Showing posts with label Charles Aznavour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charles Aznavour. Show all posts

26 September 2023

Translation: Charles Aznavour La Bohème

After Ingres and Rafael, Bora Mici, 2017

This is Bora Mici's original translation of the French song La Bohème written and performed by Charles Aznavour in the 1960s. Aznavour sings of a time gone by when the Parisian neighborhood of Montmartre was an artist's paradise and when it was possible to scrape by a living as an artist who was not necessarily an enfant terrible of the art market, and still savor the glory of a bohemian lifestyle.  

La bohème by Charles Aznavour

An epoch will be sung, that the very young
Cannot really know
Montmartre through the cracks, hung its lilacs
Down to our window
And while the attic that was to be our romantic
nest, wasn’t more than a shed
It’s there where we’d collude, I was unfed
And you posed nude.

The bohemian, the bohemian
That meant that we were gay
The bohemian, the bohemian
We ate only every other day.

In the neighboring bars, some of us were the stars
Waiting to gleam
Even though we were twenty, and our stomachs were empty
We’d always dream
And when we got a warm quiche in exchange for a pastiche
From a bistrot hire
Poems together we would tell, gathered ‘round the fire
To forget winter’s spell.

The bohemian, the bohemian
You were pretty like Venus
The bohemian, the bohemian
We all had a spark of genius.

Often in front of my easel, as the rain would drizzle
Being awake all night was bracing
Touching up the line of a supine
breast, a curved hip tracing
And it wasn’t until morn’, when we would sit still and worn
To our coffee steaming
Exhausted, in sheer delight, in love, we were convening
Couldn’t help but love life.

The bohemian, the bohemian
That meant we were twenty years old
The bohemian, the bohemian
We were living on nothing at all.

When as the days go by, my old haunts I spy
I don’t lie, it’s the truth
I don’t recognize the walls nor the skies
That adorned my youth
At the top of some stair, I look for the atelier
Of which there’s nothing left
In its new scenery, Montmartre seems bereft
And the lilacs are history.

The bohemian, the bohemian
We were young, we were wild
The bohemian, the bohemian
It’s meant nothing at all for a while.