The things I learn from Quebecois music

I’ve been having great fun, O Internets, learning that yeah, Quebecois trad is pretty much only a skip over from Celtic trad in general when it comes to the overall themes that show up in the songs. As I have frequently joked, the themes of Celtic music are Whiskey, Sex, and Death, and a lot of that applies to Quebec trad as well–though you could make a decent case for Religion also being a theme of the genre, in this case, and for swapping out Whiskey for Wine!
With that in mind, I have been taking note of overall character archetypes and themes I’ve spotted in songs I’ve been trying to translate, or which I have been learning off of translated lyrics from various bands’ websites or from lyrics wikis. I present for your amusement and edification the following things I have spotted in Quebecois trad music:
Band members (inserting themselves into their own songs)
Belles (sleeping)
Belles (waking up)
Belles (who are daughters of rich fathers, and pretending to be daughters of the town executioner)
Belles (who want their lovers to murder their mothers)
Belle (who really seriously want their parents to BACK OFF ALREADY when it comes to their chosen galants)
Belles (with unfortunate choices in galants who do not clue in when they’re supposed to making with the snogging)
Dragons (who are actually human soldiers as opposed to mythical giant lizards)
Fishermen (who have issues with their boats tipping over)
Galants (who may or may not be wasting their time trying to win the affections of les belles)
Galants (who are kind of thick-headed when it comes to seeing opportunities to snog their belles in the woods)
Husbands (who lament the scolding of their wives)
Innkeepers (who have issues with their tables not having enough legs)
Knights (transformed into dragons by cranky witches)
Lawyers (who belles do not for the love of GOD want to marry, except their fathers are pressuring them into it)
Mothers (who somehow manage to be concerned about their sons even after being murdered and having their hearts removed, Edgar Allan Poe much?)
Parents (cranky about their daughters accepting the affections of unsuitable galants)
Parents (anxious about the chosen dangerous professions of their sons)
Priests (pursued by women)
Priests (pursuing women)
Priests (who are actually disguised gallants)
Princesses (who are doleful about their knights getting transformed into dragons)
Roofers (who have issues with falling off of roofs)
Shepherdesses (cranky about the shooting of their ducks)
Soldiers (successfully wooing belles)
Soldiers (NOT successful at wooing belles)
Sons of kings (who make shepherdesses cranky for shooting their ducks)
Vintners (who are very bad at making wine)
Vintners’ assistants (who are very GOOD at making wine)
Violin players (who are preferred lovers, not that there’s any bias in that song or anything)
Witches (going around transforming nice young knights into dragons, I mean, the NERVE of some people)
Wives (cranky about their husbands drinking too much, messing around with other women, or both of the above)
Wives (who are not terribly good at household chores, and trust me, you don’t want to know what this one girl wound up doing to her cat)
Wives (who want to poison their husbands)
Blue Jays
Dragons (who are actually transformed knights)
Ducks (STILL not sure what the heck they were doing next to the wedding bed in that song)
Nightingales (singing)
Snow Geese
Bedrooms (in which locale the activity of the song ought to be obvious)
Churches (in which priests are frequently pursued and/or pursuing, or which young lovers are illicitly meeting)
Inns (all SORTS of shenanigans going on in inns)
Kitchens (more shenanigans)
Mills (yet more shenanigans, lots of mills in these songs)
Woods (oh my yes with the shenanigans)
Bottles (generally presumed to be containing wine)

2 Replies to “The things I learn from Quebecois music”

  1. Bottle presumed to contain wine? Not mead, whisky, applejack, cider, or beer? Or is that a chose de l’québécois, that it is assumed to contain wine?

    1. I’m assuming that the frequently mentioned bottles contain wine mostly because that’s because wine is the most frequently mentioned actual drink. (And I don’t know if this is a Quebecois thing in particular or just a French thing in general, but!) I’ve found one song so far where beer is referenced, but mostly the songs are all about the wine.
      Several songs in my collection feature vinters in particular; there’s a song on the new Le Vent album that’s all about a vintner who’s watering down his wares. His assistant calls him on it, and the guy tries to buy him off. The assistant claims he’ll leave until the wife steps in and goes “no, actually, I want him to stay, and YOU to go”. ;)
      (My money’s on the making of wine not being the ONLY thing the assistant is good at, muahahaha.)

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