A conversation in song



Corsican men needle each other in improvised rhyming song in this French documentary. Here's my best shot at translation from the French captions:

First singer: What you say is true -- here is a poet with us, but his engine won't start. In spite of our appeals, there aren't many improvisers.

Second singer: If the engine is cold I'll begin like the "Paghjella" with his beautiful voice, and if the engine won't start, we'll crank it.

First singer: We're hoping for a good answer, but tonight who knows? I see the people here are ignoring us, all these overgrown boys here are silent.

Third singer: Well, I see the fly has bitten you...

In the interview the singers explain that you can say things in song that you wouldn't in ordinary conversation, and usually there are no hurt feelings, but sometimes.... It's interesting to watch the interviewer drop in and out of the Corsican language. Finally he too breaks into song: "Once you start singing, I can't be silent, and I'd really like to try a few words standing here, for my first improvisation."

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