"In a form of sympathetic magic, many built life-size replicas of aeroplanes out of straw and cut new military-style landing strips out of the jungle, hoping to attract more aeroplanes. The cult members thought that the foreigners had some special connection to the deities and ancestors of the natives, who were the only beings powerful enough to produce such riches."

cargo cults

Serge Gainsbourg, Cargo Culte
From the album “Histoire de Melody Nelson, 1971″
Music: Serge Gainsbourg, Jean-Claude Vannier and Jane Birkin
Video from the TV film “Melody” by Jean-Christophe Averty

Je sais moi des sorciers qui invoquent les jets
Dans la jungle de Nouvelle-Guine
Ils scrutent le znith convoitant les guines
Que leur rapporterait le pillage du fret

I know of sorcerers who summon jets
In the jungle of New Guinea
They scan the heights, coveting the wealth
That pillaging the freight will bring them

Sur la mer de corail au passage de cet
Appareil ces cratures non dnues
De raison ces papous attendent des nues
Lavarie du Viscount et celle du Comet

On the sea of coral, upon the passage of that
Aircraft, these creatures, not bereft of
Reason, these citizens of Papua await in swarms
The breakdown of a Viscount and of a Comet

Et comme leur totem na jamais pu abattre
A leurs pieds ni Bing ni mme D.C. quatre
Ils rvent de hijacks et daccidents doiseaux

And since their totem has never been able to pull down
To their feet a Boeing or even a D.C. 4
They dream of hijax and crashes with birds

Ces naufrageurs nafs arms de sarbacanes
Qui sacrifient ainsi au culte du cargo
En soufflant vers lazur et les aroplanes.

These naive shipwreckers armed with blowguns
Who sacrifice thus to the cult of cargo
Blowing their weapons towards the blue and the airplanes

O es-tu Melody et ton corps disloqu
Hante-t-il larchipel que peuplent les sirnes
Ou bien accrochs au cargo dont la sirne
Dalarme sest tue, es-tu reste

Where are you, Melody, and your broken body?
Does it haunt the archipelago peopled by sirens?
Or do you remain hanging from that cargo
About which the alarm siren is silent?

Au hasard des courants as-tu dj touch
Ces lumineux coraux des ctes guinennes
O sagitent en vain ces sorciers indignes
Qui esprent encore des avions briss

Adrift in the currents, have you already touched
Those luminous corals of the Guinean coast
Where the indigenous sorcerer, still awaiting
Shattered airplanes, fidget in vain?

Nayant plus rien perdre ni Dieu en qui croire
Afin quils me rendent mes amours drisoires
Moi, comme eux, jai pri les cargos de la nuit

No longer having anything more to lose, nor God in whom to believe
So that theyll give me back my pathetic passions
I, like them, have prayed for the cargos of the night

Et je garde cette esprance dun dsastre
Arien qui me ramnerait Melody
Mineure dtourne de lattraction des astres.

And I keep that hope for a aerial
Disaster that will return to me Melody
Minor diverted from the pull of the stars

Tu tappelles comment ?
- Melody
- Melody comment ?
- Melody Nelson.

Whats your name?
- Melody
- Melody what?
- Melody Nelson.

lyrics & translation found on:
cargo cult and french culture serge gainsbourg

previously: Daisies & Snow Lies -->

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