'C'est l'aviron'

'C'est l'aviron'. These words, taken from the refrain of the voyageur song 'M'en revenant de la joli' Rochelle,' have come to be recognized as the song's surrogate title. Certain phrases in the song have been traced back to 15th-century France, where it originated. It is found in several textual and melodic variants. In Chansons folkloriques francaises au Canada (Quebec City 1956) Marguerite and Raoul d'Harcourt give three versions based on incomplete minor scales. One of these uses a refrain different from that of 'C'est l'aviron'. Still another version with different words is given by Ernest Gagnon in Chansons populaires du Canada (Quebec City 1865), and in a Montreal newspaper, Le Canard, of 13 Nov 1897. François Brassard compares 'C'est l'aviron' to a refrain known in Canada, 'Mon joli champ d'avoine,' and to the French refrain of 'Allons voir nos vignes'. Edith Fowke in Folk Songs of Quebec (Waterloo 1957) and The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, Eng 1973) presents a version collected by E.-Z. Massicotte in 1927. Charles Marchand and his Bytown Troubadours popularized this song and recorded it on 78 for Victor. Several singers have made LPs of the song, notably Alan Mills (Folk FP 29), and Raoul Roy (RCI/RCA CS 100-7/5-ACM 39 (CD)). Choral arrangements of the song have been prepared by Thomas Legrady and William McCauley.