Jacques Brel Amsterdam English subtitles

Thelma Thelma Blitz
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One of Brel's undisputed masterpieces, it was first perfomed at the Olympia in Paris in 1964 and received a three minute standing ovation. It's Brel's vision of freedom , the freedom of sailors to sing, dance, eat, carouse, whore and take pride in virility, the joy spoiled only by unfaithful women (who probably have their own vision of freedom.) In his own words (translated): "Amsterdam is the symbol of the adventure which begins tomorrow which men dream of. It's kind of a song of virility, in truth."
You may have heard Mort Shuman, David Bowie, Dave Van Ronk , Robert Cuccioli and countless others sing the English adaptation by Shuman/Blau, but if you haven't seen Brel present it in French, you're missing the real thing.
Here it is.
Thanks to Ema of Rennes, France for help with this translation.

10 comments

I believe this is more of a sad love song of a man (probably Amsterdam inhabitant, not a sailor) in love with unfaithful woman who "sold herself" to sailors, narrative bearing traces of both some kind of admiration and disgust for the sailors, than just "a vision of freedom... (and) joy spoiled only by unfaithful women".
But I don't speak french, so can infer only from the translation. What is your opinion?
By cliikii 2 years ago
Of course "batave" means, from a French speaker, hollandais - and in this particular case, we are in a small diner for fishermen, they turn and dance, and when the accordeon is dying, they are half drunk and proudly (geste grave, regard fier) catch the prostitute girl they were dancing with, back under the sunlights of the dance floor. May be there is an international discussion about "batave" - but there is no French discussion about that, because no French native speaker knows that Batave comes from an old world than meant boat some hundreds years ago in another language - and anyway the sentence would then have no meaning and no link with the spirit of thee song.
By Philippe 4 years ago
Les bataves sont une ancienne tribu Neerlandaise
d'origine germanique ( de Batavieren )en argot Neerlandais surtout á Amsterdam : c'est un mec , un patriote
By Comtesse de Frou Frou 6 years ago
Veuillez voir la discussion internationale de ce sûjet sur YouTube. (Recherchez Amsterdam + English Subtitles) À mon avis, les marins de Jacques Brel n'auraient pas eu " un geste grave, un régarde fier" autour d'un femme (prostituée ou non) ou d'un bâtard-- ces mots devraient appliquer à leur bateau, " ; batave" ; étant un vieux mot hollandais pour un bateau..
By Thelma Thelma Blitz 6 years ago
j'espère que tu parles bien français, parce que mon anglais est plus que mauvais...^^
Juste pour te dire que les "bataves" (que tu traduit par "boat (or whore)), ne se rapportent pas aux bateaux, ni aux prostitués. C'est le nom donné aux hollandais (c'est une manière littéraire et très peu usitée de les nommer).
Il y a une connotation phonique à ce mot. Bien qu'il décrie de façon claire et précise le peuple hollandais, il se rapproche fortement au mot "bâtard". Il n'y a peut être aucun rapport, mais la consonnance est troublante. Un "bâtard" est le nom donné à un enfant illégitime. il est très péjoratif.
Voilà voilà voilà...
^^
Juste un dernier petit truc, je trouve que l'idée de transmettre aux anglophones les textes de Jacques Brel est une initiative plus que réjouissante. Je ne sais si cela permet d'en tirer toute la teneur, mais il mérite qu'on s'y intéresse. Encore merci pour ces vidéos.
By YannTala 6 years ago
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