So, you probably know how much I love music, as I talk about it often enough. I’m not sure how many of you speak other languages, or listen to music in other languages, but I really enjoy both.
I like learning other languages. I think it’s fascinating when people can speak multiple languages, and there’s something really cool in being able to communicate with other people who don’t speak English.
I was raised in an English-speaking home, in a predominantly English society. Canada, however, in case you weren’t aware, is a bilingual nation. English and French are the two official languages of Canada, which is why anything – be it food, consumer goods, electronics, etc – always has English and French on the packaging. Also, every law, bill or anything else from the government is released in both languages, and whenever there is a national political function, usually it is conducted in both languages. For instance, when the election candidates debate, there are actually two debates. One in English and one in French – so all national politicians are required to know both languages.
So, I guess that’s where it started, because I was always curious to know what the other side of the cereal box was saying. In Saskatchewan, the province where I live, it is not mandatory to learn French in school. The only ‘French-speaking’ provinces in Canada are Québec, whose provincial language is French, and New Brunswick, which is the only bilingual province with both English and French as official languages. The other eleven Canadian provinces and territories all have English only as official languages.
However, because Canada as a whole is bilingual, all the products sold anywhere in Canada come with French and English labels. So, I was always fascinated and I decided to try a French class in Grade 9 – the first year of high school where I’m from.
I fell in love with the language and ended up taking it every year after, until I graduated. At my High School graduation, an award for each subject was granted to one student. I received the French Award:
That summer following my graduation, I was privileged to have been accepted as an exchange student with a university in La Ville de Québec (capital of Québec). I got to spend all summer there, take two classes in French at the university and it was all for free. I only had to pay for my way there and back, all accommodations, meals, tuition and textbooks were supplied by a bursary I received from the government. It was really an awesome experience, and it introduced me to a great culture.
It was at this time that I really fell in love with French music.
After my exchange program, I came home near-fluent in French and after this semester I will have taken all the French classes possible at my university and, when I graduate, will receive a Certificate in French (certifying my knowledge of the language). I hope, someday, that I’ll be able to return to Québec. My ultimate dream, though, would be to go to France.
Needless to say – because the title pretty much suggests this – I still listen to Frencg music and an continually expanding my French music library. So, here are some of my favourites.
Entre Matane et Baton Rouge – Isabelle Boulay
Cette chanson parle de…
Just kidding. I’ll keep going in English. This song is really about leaving your past life behind and moving on. ‘Entre’ means ‘between’, and Matane and Baton Rouge are just two cities in Québec.
T’es Ma Femme, T’es La Plus Belle – Etienne Drapeau
This is a love song, and I think the title tells it all. “You are my woman, you are the most beautiful”.
Now, I could never have a French music post and not include one of my favourite singers of all time. I’m sure you’ve heard of her. She’s only the biggest-selling name in French music and the second best-selling female artist of all time.
Pour Que Tu M’Aimes Encore – Céline Dion
This song – the biggest-selling of her French career, and one of my favourites of hers – is also a love song. It’s about loving someone so much that you are willing to do anything for that person. The song talks about all the things she is willing to do for this person that she loves so much, and the title roughly translates to “So That You Love Me Still”.
Thanks for reading!