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“Douce France” (“Sweet France”)

August 23, 2012

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Douce France (“Sweet France”) is a very famous song composed by Charles Trénet that he interpreted for the first time in 1943, in front of French prisoners in Berlin. Douce France is a song full of nostalgia, intended at sweetening the sufferings of the French people during the World War II.

For an English translation of the lyrics, click here : French/English lyrics of Douce France.

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The song was reinterpreted in 1986 by the French rock band Carte de Séjour (meaning “green card”, “residence permit”), whose lead singer was Rachid Taha.

The social context of the time and the identity of the musicians (born in France from Algerian immigrants) give it a completely different meaning. To take this standard patriotic song and to sing it with this “furious irony” was actually very provocative and can be considered as an act of protestation against discrimination. It can indeed be understood as a reminder to French people, saying : like you we were born in France, we do also belong to France, Charles Trénet’s song is as much our legacy as yours…

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