Charles Trenet: Y a d’la joie

Written by Amy Burton


In category: Song of the Day

Published July 17, 2017

As many of you know, I’m a big Francophile.  So, it may not surprise you that three of the five songs I’ve chosen to feature here are from, or pay homage to, France.  And what better time is there to celebrate than the week of her birthday (July 14), otherwise known as Bastille Day?

There’s nothing like a Charles Trenet song to make you feel happy.  Some of his lyrics can be surprisingly dark, but not here. In this song, Trenet the optimist wakes up from a lovely dream only to find gray skies and dull morning rituals before him. But without the dream, there would be no song!

Y a d’la joie bonjour,
Bonjour les hirondelles
Y a d’la joie
dans le ciel par dessus les toits
Y a d’la joie
et du soleil dans les ruelles
Y a d’la joie partout, y a d’la joie!
There is joy
Hello, swallows!
There is joy
In the sky, above the roofs
There is joy
And sun in the alleyways
There is joy everywhere, there is joy!
Tout le jour,
Mon coeur bat, chavire et chancelle
C’est l’amour
Qui vient avec je ne sais quoi
C’est l’amour
Bonjour, bonjour les demoiselles
Y a d’la joie, partout, y a d’la joie
All day long,
My heart beats, capsizes, and staggers
It’s love
That comes with…I don’t know what!
It’s love
Hello, hello ladies
There is joy everywhere, there is joy!
Le gris boulanger
Bat la pâte à pleins bras
Il fait du bon pain,
Du pain si fin que j’ai faim
On voit le facteur
Qui s’envole là-bas
Comme un ange bleu
Portant ses lettres au bon dieu
Miracle sans nom
À la station Javelle:
On voit le métro
Qui sort de son tunnel,
Grisé de soleil,
De chansons et de fleurs.
Il court vers le bois,
Il court à toute vapeur.
The gray-haired baker
Pounds the dough with his arms.
He makes good bread
Such fine bread that I get hungry.
I see the postman
Who flies down
Like a blue angel
Carrying his letters to God.
There’s a nameless miracle
At the Javelle metro stop:
You see the train
Emerge from its tunnel,
Drunk on sunshine,
Songs, and flowers.
It runs towards the Bois (de Boulogne)
Full steam ahead.
Y a d’la joie!
La Tour Eiffel part en balade
Comme une folle,
Elle saute la seine à pieds joints.
Puis elle dit,
”Tant pis pour moi si j’suis malade
J’m’embêtais tout’ seule dans mon coin.”
There is joy!
The Eiffel Tower goes for a stroll
Like a madwoman,
She jumps into the Seine, feet together.
Then she says,
“Too bad for me if I get sick,
I was so bored all alone in my place.”
Y a d’la joie!
Le percepteur met sa jaquette
Plie boutique,
Et dit d’un air très doux, très doux
“Bien l’bonjour
Pour aujourd’hui fini la quête
Gardez tout messieurs, gardez tout”
There is joy!
The tax man puts on his morning coat
Closes up shop,
And says very, very sweetly,
“Well, hello!
My quest for money is over today.
Keep it all, Sirs, keep it all!”
Mais voilà qu’soudain
Je m’éveille dans mon lit.
Donc, j’avais rêvé,
Oui car le ciel est gris.
Il faut se lever,
Se laver, se vêtir,
Et ne plus chanter.
Si l’on n’a plus rien à dire.
Mais je crois pourtant
Que ce rêve a du bon
Car il m’a permis
De faire une chanson!
Chanson de printemps,
Chansonnette d’amour,
Chanson de 20 ans,
Chanson de toujours.
But look, suddenly
I wake up in my bed.
I was dreaming,
Yes, because the sky is gray.
I must get up,
Wash up and get dressed,
And not sing anymore
Since I don’t have anything more to say.
But I think perhaps
That this dream was a good thing
Because it allowed me
To make a song!
A song of springtime,
A little song of love,
A song of youth,
A song of forever.
author: Amy Burton

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Amy Burton enjoys an eclectic career of opera, concert, and cabaret.  She has sung with major opera companies and orchestras throughout the US and Europe, including the Metropolitan OperaNew York City Opera, Zürich Opera, L’Opéra de Nice, Scottish Opera, among many others. She has also sung at the White House.  

A lover of French song, Ms. Burton appears frequently with her husband, composer-pianist John Musto in recitals and cabaret, Recent concerts include New York’s Cafe Sabarsky, the National Arts Club, Wave Hill, Barcelona’s Liceu, the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center. Together they have made several recordings, including Songs of John Musto, Souvenir de Printemps, and Got a Little Rhythm for Bridge Records.

A sought-after teacher, Ms. Burton is on the voice faculty at Mannes College of Music and the CUNY Graduate Center DMA program. She also teaches, coaches and directs at SongFest at Colburn in Los Angeles. 

Amy Burton has been honored to perform on twenty-one NYFOS concerts, and is a proud member of the NYFOS Artists Council.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    My first record was Charles Trenet ” Le jardin extraordinaire” I was a kid maybe 11 years old, and I saw him many years ago at Lincoln Center, he was so happy to sing there that he could not stop , very generous with his performance to our delight of course. Having been born in Paris, lived in a lovely village , knowing the country and provence, make me understand Charles Trenet, in a very colorful way, so as to picture the scene as he sing a song.


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