LA JAVANAISE

Artist: Madeleine Peyroux

Genre: Jazz (French)

Notable lyrics:

J’avoue
J’en ai
Bavé
Pas vous
Mon amour
Avant
D’avoir
Eu vent
De vous
Mon amour

Ne vous déplaise
En dansant la Javanaise
Nous nous aimions
Le temps d’une chanson

A votre
Avis
Qu’avons-
Nous vu
De l’amour
De vous
A moi
Vous m’a-
Vez eu
Mon amour

Ne vous déplaise
En dansant la Javanaise
Nous nous aimions
Le temps d’une chanson

Hélas
Avril
En vain
Me voue
A l’amour
J’avais
Envie
De voir
En vous
Cet amour

Ne vous déplaise
En dansant la Javanaise
Nous nous aimions
Le temps d’une chanson

La vie
Ne vaut
D’être
Vécue
Sans Amour
Mais c’est
Vous qui
L’avez
Voulu
Mon amour

Ne vous déplaise
En dansant la Javanaise
Nous nous aimions
Le temps d’une chanson

Translation:

I had
A few
Tough years
Didn’t you
My true love
Until
At last
You crossed
My path
My true love

If you don’t mind
While dancing the javanaise
Our love lasted
As long as a song

What do
You think
That we
Have seen
Of true love
Let me
Tell you
I was
Deceived
My true love

If you don’t mind
While dancing the javanaise
Our love lasted
As long as a song

Alas
April
In vain
Draws me
To true love
I was
Willing
To see
In you
This true love

If you don’t mind
While dancing the javanaise
Our love lasted
As long as a song

Life is
Pointless
When it’s
Devoid
Of true love
But that’s
The choice
You made
For us
My true love

If you don’t mind
While dancing the javanaise
Our love lasted
As long as a song

The combination of French, the language of love and Jazz, the music of love, has to be one of the most magnificent creations of mankind.

Originally written by Serge Gainsbourg back in 1962, this song happens to be a cover by Madeleine Peyroux, an American jazz singer and songwriter who began her career as a teenager on the streets of Paris. She is known for her vintage jazz and blues songs. When Peyroux was just 13, she moved to Paris with her mother, where she began singing, ‘inspired by the street musicians of Paris’ Latin Quarter. By 1989, she was performing as a member of the old-timey jazz band the Riverboat Shufflers. Around age 16, she joined another vintage-inspired ensemble, the Lost & Wandering Blues & Jazz Band, and spent several years touring Europe performing jazz standards by such legends as Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and others’.

While Gainsbourg’s version of the song, which is the original one, is sensual and authentic, with perfect 60’s French music, Peyroux has brought out the sheer delicacy in the song. Even though the two versions don’t necessarily contradict each other, they’re not that similar, save for the same lyrics. Why I have chosen this version is because I was more drawn to the innate authenticity that persists, even with the progression in the art of Jazz. When I first heard the song, Madeleine was mistaken for a 50’s Jazz artist, such is her vocal charm. Released in 2006, the song retains the timelessness a jazz song is entitled to have.

The elegant, pared-down arrangements are all brushed drums, acoustic guitars, and cool organ licks. But of course it’s Peyroux’s voice that brings it all home–preferably one where the shades are drawn, embers are smoldering in the fireplace, and the white wine is kept dry.

What a perfect way to describe the song. Also, the soft and toned music makes is especially pleasant, like something you’d play in a very nice restaurant, or to accentuate your lover’s voice as you have a candle-lit dinner on the terrace on a warm evening, or even on a beautiful cruise across the Pacific. Her perfect pronunciation, The sweet music of the violin and the piano swipe are all beautiful attributes of the song.

The Javanaise is made to seem like a dance the lover’s asking his beloved to remember they had on an evening, on a street with the street band playing this song (the latter half of this story is all made-up). That’s the beauty of French Jazz music when it’s played in every nook and corner of Paris – it’s mind-numbing and mesmerizing. One quiet walk through Paris on a lovely summer’s night will fill your life with so much bliss that you’ll never be worried about the little things again. That is, of course, if there’s no threat of robbery.

 

 

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