This is the first part of a seven-part series by Sally O’Dowd dedicated to #charliehebdo, #jesuischarlie and free speech. For other posts click: second post/Bruce Springsteen, third post/Edith Piaf, fourth post/Enigma, fifth post/songs from the 1996 movie Romeo and Juliet, sixth post/Tears for Fears, seventh post/Daft Punk.
When I was a sophomore in college, having declared a double major in political science and French literature, the only thing I wanted in life was to study at La Sorbonne as an exchange student in Paris. (I obtained my BA from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., founded by Catholic nuns whose order originated in France. I am no longer religious.)
As part of my submission for the study-abroad program, I wrote an essay about my motivations. I wrote about my belief in the value of learning a second language and exploring different cultures as a means to foster societal progress and create world peace. My Paris experience opened my mind like no other and fostered a life-long quest to understand the world. One career highlight was conducting an interview in French in Strasbourg as a magazine writer for a travel magazine…not to mention the two years I spent working in Paris during 2010 and 2011.
Alas, dusting off my Creativity Is Contagious blog and celebrating the arts as a unifying source is my way of supporting Charlie Hebdo and all people around the world who support freedom of speech. The title of my blog is an excerpt of an Einstein quote, “Creativity is contagious; pass it on.” Don’t we all wish that violence and hate were less contagious?
As Hebdo is short for hebdomadaire (weekly), I am choosing seven songs and writing a seven-part series to pay my homage.
For my first post, I am choosing “Do You Hear the People Sing?” (A La Volonté du Peuple) from Les Misérables, the music sensation that pays tribute to the epic Victor Hugo novel set in the 1830s, most notably around the Paris Uprising of 1832, an unsuccessful anti-monarchist insurrection of Parisian republications.
Below are three renditions. As people around the world gathered for vigils last night, the first video features 17 Valjeans on one stage singing this moving anthem in multiple languages.
For the fans of the 2012 movie, here is the movie clip with English-language lyrics.
And as the pièce de résistance, voilà, here is the edition with French lyrics.
I will be surprised if you don’t shed a tear or hum the gorgeous melody throughout the day.
–Sally O’Dowd is a former journalist who has founded Sally On Media, a company providing business strategy and integrated marketing services.