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Humour

Translation of Dis-lui Oui by Bénabar

July 22, 2010

It’s been a couple of months since I made a translation here. I was out for a run last night listening for the first time to Bénabar’s 2003 debut album and the song Dis-Lui Oui made me chuckle a little and that was as good a reason as any to break the silence. Bénabar’s songs […]

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Translation of Arrêter La Clope by Renaud

March 23, 2010

Thirty one years on from the release of his first album, in 1975, Renaud released his fourteenth album Rouge Sang. The classic style of half singing and half talking in French songs is something that has never tickled me, but Renaud produces albums that are consistently full of great tunes and interesting lyrics. Arrêter la […]

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Translation of Caméra Vidéo by Les Trois Accords

March 20, 2010

Here’s another Les Trois Accords translation, this time from their 2009 album Dans Mon Corps. All their albums are great fun and this one has really grown on me since its release a few months ago. The lyrics are provided in this video, click the link below to go to the translation…

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Translation of Mon Pére Etait Tellement De Gauche by Les Fatals Picards

October 28, 2009

“So what is the award for?” “For saving the council money. I happened to mention one day that I’d had the same broom for the last twenty years. They were very impressed and gave me a medal. Twenty years… that’s a long time, Dave.” “Yeah, well it’s two decades.” “Well, I wouldn’t go that far, […]

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Performing Monkeys in My Head

October 20, 2009

I discovered a great site today on which I found two albums that sounded as if they may be pretty good. I then found the albums on Amazon for under a fiver each. So I bought them. J’achète is the debut album by Les Singes Savants and was released in May this year. I know […]

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Translation of La Ballade Des Gens Heureux

October 13, 2009

As promised, I’m following up my previous post with a translation of the final track on the album Pépé Goes Français. Extracts of all the songs on the album are provided in the previous post. La ballade des gens heureux was originally written and performed by Gérard Lenorman. Pépé’s rock cover is, in my opinion […]

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Pépé Goes Français

October 11, 2009

I discovered a new blog today on the subject of francophone music written by a guy named Philippe Papineau who is a radio presenter and writer in Canada. I started behaving like a kid in a candy store looking for new bands and albums. I paused briefly to read his post regarding the new album […]

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Translation of M’as-tu dit by Les Trois Accords

October 9, 2009

I was considering skipping a translation for today. Then I decided to try to find a quick and easy one so that I could feel as if I had achieved something more today than simply adding a Twitter link. Who better to turn to in such a circumstance than Les Trois Accords, the bonkers Québécois […]

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Translation of Miss Maggie by Renaud

May 1, 2009

This is one of the most famous French songs for people in the UK. Renaud sings the praises of all women except Margaret Thatcher of whom he thinks rather less. Renaud did record an English version of the song which is included here as a YouTube video beneath the original – it will take you a while to adjust to his accent to understand it! Naturally, his English version it’s not a direct translation because things need to be changed in order to get it to fit and rhyme where necessary.

The translation here is a more direct translation of the French – we are not slaves to poetry or cadence.

As in the previous Renaud translation, there is plenty of French slang (argot) here.

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Translation of La chauve-souris by Thomas Fersen

April 20, 2009

Fersen is an accomplished poet who regularly plays with language, using puns, rich rhymes, symbols and images taken from the realms of plants (vegetables, fruits) and animals (birds and various beasts) to tell stories or original fables, to recreate moments from daily life, impressions and sentiments, and also the dreams of ordinary people and their failings and faults. His deep and gravelly smoker’s voice gives a particular tone to his songs, which belong to different musical styles depending on the album (rock, folk-rock or jazz and blues). [wikipedia]

This song, La Chauve-Souris “The bat” is from the album Qu4tre released in 1999. As always with poetic songs, we’re not looking here to recreate the poetry in the translation as we don’t intend to perform the song – the poetry will be left for the original version – the English translation will attempt to give the meaning, hopefully to facilitate the enjoyment of the French lyrics.

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