I’ve been trawling the internet this week trying to track down some French songs to download for our mega 17-hour car trip next week. It’s not always easy tracking down songs you’ve heard on the radio but know neither the title nor the artist – even more so when your grasp of the language isn’t that great. Which meant I’ve spent quite a lot of time on YouTube sampling possible candidates – who knew there were so many songs with na na na in the title?:)
I thought I’d share a few of our finds with you.
The first isn’t a song we’re taking with us as it’s far too depressing, and passengers don’t like it when the driver bursts into tears – it dents their confidence. But the song’s brilliant, and to get the full effect, it’s a song that has to be seen. This is a clip from around 1962. The singer is Jacques Brel who, if anyone’s looking for a famous Belgian to add to their list and is stuck after Hercule Poirot, was both a brilliant songwriter and a performer without equal. Many artists have covered ‘ne me quitte pas’ (If you go away) – Dusty Springfield probably sung it better – but no one comes close to the emotion that Brel puts into this song. Brel was a one off. It’s often said that other singers interpret songs, Brel lived them.
Here’s the YouTube link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSfc662vXZU
Have a box of Kleenex handy.
Next here’s one that we are taking with us. This took a lot of tracking down as it’s in Breton. It’s an arrangement of an old Breton sea shanty with a chorus that will stick in your head for days. It’s become so popular it’s almost become a Breton national anthem – hence the black and white flags in the video. It’s called Tri Martolod (Three Sailors) and it’s sung by Alan Stivell. So take a look at some Celtic folk rock, with a harp solo, from Brittany. Here’s the YouTube link (apologies for getting it wrong first time around):
The third video is ‘Je Veux’ by Zaz. It’s another ear worm – simple, catchy and can be seen hear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbF4G_cQ8uc
The ear worm police prevent me from listing any more, but I’m sure you can come up with some.
Chris Dolley is an English author living in France with a frightening number of animals. More information about his other work can be found on his BVC bookshelf .