North American Premiere: Carla Bruni’s New Song “Le Pingouin”

France's former first lady has a new album out Apr. 16

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Markus Schreiber/AFP/Getty Images

French-Italian singer Carla Bruni performs during the 2013 ECHO Music Awards in Berlin on Mar. 21, 2013.

Carla Bruni is a woman who wears many chapeaux: she’s been everything from a model to, as the wife of President Nicolas Sarkozy,  the “First Lady” of France. She’s also a singer-songwriter, perhaps best known for her 2002 release Quelqu’un M’a Dit. She’s returning to her guitar-strumming roots with her new album, Little French Songs, available in the U.S. on Apr. 16.

Listen, below, to the U.S. premiere of the song “Le Pengouin” (“The Penguin”) off the album—and learn for yourself just how accurate the album title is. Everything about this song is French.

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The confessional nature of the album has already caused controversy, around the time of its original release earlier this month, with songs thought to be about her relationships with Mick Jagger and Sarkozy alike. “Le Pengouin” is no exception. As Billboard reports, “penguin” is French slang for an oaf. And some, like France’s RTL, have guessed that the titular penguin is current President François Hollande. Bruni herself remains mum. In an interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, she said

C’est une chanson sur les malappris, ces gens désagréables, qui restent mystérieux pour moi… La courtoisie est une grâce, je ne trouve pas d’excuse à ceux qui n’en ont pas. Certains pensent que je parle des journalistes : c’est faux, j’en connais de très courtois.

This is a song about the ill-mannered, these unpleasant people, who remain a mystery to me… Courtesy is a grace, I can’t find an excuse for people who don’t have it. Some people think I’m talking about journalists: that’s false, I know some very polite ones.

Or, if guessing about that kind of intrigue isn’t interesting to you, skip to about 1:10 to hear Bruni expertly turn the French word for “nothing” (“rien“) into something that we think is her high-quality impression of a penguin.

5 comments
LinaNicolia
LinaNicolia like.author.displayName 1 Like

If Hollander is a penguin, she is a goose and her husband a crow. They are all birds of a feather.

Isabell17415448
Isabell17415448 like.author.displayName 1 Like

she's not italian,she's only a woman who create her fortune having famous  relationship with a famous and rich men...many men! i'have not respect for her.. she's french(words that she told in many occasions) Carla Bruni si only a inteligent woman.and a mediocre singer. da italiana lo posso dire( translation) i'm italian,i can say it.

Rouseman
Rouseman like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

It's very easy for a multi-millionaire heiress who's never done a proper days work in her life to expect 'politeness' from everyone else, but - let's be honest for once - her muzack is absolutely mind-numbing. Her idiot noises drill into the brain and makes the listener feel cheapened. If this ludicrous egotist wasn't married to a small but influential politician she never be allowed to get away with this vain nonsense. Stop encouraging her Time - write about serious, talented musicians who deserve publicity.