French Language Blog

French Music – Francis Cabrel Posted by on Oct 23, 2008 in Music

As I’ve mentioned before, I love French music.  So, in this article I will present another of my favorite French singers – Francis Cabrel.  This singer/songwriter was born on November 23, 1953 in Agen, France and grew up in a small village near Toulouse.  He started learning guitar as a shy teenager and later said that he thought his guitar helped him appear more interesting to others.  He is known to have been inspired by Bob Dylan and is said to know all of Dylan’s work by heart.  He learned English by translating the lyrics to these and other songs.  His music has a folk and sometimes country or blues feel.  I particularly like him because he has written about Spanish-related topics like bullfighting and has written and sung some very beautiful songs in Spanish like La corrida and La quiero a morir.
 Some of his most famous songs among French-speaking people are Petite Marie, which was dedicated to his wife Mariette, and
 L’encre de tes yeux.  

The song he wrote about a young girl’s suicide called C’était l’hiver has been widely successful and also recorded by other singers such as Canada’s Isabelle Boulay. 

Cabrel’s first album Les murs de poussière was recorded in 1977.  He is currently on tour as he released his most recent album Des roses et des orties this year.  I find that it fits right in with his repertoire as all of his songs in general are really in touch with nature and humanity and his native Southwest France.

You can read more about him in French and listen to clips of all of his songs at his official website by clicking here.

Finally, here is my very favorite by Cabrel:
Un samedi soir sur la terre
The sound quality of this video isn’t particularly great, but you can read the lyrics in the video. 

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  1. Jim:

    When I first heard Francis Cabrel, he made me think a bit of James Taylor. His music is very good and his lyrics are among the best you’ll find. My personal favorite is “Repondez-moi” which is not a particularly happy song, but its honesty is refreshing.


    Je vis dans une maison sans balcon, sans toiture
    Où y a même pas d’abeilles sur les pots de confiture
    Y a même pas d’oiseaux, même pas la nature
    C’est même pas une maison
    J’ai laissé en passant quelques mots sur le mur
    Du couloir qui descend au parking des voitures
    Quelques mots pour les grands
    Même pas des injures
    Si quelqu’un les entend
    Répondez-moi x2

    Mon cœur a peur d’être emmuré entre vos tours de glace
    Condamné au bruit des camions qui passent
    Lui qui rêvait de champs d’étoiles, de colliers de jonquilles
    Pour accrocher aux épaules des filles
    Mais le matin vous entraîne en courant vers vos habitudes
    Et le soir, votre forêt d’antennes est branchée sur la solitude
    Et que brille la lune pleine
    Que souffle le vent du sud
    Vous, vous n’entendez pas
    Et moi, je vois passer vos chiens superbes aux yeux de glace
    Portés sur des coussins que les maîtres embrassent
    Pour s’effleurer la main, il faut des mots de passe
    Pour s’effleurer la main
    Répondez-moi x2

    Mon cœur a peur de s’enliser dans aussi peu d’espace
    Condamné au bruit des camions qui passent
    Lui qui rêvait de champs d’étoiles et de pluies de jonquilles
    Pour s’abriter aux épaules des filles
    Mais la dernière des fées cherche sa baguette magique
    Mon ami, le ruisseau dort dans une bouteille en plastique
    Les saisons se sont arrêtées aux pieds des arbres synthétiques
    Il n’y a plus que moi
    Et moi, je vis dans ma maison sans balcon, sans toiture
    Où y a même pas d’abeilles sur les pots de confiture
    Y a même pas d’oiseaux, même pas la nature
    C’est même pas une maison

  2. Chanda:

    Thanks so much for sharing the lyrics, Jim! I enjoyed reading them and hope others will too. Cabrel’s lyrics are often very blunt, yet beautiful as he writes a lot about life as human beings which is not always that pleasant. Life is full of harsh realities and Cabrel is a master at making those harsh realities into good music.