The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #10236   Message #3932945
Posted By: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
23-Jun-18 - 09:40 PM
Thread Name: Lyr ADD: Choucoune
Subject: Lyr Add: CHOUCOUNNE
Haïtianisches Volkslied (Méringue)

“Popular song from Haïti

The most popular Haitian folksong. It must have originated in 1880 or there abouts. (I first heard it and noted it down early in 1885, when it had already been in existence for some time.) Since then it has been edited by Fr. Frangeul* in Port-au-Prince, and claimed as the composition of M.Monton (born New Orleans, Sept. 29.1854. died in Port-au-Prince, May 11.1888). The words are by Oswald Durand (born in Cap Haitien, Sept.17.1840, died Port-au-Prince, April 24, 1906), the very gifted and most famous poet of the country. The Choucoune song is written in the patois créole spoken by the people of Haiti, and is naively droll, yet at the same time replete with delicate lyric charm. I give two of its seven stanzas. They are:

1. Dèhiè yon gros touff' pingoin,
L'aut' jou moin contrè Choucoun';
Li sourit l'heur li ouè moin,
Moin dit: Ciel á la bell' moun'!
Li dit: Ou trouvez ça, cher?
P'tits oèseaux ta pé couté-nous lan l'air.
Quand moin songé ça, moin gangnin la pein'
Car dipi jou-la, dé pieds moin lan chain'.

2. Choucoun' cé gnon marabout:
Z'yeux-li clair' comm' chandell,
Li gangnin tété doubout'…
Ah! si Choucoun' té fidèl!
Nous rété causer longtemps.
Jouq z'oéseaux lan bois te paraîtr' contents.
Pitot blié ca, cé trop grand la pein'
Car dipi jou-la, dé pieds moin lan chaine.

1. Behind a thick hedge-row
The other day I met Choucoune:
She smiled, when she caught sight of me.
I said: “By Jove! What a handsome girl!”
She said “You really think so, sir?”
The little birds in the grove were listening all the while.
This dream afterwards gave me great pain,
For I've been madly in love ever since.

2. Choucoune was a marabout,
Her eyes twinkled like a candle,
And her bosom was round and full.
Alas! If she'd only been true to me!
We stood a long time talking together
Long as ever the birds in the grove would let us.
I'd rather forget it, the pain's too intense,
For I've been madly in love ever since.”

[Friedenthal, Albert, Stimmen der Völker (Gems of Folk Music): Echos des Peuples (Berlin: Schlesinger'sche, 1911, pp.26-27)]

*Haitian music publisher Fernand Frangeul (1872-1911) the assumed source of the, as yet, unrecoverable original sheet music. It's thought by the time Frangeul got around to arranging & publishing it a piece had already been in popular circulation for some time but Friedenthal's dates are the earliest estimates I've found so far by almost a decade.

Note: The text is given in German, French and English. Includes earliest music I've found so far.