SONG OF THE DAY Madeleine Chartrand – Ani Kuni


Ani Kuni is a traditional folk song that is said to have its origins in Iroquois/Native American culture.

The version I’m featuring today is a rendition that was released in the summer of 1973 by a Canadian singer/actress from Quebec called Madeleine Chartrand. Her covering this song not only brought this hymn to the mainstream, but enhanced her music career – she is well known for her interpretation of this track! The big question is, however, has the meaning been completely lost in this translation? Now that I appreciate the core background to this song, has the very essence been submerged in commercial pop?

According to the sources that I’ve read, Ani Kuni is a lament composed by Native American women. This was sung as a hymn/balled during times of forced relocation from one’s native land, and even though this version is a far cry from the original, I’d like to think that the message is still as prominent and there is a chance this can educate?.

Check it out above and read the lyrics and watch a live version below:

Iroquois
Ani couni chaouani
Ani couni chaouani

Awawa bikana caïna
Awawa bikana caïna

E aouni bissini
E aouni bissini

When evening descended upon the Indian village (x2
The Medicine-man disappeared into the forest (x2)
Touching the ground with his hands. (x2)

Traduction française
Quand le soir descend au village indien
Quand le soir descend au village indien

Le sorcier apparaît dans la vallée
Le sorcier apparaît dans la vallée

Et le voilà qui arrive !
Et le voilà qui arrive !   

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5 Responses to SONG OF THE DAY Madeleine Chartrand – Ani Kuni

  1. Tom Acker says:

    It’s sad a song about colonization was itself colonized become a pop song by a non-indigenous person, then again by a french pop-music duo Polo & Pan.

    The true lyrics are

    “Father, have mercy on me,
    Father, have mercy on me;
    Because I’m dying of thirst,
    Because I’m dying of thirst;
    Everything is gone – I have nothing to eat,
    Everything is gone – I have nothing to eat.”

    How many people are unknowingly dancing along enjoying themselves to a lamentation about the complete destruction of entire cultures and people by white settlers. Doesn’t sit right with me.

    Like

  2. “This was sung as a hymn/balled during times of forced relocation from one’s native land”…It didn’t take me too long to discover what this song was about? It’s not a good topic, nor does it feel to ‘right’ that it has been popularised by a non-indigenous person…but is the sentiment insulting this culture or bringing to life their plight? Albeit in a pop song, which I concur, isn’t the best way to convey a song of such deep suffering.

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  3. H M says:

    You all are entitled to your opinions, but if you think this is “just a pop song” or isn’t doing some important work passing the words and feeling of a beautiful culture into the ship of the future, you’re honestly not feeling the song or the intention of the artists. Not everything is cultural appropriation. Is pizza cultural appropriation? Do you get angry eating pizza? Tomatoes were grown by the Native Americans first. Nuance is your friend.

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  4. I’m happy to post your words and opinions, it first I need to understand and appreciate your angle? What exactly have I don’t wrong here in posting this track?

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  5. ….I never did think it was just a pop song. It was a song chronicling the plight of a nation being relocated? The plight of a civilization wrongly uprooted from their home. Do you think this mass produced rendition is insulting because it is being sang by a non-native white woman? Most blues and folk songs have been regurgitated by non-native singers? I would like to understand your issue? Has this song lost its meaning in this “pop” translation?

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