Chansons des voyageurs

from A Woman's Way by Crosscurrents Music

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about

Frances Anne Hopkins: Ontario, 1838-1919
Painter of the Voyageurs

Frances shot the rapids of the Voyageur's Highway between Fort William (Thunder Bay) and Lachine, Quebec in a birchbark canoe and a straw hat. The wife of a Hudson's Bay governor chronicled the final days of the fur trade in an enduring legacy of great paintings. Her famous "voyageur series" of lush oils are vaguely familiar to many Canadians, although few realize the artist was female. Her work adorns the cover of my book VOYAGES: Canada's Heritage Rivers (see www.chrs.ca).

Brigades in the great canoes need the rhythm of paddling songs to keep the huge boat trim, and the right tempo to match their stroke to the current and waves. This medley of well-loved voyageur songs moves from a quiet lake (A la claire fontaine/Fendez le bois) through a gathering current (C'est la belle Françoise) to the rapids (V'la le bon vent) and finally to the open "seas" of the Great Lakes (Dans la prison de Londres).

lyrics

Fendez le bois

A la claire fontaine, m'en allant promener
J'ai trouvé l'eau si belle que je m'y suis baigné
Fendez le bois, chauffez le four
Dormez, la belle, il n'est point jour.

J'ai trouvé l'eau si belle que je m'y suis baigné
Dans la plus haute branche le rossignol chantait
Fendez le bois...

Chante, rossignol, chante, toi qui a le coeur gai
Tu as le coeur à rire, moi, je l'ai à pleurer
Fendez le bois...

C'est la belle Françoise

C'est la belle Françoise, lon gai
C'est la belle Françoise
Qui veut s'y marier, maluron lurette
Qui veut s'y marier, maluron luré.

Son amant va le voir, lon gai
Son amant va le voir
Qui veut l'épouserai, maluron lurette
Que veut l'épouserai, maluron luré.

V'la le bon vent

V'la le bon vent, v'la le joli vent
V'la le bon vent, m'amie m'appelle
V'la le bon vent, v'la le joli vent
V'la le bon vent, m'amie m'attend.

Derrière chez nous, y a-t-un étang (bis)
Trois beaux canards s'en vont baignant
V'la le bon vent...

Trois beaux canards s'en vont baignant ( bis)
Le fils du roi s'en va chassant
V'la le bon vent...

Le fils du roi s'en va chassant (bis)
Visa le noir, tua le blanc
V'la le bon vent...

O fils du roi, tu es méchant (bis)
D'avoir tué mon canard blanc
V'la le bon vent...

Dans la prison de Londres

Dans la prison de Londres, tam de de li de lam
Dans la prison de Londres, y'avait un prisonnier
Y'avait un prisonnier.

Personne venait le voir...Sauf la fille du geôlier (bis)

Sil faut que demain j'meurs...Détachez-moi les mains (bis)

Quand il eut les mains lâches...A la mer s'est jeté (bis)
A la première plonge...Il a manqué s'y noyer (bis)
A la deuxième plonge...Le mer a traversé (bis)
Si je retourne a Londres...Oui, je l'épouserai.

In French, repeated lines are indicated with (bis) and repeated response patterns with an ellipsis.

credits

from A Woman's Way, released May 18, 2018
trad. Quebeçois. Martha Pellerin, harmony vocals.

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about

Crosscurrents Music Boston, Massachusetts

Lynn Noel brings traditional song and heritage arts online to create digital community. Lynn has a voice of striking clarity and power, equally at home in rhythmic chanteys and flowing ballads.

Lynn is a respected song session leader on both sides of the Atlantic and the producer and host of the Mermaid's Tavern online folk club. She has earned awards from the IUCN, NRCA, and CDSS.
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