OM, Marseille, and Music: How Listening to Marseille Rapper “Soprano” Improved my Cultural Awareness (as well as improve my French)

Music and sport are two great ways to bring people together around the world. Through these two mediums, you can discover new cultures, learn a new language, and develop new passions. When I was 17, I went on lephoceen.fr and clicked on a link for a music video called, “Soprano-Halla Halla”. This action helped me discover a world of music and element of Marseille that I was unaware of before. Click on the title to read more…Sopranovelodrome

Soprano in le Vélodrome. Photo courtesy of TF1

The video I watched, “Halla Halla”, showed a young rapper in Marseille, rapping in the streets of Marseille with his entourage. The video reaches a climax where Soprano is shown rapping on the field of le Stade Vélodrome (where OM plays), and includes the former president of OM, Pape Diouf (. The song, describing Soprano’s pride for his upbringing in the tough neighborhoods of Marseille, becomes a rallying cry for youth everywhere. His combination of strong rapping ability, pride in his city and l’OM pulled me in immediately.

Video source:  KSTRIP A on Youtube.

Having not grown up in a tough neighborhood of Marseille, I obviously could not relate my life to a lot of what Soprano was saying. His music gave me insight into a misunderstood city, and into the lives of people thousands of miles away. The way I originally connected with his music was through our shared love for OM, and I ended up learning something new about life in other parts of the world.

An avid listener of Soprano today, I consider him one of the most important rappers around. His message of peace, unity, and understanding are a rarity in today’s money-cars-girls rap world. His latest hit, “Cosmo”, mixes a catchy, energetic beat with a message of world unity. It is a call for peace and unity, using music as the spark. Compared to mainstream music today, “Cosmo” is as refreshing as it is unique.

Video courtesy of Soprano Officiel on Youtube.

His songs about human struggle around the world shed light on people and social issues that are often left in the shadows. Songs of his, such as, “Ferme les Yeux et Imagine Toi ft. Blacko”, describes abject poverty around the world and encourages everyone to reflect on their own lives. Another powerful song with unique creativity and grit.

His own personal battles with depression and internal struggle ring out on tracks such as “Puisqu’il Faut Vivre”, and “Mélancolique Anonyme”. This is a rapper that is not afraid to express himself and his doubts, and in doing so, offers a hand to his own fans who are struggling. His creative honesty and powerful lyrics are infectious and grippin

Video courtesy of Soprano Officiel on Youtube.

Listening to his music also helped my French enormously. I learned new words that you won’t learn in school. By singing along, my command of French improved rapidly. It teaches you to speak musically and with rhythm. Afterwards, I was fumbling sentences less and less, and seeing more consistency in the flow of my speech. Music is a great way to improve your French, and I encourage anyone to check him out, especially those who want to practice their Francophonie. Most of his music is available in the USA on Spotify and iTunes as well as his Youtube channel.

My passion for Olympique de Marseille is what led me to becoming a fan of Soprano. OM, based in a multicultural city, has a way of bringing people from all walks of life together, in a way only sport can. Through l’OM, I have learned more about other walks of life and about different cultures. The fanbase of l’OM is as diverse as it is passionate. OM fans can be found around the world, united by a love for l’Olympique. With fans found in the US, Senegal, Tahiti, Belgium, Ghana, and elsewhere, OM truly is a global team. As the saying goes, “un jour, le monde parlera Marseillais”.

LISTENING TIPS FOR ENGLISH-SPEAKERS

Search for the song lyrics on Google, as well as translations. While the translations won’t be perfect, it is a great way to learn new words and understand the full meaning behind the music.

Sing along to the music. Singing along helped my pronunciation as well as remembering words and how to use them. Singing out loud improved my command of the language as well as my confidence in speaking.

Watch music videos. The music videos offer visual context. Seeing the singer physically speak the words always helped me understand more. Plus, the videos are pretty cool.

Look up other musicians. Checking “related videos” on Youtube is a great way to discover other Francophone artists.

Feel free to message me on Twitter (@MatthewRazaire) or email (americanomblog@gmail.com) for blog news, questions, or discussion.

“Montre-moi comme tu es, ce soir est un jour de paix “ – “Cosmo” par Soprano

 

2 thoughts on “OM, Marseille, and Music: How Listening to Marseille Rapper “Soprano” Improved my Cultural Awareness (as well as improve my French)

  1. Nora December 4, 2015 / 7:57 pm

    Great blogs!!!!! This one is my personal favorite 🙂 Keep going!

    Liked by 1 person

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