Rockin' Frère Jacques

arr. John Riggio

"Frère Jacques" is a traditional French folk song/round that every kid should know. Unfortunately, as we are learning, lots of kids have never heard many of the songs we grew up with, such as this one. So, we're doing our part to help teach those old songs, often with new and different arrangements, like this rocked-out version.

The song starts out in unison, with the original French lyrics, then becomes a round. On the repeat, it is sung again in unison, but this time in English. It then breaks into a round once more.

At measure 29, singers alternate French and English versions of the line "Are you sleeping?" The divisi parts are optional, but since they are very natural, they shouldn't be difficult to learn.

If your school has a French teachers, she'll probably love you for performing this song, and should be able to help with the pronunciation of the French words, if you feel it's warranted.

The CD is quite necessary for the successful performance of this song, unless you happen to have your own rock band at the ready. The piano/vocal part is a sort of reduced score which players could read if needs be. In any event, we think you should at least let your students hear the superb rhythm section on this tune. Our usual gang of experts were involved: Sandy Williams on guitar, Randy Melson on bass, and Dane Clark on drums. (John did all the nifty synth stuff, including those rockin' chimes.) This is a fun way for your students to experience a classic children's song!

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.