Posted on | November 15, 2007 | No Comments
Last week, I was compiling a collection of more than 25 different versions of the Canadian nation anthem “O Canada” for my daughter. The anthem is her favourite song besides, of course, the Alphabet song. I had been singing the anthem to her since she was 3-months old. Somehow, the tune worked great for a lullaby when sung with my dull voice. Now she is almost 2 years and a half, and she can sing the complete anthem by herself.
A few quick facts about “O Canada”:
- The song officially became the nation anthem only very recently, in 1980.
- The French and English lyrics of the anthem have nothing to do with each other. Their meanings are completely unrelated.
- In fact, the French lyrics came out first.
- The anthem is often sung by mixing the lyrics of the 2 languages. One reason for doing this is to demonstrate the bilingualism of the country. Another reason, rather more subtle, is to avoid some ‘sensitive’ words. So, if there is a sensitive word in one language, they would switch that line to the other language. How ridiculous!
In one version of the anthem, I found the pure English French-accent perfectly rendered. When I first heard it, I thought it was sung by some folks from the US (for it was from an NBA game). But then I found out it was sung by the Canadian A Capella-turned-rock-band (then disbanded) group – the Moffatts.
I was amazed how well the parts were harmonized. These 4 brothers had been singing A Capella since they were kids. I was more amazed that even their English French-accents were so harmonized too!
Out of the many versions of the anthem I have collected, the most beautifully sung French version I find is one posted by the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary on YouTube. In my opinion, it was sung better than the Celion Dion’s version.