Marchons, marchons!
July 14, 2010 6:26 AM   Subscribe

Happy Bastille Day y'all! (previously) Why not celebrate with a few stirring renditions of France's first national anthem? You can get your La Marseillaise traditional, By Edith Piaf, by Django Reinheart and Stephane Grappelli, in a classic movie, in 1907, by a F1 Renault, all punked out, or as a Reggae (a performance of which lead to bomb threats, causing Serge to take the stage and sing it alone.)
posted by The Whelk (33 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I think I'll celebrate it with a new French tradition: not covering my face. At least in public.
posted by pyrex at 6:29 AM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
posted by DU at 6:34 AM on July 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

There's no bread, let them eat cake
There's no end to what they'll take
Flaunt the fruits of noble birth
Wash the salt into the earth

But they're marching to Bastille Day
La guillotine will claim her bloody prize
Free the dungeons of the innocent
The king will kneel and let his kingdom rise

Bloodstained velvet, dirty lace
Naked fear on every face
See them bow their heads to die
As we would bow as they rode by

And we're marching to Bastille Day
La guillotine will claim her bloody prize
Sing, oh choirs of cacophony
The king has kneeled, to let his kingdom rise

Lessons taught but never learned
All around us anger burns
Guide the future by the past
Long ago the mould was cast

For they marched up to Bastille Day
La guillotine claimed her bloody prize
Hear the echoes of the centuries
Power isn't all that money buys

posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:45 AM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

This post is formidable.
posted by Elmore at 6:46 AM on July 14, 2010 opens today.
Sort of.
posted by elgilito at 6:47 AM on July 14, 2010

Everything you need to know about The Bastille (ou du moins un peu).
posted by adamvasco at 6:53 AM on July 14, 2010

Bonne fête de la Nation à tous!

As an Englishman living in France I've become mightily fond of the Marseillaise . . . it's rousing, lively and sing-able with gusto, so much more so than the funereal drone of God Save the Queen.

I also love the persistence of its brazenly non-PC lyrics, again GStQ's not-to-be-sung-these-days "scatter her enemies / frustrate their knavish tricks" have nothing on "May impure blood water our furrows".

Now Jerusalem, that's another matter.
posted by protorp at 6:55 AM on July 14, 2010

The Bastille Opera is really ugly. There. I said it.
posted by norm at 6:55 AM on July 14, 2010

My very French grandmother passed away about three months ago. Near the end my wife and I went out to visit her at my uncles. She had Brain cancer and we knew the end was coming first - she had refused treatment and instead spent her time bragging to people that she was going to die from the same thing at Ted Kennedy (which makes perfect sense for a frenchwoman of her age - they fucking loved JFK)

She was sort of in and out of consciousness at this point when somehow my wife got her on the topic of France (she had moved to the states in '90 to be closer to her 2 sons and their families.) I walk out to get a drink of water and come back into her room to the sound of her singing La Marseillaise at full volume.

Will always be one of my last memories of her.
posted by JPD at 6:56 AM on July 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:02 AM on July 14, 2010

"I know where we can get some baguettes!"
posted by easement1 at 7:07 AM on July 14, 2010

And now I'm striken with the desire to listen to Gainsbourg's Aux Armes Et Cetera album the whole way through. Thanks, The Whelk, I think...
posted by .kobayashi. at 7:07 AM on July 14, 2010

Like the first ten minutes of Up, the Le Marseillaise scene from Casablanca is guaranteed to make me cry. It's probably my favorite scene in all of cinema. And I can't even quite articulate why exactly. But the moment that always gets me is when you see the girl who had been trying to flirt with the Nazis singing it too, with tears running down her face.

Damn, now I'm tearing up just thinking about the scene.
posted by kmz at 7:13 AM on July 14, 2010 [4 favorites]

Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey is not my sock-puppet. I would have posted this version.
posted by Eideteker at 7:28 AM on July 14, 2010

You and me both, kmz
posted by briank at 7:40 AM on July 14, 2010

How can you not love an anthem that starts off with "Let's go, kids!"?
posted by trip and a half at 7:40 AM on July 14, 2010 [4 favorites]

How did I miss this one?

If your French-Language skills are not up to snuff.

posted by The Whelk at 7:48 AM on July 14, 2010

Rock Out with your Provence Out
posted by The Whelk at 7:50 AM on July 14, 2010

That video of Gainsbourg is particularly touching. I particularly like the bewildered looks in the faces of the far-right militants who'd been threatening him.
posted by Skeptic at 7:50 AM on July 14, 2010

It's a hell of a melody, very stirring, and unexpectedly complex for an anthem. I've always been a bit fascinated with it, since I first heard that snippet of it that opens All You Need Is Love. Then a little later I heard it for the first time in its entirety in Casablanca (the linked clip in this post). I'm no expert on the subjects, but it strikes me as somewhat unique among national anthems in that it has what you could call an A-B-C (or maybe A-B-C-D?) song structure. Very curious.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:54 AM on July 14, 2010

Not a bad day to listen to Roger Waters' opera Ca Ira, if you can find a copy.
posted by hippybear at 8:00 AM on July 14, 2010

Tell you what, though, can't nobody rrrrroll an rrrrrrrrrr like Mirrrrrrrrrrrreille Mathieu when she sings it...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:15 AM on July 14, 2010

Et sacre de putain j'ai besoin d'un beignet maintenant.
posted by everichon at 8:30 AM on July 14, 2010

So you're telling me I do have a reason to get drunk today?
posted by nestor_makhno at 9:10 AM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Rick nods
posted by warbaby at 9:32 AM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's a picture of Sebastien Chabal, badass French rugby player.
posted by electroboy at 1:45 PM on July 14, 2010

Actually This is probably my favorite rendition - opera singer Jessye Norman singing it on the Place de la Concorde, at the finale of the French Bicentennial parade, draped in an enormous tricoleur. (video quality not so great, but you get the idea..)
posted by dnash at 2:01 PM on July 14, 2010

French riders tried extra super hard at the TdF today but came up empty. C'est la vie.
posted by fixedgear at 3:48 PM on July 14, 2010

Is this some sort of dysphemism for Day?
posted by unliteral at 5:22 PM on July 14, 2010

Both Metafilter and the Modern French Republic were born on the same day.

posted by The Whelk at 5:25 PM on July 14, 2010

and I spent some time at the bar and so I played La Marseilles on the jukebox and the Local Git got into a tiff about fucking frogs and all they do in fal in love and I had to ..inform him, that without those fucking frogs we wouldn't be a country cause France basically bankrupted itself to help out our Revolution, the name Lafayette ring any motherfuckin' bells? Tom Paine? Sheesh. France has been America's Bestest Friend Forever for long, hell, the English invaded and burned down the White House and supported the Confederacy for the cheap cotton and cause having two smaller nations to deal with was better than one big one. You live in new York? You know that thing in the harbor? Liberty Enlightening the World? Guess where she came from, asshole.

pet peeve, antagonistic Franco-American relationships make no sense to me, for most of our respective histories we loved the FUCK out of each other. Do not get it.
posted by The Whelk at 5:51 PM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I hear you, Whelk. Plus, they can open a bottle of wine with their muhfukkin SHOE!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:04 PM on July 14, 2010

pet peeve, antagonistic Franco-American relationships make no sense to me, for most of our respective histories we loved the FUCK out of each other. Do not get it.

In The Anti-Americans: A Hate/Love Relationship (unfortunately not available in it's entirety on the web that I can find), it discusses why France, England, and Poland hate and love America each in their own way .

For the French, the intellectual, philosophical stance is important as an antidote to America's action-oriented way of doing things. They see themselves (in part) as thinking alternative to America on the world stage, another option in the face of America blustering and reaching for their guns at the drop of a hat. And a lot of the French don't really like America's go-go, earn money, work all the time orientation, nor the desolate cultural wasteland it breeds. Doesn't mesh well with a good bottle of wine & some friends. OTOH, French street culture loves th US as a symbol of freedom and escape for the disenfranchised from the conservatism and prejudices of traditional French culture (which can sometimes run a bit short on egalité et fraternité).

Poland is the younger brother that really, really loves and idolizes us, and wonders why America ignores them and treats them as an afterthought at best, and rather shabbily at worst.
Why do we have to jump through such hoops to get visas to come to America? We love America. The French, they hate you, their passports hate you*, and yet they can just show up, wave their passport, and get in. They don't fight with you in Iraq, they don't give you their hearts, why can they come and go and I have to pay $100 to maybe not get my visa due to red tape?" (I paraphrase)
The British are the older brother who are very proud of how far we've come under their tutelage (in our stupid, thuggish, inarticulate way), but who get a bit bent when an ignorant, heavily-armed America looks at them, sees an aging vaudevillian in an old suit, doesn't recognize them, and asks "Hey... weren't you famous for something once?"

Why is hating the French a meme in America? I'm honestly not sure why. Probably inherited it from the English. But at least they had a decent reason, living next door and all.
* My absolute favorite moment in the entire film.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:39 AM on July 15, 2010

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