Aux armes, et cætera
July 2, 2014 11:51 PM Subscribe
From the album of the same name
recorded in Jamaica in 1979, Serge Gainsbourg smokes, samples and sings "La Marseillaise"
to a loping reggae beat, leaves out some words and titles it "Aux armes, et cætera"
, thereby deeply offending some of his co-citoyens. I was recently discussing the Marseillaise with a French person, who linked me to Gainsbourg's version. My friend agreed that musically his country's national anthem was wonderful, but said the violence of the lyrics disgusted him. It's interesting to consider a nation's official anthem in the cultural and political setting of its birth, and then contrast with the present day.Here is the full, official "Marsellaise" with French/English subtitles.
My country, Australia, acquired its anthem "Advance Australia Fair"
in 1984. (Up till then we sang "God save the Queen"
, which I still can't hear without a momentary impulse to stand, even though I stopped doing it in the '60s.) We weren't in the midst of war and revolution, unlike the French in 1795, when the Convention decreed Rouget de Lisle's 1792 marching song "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin"
the anthem of the fledgling republic.
Ours also began life as a song, dating from 1878, which began "Australia's sons let us rejoice ..."
This was changed in 1984 to "Australians all ..."
and its more militaristic portions excised. Few of us know all the words to the second verse by heart - mind you my heart couldn't sing "For those who've come across the seas We've boundless plains to share"
and not burn with shame for my country's actual record on "sharing".
Further to this topic I have discovered many people like to compile national anthem top tens