Finding A Song

While on vacation last year, we stayed in the Marais district of Paris, close to Centre Pompidou.
Our mostly pedestrian cobble-stoned street, often packed with revelers, was a quite the social hub.
The area really came alive at night; with several restaurants, bars, nightclubs and people pouring out into the streets to make our little cramped quarter.
Rue des Lombards Street at Night

On some evenings I’d sit by the wide windows with a glass of wine and people-watch into the wee hours.
I slept with the windows open every night just to feel a part of the incredible energy outside.
Across the narrow street was a restaurant; you could see inside from the apartment, they cleared the tables and chairs at night to create a makeshift nightclub.
There was loud music, drinking, general merriment and mostly young people dancing.
The Window

The DJ was a big guy with messy long hair; he took long breaks outside, drawing leisurely on his cigarette, unfazed by the raucous around him.
After a few nights of waving bonsoir at him, I finally got to ask him what it was like to be that cool.
He laughed and we had a long chat, it turns out he loves African music – Ghanaian and Congolese music to be precise.
When I told him I was from Ghana, he’d hum/sing this old sixties highlife song whenever he saw me.
I thought it was charming; I mean, here I was… barely able to speak passable French, and he, not that great English and yet we’re bonding over Ghanaian music from the sixties.

Rue des Lombard

When I came back home, I sent him a link to Awesome Tapes from Africa and promised him I’d have a favourite French song by my next visit.
I decided that I also needed a song for whenever I saw him – and watch the whole song-singing banter go from cute to annoying
It took a few months, but I too have found my favourite French song; and it’s not by Celine Dion (although she did a cover of the song).

Nightime People

I watched Commes t’y es belle, a French romantic comedy about the lives and loves of four Jewish Parisian women.
Yes, it’s a chick flick, but it’s French and different in a fun and charming way.
It apparently was a big hit when it came out in 2006.
The movie had a few music montages, and the soundtrack which played over several scenes was ‘L’envie D’aimer’
I loved it! So much that I shazamed it, found it and a bought a copy.
[audio:|titles=12 L’envie d’aimer (Amoureuse en voiture)]

I can’t believe I’d never heard this song before…
It’s a beautiful soft melodic tune about the courage to love, the words are simple – I added a few phrases to my vocabulary.
It turns out the song is from a popular French musical from 2000, Les dix commandements about the ten commandments, it’s the final song in the musical, sung by Moses.
I’ve listened to it so much that it’s pretty much the only French song I can sing almost word for word (the alouette and frère Jacques songs don’t count).
My favourite line from the song is “Faire que l’amour, Qu’on aura partagé Nous donne l’envie d’aimer” – something about sharing love to find the desire to love.

Watch this video, and tell me this isn’t your favourite French song too!

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  • Reply Hanson

    You’re such a natural story teller- I can imagine myself sitting comfortably inside yet still being apart of the party outside. Sounds both peaceful and exciting at the same time. And, how cool that of all things to bond with a stranger over, you bonded over Ghanian highlife! My dad would crank up those great tunes every time we were having a get-together at our house. Music has ways of bringing people together. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    16 April, 2011 at 5:08 pm
    • Reply Elsa

      Thank you! My dad used to say music is a ‘glue’ – corny… I know! Hope
      you’re having a good weekend.

      17 April, 2011 at 9:21 am

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