A French MP has created a new “punk rock” version of the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, as “a fight song for our times”.
François Ruffin, MP for the Somme department, released the video for the song online this week, in time for Bastille Day on July 14. He recorded the track with the 1980s rock band La Horde.
The three-minute-long track does not have the same melody as the traditional anthem, but it does use similar words in the chorus, with some noticeable changes.
“Allons enfants de la Patrie (Come on, children of the Fatherland)” has become “Allons enfants de notre pays (Come on, children of our country)”; and “le jour de gloire est arrivé (the day of glory has arrived)” has become “le jour d’espoir est arrivé (the day of hope has arrived)”.
Mr Ruffin also takes to the microphone himself to deliver some cutting political lines, including a denouncement of “these billionaires and CEOs”, the “globalised market”, health, and pensions and a criticism of some leaders’ approach to pollution and climate change.
Appearing in the video in a white shirt and smart suit – in contrast to the band around him, who are dressed in more relaxed, black clothes – Mr Ruffin appears to be gently mocking politicians (including himself), as well as making a clear political point.
Speaking to the magazine Les Inrocks, Mr Ruffin said: “I said yes, because I fantasise about putting a little bit of fantasy into my life. I don’t have a mohawk, but it seems that there is such conformism that you only have to take one step to the side, to be considered a ‘punk’.”
Explaining why he made the song, he said: “I adapted [the anthem] to create a fight song for our times.”