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Music Cape Breton's Diversity in Unity

Acadian Belle Alouette Grise

The song says, “If I were a lark, I would fly to a ship’s mast.” It is romantic fantasy concerning the king’s daughter, and is reminiscent of the British ballad If I Were A Blackbird (which itself has Nova Scotian variants).

This performance is a part of a field recording of Le Festival Acadien, held in Petit-de-Grat from July 30 to August 3, 1980. It was collected for the Beaton Institute by Paula Webber, Alan Cash, Ken Simpson, and Heather MacDonald.

This annual event commemorates the arrival of the first ancestors of the Acadian people at Port Royal, Nova Scotia. The 1980 festival held special meaning as it was the 375th anniversary of the founding of Port Royal by Samuel de Champlain, thus marking the long existence of the Acadian culture in Nova Scotia.

Le Festival Acadien is an expression of a people’s pride in their heritage and culture and celebrates the past accomplishments of the hard working Acadian people. Through their music they relate the history of Acadie, and remember its heroic figures such as Evangeline and Gabriel.

Belle Alouette Grise, 1980. T-921. Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

Petit-de-Grat Church Choir

Belle Alouette Grise

1. Ah! Si j’étais belle alouette grise. (bis)
Je volerais sur les mâts d’un navire.

Va, va, ma petite Jeannette;
Va, va, le beau temps reviendra.
Va, va, ma petite Jeannette;
Va, va, le beau temps reviendra.

2. Et j’entendrais tous les marins me dire. (bis)
Sire le roi, mariez votre fille. Refrain

3. Petit marin, tu n’es pas assez riche. (bis)
J’ai trois vaisseaux dessus la mer jolie. Refrain

4. L’un chargé d’or, l’autre d’argenterie, (bis)
Et le troisième pour promener ma mie. Refrain

5. Sire le Roi, je vous en remercie (bis)
Dans mon pays y’en a de plus jolies. Refrain