Saturday 23 January 2016

Our French Folksongs for 2016

We've been listening to some traditional music from Quebec known as 'Quebecois music.' Most of the songs below are traditional French songs performed by the group Le Vent du Nord.
We enjoy the mix of instruments the group uses. I'd never seen a hurdy gurdy played before! Some of their songs remind me of fairy tales and they don't always make sense when translated into English - you can read a bit about this on the link above. They are great listening for any age but especially for older kids who are put off by the cartoonish versions of French songs.
Hope you enjoy these as much as we have!

Noces Tragique (Tragic Wedding) features the Jew's Harp which gives the song a very distinctive sound, as well as some Quebec foot percussion/tapping. One of my girls is a violinist & she can't understand how someone can play, sing & foot tap at the same time.

Noces Tragique

Ce sont deux jeunes gens qu’on fait alliance ensemble,
À la première nuitée ils ont couché ensemble
Oh ! mon époux bien vite levez-vous
Je crains de ne pas finir mes jours

Oh non, nenni la belle, y’en aura des remèdes
Je ferai venir le plus grand médecin
Qu’il soit dans l’Europe ou dedans le Rhin

S’il tardait à venir, j’irai à sa rencontre
Je lui dirai médecin hâtez-vous
Je crains que ma mie ne finisse ses jours

Quand il fut arrivé la belle n’était point morte
Elle tira sa main en dehors du lit
En disant adieu mon mari

Si Dieu l’avait voulu aurions vécu ensemble
Vécu ensemble d’une douce amitié
Mais hélas la mort va nous séparer

Que bénie soit la mort quand Dieu nous la présente
Y paraît qu’un jour dans son Paradis
Nous y serons enfin réunis

Oh mère apportez-moi mes gilets de soie verte
Faut que j’en découse, découse le velours
Car ma mie a fini ses jours

Le Vieux Cheval (The Old Horse)

Mon cher voisin qui m'envoyait chercher
Un vieux cheval blanc qui est à l'extrémité

Prends ton verre et moi la bouteille
Buvons un petit coup, affilons nos couteaux
Dépêchons-nous, d'aller y lever la peau

Mon cher voisin tu t'es laissé aller
Combien d'hivers t'as été mal hiverné

Tu m'entendras plus sacrer après toi
Personne n'aura aucun pouvoir sur toi

Tu traîneras plus ton maître en hiver
Tous ces capucins et toutes ces valises.

No actual words in this next song (except for what sounds sort of like dumdadedeedlydum) but it is fun:

And now for something completely different...Les Champs-Elysees is a well-known French love song. An English translation is here.


C'est L'aviron goes all the way back to 15th Century France. An English translation of the song  is here.

Some other posts relating to learning French:

 French Lessons -  what we used to get started; free resources & folksongs

The Avion my Uncle Flew


Sarah said...

Hello Carol, are you back at school yet? This week I'm prepping our folksongs, hymns and schedule in general for the start of AO6. Hope your having a wonderful long weekend.

Carol said...

Hi Sarah! Yes, we started the week before last but January's always a bit haphazard until everyone else starts back with work or study. Enjoy your planning! X

Melissa said...

I love that you are studying French Carol! I had a bit of French in high school, but remember very little. However, your post prompted me to Google a snippet of lyrics I've always remembered and I found the song we listened to over 25 years ago...ha!;_ylt=A2KLqIG6WKZWNSAAWCA0nIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTByZWc0dGJtBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDBGdwb3MDMQ--?p=Allo+Allo+James+Quelles+Nouvelles&vid=88343ec3557dbcbe86111e79323b2761&

Thanks for the memories,

CLL said...

Oh my goodness! We learned Les Champs-Elysses in my high school French class over 35 years ago! Thanks for the blast from the past! :)

Carol said...

I'll have to check that one out, thanks, Melissa.

Carol said...

Well, I take it that if you can remember it after 35 years, it was a good choice!

Anonymous said...

"La belle m'a lalala"

I learnt French fluently when I lived in Europe and, I don't know whether it's just me, but that song sounds a little rude! There's a lot of subtle sex messages in the French language, in their everyday speech, their songs espec. Actually this one is tame (try listening to some Serge Gainsbourg) :-D

Carol said...

The only translation of the song I've found is this one - 'The beauty sang la la la to me.':
It is Quebec French & very old so I wonder if perhaps like English, the meanings change over time??

Blogger said...

Perhaps if it's Quebecois then it might be safe ;-) But it translates as "she lalala-ed me" as in she "did 'x' to me", if that makes sense :-) La belle m'a dondé seems to translate to "the beautiful (female) gave it to me", 'it' being suggestive.

Carol said...

I emailed the band's website to ask for a translation but have removed it just in case! It's not my dd's favourite, thankfully. Thanks for sharing your French knowledge. Would you like to come here & give us some French practice??

Blogger said...

I would love to! I have great memories of teaching French to kids. So much fun.

gretchenjoanna said...

My filly Inclination has just taken me back to high school French class, to a book my grandmother gave me of French Nursery Songs, and to the Breton music and dancing I loved best of the international folk dance we used to do. Thank you for the prompt - it has been delightful. Now should I start brushing up on my French...? No, I don't think that is the Next Thing!

gretchenjoanna said...

Melissa, thank you for that link. I have saved it to my favorites in case one of my grandchildren studies French - because I appreciate the English translation right alongside the French transcription.