Multilingual musicians

A Sardinian friend of mine, Elena Piras, knows six languages (Sardinian, Italian, English, Scottish Gaelic, French and Spanish) and sings in most of them, plus a few others, including Scots, Bulgarian and Georgian.

Here’s a recording of a performance from earlier this year in which she sings in Sardinian, Scots, English, Scottish Gaelic and Bulgarian.

Elena aims to sing each language in as close to a native accent as possible, and I think she does this very well.

Another multilingual singer is Jean-Marc Leclercq or JoMo, who holds the world record for singing in the most languages in one performance: 22. I heard him doing this at the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin in May this year. His pronunciation in the languages I know didn’t sound entirely native-like, and it sounded like he had a strong French accent in the other languages.

Do you know other singers who sing in multiple languages?

How well do they pronounce them?

I myself sing in various languages, and try to pronounce as well as I can, but know I could do better.

Here’s a recording of a song I wrote earlier this year in the five languages I know best (English, French, Welsh, Mandarin and Irish):

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2 thoughts on “Multilingual musicians

  1. I remember singing some of the Liebeslieder in a group whose director had studied in Salzburg– so he made sure we performed them with a proper Austrian accent.

    I’ve noticed that more and more publishers are including IPA notation, so that you don’t have to guess at the pronunciation when you’re singing in a language no one in the group knows!

    Other languages I’ve sung in, with varying degrees of confidence in whether they were pronounced correctly: modern English, Middle English, Latin, Italian, Spanish, Swahili, Afrikaans, Irish, Nahuatl, French, Catalan, Portuguese, and Russian.

  2. This is kind of late, but Silvia Perez Cruz is pretty good. She sings in Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German.

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