If you’re a Quebecker, you’ll probably recognize the background music playing on our speaking page. It’s Quebec singer-songwriter Martin Léon’s song “C’est ça qui est ça”. (And YES, we paid for the right to use it.)
If you’re not a Quebecker, Martin Léon is big star on the Quebec music scene. He’s still pretty young so he’s bound to become an even bigger star, maybe even what you call a monument in Quebec. Other Quebec musicians are starting to record his music, so that’s a good sign.
We love his music. It’s (obviously) solidly francophone, but at the same time deeply American (in the continental sense of the word). We lived in Arizona last year and listened to it whenever we drove through the desert. It was a perfect soundtrack.
Which brings us to “C’est Ça Qui Est Ça”, which just means “That’s that”, nothing more. If you listen to the whole song, you’ll see the lyrics don’t go much further. It’s a song about talking when you really have nothing to say (I think Martin said it an interview that it was about the difficulty of communicating, but I could be wrong).
The first time we heard it, we just about fell over laughing – what cheek, to make a song about having nothing to say. Especially in the French language culture, where speaking is considered an art in itself.
But that’s the whole point. Martin Léon is not French, he’s a Quebecker, and his music reflects the culture here. Quebeckers are North Americans who speak French, not French people who live in North America.
As Martin Léon shows, the quintessentially English pleasure of understatement DOES translate into French.
Check it Martin Léon’s albums: www.martinleon.com