Still from Automne's video for "La Parole" showing the band performing at the the Chapiteau Raj'ganawak.

New Automne: La Parole

Video: Automne – “La Parole”

Studio version from Maison-mère, out now on bandcamp.

New video from the coolest group in Paris!

I’ve mentioned before that Automne’s guitarist, Perry Leopard, is a friend of mine. In fact, we had the opportunity to hang out in real life a couple weeks ago. I was in town with my family and he was preparing for a performance of his well-received tribute to the songs of Kurt Weill: MeanWeill, Berlin to Broadway (via Paris…). We met for dinner at a charming restaurant in the 10th around the corner from Gare du Nord.

Perry’s always got a bunch of fires in the oven, from his bluesy Caballeros Simpáticos to the earthy punk of les Spasmes, the man is a connoisseur and provocateur of rock and roll.

The latest project is a series of videos with Automne. Perry told me, “Early this year, we went to the Chapiteau Raj’ganawak, in St-Denis, just outside Paris, to record live videos of two songs from our last EP, Maison-mère, and another song that we didn’t have a recording of. Joining us were two musician friends, Brisa Roché singing, and Aurore Daniel playing cello.”

Automne says, “I wrote ‘La Parole’ after having seen an interview with Adèle Haenel on Mediapart where she spoke about the harassment she suffered at the hands of the director with whom she did her first film as a young girl. It was then that I became conscious of the impact of liberating speech to advance society and the metoo movement in France. That new energy made me want to say something, too. This song is a hymn to women speaking freely. For the videos, I wanted an unusual location, where we could get a warm, acoustic sound. We had played at the Chapiteau Raj’ganawak for our EP release, so I wanted to pay homage to them.”

The place was established and is run by Camille Brisson, whom the band admires.

Perry helped translate a couple of the verses, an admittedly difficult task considering the wordplay of the original. “La parole libre” could just as well be translated “free speech” as “the liberated word.”

Douleur de mes sœurs, amertume des femmes / Reprendre des couleurs, vaincre les drames
Le majeur levé, les jambes écartées / Toujours crier, protester, la langue déliée
La parole, la parole libre

My sisters’ pain, women’s bitterness / Take back color, overcome trauma
Middle finger raised, legs planted / Always shouting, protesting, tongues freed
The word liberated

La rue gronde, le ciel inonde / Des phrases dites, des phrases écrites,
Insolentes, déterminées, sentir les pavés sous nos pieds
Plus de mythes ni de victimes
Soyons sorcières, mères ou putains, soyons fières, douces et vulcains,
Soyons nous, choisissons enfin
La parole, la parole libre

The street shakes, the sky floods / Words spoken, words written
No more myths nor victims
Let’s be witches, mothers, or whores, proud, soft or volcanic
Let’s be ourselves, to choose the liberated word.

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