The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #67071   Message #1118870
Posted By: DonMeixner
19-Feb-04 - 12:10 AM
Thread Name: Jacques Brel - what's it all about?
Subject: RE: Jacques Brel - what's it all about?
The Brel songs I have heard in english I understood very clearly and I liked them. The ones I heard in French I couldn't understand, being typically American and Mono-lingual. Then I heard Amsterdam in both French and English, The original language song was still not understandable by me and I can't tell you if it was superior to the English version or vice versa.

This gets back to thread from days long ago when I stated that I felt doing a song in a language you know your audience doesn't speak and doesn't understand is not only arrogant but it is insulting. I thought so then, I think so now. But I will add some qualifiers that I didn't have in the earlier post.

People from one culture going to a different culture and demonstrating their art. Native throat singers from Tibet for instance or Navajo chanters from Arizona demonstrating their traditional music and folklore. These folk should be supported and sanctified as Carriers of a dying tradition.

But when the local Diva in the Folksong society who speaks no French beyond her learning Le Moribond phonetically from the record and says "this is the only way Brel should be sung" she should be pointed at and spoken of behind her pretentious back.