Thursday, February 11, 2010
Kings, Dukes, Cowboys
I'm cheating a little with this photo - I took it back in December, when snow was still a novelty. It's one of the local chateaux, which aside from having a moat and drawbridge and sitting very strikingly on a hill is also the place you go to get your car registered.
Finally gave in and got a winter cold and sore throat, and yesterday I could barely move. Today is better. I have to get better fast, we've got a gig in Le Dorat Saturday night. A new place for us, owned by a Scottish couple. We'll play in the 11th century cave that they've renovated.
We managed to translate the joint biography Eric and I have for gigs, with the help of our friend Emmanuel, into French. Much more challenging than you'd think but it seems a must for trying to get more work in France. When you consider that the term for "freelance musician" is "intermittent du spectacle", you kind of get the idea how wordy things can become. We were reduced, at one point, to going on Johnny Hallyday's website to find some language for summing up almost sixty combined years playing music. Forget it - the guy is too much of a monolith to need any basic biographic info. But his site is awesome!
The more French I learn, the more I wonder about basic style and subtlety - and all those French films I've seen translated into English, and whether I've really seen them at all. Looking at the reverse - take for example, Roger Miller's "King Of The Road" (on the soundtrack "Into The Wild which we watched the other night). On the screen, the lyrics rolled by for "Le roi de la route" and if you took the meaning literally from the translation, instead of a lowdown hobo vagrant type Roger sounded like some fussy fop doing a little slumming in a boxcar.
Or the title of another movie I got out of the library: "Macadam Cowboy". Which we decided was preferable to "Cowboy du Minuit". Or, my current favorite - "Shérif, fais-moi peur!" - "Dukes Of Hazard". Learning a language is just the beginning - there's a whole mentality that goes along with it all. I guess being bilingual is when you can pick and choose, one from Column A, one from Column B, depending on which suits the situation best. Maybe fluency is also reading cues that aren't conveyed by language at all - getting the intention from picking up on the style.
Now I'm listening to Eric finish up the mixes for the Gil Rose et les Hydropathes album he recorded here. I got to sing a little on it. They are my new favorite group, sing mostly in French and some English - a perfect blend of style and content. I think Johnny and Roger would both approve.