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French Music – Spring is in the air Posted by on Mar 19, 2019 in Culture, Music, Vocabulary

This year, here in the northern hemisphere, le mercredi 20 mars (Wednesday, March 20th), is le premier jour du printemps (the first day of spring)! What better time to share another fun French-language song, one that kicks off la nouvelle saison* (the new season) tout en joie (with joy).

C’est l’printemps / It’s spring

This week’s song comes from an album released by the lead singer of the 1980’s “one-hit wonder”** Belgian music group Léopold Nord et Vous (Leopold North and You). The album, Léopold Nord et Eux (Leopold North and Them) came out back in 2009 and features songs with Alec Mansion (the lead singer of Lépold Nord et Vous) performing “updated” versions of great 80’s French-language hits with the artists who first made them famous.

This one, for example, is an update of the Desireless hit Voyage, voyage which John featured recently in his “Voyage to the 80s” post.

Alec came up with the idea for the album while touring with some of the 80’s biggest French-language groups during la tournée RFM Party 80 (the RFM [French radio station] tour ‘Party 80’). C’est l’printemps is a collaboration with Philippe Lafontaine, perhaps most famously remembered for his hit Coeur de loup (Heart of a wolf). Check it out!

Because the song is quite repetitious, I haven’t shared the full lyrics/translations, but here are some key phrases you can listen for (and sing along to!).

Français English
Je suis content. I am happy.
Attention sourire le petit oiseau va sortir. Smile the little bird it going to come out. [NB: This is the French equivalent of “Say Cheese” to get someone to smile for the camera or to let them know you’re going to take the picture.]
Chaud devant. Hot in front. [An expression from French restaurant kitchens that means “coming through” or “watch out for the hot food/pans”***]
Tous les bébés promènent leur maman. All the babies are walking their mothers. [A reference to all the new mothers out walking their babies in the park when the weather improves.]
Attention plaisir plus fort et mieux qu’avant. Attention stronger and better pleasures than before.
Les hirondelles prennet l’autoroute … The swallows take the highway … [Nonsensical, but a good reminder of the French expression Une hirondelle ne fait pas le printemps.****]

 

* Notice that even though the word saison is feminine, all the seasons are masculine.
** In 1987, the group released their song C’est l’amour which made it all the way to number 2 on the pop charts.
*** It is apparently also a (very appropriately named) line of clothing for chefs!
**** One swallow doesn’t make the spring. Swallows migrate to Africa from Europe for the winter. Their arrival back in Europe as the weather warms is a sure sign of spring … but sometimes they show up early and you can’t be sure that it’s spring without more evidence. In more general terms, the expression reminds us that one piece of data is rarely enough to base decisions on.

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Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels [CC0]

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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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