Historical Figures

Anne Sylvestre, feminist singer

Born Anne-Marie Beugras , Anne Sylvestre ( is a French composer and singer. Very well known for her children's songs, she also has a large repertoire of committed and feminist songs.

Laurels of Lake Constance

Anne-Marie Beugras was born on June 20, 1934 in Lyon, into a family of four children. A politician, his father Albert Beugras, close to Jacques Doriot, collaborated with Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Arrested after the war, he was released in 1954 and his actions left a lasting mark on his children. During the trial, Anne-Marie is ostracized by the students of her school; she grows up going to visit her father in prison, with a secret she must keep. Thereafter, she will condemn the acts of her father and, having become a writer, her daughter Marie Chaix will later evoke her story in her novel The laurels of Lake Constance .

Anne Sylvestre grew up near Lyon until her family moved to Paris. She studied literature there but, very quickly, fell in love with song. At a time when female singers were more often performers, she decided to compose her own texts. At 20, she writes her songs which she sings to her little sister Marie in the bathroom.

Debuts in Parisian cabarets

At the end of the 1950s, Anne Sylvestre made her debut on the radio and in Parisian cabarets, including "La Colombe", the Golden Horse, La Contre-Escarpe, Le Port du Salut, Chez Moineau and the "Trois Donkeys". Although she performs regularly and dreams of the life of an artist, performing her songs in public paralyzes her.

“I was not prepared to be exposed to an audience. When you defend your own texts, it is your heart and your guts that you present to others. Would people understand what I was writing? My knees were shaking, my kneecaps were jumping… It was terrible with fear and grief. “


Anxiety that does not prevent him from experiencing success. His first album, released in 1959, was particularly noted for the titleMon mari est parti, for her talents as a poet, her subtle humor and the quality of her texts. In 1960, Anne Sylvestre received the prize of the French Song Academy.

“My husband left when nature
Was all scorched already
And the more I resist it, the longer time lasts me
And the more I love him too”

In 1962, she performed at Bobino and at the Olympia and her performances were acclaimed by the press and the music community. George Brassens, to whom she is sometimes compared for the finesse of her writing and her guitar accompaniment, will write about her:

“We are starting to realize that before he came into the song, we were missing something and something important. »

Committed texts

Claiming to be a committed, feminist, humanist singer, Anne Sylvestre regularly evokes social themes in her songs. She denounces injustices, sexism, racism, homophobia, defends the earth, nature and the environment and sings the grains of sand in the cogs of society.

Feminist, Anne is committed to abortion before its legalization, in 1973, in No, you don't have a name . She denounces the rape and the guilt of the victims in Douce Maison in 1978, violence against women in Just a Woman in 2013. She campaigns for marriage for all in Gay get married . She also often talks about current events and ecological disasters, as in A boat but tomorrow or Coincidences, in which she denounces pollution and the working conditions of workers.

"The neighbour's sister's brother-in-law, a policeman,
died a few days ago, finally died without tears.
Tears were all that was needed.
He didn't even have any more weight,
no more breath in his chest.
He was lying in his bed,
he was under forty,
he worked in a factory
of those of which nothing is said,
where there are never any glitches,
never dead or sick.
They don't work there for long.
However, they never know
where their comrades will end up. »

The Fabulettes

In 1962, after the birth of her first daughter, Anne Sylvestre began to invent her first songs for children. She instills the same moral values ​​of equality, tolerance, respect for the environment, and the same touch of subtle humor as in her songs for adults. His first songs were released in 45 rpm in October of the same year.

Originally, his record company did not believe in it, but his Fabulettes are rapidly enjoying immense success; Anne testifies that she then began to lead two separate careers, one for children and the other for adults. On stage, she never performs her Fabulettes .


Anne Sylvestre's songs continue to meet with success with the public and critics alike; she multiplies the awards, including four times the Grand Prix international du Disque of the Charles-Cros Academy, albums and performances on stage. In 1969, she recorded the humorous duo Since I've been waiting for my prince charming with Boby Lapointe.

In 1973, Anne set up her own record company, Sylvestre . Until 1985, she recorded five albums of songs for adults and put on a show with the Quebec singer Pauline Julien, with whom she forged an artistic bond and with whom she performed in Canada. In 1989, Anne wrote the songs for the show The Ballad of Calamity Jane , and the interpreter at the Bataclan.

A career with exceptional longevity

In 1993, Anne Sylvestre created a musical tale for children called Lala et le cirque du vent , while continuing to release albums, including D’amour et de mots in 1994 and Anne Sylvestre sings… at the edge of La Fontaine in 1997. In 1998, Anne Sylvestre celebrated her 40-year career at the Olympia. She's releasing new albums, Partage des eaux (2000), Paths of the Wind (2003), Bye melanco (2007) at the age of seventy-three.

Although her notoriety is more confidential, Anne Sylvestre still has a faithful audience that is renewed, and continues to inspire many young artists who see in her a singer of reference in the same way as Georges Brassens. Among those who pay homage to him by interpreting his classics or by claiming his influence, we can cite:Serge Reggiani, Vincent Delerm, Renan Luce or Jeanne Cherhal.

Anne Sylvestre obtained the vermeil medal from the French Academy. At 80, she continues to write and perform in concerts. She died at the age of 86, in November 2020.