Acadian Tradition: Le Couteau Volé
Joseph Larade. Photograph by Ronald Caplan. Cape Breton's Magazine, Issue 63: 41. © 1972/2010 Ronald Caplan.
Click to enter photo gallery

Please enable Javascript and/or download Flash to hear audio and/or see video.

File Size: 4.03 MB [192 kbps]

Running Time: 02:56

Low bitrate for slow connections [1.17 MB / 56 kbps]

About This Song

A young man steals a knife from his uncle, beginning a life of crime which leads to his death. He ends with a proposed letter of warning for others.

The singer and fiddler is Joseph Larade.

Le Couteau Volé. Joseph A. Larade. T-1355, Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

About The Artist

Joseph A. Larade of Chéticamp made immeasurable contributions to the music and culture of Cape Breton during his life. He is considered to have been among the best fiddlers of his time.

Joseph Larade adopted a unique way of entertaining, playing the fiddle and singing old French songs at the same time. He was always generous with his talent, making his fiddle available for dances, weddings and whatever functions called for a soundtrack from his instrument.

He was influenced from an early age by the songs and music that surrounded him throughout his childhood; his love and passion for music started with the house parties in the community.

Father Anselme Chiasson, one of the foremost folklorists in Canada, recorded Joseph A. Larade's music onto cassette in the early 1960s.

Lyrics

1. Le temps que j'étais jeune un enfant,
Le chemin qu'j'ai pris trop méchant.
Je m'en fus chez mon oncle,
Un couteau j'l'ai volé.
A fallut prendre une verge
Et m'l'envoyer porter.

2. De là je me suis mis à tout,
Les mots sacrés j'en viens à bout,
Aussi le saint chalice
Au très saint sacrement.
Je voyais tous mes vices
Et faisait mon larron.

3. Vous aviez que moi seul d'enfant
Que vous aimier bien tendrement.
C'était pas mon bonheur
Que vous avez cherche;
C'est plutôt mon malheur,
Vous le voyez aujourd'hui.

4. Vous m'y voyez offenser Dieu;
Voila vous m'y bandez les yeux.
O que le coeur me manque;
Je sens ma chair' trembler.
Grand Dieu, quel triste sort
De se voir étrangler.

5. Sa mère se jette à genoux,
Disait: «Grand Dieu, secourez-nous.
O levez vous, cher' femme,
Et ne pleurez pas tant;
O levez vous, cher' femme
Elevez vos enfants.»

6. J'ai une grâce à vous demander,
C'est a savoir si vous m'l'accorderez;
C'est de en faire une lettre,
Les mots je vous les noum'rai
Vous tacherez les mères
Pour pouvoir la chanter.