Archive for July, 2007

Dissertation writing and Renaud’s ‘Hexagone’
25 July, 2007

This is to apologise for not writing so long, I’m in the final month of writing my dissertation so no time to spare at the mo.  If you’ve come back to look at the site, thanks a lot.  I’ve got a translation of ‘Je dors sur mes 2 oreilles’ in the making, so I’ll get that up sometime, and hopefully some stuff on UK hip-hop which I’m looking forward to.  Until then….

I’ve recently been playing Renaud’s song ‘Hexegone’ non-stop, it’s about France, goes through some of the big events in French history (Revolution, May 1968, D-Day landings etc.) and is written with each verse relating to a month of the year (Jan, Feb, etc.).  Awesome song, if scaldingly critical, check it out if you don’t know it:

This is a snippet from the ‘May’ verse, about student and workers strikes in ’68 that almost brought down the government, just as it is not rhymed:

They remember the month of May
Of a blood which ran red and black
Of a failed revolution
Which should have changed history.
Most of all, I remember those sheep,
Frightened by Liberty
Going to vote in their millions
For order and security

Ils se souviennent, au mois de mai,
d’un sang qui coula rouge et noir,
d’une révolution manquée
qui faillit renverser l’Histoire,
j’me souviens surtout d’ces moutons,
effrayés par la Liberté,
s’en allant voter par millions
pour l’ordre et la sécurité.

Full lyrics:

There is a video – but it’s not a great version:

‘Ça peut chémar’ translation – Grand Corps Malade (4)
2 July, 2007

This is for ‘b’ who said that the end of ‘ça peut chémar’ was one of his favourites, it’s one of mine too! This comes from the last verse – a new beat strikes up and Grand Corps Malade lays these rhymes over the top:

Alors on a monté des projets loin des projecteurs
Pour éviter les projectiles des rageurs jeteurs de sorts
Est-ce la mentalité de banlieue ou la mentalité française
Mais les meilleures idées sont souvent celles qui se taisent
Doit-on vraiment changer d’envie ou changer d’environnement
Pour se fixer des objectifs et les atteindre ouvertement
Des mecs qui te jettent le mauvais oeil, on en connaît depuis le préau
Je dois avouer que même entre nous, on s’est pas toujours tirés vers le haut
Mais fini de s’imposer notre propre censure, on n’a pas de sang sur les mains
Alors pourquoi ne pas être sûrs qu’on est sur le bon chemin
Nous n’étions pas forts mais ce passé nous a formés et plus jamais je me marre
Quand j’entends cette phrase résonnait : “Je te jure ça peut chémar”.

This is my translation:

So, we made our plans far from the moves and shakers,
To avoid the projectiles of the angry magic makers,
Is it the mentality of the suburbs or of France that’s broken?
Why is it that the best ideas so often rest unspoken?
What is it we need to change: our minds or our environment?
To really focus on our goals and reach them, pride not bent
The guys that give the dodgy looks, we’ve known them since pre-school,
And, I must admit between us, not always helped each other stand tall
But it’s finished with the self-censorship, there’s no blood on my hands,
So why are we not sure our right path starts right where we stand,
We weren’t strong in the past, but it formed us, so no more do I see life as a dilemma,
When I this phrase hits my ear: “Trust me, ça peut chémar”

I left ‘ça peut chémar’ in French – the literal translation is ‘that can work’ or ‘we can do it’ something like that. The word ‘chémar’ is verlan – French slang from the suburbs. Verlan is made from taking a normal French word and swaping the first and second syllables; so ‘fou’ meaning crazy becomes ‘ouf’; ‘femmes’ women become ‘meufs’ and ‘marcher’ to work becomes ‘chémar’. What’s more if you take the French for backwards or in reverse which is ‘l’envers’, and flip the syllables round you get ‘verlan’, volia! 🙂

Check out the song here: