LearnFrenchwith Us!

Start Learning!

French Language Blog

Joe Dassin – Un Américain French Singer Posted by on Oct 25, 2017 in Culture, Music

La semaine dernière (last week), after looking up where the expression un été indien (an Indian summer) comes from, I was surprised to learn about Joe Dassin and his seemingly interesting mix of being a French singer with origins aux États-Unis (in the United States).

Qui est cet américain qui chante en français ?
Who is this American who sings in French?

Joe Dassin is an American with an interesting and international background. Both his parents are American, but sa famille (his family) moved to Europe after son père (his father) was blacklisted from Hollywood for being a member of le Parti communiste américain (the American Communist Party). He spent the later half of his childhood moving around Europe, studying in many countries around the continent.

Il a passé son bac à Grenoble en Suisse (he graduated high school in Grenoble in Switzerland; literally he passed his baccalaureate – final high school exam) and then attended university aux États-Unis (in the United States). He completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s en anthropologie (in anthropology) at l’Université du Michigan (the University of Michigan) before deciding to move back to France.

Une fois en France (once in France) he began working for son père helping out in his films before starting his music career. Today il est connu comme le loup blanc (he is a household name; literally he is known as the white wolf) with his many memorable songs spanning over his long career.

Sa chanson la plus connue (his most well known song) is of course Les Champs-Élysée and once I realized that, I was surprised to learn that such a famous French song was sung by un américain!

After learning more about le chanteur américain (the American singer) I had to look up la chanson (the song) from la semaine dernière and hear what L’été indien sounded like. Take a moment and listen to la chanson and add another Joe Dassin song to your list of favorite musique française!

Voici la chanson avec les paroles (et une traduction en anglais) :

Tu sais je n’ai jamais été aussi heureux que ce matin-là
Nous marchions sur une plage un peu comme celle-ci
C’était l’automne, un automne où il faisait beau
Une saison qui n’existe que dans le Nord de l’Amérique
Là-bas on l’appelle l’été indien
Mais c’était tout simplement le nôtre
Avec ta robe longue tu ressemblais à une aquarelle de Marie Laurencin
Et je me souviens, je me souviens très bien de ce que je t’ai dit ce matin-là
Il y a un an, y a un siècle, y a une éternité

You know, I’d never been as happy as I was that morning
We were walking along a beach like this one here
It was autumn, a beautiful autumn day
A season that exists only in America’s north
Over there they call it Indian summer
But it was just simply ours
With your long dress you looked like a Marie Laurencin watercolour
And I remember, I remember very well what I told you that morning
A year ago, a century ago, an eternity

On ira où tu voudras, quand tu voudras
Et on s’aimera encore, lorsque l’amour sera mort
Toute la vie sera pareille à ce matin
Aux couleurs de l’été indien

We’ll go wherever you’d like, whenever you’d like
And we will still love each other, when love will have died
All our life will be the same as this morning
With the colours of Indian summer

Aujourd’hui je suis très loin de ce matin d’automne
Mais c’est comme si j’y étais
Je pense à toi
Où es-tu ?
Que fais-tu ?
Est-ce que j’existe encore pour toi ?
Je regarde cette vague qui n’atteindra jamais la dune
Tu vois, comme elle je reviens en arrière
Comme elle je me couche sur le sable et je me souviens
Je me souviens des marées hautes
Du soleil et du bonheur qui passaient sur la mer
Il y a une éternité, un siècle, il y a un an

Today I’m far away from that autumn morning
But it’s as if I were there.
I think of you.
Where are you?
What are you doing?
Do I still exist for you?
I look at this wave that will never reach the dune
You see, like the wave, I lay on the sand and I remember,
I remember high tides, sun and happiness passing over the sea
An eternity, a century, a year ago

On ira où tu voudras, quand tu voudras
Et on s’aimera encore, lorsque l’amour sera mort
Toute la vie sera pareille à ce matin
Aux couleurs de l’été indien

We will go wherever you’d like, whenever you’d like
And we will still love each other, when love will have died
Our whole life will be the same as this morning
With the colours of Indian summer

Translation provided by LyricsTranslate.

Want to hear more? Sign up for one of our newsletters!

For more language learning advice, free resources, and information about how we can help you reach your language goals, select the most relevant newsletter(s) for you and sign up below.

Share this:
Pin it

About the Author:John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


Comments:

  1. Nick:

    Malheureusement, il est mort.

  2. Tom Sanders:

    He’s in the same cemetery as Mel Blanc and Rudolph Valentino. I’ve been there, in the Beth Olam section to see Mel, so I know I was only a few steps away from M. Dassin. Did not know about him at the time. L’a decouvert via ses versions francaises des successes Americains. “L’amerique” (“Yellow River”) et “Salut les amoureux” (“City Of New Orleans”).

  3. June Radicchi:

    I lived in France many years ago, love the language but did not learn it properly. Love France and also Quebec.
    I use any all all excuses to speak French.