I have a new obsession: Corsican protest music.
Wait! I know. It sounds a little ridiculous. But just listen to this song:
Now imagine thousands of men and women—dishwashers and cleaning ladies and plumbers—walking down the Champs Elysees in Paris and singing this together.
Why? Basically, the island of Corsica is an island off of France that belongs to France, and there was a big push for independence in the 80’s and 90’s (which continues today, but with less singing). For a more in depth treatment of the history of the situation, you can check out this relatively detailed article, but here’s a simple version:
When French colonialism became less of a force, it left a lot of Corsicans without work, and the island started to fall apart economically. This started a big regionalistic movement, in which Corsicans really began to push for recognition of their unique culture and language, both of which were jeopardized by the economic situation.
They were ignored, which lead to the formation of various militant groups. These unfortunately resorted to machine guns, rifles and bombings to get their point across.
But while the techniques they used were less than ideal, a lot of the ideas were great—the preservation of the Corsican language, for example, and movement away from tourism into more local and sustainable economic growth. Plus, they came up with some pretty amazing songs, like this one.
A quick translation of the lyrics:
Sing in our own language
Sing to say that you are Corsican
Sing your hope
Sing our differences
Sing, Sing, Sing
Sing for the friend far away
Sing for the today and the tomorrow
Let us stay for life
Healthy and in peace
Sing, Corsican, Sing
Sing for the mother who cries
When she meets her son again
For the man imprisoned
Sing for the miserable
Sing, Sing, sing
Sing for those who don’t have Corsica
Sing for the future of Corsicans
Sing against poverty
Sing as a prayer
Sing, Corsican, sing
(with a little help from lyricstranslate.com)
If you liked that and want more, you should definitely check out the whole album—Les Plus Belles Chansons Corses.