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French Music – Saint André Posted by on Feb 11, 2020 in Culture, Music, Vocabulary

We had Groundhog Day here in the US recently. The Groundhog Day tradition veut (is supposed to mean1This is an idiomatic use of the verb vouloir/to want that implies somebody wants something to be / to be true, even though maybe it really isn’t!) that the arrival of spring will – or will not be – early depending on whether la marmotte (the groundhog) sees its ombre (shadow) or not2There was no shadow this year, which means we should have an early spring.

En attendant le printemps

Regardless of what the groundhog said, we are still in the heart of l’hiver (winter) here in the northeastern United States.

This song, from Saint André who we met at the end of last week’s post, feels ripe for the season and for a world waiting in the cold and the dark, attendant le printemps (waiting for the spring).

Saint André’s native Corse (Corisica) has had a tumultuous history and Saint André dedicated this chanson (song), released in 2014, to the memory of a friend, a Corsican official, assassinated a few weeks before the song’s release.

La Terre où j’ai grandi The land where I grew up
N’a rien d’un enfer Is no Hell
Ni rien d’un paradis Neither is it Heaven
La Terre où j’ai grandi The land where I grew up
Souffre plus qu’elle ne crie, Suffers more than she shows
Des hommes qu’elle enterre, From all the men she has buried
Des hommes et leur folie The men and their follies
Que les feuilles tombent Let the leaves fall
Rien d’anormal There is nothing wrong about that
Les voir succomber sous le froid glacial Seeing them give in to the freezing cold
Mais l’hécatombe But the carnage
Les grandes rafales The great gusts
N’épargnent plus même un gilet pare-balles Not even a bullet-proof vest can spare
Cusi vénerà di veranu [Corse3This site, dedicated to the Corse language, came in handy for this translation] Come on spring (or)
Cusi vénerà di veranu [Corse] When will spring arrive?
Glacé par le vent qu’emporte l’hiver Frozen by the winter winds
Assis sur un banc j’attends le printemps Sitting on a bench, I wait for the spring
Glacé par le vent qu’emporte l’hiver Frozen by the winds which the winter brings
Assis sur un banc j’attends le printemps Sitting on a bench, I wait for the spring
Je veux croire aux saisons I want to believe in the seasons
Voir le cycle de la vie To see the cycle of life
L’emporter pour de bon To take it back for good
Sur l’île où j’ai grandi To the island I grew up on
Je veux voir les fleurs I want to see the flowers
Recouvrir le goudron Covering the tar
Réchauffer les cœurs Warming the hearts
Et s’il est un rapport de force And if it comes down to
Entre gangsters et population The gangsters and the people
Sache que mes poings de petit corse Know that my small Corsican fists
Seront à jamais plus forts que le plomb Will always be stronger than lead
Cusi vénerà di veranu [Corse] Come on spring (or)
Cusi vénerà di veranu [Corse] When will spring arrive?
Glacé par le vent qu’emporte l’hiver Frozen by the winter winds
Assis sur un banc j’attends le printemps Sitting on a bench, I wait for the spring
Glacé par le vent qu’emporte l’hiver Frozen by the winds which the winter brings
Assis sur un banc, j’attends le printemps Sitting on a bench, I wait for the spring
Assis sur un banc, j’attends le printemps Sitting on a bench, I wait for the spring

Ecouter la chanson en corse / Listen to the Corsican version of the song.

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Photo by the happiest face =) from Pexels
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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris


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