Books

The Balfa Brothers Play Traditional Cajun Music
A French/English Interlinear Translation- 22 songs





The Songs of Iry Lejeune
A French/English Interlinear Translation- 25 songs





Transcriptions and Translations
by
David Greely

These books contain transcriptions and translations of the Cajun French language found in the lyrics of the Balfa Brothers’ magnificent two first albums, and Iry Lejeune’s classic recordings.

Transcription and translations for these recordings are already available elsewhere, but these books take a radically different approach.

Here the translations are interlinear (between each line) and painstakingly literal. The reader will immediately know the meaning of each word as well as the syntax of the French spoken by the Cajuns of South Louisiana.

For example, lines like :
O, bébé, oublie pas, viens me rejoindre
Oh baby forget not  come me   rejoin

…have always been translated elsewhere on the page, in smooth English, with all the foreign arrangements of the words converted to the accustomed English ways of expression, like this :

Oh, baby, don’t forget, come back to me

The interlinear method may seem awkward, but it gives a much clearer picture of the structure of French expression, such as reflexive phrases like viens me rejoindre, normally translated as come back to me, when the French words are actually in this order, come me rejoin.

There are parts of words in subscript to highlight letters that are uniquely silent in the Cajun French dialect. Liquid syllables like the re in rejoindre are not often pronounced in this dialect, and are usually rendered as r’joind’. The subscript highlight leaves the word properly spelled, to help the singer learn how to write and read French, and at the same time clearly helps the singer pronounce Cajun French convincingly and helps the words fit the rhythms of the song as intended by the original singers.

The song titles are numbered according to their appearance on the track list of the CD, The Balfa Brothers Play Traditional Cajun Music Volumes I and II (SW-6011,) minus the instrumental tracks.

The Iry Lejeune lyrics are for all his recordings, and the book corresponds to the CD, Iry Lejeune: The Definitive Collection (Ace CDCHD 428)

It is highly recommended to learn while listening to the Balfa Brothers, or to Iry Lejeune’s recordings, so that you can imitate their accent and pronunciation, and thereby create a convincing Cajun French vocal.

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