As promised, this is the first in a series of articles that are geared at introducing you to french culture through music.  Music is a great way to get accustom to the french accent, especially how it is spoken everyday. Improving your french accent by imitating french speakers can also help in the Production Orale section of your exams or just when you are visiting a french speaking country in order to be better understood.

The song “Papaoutai” or Papa où t’es, meaning “Dad, where are you?” in english, is from the album Racine Carrée (2013) by Belgian singer Stromae.  This song is pretty big in France at the moment. Listen and let me know what you think.

NOTE: In this song the word “tu” is in a contracted form. A contraction is a word or phrase that has been shortened by dropping one or more letters. As a rule “tu” in French is NEVER contracted unlike “je”.   However, it is very common in spoken French. When preparing for your exam, remember to use the correct EXPECTED form.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J3y314I6tk

The translation of this song close but might not be exactly.

Sing Along:

Dites-moi d’où il vient
Enfin je serais où je vais
Maman dis que lorsqu’on cherche bien
On finit toujours par trouver

 

Elle dit qu’il n’est jamais très loin
Qu’il part très souvent travailler
Maman dit travailler c’est bien
Bien mieux qu’être mal accompagné
Pas vrai?

 

Où est ton papa?
Dis moi où est ton papa!
Sans même devoir lui parler,
Il sait ce qu’il ne va pas.
Hein sacré papa!
Dis moi où es-tu caché!
Ça doit…
Faire au moins mille fois que j’ai
Compté mes doigts
Hé!

 


Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Outai outai où papaoutai?

 

Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Outai outai où papaoutai?

 


Quoi, qu’on y croit ou pas
Y aura bien un jour où on y croira plus
Un jour où l’autre on sera tous papa
Et d’un jour à l’autre on aura disparu

 

Serons-nous détestable?
Serons-nous admirable?
Des géniteurs ou des génies?
Dites nous qui donnait
Sans soucis responsable!

 

Ah dites nous qui diar
Tout le monde sait
Comment on fait des bébés
Mais personne sait
Comment on fait des papas
Monsieur j’sais tout
On aurait hérité, c’est ça.

 

Trop d’sucer d’son pouce ou quoi?
Dites nous où s’est caché,
Ça doit…
Faire au moins mille fois qu’on a
bouffé nos doigts
Hé!

 


Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Outai outai où papaoutai?

 

Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Outai outai où papaoutai?

 

Où est ton papa?
Dis moi où est ton papa!
Sans même devoir lui parler,
Il sait ce qu’il ne va pas.
Hein sacré papa!
Dis moi où es-tu caché!
Ça doit…
Faire au moins mille fois que j’ai
Compté mes doigts
Hé!

 

Où est ton papa?
Dis moi où est ton papa!
Sans même devoir lui parler,
Il sait ce qu’il ne va pas.
Hein sacré papa!
Dis moi où es-tu caché!
Ça doit…
Faire au moins mille fois que j’ai
Compté mes doigts
Hé!

 


Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Outai outai où papaoutai?

 

Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Où t’es? Papaoutai?
Outai outai où papaoutai?

 

 

Tell me where he came from
Then I’ll know where to go
Mama always says when we look really hard
We’ll find what we’ve lost

 

She says he is never very far away
He often heads off to work
Mama says working is much
Better than being in bad company
Not true?

 

Where is your Papa?
Tell me, where is your Papa?
Without you having to tell him,
He knows what’s hurting you.
Hey damn Papa,
Tell me where you’re hiding!
I must have counted at least
A thousand times, to ten
Hé!(alluding to hide-and-seek game)

Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you, where are you, Papa, where are you?

 

Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you, where are you, Papa, where are you?

 

Even, whether we believe it or not
There’ll be a day we’ll believe it no more
One day or another, we’ll all be the Papa
And from one day to another, we’ll also have vanished.

 

Will we be hated?
Will we be loved?
Forefathers or geniuses
Tell us…who gives birth
To irresponsible men?!

 

Come on, tell us who does?
Everyone knows
How babies are made
But no one knows
How fathers are made
Mister Know-it-All,
It’s in our blood, that’s it.

 

Should I suck this out of my thumb or what?
Tell me where I can find the answer.
It must be at least a thousand times that
I’ve sucked my fingers dry.
Hey!

 

Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you, where are you, Papa, where are you?

 

Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you, where are you, Papa, where are you?

 

Where is your Papa?
Tell me, where is your Papa?
Without you having to tell him,
He knows what’s hurting you.
Hey damn Papa,
Tell me where you’re hiding!
I must have counted at least
A thousand times, to ten
Hé!

 

Where is your Papa?
Tell me, where is your Papa?
Without you having to tell him,
He knows what’s hurting you.
Hey damn Papa,
Tell me where you’re hiding!
I must have counted at least
A thousand times, to ten
Hé!

 

Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you, where are you, Papa, where are you?

 

Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you? Papa, where are you?
Where are you, where are you, Papa, where are you?

 

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