The Partisan - the original lyrics and English translation?

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caz
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by caz » Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:54 pm

Sorry if this has already been posted, but I've just found this version by Buffy Sainte Marie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms2oSvej ... re=related

Also: in a version LC sang at Montreux in 1985 the lines go:

J'ai changé cent fois du nom
J'ai perdu femme et enfants
Vous qui le savez
Effacez mon passage

I believe the last two lines usually come after:
Personne ne m'a demandé
D'où je viens et où je vais
(then
Vous qui le savez
Effacez mon passage.)

Isn't the Internet marvellous?
Last edited by caz on Mon May 04, 2009 6:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
News Gal
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by News Gal » Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:09 pm

Sochijava wrote:Hi News Gal - is that Cherokee script in your signature? It looks just beautiful, so unique (to my eyes in any case). My brother-in-law is Ojibwe, so I have heard some Objibwe, but not a great amount. One of the most interesting English accents I've heard is Inuit - very distinctive and completely different from any other English accent I've heard. Of course the Inuit language itself is also incredibly interesting. Languages, dialects, accents - all so rich, so much to learn from each language or interpretation of a language or dialect.

It is! Cherokee is an Iroquoian language, and its closest relative is Mohawk. I can understand some Mohawk and Seneca, but not well enough to get by, from knowing Cherokee.

Caz, thanks for the link! I LOVE Buffy Sainte-Marie. Have you ever heard her song Darling Don't Cry? She did a duet on that with the Red Bull Singers from Saskatchewan.
ᎤᏩᎬᏗᏒ ᏥᎪᏩᏘᎲ, ᎯᎩᎾᎵᎢ, ᎠᏓᎯᏍᏗ ᎨᏐ. Uwagvdisv tsigowatihv, higinali'i , adahisdi geso (I've seen the future brother, it is murder.)
Eskimo
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by Eskimo » Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:51 am

The post about John Bilezikjian reminded me of this 1988 performance of The Partisan....
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caz
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by caz » Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:57 pm

Hi Newsgal - no I haven't heard that song but I'll chase it up! One of the first songs I downloaded onto my iPod was Soldier Blue - brought back so many memories.

Eskimo: I consider the 1988 San Sebastian performance of The Partisan one of the best ever and I think that seems to be a common view!

Carole
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by Darling » Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:01 pm

Hello everybody,

Sorry it took me a long time to answer, I am now back in Quebec, but still quite a bit jet lagged (it's a 12 hours difference)...

Sochijava: My grandmother used to sing Un Canadien Errant to me when I was a child, it was one of my favorites. I remember when LC's album came out years later, a friend of mine who had just bought it said with a puzzled look: 'He sings Un Canadien errant with mexican trumpets'. I went 'euh?' :shock: Let's say it's taking me a very very long time to get used to! :lol:

One of my favorite fantasies/dream :oops: is to imagine LC coming to my hometown (fat chance!) and the whole crowd standing up and singing it to him (everyone over 40 knows it there).

Thanks Cate for the Kingston info, I think I will keep my hopes (and my money) for a Montreal show. It seems to me that he just cannot not finish the tour there... I did have a wonderful trip (just not seeing our Prime Minister's face for 3 months felt great) but you can stop being jealous, since I am now back. I will think about you on May 22 ... Can't have it all.
I'm not sure that, 'but it makes my cheeks warm', is much of a defense for a language
What better defense can there be ? :D

Buffy fans: I love Buffy Sainte-Marie too! She sang The Partisan at the LC tribute show in Montreal last year and also during her own show the night after. She was great. Incidently, I am so used to hear LC saying 'pu' sounding like 'peur' that when she said 'pu' it almost sounded to me like she wasn't saying it right...(EDIT: After listening to the show on tv, I realized she never sang that part of the song, so I'm either crazy, or senile, or it's someone or somewhere else) And you gals who like Buffy AND go red cheeked for a guy with a Quebec accent, you should look for Claude Gauthier's French version of Until It's Time For You To Go called T'es pas une autre. You can hear a little extract there: http://www.amazon.com/Tes-pas-une-autre ... 974&sr=1-1. I think it might make more than your cheeks warm. ;-)

NewsGal: I think it is great that you speak Cherokee, so many Native languages are disappearing. I worked a couple months at the Kahnawake Survival School and I liked the sound of Mohawk (although I didn't get to hear much of it, since even there there's not that many people who can speak it). So I guess if Cherokee is similar, I would like it too. :)
Last edited by Darling on Tue Jul 07, 2009 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by MaryB » Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:17 pm

Eskimo wrote:The post about John Bilezikjian reminded me of this 1988 performance of The Partisan....
What a young Bob Metzger! So glad he is on this tour! John is wonderful in this. Javier Maas is every bit as good and seems to really enjoy playing with LC. Some of their interactions are priceless. Taking nothing away from Sharon Robinson and the Webb Sisters, I miss Julie and Perla (and the violin :cry: ). Their chemistry with LC was phenomenal! They exhibited the pathos that is so necessary when performing LC songs.

Kindest regards,
Mary
1993 Detroit 2008 Kitchener June 2-Hamilton June 3 & 4-Vienna Sept 24 & 25-London RAH Nov 17 2009 NYC Feb 19-Grand Prairie Apr 3-Phoenix Apr 5-Columbia May 11-Red Rocks Jun 4-Barcelona Sept 21-Columbus Oct 27-Las Vegas Nov 12-San Jose Nov 13 2010 Sligo Jul 31 & Aug 1-LV Dec 10 & 11 2012 Paris Sept 30-London Dec 11-Boston Dec 16 2013 Louisville Mar 30-Amsterdam Sept 20
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lightning
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French TV Partisan Song and Regina-rare clips

Post by lightning » Sat May 02, 2009 5:19 pm

I have just gotten around to posting two rare 1970 clips on YouTube, the first with my own translation and subtitles, of performances of the Partisan Song introduced by Joe Dassin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jQ311QP050

and Regina, a country music type song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag5gm3S- ... annel_page

This was the Leonard Cohen I used to know and I will always remember him this way.
Enjoy!!!
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Re: French TV Partisan Song and Regina-rare clips

Post by Darling » Sat May 02, 2009 7:03 pm

Leonard Cohen introduced by Joe Dassin? :D Priceless, thank you!
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Re: French TV Partisan Song and Regina-rare clips

Post by DrHGuy » Sat May 02, 2009 7:42 pm

I can only agree - these are both wonderful. As a too provincial, one-language sort of guy, I am especially appreciative of the effort involved in providing the translations. Many thanks.
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Re: French TV Partisan Song and Regina-rare clips

Post by MaryB » Sat May 02, 2009 8:29 pm

After seeing 'The Partisan' performed in concert, with the beautiful orchestration and the exquisite introduction by Javier Maas, it is refreshing to watch it in its stripped and spare form - absolutely lovely!

I can understand why this rendition is the one you 'know' lightning - thank you for this!

Best regards,
Mary
1993 Detroit 2008 Kitchener June 2-Hamilton June 3 & 4-Vienna Sept 24 & 25-London RAH Nov 17 2009 NYC Feb 19-Grand Prairie Apr 3-Phoenix Apr 5-Columbia May 11-Red Rocks Jun 4-Barcelona Sept 21-Columbus Oct 27-Las Vegas Nov 12-San Jose Nov 13 2010 Sligo Jul 31 & Aug 1-LV Dec 10 & 11 2012 Paris Sept 30-London Dec 11-Boston Dec 16 2013 Louisville Mar 30-Amsterdam Sept 20
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hydriot
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Re: French TV Partisan Song and Regina-rare clips

Post by hydriot » Sat May 02, 2009 9:55 pm

This is an excellent performance, very close to the version on Songs from a Room.

It's wonderful that you have got the English translation of the French lyrics correct (we're still all fighting the damage done by the incorrect words in the original CD) ... but ironically there are just a few tiny problems with your French transcription. The correct words, both French and English, are in the Songs Index on this site.

"Il me dit..." means "He tells me..." (present tense). Correct words are "Ils me dirent" meaning "They told me..." (imperfect tense). Leonard solves the problem of the extra syllable by making the '-ent' silent (you can clearly hear the 'r' immediately before 'Resigne'), which was not how I was taught, but maybe this is a French-Canadian convention.

In the next line it is "Mais je n'ai pas pu", 'pu' being the past participle of 'pouvoir'. (Thank you for avoiding the 'Je n'ai pas peur' error = 'I wasn't frightened')

The partisan has lost more than one child. It's "enfants" = "children".

"Caché" does not have an 's' at the end, because the old man is the subject and he is singular.

The official words are "sans supplice" (see the Song Index), though I agree it really does sound as if Leonard sings "sans surprise". The figurative meaning of "sans supplice" is "without torment/ordeal" (i.e. calmly) which is much closer to the English "died without a whisper".

This rendition, of course, masks the biggest difference between the English and French versions. In the recorded version, the backing-singers reveal that when freedom comes "we will return to the shadows" (i.e. we will get on with our normal peacetime lives as if the war never happened and nobody will remember us), the precise opposite of Leonard's "we'll come from the shadows".

Thank you for your efforts though. It really is a great clip.
“If you do have love it's a kind of wound, and if you don't have it it's worse.” - Leonard, July 1988
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margaret
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Re: French TV Partisan Song and Regina-rare clips

Post by margaret » Sat May 02, 2009 10:21 pm

Thank you Lightning for the acknowledgement :)

It's great to see these old clips made available for so many more people to enjoy.
This seems to be the period of the very early European tour, some of which was captured in the "Bird on a Wire" film.

margaret
Darling
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Re: French TV Partisan Song and Regina-rare clips

Post by Darling » Sun May 03, 2009 2:21 am

hydriot wrote: "Il me dit..." means "He tells me..." (present tense). Correct words are "Ils me dirent" meaning "They told me..." (imperfect tense). Leonard solves the problem of the extra syllable by making the '-ent' silent (you can clearly hear the 'r' immediately before 'Resigne'), which was not how I was taught, but maybe this is a French-Canadian convention.
".
It's not a French-Canadian convention. In the original version, the words are 'On m'a dit résigne-toi' which may explain the mistake. Also in French, (not only in Canada) it is common to 'link' two words when the last and the first syllables are similar. In this case, since the 'nt' in 'dirent' is not pronounced, it is quite legitimate to 'link' the two 'r' although usually when we do that we insist a little more on the 'r'.
The official words are "sans supplice" (see the Song Index), though I agree it really does sound as if Leonard sings "sans surprise". The figurative meaning of "sans supplice" is "without torment/ordeal" (i.e. calmly) which is much closer to the English "died without a whisper".
Actually, there was a mistake in the Song Index because in the original French version it is indeed 'sans surprise'. Jarkko changed it today. It makes more sense than ''sans supplice'' which, in the context of the song, would mean 'without being tortured'. It would be possible but unlikely to be said in a patriotic song where they don't usually go out of their way to say nice things about the enemy.
"Caché" does not have an 's' at the end, because the old man is the subject and he is singular.

''Caché'' does have an 's' at the end, because 'un participe passé avec l'auxiliaire avoir s'accorde avec le complément d'objet direct si celui-ci est placé avant'. I can't translate this (I tried), let me try to explain instead. Since in this case you have the verb 'avoir caché' (to hide something or someone) instead of 'être caché' (to be hidden) then, you ask ''Le vieil homme a caché qui?" (who did the old man hide?) the old man hid ''nous'' (us) then, since the ''nous'' is placed before the 'caché', the 'caché' has to be plural and takes an 's'. No, French is not simple. :lol:

I'm sure it's been posted somewhere else on this site, but here are the complete French lyrics, taken from there: http://www.deljehier.levillage.org/text ... rtisan.htm where you can also listen to it sung by Anna Marly, the music composer (click on MP3).

LA COMPLAINTE DU PARTISAN

L'ennemi était chez moi
On m'a dit résigne toi
Mais je n'ai pas pu
Et j'ai repris mon arme
Personne ne m'a demandé
D'où je viens et où je vais
Vous qui le savez
Effacez mon passage

J'ai changé cent fois de nom
J'ai perdu femme et enfants
Mais j'ai tant d'amis
Et j'ai la France entière

Hier encore nous étions trois
Il ne reste plus que moi
Et je tourne en rond
Dans la prison des frontières

Un vieil homme dans un grenier
Pour la nuit nous a cachés
L¹ennemi l'a su
Il est mort sans surprise

Le vent souffle sur les tombes
La liberté reviendra
On nous oubliera
Nous rentrerons dans l'ombre
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lightning
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Re: French TV Partisan Song and Regina-rare clips

Post by lightning » Sun May 03, 2009 4:37 am

I love French chanson and hate French grammar. I'm sorry if there were any mistakes. I will refer this thread to my Parisian colleague Philippe who picked over every word of the translation ( he is a perfectionist as well as a poet). I thought "Les allemands etaient chez moi, ils me disent resigne-toi " is how it should read, but that was not what Leonard sang, so I transcibed what I heard.
Glad you all enjoyed it.
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Re: French TV Partisan Song and Regina-rare clips

Post by Darling » Sun May 03, 2009 4:59 am

lightning wrote:I love French chanson and hate French grammar. I'm sorry if there were any mistakes. I will refer this thread to my Parisian colleague Philippe who picked over every word of the translation ( he is a perfectionist as well as a poet). I thought "Les allemands etaient chez moi, ils me disent resigne-toi " is how it should read, but that was not what Leonard sang, so I transcibed what I heard.
Glad you all enjoyed it.
And you did quite a good job, thanks again. :D
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