Thursday, December 01, 2022

Les Poppys, anti-war at Christmas time

‘Non non rien a changé’ (‘No, no, nothing’s changed’), a French music staple, is both an anti-war song and a Christmas song. It protests against the Vietnam war, specifically from the vantage point of a child. The boys sing about wanting peace at Christmas, but see war on television, asking why that is. Les Poppys also have another hit Christmas song, ‘Noël 70’, with a poetic parlando at the beginning by lead singer and soloist Bruno Polius-Victoire, the face of the choir (back row, right on the record sleeve above).

In 2010, Les Poppys lost a law suit against French music giant Universal (formely Barclay). The parents signed a deal with choir leader Jean Amoureux who didn’t bother giving these inner city kids any money whatsoever for performing. Later in life, Les Poppys wanted to see some money for all their hard work, but long story short, nothing has changed, as the kids from the ‘hood got shortchanged.

‘Non non rien a changé’ has been translated, covered and adapted too many times to list here, so feel free to comb the Internet to find your favourite version. Need an updated version? There's always Les New Poppys, a new generation of boys taking up the mantle. Why no girls? Les Poppys emerged from a boys choir established in 1946. Today, girls write their own songs, and this blog is full of examples. Here are Les Poppys live on French television. Polius-Victoire’s younger self says that after Noël 70, we’ve noticed, that no, no, nothing’s changed. Out of the mouths of babes comes truth and wisdom.