Toutes les mamas

Here is my song for Saturday — Voici ma chanson pour un samedi…

Mamas and mothers the world over are on the whole entirely under appreciated. Just as was the singer of this song, ‘Toutes le mamas’ (All the mammas). It was one of many hits by the Belgian singer known as Maurane, who sadly passed away on May 7th last year.

I remember dancing to this tune back in 1988 when it first came out. It was upbeat yet sort of jazzy with the the rich, velvety undertones of Maurane’s voice.

As it turns out, the song was less about mothers in general than a tribute to a certain idea of the African ‘mama’. Racially questionable yet joyously musical nonetheless.

I first discovered Maurane when she played Marie-Jeanne in the 1988 production of the rock opera Starmania in Paris.

The song of hers I love best is this one, ‘Sur un prélude de Bach’, written and composed by Jean-Claude Vannier. It is hauntingly beautiful and still gives me the shivers.

May all of the mamas around the world enjoy their day in the sun. Here in France, country of the cultural exception, we will have to wait until the end of May.

RIP Maurane. ❤️


  1. phildange · May 11, 2019

    You speak of African Mamas and this reminds me a long documentary film I watched years ago . This was about traditional life from North to South Africa, starting in the Egyptian delta and ending somewhere in Botswana . The documentary was focused on the multiple systems of working, surviving , believing that these very different peoples had grown and improved along centuries . When the film was over I remained diven in the absolute truth that hit me when I eventually realized it : from the Sahara to the jungle human life was the fruit of women’s efforts . This was not the goal of the documentary but it was obvious . Women were those who allowed human life to continue among all these different tribes and peoples . Probably it was easier to see that in primitive conditions, and then I thought it maybe has been the same in primitive times everywhere . Before this film, I confess I never had realized this to this point . I guess I still don’t realize the implications of this awareness .

    • MELewis · May 12, 2019

      That’s an interesting idea, and one that seems to be supported in the animal kingdom as well. The females do the bulk of work not just to raise the young but to create the entire living system. I don’t profess to understand the workings of this in nature — the males must have their role in propagating their species — but it is certainly nothing like the traditional nuclear family we strive for in our culture. Much deeper ideas than I set out to evoke with this post!

  2. A new life in Lille · May 11, 2019

    Agree about her Sur un prélude de Bach. Very beautiful.

    • MELewis · May 12, 2019

      Yes, it’s just so haunting and reflective. Gets me every time!

  3. Dale · May 11, 2019

    Unfortunately, I could not open the “Sur un prélude de Bach” video. Shall have to search YouTube for a Canadian-friendly video. Why oh why are there these stupid restrictions?

    • MELewis · May 12, 2019

      Argh, Dale this is one of my pet peeves! Happens so often for us on Netflix as we have an account and use it in three countries; sometimes we’ll be in the middle of a series and it will be unavailable due to rights issues. Extremely galling, and nowhere is it possible to see the rights restrictions in writing. In fact, I’ve been thinking of researching it as an article if I could figure out who to pitch it to. This is the first time the shoe has been on the other foot, as it were, with people in North America unable to access content I’ve posted. Check the link now, by the way. I’ve updated it with a new one. 🤔

      • Dale · May 12, 2019

        That just burns my butt. Yo Netflix and countries – make friends and offer everything to everyone!
        Oh cool. Normally, I hop on YouTube and find a version I can watch but was on my phone and too lazy this time 😉

  4. 355101pkl · May 11, 2019

    I didn’t enjoy the songs I don’t think it’down to the song or singer., who I admit is new to me. More like something to do with the the weather here in London. It is very cloudy and dark and nonstop rain and quite miserable and i just heard a clap of thunder.Its a mood changer !
    On the subject of Belgium and France is it all OK now ? Many years ago I witnessed a traffic incident in Paris that was a tragicomedy but shocked me in its ferocity . A lorry has collided with a car where some roadworks were ongoing. The two drivers got out and i witnessed an immediate altercation. First some fisticuffs and then they both retreated to the rubble at the roadside left by the works . First one picked up a small rock and threatened the other driver with it then the lorry driver picked up a larger rock and so it went on until both were circling one another carrying rocks that they could barely carry. I then heard the Parisian shout to the watching crowd that had gathered that the lorry driver was Belgian . I noticed the flag and markings on the lorry. He was trying to elicit help from the crowd on the basis of the driver being Belgian but they wisely stayed out of the conflict. This incident took place around 1970 and it always left me with an impression that things were not amicable as they should be between the two nations.

    • MELewis · May 12, 2019

      I am not aware of any particular animosity between the French and Belgians — usually they are the butt of a lot of jokes and generally speaking, a great many famous Belgians dominate our entertainment industry!
      What you witnessed sounds to me more like a classic case of Latin road rage, with the Parisian taking further umbrage at the fact that the driver was an outsider, yet Belgian and probably French-speaking therefore sort of like a unwelcome cousin. 😂 As for the weather, if it’s any consolation ours is pretty miserable, too, and bleak skies can definitely make the most beautiful things seem less appealing. Bon courage!

      • 355101pkl · May 16, 2019

        I suppose i was taking an opportunity to recount this surreal event that I once saw at night whilst walking in Paris. It was a scene from a comedy movie. I looked around for the film cameras and crew but there were none. The only camera was my memory and it still brings a smile .

      • MELewis · May 16, 2019

        You should write an essay or flash fiction piece about it!

  5. Yeah, Another Blogger · May 11, 2019

    I think you’re right about mothers being under appreciated. At least there’s Mother’s Day, though. That’s a good reminder.

    • MELewis · May 12, 2019

      Yes and I do hope that everyone who has a mother to celebrate does her justice today!

  6. acflory · May 12, 2019

    That was beautiful. Merci. 🙂

  7. Pingback: Le monde est stone – FranceSays

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