Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Southern Lullabies

My Mawmaw spoke French ninety percent of the time, so when she also sang to me in French.  Remember this is Cajun French, not quite the same as real French, but knowing it helped me place out of two college classes.  Thanks Mawmaw!

Like most people, especially older ones, in Cajun Country, Mawmaw liked her Cajun music.  I knew these songs by heart by the time I went to Kindergarten, but I didn't quite understand what they meant.  I guess that's why my teacher looked at me funny when I sang to her about getting drunk and going to jail.  

Mawmaw rocked me until I was too big too rock, but I understand that now that I am a Mimi.  I'll rock Eleni and sing to her as long as she will let me.  Wouldn't you?  Look at this face!

Mawmaw sang her favorite songs to me.   Of course, just like Mawmaw, they were far from boring.  Her favorite one, the one I sang for my teacher, was  "La Porte d'en Arriere,"  or "The Back Door."  I thought it might be fun to put links to the song as well as the English translation so that you can see how colorful Mawmaw's lullabies were, especially when repeated by a five year old.  I'm so glad my Mawmaw was fun.  

Watch it performed here:


Thank you Mudcat.org for the translation.  

"The Back Door"
1. Moi et la belle on avait étézau bal,
On a passé dans tous les honky-tonks,
S'en a rev'nu le lendemain matin,
Le jour était aprés se caser,
J'ai passé dedans la porte en arrière.
2. L'après-midi moi j'étais au village
Et je m'ai saoulé que je pouvais plus marcher,
Ils m'ont ramené back à la maison
Il y avait de la compagnie, c'était du monde étranger,
J'ai passé dedans la porte en arrière.
3. Mon vieux père un soir quand j'arrivais,
Il a essayé de changer mon idée,
J'ai pas écouté, moi j'avais trop la tête dure,
"Un jour à venir, mon nèg', tu vas avoir du regret
T'as passé dedans la pote en arrière."
4. J'ai eu un tas des amis tant que j'ais de l'argent
Asteur j'ai plus d'argent mais ils voulont* plus me voir
J'ai été dans le village et moi je m'ai mis dans le tracas,
La loi m'a ramassé, moi je suis parti dans la prison,
On va passer dedans la porte en arrière.
1. Me and my girl had gone to the dance,
We went to all the Honky-Tonks,
We came back the next morning,
The day was breaking,
I passed in by the back door.
2. That afternoon I was at the village,
I got so drunk I couldn't walk,
They brought me back to the house,
There was company there, some strangers,
I passed in by the back door.
3. My old father, one evening when I arrived,
He tried to change my way of looking at things,
I didn't listen to him, I had too hard a head,
"A day will come, my friend, you'll be sorry,
You passed in by the back door."
4. I had a lot of friends when I had money,
Now that I don't have any money they don't want to see me anymore,
I was in town, I got myself into trouble,
The law picked me up, and I was put in jail,
I'm gonna' pass in through the back door.

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