Joseph Canteloube was a composer who also collected traditional French folk songs. His most famous collection being “Chants d’Auvergne” (Songs of the Auvergne) of which Baïlèro is one. It is sung in the Auvergnat dialect of the Occitan language; a language still spoken today in the south of France and some parts of Northern Spain.

It is something of a paean to a shepherd; separated – perhaps from his lover – by a stretch of river.

Shepherd, the meadows are in bloom.
You should graze your flock on this side,
Sing baïlèro lèrô

The lyric baïlèro lèrô is apparently untranslatable – we’re all the better for that, I think.

More from Jos van Geffen

Image Robert Duncanson – Valley Pastoral (1857)

Yes, I know it’s not the Auvergne; but it’s the right kind of scene isn’t it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *