t tell the whole story of the growth of worship music in France and the Francophone world.  I’m very poorly placed to do so and even the most experienced and connected person would start “lose the thread” these days as there is a huge growth going on.  Still there are stories to tell.  One has already been made into a book – the story of the birth of the YWAM song books “J’aime l’Éternel.”  The book is called LOVE NOTES TO GOD.  It’s available in French and English.

It’s the story of an American missionary, Linda Panci-McGowan, who started the series of song books published by Youth With A Mission (YWAM) for the French-speaking world.  These are the “J’aime l’Éternel” series of books mentioned above.  They have incredibly united the French-speaking world (including in remote places in Africa and Asia, etc.) in their worship of God.  As the worship boom hit the English-speaking world, Linda and others with her bridged that language gap and brought MANY translations to the French-speaking world and gave a ready-made platform for indigenous French-written worship songs.  The “leverage” this gave to the worship movement in France and the francophone world as well as the unity that it sowed is probably incalculable.  As the header of the book cover exclaims, this was truly an extraordinary adventure.

Click on the image to see it on Amazon.com.


Page revision history:

  • 2017-02-07 – corrections and additions
  • 2014-06-14 – expanded the text for Linda Panci’s book, formatting changes
  • 2014-06-11 – initial post

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