Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Leonard Cohen: The Partisan

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Leonard Cohen: The Partisan, from the original 1969 broadcast on French TV. The song is based on La Complainte du Partisan, a French song adapted to English lyrics. Leonard Cohen's version uses a combination of both English and French lyrics. You can also listen to a version from 1988 here, and one from 2008 here. It's worth looking and comparing versions. Leonard Cohen was born in 1934 in Montreal, my hometown.

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The Partisan (La Complainte du Partisan) is a song about the French Resistance during the Second World War. It was written in 1943 in London by Anna Marly and Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie. It was adapted to English by Hy Zaret, an American lyricist.

Although this was written two years after The Blitz, German airforces' sustained two-month bombing of London, the war was still ever-present in the lives of Europeans, and the damage of sustained attacks on people and their homes had a deeply detrimental effect. Even so, the resistance to terror, tyranny and all the horrifying weapons that humans can fashion, often leads people to courageously resist its strictures and to fight for freedom, justice and human dignity.
Songs From a Room: Leonard Cohen's second album, released in 1969.
The partisan is the fourth track on Side 1.
Source: Wikipedia

The Partisan
[Leonard Cohen's version]

When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender,
this I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished.
I have changed my name so often,
I've lost my wife and children
but I have many friends,
and some of them are with me.

An old woman gave us shelter,
kept us hidden in the garret,
then the soldiers came;
she died without a whisper.

There were three of us this morning
I'm the only one this evening
but I must go on;
the frontiers are my prison.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we'll come from the shadows.

Les Allemands e'taient chez moi, (The Germans were at my home)
ils me dirent, "Signe toi," (They said, "Sign yourself,")
mais je n'ai pas peur; (But I am not afraid)
j'ai repris mon arme. (I have retaken my weapon.)

J'ai change' cent fois de nom, (I have changed names a hundred times)
j'ai perdu femme et enfants (I have lost wife and children)
mais j'ai tant d'amis; (But I have so many friends)
j'ai la France entie`re. (I have all of France)

Un vieil homme dans un grenier (An old man, in an attic)
pour la nuit nous a cache', (Hid us for the night)
les Allemands l'ont pris; (The Germans captured him)
il est mort sans surprise. (He died without surprise.)

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we'll come from the shadows


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La Complainte du Partisan
Lyrics: Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigérie
Composition: Anna Marly

Les All'mands étaient 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'ou 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 enfant
Mais j'ai tant d'amis
Et j'ai la France entière.

Un vieil homme dans un grenier
Pour la nuit nous a cachés
Les All'mands l'ont pris
Il est mort sans surprise

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

Le vent passe sur les tombes
Et la liberté reviendra
On nous oubliera!
Nous rentrerons dans l'ombre.

**********************************
The Partisan
English lyrics: Hy Zaret
Composition: Anna Marly

When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender,
This I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished.

I have changed my name so often,
I've lost my wife and children
But I have many friends,
And some of them are with me.

An old woman gave us shelter,
Kept us hidden in the garret,
Then the soldiers came;
She died without a whisper.

There were three of us this morning
I'm the only one this evening
But I must go on;
The frontiers are my prison.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
Through the graves the wind is blowing,
Freedom soon will come;
Then we'll come from the shadows.



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