Francis Cabrel - Les Cardinaux en costume (English translation)

English translation

The suited cardinals

Magyd sleeps in the light
The light of the headlamps and the ring road
One cheek against the ground
One hand on his knife
A man sleeping on the tarmac
That doesn’t seem to trouble
The suited cardinals
Behind the tinted glass
And Sabrina who hides herself
And who hopes for her daughter, something other
Than this money that she snatches
From the hands that undress her
She turns up the volume
So as not to know who they are
Suited cardinals
And pompous know-it-alls
What a life! How sad!
What country is this
Not my one, no
It can’t be mine!
What a life, how sad ....!
And Mamadou who gets sent
To the back of the plane
And to a place of which
He knows nothing but the name
He’s light as a feather
Unhappy as a child
The suited cardinals
Sit in the seats at the front
N’Guyen the illegal immigrant
There’s no trace of her
She came to work on a sewing machine
Those girls who collapse are replaced
It’s for some steaming soup
It’s paid piecemeal
For the dresses and the suits
Of the impatient cardinals
What a life!
N’Guyen the illegal immigrant
And Mamadou who gets transferred
And Sabrina who works the street
and this Magyd who sleeps on the ground
When the lights go up
Everyone walk out silently
The suited cardinals
Weren’t at the showing
What a life! How sad!
Submitted by Gavin on Thu, 17/08/2017 - 15:39
Last edited by Gavin on Thu, 24/08/2017 - 11:28

Les Cardinaux en costume

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petit élève    Thu, 24/08/2017 - 11:22

turns up the volumes -> typo

donneurs de leçons -> that's rather idiomatic, like a mix of "know-it-all" and "self righteous" (I'd use "pompous pricks", but that's just my way of naming that kind of nuisance Regular smile )

to o a place -> typo

Celle qui tombe on la remplace -> "tomber" like in "fainting from exhaustion".
Can't think of a good equivalent right now, but I'm sure you can come up with something as punchy in English.

Gavin    Thu, 24/08/2017 - 11:37

I think I'll take a bit of both of those for "Pompous know-it-alls" :-)

I could use flake-out but it's a bit casual sounding for fainting from exhaustion. So maybe just 'collapse' - it's suitably strong.

petit élève    Thu, 24/08/2017 - 11:34

I rather like this one. I've never been disappointed in Cabrel's political songs so far Regular smile

Gavin    Thu, 24/08/2017 - 11:41

Yes, he's rather in his element here isn't he :-)