Thursday, July 4, 2013

Joyeuse Fête Nationale!

Inspired by this month's revolutionary double-whammy with both the American July 4th and French July 14th celebrations, I was curious to know more about our common revolutionary history.  So I started googling things like "Franco-American friendship" and found a fun video put together by the French embassy that points out many of the highlights of French-American relations. 

They cover the expected topics like L'Enfant (who designed the city of Washington) and Lafayette (who served as Major General under Washington and played a central role in the American Revolution), but I also learned about the Comte de Rochambeau who led the French expeditionary forces in the Continental army, and that there is a French Caucus within the U.S. Congress!  

As I looked for images of the French flag to put on here, I came across images that reminded me of the logo for the musical, Les Misérables. I thought: why not try to find some of my favorite tunes from the musical (based on the novel by Victor Hugo) in French! While not about the actual French revolution (it tells the story of the June rebellion a few decades later) what a great soundtrack to both independence day celebrations!

As I started searching for translations of songs into French I soon realized my approach was backwards: I had completely forgotten that "Les Miz" was originally a French musical, which is a bit pathetic considering the title is LES MISERABLES!;-). I found out it originally débuted in Paris in 1980 (and has been translated into 22 other languages over the past 25 years).  

I cannot believe I have spent my life so far without having heard the incredible original French songs!  If you love Les Miz in English, please give yourself--and your kids-- the gift of listening to ""A la volonté du peuple! (Do you hear the people sing?"), "L'Air de la Misère" ("On My Own") or "J'avais Rêvé d'une Autre Vie" ("I Dreamed a Dream"). These gorgeous melodies sung in French are breathtaking. 

Joyeuse Fête Nationale, today for America and on the 14th for France! See below for highlights of Bastille Day Events. 

Bastille Day Celebrations through July 14th

Thu Jul 11, 2013
6pm - 7:30pm
: Bastille Day Fête and celebration of Georges Braques  
Where: the Phillips Collection

Fri Jul 12, 2013
7pm-12am: French Embassy: Bastille Day Celebration ($110)
Where: French Embassy, DC

Sat Jul 13, 2013
10am - 5pm French Festival - Hillwood Estate ($0-$18)
Where: Hillwood Museum

Sun Jul 14, 2013
2pm: Baguette Relay Race (Free)


At Home

Learn La Marseillaise and sing like a revolutionary!

Listen to the original "Les Miserables" - the musical - en français!  Look for youtube versions for free or buy the album at itunes (search "les miserables french"). March to the beat of "Do you hear the people sing? / A la volonté du peuple!

Wish someone a "Joyeux 14 Juillet" with a Cybercarte e-greeting.

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