Thursday, August 21, 2014

Speaking in Tongues: Flight of the Conchords and "Foux du Fa Fa"

I don't have too much to say about today's random selection, other than I considered whether I should include it and decided that we need some levity once in a while. I did a post previously on the languages. My problem is that I never learned a second language. I have a smattering of Spanish and a smattering of German, and that's it.

That's why I find this particular video so amusing. For one who doesn't know a language, it would be easy to sound ridiculous in it. Fortunately, when I spent a couple of months in Germany, I was able to delve right in and even though I probably annoyed some people, I learned enough to even have small conversations, despite the fact that I probably mangled pronunciations. But when you mix a beginner's skill level with trying to impress the opposite sex, well, that can be funny, especially with a language like French which is supposed to be the language of romance.

Our random tune today is therefore a little bit light and comedic. Foux du Fa Fa is by Flight of the Conchords, a New Zealand-based comedy band who once referred to themselves as "New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo." Consisting of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, the duo had a BBC radio series in 2005, followed by an HBO series on American television for two seasons starting in 2007. Premised around the idea that the band is trying to find success in New York City, the cast included Rhys Darby and Kristen Schaal, and often had at least one video-style montage where the band spoofed genres of music and even artists (a memorable one was an early series spoof of the Pet Shop Boys style of music). However, they were continually denied funding by New Zealand television, who deemed them too "Wellington," meaning that their humor would not travel outside New Zealand's capitol. The pair have since been working on their own projects, but there were plans for a reunion tour in 2012 and an eventual Flight of the Conchords movie. "Foux du Fa Fa" follows a scene where Clement tries to impress a young woman at a bakery counter with French, and consists of lyrics almost entirely in beginner French, replete with grammatical errors. Foux du Fa Fa was part of the first season's eighth episode, titled Girlfriends.