Quebecois Music

Language epiphanies ROCK

Here’s one of the biggest reasons I have fallen so passionately in love with Quebecois music: part of me has latched onto it with an unconscious reaction of holy crap! There’s a whole extra LANGUAGE over here for music to be awesome in!

Which is really pretty silly of me, given that I already had some decent representation of non-English-speaking music in my collection–not only my early wave of Quebec trad with La Bottine’s Rock and Reel, but also Angelique Kidjo, Habib Koite, and the huge pile of Celtic music I’ve got that’s sung in both Irish and Scots Gaelic. Spanish shows up periodically in my playlists as well; a couple of the tracks by the Paperboys are sung in that. Norwegian is represented by Morten Harket, and although it hasn’t made it into iTunes yet because I haven’t bought an electronic copy of the album, German is represented by Falco (yes, folks, I do in fact have at least a cassette copy of the album that brought the world “Rock Me Amadeus”) and by the German translations of the Beatles songs “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You”. Even Elvis has a couple of non-English or partly non-English songs, with “Santa Lucia” in Italian and the German bridge of “Wooden Heart”.

And all of this, mind you, is music I’ve loved quite well over the years. But something about Quebecois trad–and the music being sung in French–has excited me in a way that other non-Anglophone music hasn’t managed to do yet.

It may simply be the joie de vivre of the music in general, since as you know, O Internets, I respond very ardently to the entire Quebecois trad genre. Podorythmie as a physical expression of music, and the language-transcending, machine-gun fire of a turlutte, seize me in a way that very little other music in my collection does–and yes, this includes even my beloved B’ys and Elvis, an assertion that I do not make lightly.

But part of it is, I think, also just the sheer awesomeness of words. Which, yeah yeah yeah, I’m a writer, words are what we do. I’ve always liked tinkering around with other languages, though, and when I couple this with music that appeals to me so greatly, suddenly French becomes much, much more relevant to my interests! (And man, if I’d known about this music when I was taking French in college, I think I’d have done a lot better on that course!)

I have been thrilled to find and join a mailing list for fans of Quebecois music in the Pacific Northwest to indulge these interests. And starting tomorrow night, in fact, I’ll be participating in a newly forming group to learn French specifically by learning Quebecois songs. Much to my massive delight, the first song we’re going to be working with is “C’est une jeune mariée” by Le Vent du Nord!

This is going to be fun. 😀

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