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Three of the biggest names of chanson in one picture, from left to right: Jacques Brel, Léo Ferré and Georges Brassens.

Chanson is actually the French word for "song", but it's also a musical genre ("chanson française"). Whenever music lovers refer to chansons they tend to talk about the classy singers who sing about broken hearts and the struggles of life. But outside of France, generally every artist who sings in the French language is categorized as "chanson", even if they are rock or pop artists, especially in Belgium and Quebec.

Do not confuse it with shanson, which is Russian criminal/urban romance music.

Examples of chansonniers: