Liberals to re-record French version of campaign theme song after hitting sour note

Are the Liberals removing one hand for tomorrow? That's what the new French-language version of federal party's theme song implies implies. The Liberals said Monday it will be re-recorded.

Criticism over translation of song, produced by The Strumbellas, prompts party to promise redo

One hand up? The Liberal Party's theme song makes sense in English, but the French-language version is another story, critics say. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Are the Liberals removing one hand for tomorrow? 

That's what some say the new French-language version of the federal party's theme song implies.

The English version of One Hand Up, recorded by The Strumbellas, goes, "We can hold one hand up for tomorrow. We can hold one hand up to the stars."

In French, the same line translates as: "On lève une main haute pour demain. On lève une main haute aux étoiles."

But instead of "on lève," which means "we raise," some say they hear "enlève," which means to remove.

While that misunderstanding may boil down to mispronunciation, other parts of the song make little sense in French, critics say.

"Google Translate does not sing," one Twitter user, Lyne Labrèche, wrote to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau on Sunday.

"I repeat, Google Translate does not sing."

The criticism appears to have had an effect. The Liberals said early Monday they are planning to record a new version of the song.

The song first appeared in English on the Ontario band's Rattlesnake album released earlier this year.

The French version of the song, posted in a short video clip to social media by the Liberals, has been viewed more than 100,000 times since it was released Sunday morning.

The Liberals say it was translated by the band for the campaign.

MNA Gaétan Barrette, a member of the Quebec Liberal Party, slammed the song on Twitter.

"I listened to it a dozen times and I have not yet understood all the lyrics," he wrote, calling it a "very bad French translation that is very, very, very embarrassing."


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