Saturday, November 29, 2008

French Hip-hop may be bigger than you thought

Known abroad for the "Laser dance song" on Ocean Twelve, La Caution is a mainstay of the "French rap new wave" of the 00's (alongside with TTC, L'Armée des 12, Klub des Loosers, James Deleck) which melt electronic music with rap.

They released many good tracks, but I want to introduce you the vocal version of their hit Thé à la Menthe. The amazing beat has a really nice Arab flavor. The lyrics are about a very typical theme in French rap: immigration. Indeed, French rappers, contrary to American ones, are very often sons of immigrates, mostly from North and West Africa. The two rappers of La Caution, Hi-Tekk et Nikkfurie are of Moroccandescents.

For the subtitles, I used this good translation (I've just corrected some little mistakes but I think there are some left). Slang and wordplay are very difficult to translate, especially when they are melt with some arabic words. (actually many French words comes from Arabic). In the song, there are the words"srab" which means "friend", and "Salamalek" which means "Peace on you" and is used to say hello. Last thing, when they say "Albatross of Baudelaire", they refer to the famous poem of Baudelaire that many students have to learn in school.

La Caution - Thé à la menthe (from Peine de Maures, 2005)

Links: Myspace, Wikipedia, Peines de Maures on streaming

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just Try A Little Harder (To Discover French Music)

In this mix, as usual, chanson, rap and rock. But there are also a disco song, a musical with Starmania, a zouk song from Guadeloupe and a celtic song from Brittany. A special treat, the famous reggae version of the French anthem, La Marseillaise by the only one Serge Gainsbourg.

Cover: Jacques Brel

1. Charles Aznavour – La Bohème (1965)
2. Hector Zazou – Visur Vatnsenda-Rosu (Ft. Bjork) (Chansons des Mers Froides, 1994)
3. Idéal J – Hardcore (Le combat continue, 1998)
4. Kassav – Siwo (1986)
5. Louis Chédid – Anne Ma Soeur Anne (Anne ma sœur Anne, 1985)
6. Maxime Le Forestier – San Francisco (Mon frère, 1972)
7. Métal Urbain – Panik (1977)
8. Michel Legrand – Chanson Des Jumelles (Les demoiselles de Rochefort OST, Germain and Claude Parent singing, 1967)
10. Serge Gainsbourg – Aux Armes Et Caetera (Aux armes et cætera, cover of La Marseillaise, Rouget de Lisle 1792 / 1979)
11. Starmania – Quand On Arrive En Ville (Michel Berger, with Daniel Balavoine and Nanette Workman, 1978)
12. Thomas Fersen – Borborygmes (Pièce montée des grands jours , 2003)
13. Tri Yann – Les Prisons de Nantes (trad., Tri Yann an Naoned, 1972)
14. Jacques Dutronc – L’Opportuniste (L’opportuniste, 1969)
15. Pigalle – Dans La Salle Du Bar-tabac (Regards affligés sur la morne et pitoyable existence de Benjamin Trembley, personnage falot mais ô combien attachant, 1990)
16. Georges Brassens - Je me suis fait tout petit (1956)
17. Claude Nougaro – Toulouse (1967)
18. Charles Trenet - Vous Oubliez Votre Cheval (1938)
19. Brigitte Fontaine & Areski Belkacem - Je Suis Venu Te Voir (Vous et nous, 1977)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sweet Candies of the Past

Renaud - Mistral Gagnant (1985)

This the most famous song of Renaud (the tenderhearted rebel of French music) about himself telling his childhood to his daughter. The title of the song refers to a candy popular in the 70s, which could be "winning" (you got a new one for free). The rapper Booba sampled the song on his hit Pitbull.

The translation was requested in the comments of the blog, so don't hesitate to ask. I would do it (if I like the song) and it gives me ideas for upcoming post.

Lyrics of Mistral Gagnant

To seat on a bench for 5 minutes with you
Looking at the people as long as there are some
To tell you the good times which are dead or will be
Shaking in my hand your lil’ fingers
Then to feed silly pigeons
And to kick them for fake
And hear your laugh which cracks the wall
And can cure my injuries
To tell you a little how I was when I was a kid
The wonderful candies we used to rob at the shopkeeper
Car-en-sac and Minto, one franc fudge
And the winning mistral

To walk under the rain, for 5 minutes with you
And looking at the life as long as there's still some
To tell you the Earth, while eating you with my eyes
To tell you a little about your mom
And jump in the puddles to make her moans
To smash up our shoes and laugh
And to hear your laugh like some hears the sea
To stop and go back backward
Most of all, to tell you, the old carambars and the coco bohèmes
And the real roudoudous which cut our lips
And ruined our teeths
And the winning mistrals

To seat on a bench for 5 minutes with you
And looking at the sun fading away
To tell you about the good old days which are dead and I don’t care
To tell you that the bad guys are not us
That if I am nuts, it’s only of your eyes
Which have the advantage to be two
And to hear your laugh, flying off as high
As the calls of the birds fly off
To tell you at last that you’ve got to love life
And love it even Time is a murderer
And to take with it the laughs of children
And the winning mistrals
And the winning mistrals

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The French Gift Of Jay-Z To Obama

The first time a sample story is broadcast on usual French medias! They are proud of the sample of Veronique Sanson on the latest track of Jay-Z (produced by Kanye West). Unfortunately, Sanson's cheesy and Jay-z's one is disappointing.

Jay-Z - History (2008)

Veronique Sanson (with Marc Lavoine)- Une nuit sur ton épaule (1995)

Source: Cansei de ser me

Friday, November 7, 2008

Everybody's Looking for Some Samples

I'll never be bored of looking for samples. Two other samples of French music by American producers, found on the great sampleur-samplé blog.

Jacques Brel, a master of French music, sampled but the very good crew Onyx on one of their best single. The first 10 seconds of the sampled song, Vieillir, really sound like hip-hop.

Jacques Brel - Vieillir (1977)

Onyx - Shut'Em Down (1998)

Johnny Hallyday is the top seller in France of all time with 60 millions records sold! (the Beatles only sold 18 milions). FT is an underground crew from New York. Not that strange if you know that FT is produced by Get Large... who is French!

Johnny Hallyday / Le Ghetto (1976)

F.T. / The World Iz A Ghetto (2005)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Chicken # 728120, I love you

A crazy singer Philippe Katerine, with a very very special humor. I hope you dont like chicken the way he does.

Poulet n°728120 (Chicken #728120)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Who's paying?

Gurejele is the most famous band of Kaneka, a blend of traditional kanak (native people) music, blues and reggae. They are from New Caledonia, an oversea French territory located in the southwest Pacific. The band is led by Dick Buama and has released four LPs.

I've uploaded their biggest hit, Who's Paying ? released in 2001. I have translated the lyrics which have an interesting political meaning.
Gujerele - C'est Qui Qui Paye?

Lyrics of C'est Qui Qui Paye -Who's Paying

Our politicians are going to Paris
To plan with the Motherland
The agreements for the wealth of the country
Agreements to agreements, and it's not over

Who's paying, paying?
It's France which is paying
Who's paying, paying?
It's France which is Paying
And yes, that's also this

If you're broke, you just have to ask
One condition, you've got to join
In the party, we are supported financially
Dogs can bark, we are legalized


We are not enthusiast anymore
Of political meetings
Here, under the tropics, we prefer music
The one of Jamaica, the on of States of America
In civil service, they just work for dough


All the subsidies of all political parties
It's France which is paying
Consumption of all political refugees
It's France which is paying
The salary of the civil servants working for dough
It's France which is paying
Ecologist bombed in the Kiwi country*
It's France which is paying


(*refer to the sinking of the Greenpeace's boat in New Zealand by the French foreign intelligence services, who killed one man)