French translation of "Dance me to the end of love"

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
cestmoi
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French translation of "Dance me to the end of love"

Postby cestmoi » Wed Nov 08, 2006 11:30 am

Dansons à ta beauté sur l'air d'un violon brûlant
Serre-moi à travers mes peurs jusqu'à l'apaisement
Moi rameau d'olivier, toi colombe du retour
Dansons tant que va l'amour

Révèle-moi ta beauté quand les témoins seront allés
Laisse-moi te sentir bouger tel Babylone dansait
Montre lentement ce dont je ne vois que l'entour
Dansons tant que va l'amour

Dansons à notre union, dansons indéfiniment
Serre-moi tendrement, et enlace-moi encore longtemps
Nous sommes à son abri, et par-delà cet amour
Dansons tant que va l'amour

Dansons à ces enfants qui à naître vont demander
Enlace-moi dans ces rideaux froissés par nos baisers
Malgré ces fils usés, dresse cet abri alentour,
Dansons tant que va l'amour

Dansons à ta beauté sur l'air d'un violon brûlant
Serre-moi à travers mes peurs jusqu'à l'apaisement
Presse-moi de ton gant ou même presse-moi sans atours
Dansons tant que va l'amour

translation by Arthur Syel http://www.arthursyel.com

----------
Comment of the translator:
I love the song in English, in particular sung by Madeleine (nicely named after Proust) Peyroux, at par with Leonard Cohen.
I found 2 or 3 translations in French on Internet 6 months ago, but didn't like them, so I wrote my own. I see my effort as a tribute to Leonard Cohen in general and this song in particular. Other translations in French found on Internet at the time seemed to me all very far from the extreme poetry of the original in English (they were even sometimes very poor just in plain basic French, like the rather poor translation by bilingual singer Graeme Allwright, which sadly doesn't do good to the image of the original work).
Nevertheless, my view is that poetry can never be translated into another language and become a true poem matching the power of he original in its original language (Baudelaire would probably agree with me. His often mentioned translation of Poe's Raven s not in my view one of Baudelaire's best poems. It is one of the very few poems of Poe which Baudelaire dared to transform into another poem, acknowledging the difficulty of such an endeavor -he translated many short stories written by Poe-. Of course, sometimes an exceptional miracle may happen, but it is extremely rare, such as a few sentences here and there in some poetic translations into French of some of the brief Chinese Tang poems by French poet Francois Cheng, but even there, I guess that these few French words will never be any match for the extraordinary and immortal success of these Chinese poems for millions of Chinese people, etc., etc.)
I hope that bilingual singers might use my translation one day, who knows, including Madeleine Peyroux, Graeme Allwright, etc.
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Dem
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Postby Dem » Wed Nov 08, 2006 5:30 pm

"Poetry is what gets lost in translation"
Robert Frost

Nice try though there Arthur!
(I can read "un peu" French)

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tomsakic
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Postby tomsakic » Wed Nov 08, 2006 5:38 pm

Are you aware of Kate Gibson's cover from "Strange Days" movie soundtrack, sung partially in French? It's my favourite cover.
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Dem
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Postby Dem » Wed Nov 08, 2006 5:41 pm

Tom is it possible to upload an mp3
of Kate Gibson's cover?

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Postby tomsakic » Wed Nov 08, 2006 6:30 pm

I will do so, gimme few days.

She's very misterious - it seems she released only one CD, Weary Remedy, in 1996 (with that single as the last track), but it's widely unknown and unavailable online. [Also, there's Aussie band Kate Gibson Band; it's not her, it seems.]

Though, that cover almost every week heard here on radio, I heard it countless times (what's really amazing); even now that song gets more airplay than Peyroux' version, which was big hit. One of misteries of life, I guess. I presume that DJs on leading national station are fond of it, and that's all. Before Peyroux came in, I heard from many people, "Oh did you ever heard that dreamy French-English jazzy Dance Me To The End Of Love, from Strange Days?" So many people are fond of it, it seems.

The film was on TV few days ago, after ten years. It seems it didn't stand the test of time.


Kate Gibson - "Dance Me To The End Of Love"
(Original version by Leonard Cohen)

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
And dance me to the end of love

Let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
And dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the wedding now, oh, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above
Oh, dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise the tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
And dance me to the end of love

Nen à moi vers ta beauté avec de violon brûlant
Nen à moi vers la beauté a poucoup je sois entière
Touche moi avec ta main nue, touche moi avec ton gant
Nen à moi jusqu'à la vadu l'amour
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Postby Simon » Wed Nov 08, 2006 7:45 pm

Kate Gibson's cover of the song is one of my favorite too. I still listen to it very regularly. It is not very well known. I'm very surprised that it is so popular still in Croatia. I've been regularly checking iTune in case the soundtrack would show up in the music store. Nothing there yet. I have the CD too.

From memory, the french part of Kate's cover should read:
Mène-moi vers ta beauté avec tes violons brûlants
Mène-moi vers la beauté pour que je sois entière
Touche-moi avec ta main nue, touche-moi avec ton gant
Mène-moi jusqu'à la fin de l'amour
Mène-moi jusqu'à la fin de l'amour
Mène-moi jusqu'à la fin de l'amour
Interesting movie by the way. It is available on DVD.

Trailer :arrow:

Arthur, have you seen the clip that Samina did for her cover of the song? Samina is from Montréal. She sings in french and in english. Her cover of the song is only in english though. The word to qualify her clip I guess could be "smouth". The Windows Media version is very slow to download but it's worth the wait.

Samina :arrow:

(Thanks Arthur for the spelling. I must be the champion here for post reediting)
Last edited by Simon on Tue Nov 14, 2006 4:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Dem
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Postby Dem » Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:26 am

Never mind Tom, here it is :)

Kate Gibson - "Dance Me To The End Of Love"

http://www.badongo.com/file/1682194


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Postby Simon » Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:39 am

Isn't it beautiful?

I've been listening to this cover for over ten years and still I never get tired of it. Somehow she is very close to LC in the way she sings it. They would be great together in a duet.
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cestmoi
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Postby cestmoi » Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:54 am

Thank you all for your help and support. I did a bit of research in the meantime...
Dem: first of all thanks for the song
Tom Sakic: thanks for the tip, mysterious lady indeed* Kate Gibson, with this apparently unique and little known 1995 album Weary Remedy (even apparently forgotten by Epic-Sony its publisher, so, Simon, it won't probably never show up in iTune), and above all mysterious strange French words at the end; I hear in fact:
Mène-moi vers ta beauté avec tes violons brûlants
Mène-moi vers la beauté pour que je sois entière
Touche-moi avec ta main nue, touche moi avec ton gant
Mène-moi jusqu'à la fin de l'amour

with "fin" (end) at the end which souds like "voie" (way), what could have brought a nice and new dimension to these words (but I think its just a banal "fin" in fact, poorly pronounced; by the way I did a bit of interpretation here with my own translation, "fin de l'amour" didn't appear to me as great as "end of love", so I wrote a more positive interpretation meaning "as long as love goes", etc.)
Simon and Tom: thanks for giving the copy of these words; indeed the lyrics of the soundtrack of Strange Days are available on http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Lot/8220/
I am still a bit puzzled here: these lyrics in French given by you seem transcribed in a rather phonetic way (?) by people like you Simon listening to Kate Gibson who obviously doesn't speak French as a native speaker and has pronounciation problems with a few words (even if she does surprisingly well a liaison somewhere...); so I even though for while, and still am thinking in fact, that I could be dealing here with another culture which I don't know, people using Canadian or Cajun slang, where "nen" and "poucoup" are usual words, with a specific meaning... Well, it makes the whole thing of these French words and this lady even more mysterious.

* there are several singers named Kate Gibson around... I found one who is still selling songs on iSound.com, I asked her by mail if she was the right one, no answer yet...

Simon: beyond all my above blabla, thanks in fact above all for the link to Samina's video; I didn't know her, she is great; first of all I really like her cover, more than K Gibson in fact (but I still prefer M Peyroux, or LC of course, question of taste);
also the video with Samina is excellent, much better in my view than the few clips made for the song which one can find on YouTube (including the one by Aaron Goffman's with Tarentino and the old black & white one in the hospital with the Much More Music logo); I do hate these clips.
(a bit of introspection here Dr Freud: in fact, before seeing these stupid clips on YouTube, when I was listening to the song, especially when I was working on the translation, I built gradually in my mind a story, my own story, with my own images, which I like, just like when I work on my own poems, then these clips contradict, destroy suddenly my own story, in bringing nothing better...)

by the way, did you notice, the song is bisexual, can be a man, can be a women singing, the words are not a problem...
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Postby Simon » Thu Nov 09, 2006 7:07 am

cestmoi wrote:mysterious lady indeed* Kate Gibson, with this apparently unique and little known 1995 album Weary Remedy (even apparently forgotten by Epic-Sony its publisher, so, Simon, it won't probably never show up in iTune)
She is indeed mysterious. I've been regularly looking out for anything about her over the years since I saw the movie. It is not her that I expect to see appear on iTunes, but the Strange Days soundtrack which was pretty good.
I am still a bit puzzled here: these lyrics in French given by you seem transcribed in a rather phonetic way (?)
The lyrics I presented above I didn't get from your geocity reference but really from memory, after having listened to this song countless times. It is obvious that whoever transcribed them on that page doesn't speak french. It is also obvious that even though she may have knowledge of french, Kate Gibson doesn't have much practice of the spoken language, thus making it the more difficult for a non french speaker to do a trancription from her performance. But even despite some of the shortcuts she takes with the pronounciation, I find her "incursion" into french territory rather touching and sensual (montréalesque) and by doing so her investment in moving towards "the other" becomes typically cohenesque.
thanks in fact above all for the link to Samina's video; I didn't know her, she is great
I like that clip too. She's become one of the enfants chéries of the Jazz Festival here in Montréal.

I had forgotten that the main character in Strange Days is named Lenny...
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Patrice
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Postby Patrice » Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:42 pm

"Poetry is what gets lost in translation"
Robert Frost
Well said ! :)

First of all, I want to thank Arthur Syel.

There are several ways to translate poetry:
1 - Word by word - the most stupid.
2 - In a poetric way - probably the best !
3 - To be sung - and you adapt and you loose the original meaning.
(and some others)

Some years ago, Leonard wrote me that he refused to give his feelings about a translation of a poem into French. I understand what he meant. :)

Although I'm not a bilingual writer/speaker (only French), I can say that it's a very good translation.

Thanks again.

Patrice.
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Postby Tchocolatl » Sat Nov 11, 2006 4:38 am

Cestmoi, I find both the translation and the comments so very pretentious, and being so, far away of being cohenesque in poetry. Simplicity in the noble way fits him much much better, but ey! It is just a forum and as long as everybody has fun the rest is not important. I know there is something in Cohen works that creates an ivresse (By the way, there is no Canadian or Cajun or even Chiac slang or not slang that could be mistaken for Ms. Gibson's interpretation. Or maybe yes, but after a few (ahem, add more) drinks. Anyway who cares for perfection - not me - perfection would be so boring if it was real, OK that sure does not mean that anything goes, it means harmony, which could not be without a certain amount of quality) into people that I have no intention to spoil. To spoil the pleasure one has to look into the mirror/window and see an intimate reflection of itself so very well - that is the contrary (completely) of what another fan finds in it. I find so interesting how fans are living their Cohen experience.

For example, I love Madeleine Peyroux's Dance me to the end of love, even though, really, it has nothing to do with the usual atmosphere of smoke from the concentration camp. Maybe because it has nothing to do with this atmosphere, like if they have made it. Danced to the end of love and danced out of this for good, in the light way right into the smoke of a night club. It is true that she is not pretentious, this lady, rather shy, instead. I don't know why but I trust shy people to be more honest with their own talent. It is a matter of good taste, I guess. Picasso was not modest, nor Dali. They did some great things, although the art of Dali never touched me, and only one painting of Picasso did. But it did, it almost send me to the ground, the force that was going out of the picture.

By the way Madeleine Peyroux is not named after Proust. Ah... what the .... it is not Wikipedia here, he?
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Dem
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Postby Dem » Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:30 pm

Translations are like women:

If they are beautiful they are not faithful.
If they are faithful they are not beautiful.


Dem

Ps) Tchocolatl which Picasso's painting touched you?
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Sat Nov 11, 2006 3:50 pm

I was wondering that, too, Tchocolatl.

:lol: Love your application of translations with regard to women, Dem :lol: .


~ Lizzy
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Postby Tchocolatl » Sat Nov 11, 2006 4:04 pm

Dem, your analysis of those two deep subjects is a lot funny but a little bit dummy. Dear. 8)

I have to find the title, I don't remimber it. I remimber the painting vividly though, it was huge (in every ways), one of his period when he was influenced by African art. Although I had already saw many Picasso's paintings "live", had like some, dislike others, this one made me understand why he is called a Master.

I have to desappear from here again for some days, so I'll try to find it for you guys for Xmast OK? Take care. Have fun.

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