The same music, two texts and two totally different sound worlds – Creation is Magic!

Using three different examples, Jean-Yves Ragot explains how songs can evolve and where they can come from. 

The song version 1991/1992

I was an active member of the association Aide à Toute Détresse (ATD) (Help in Need) Quart-Monde for a long time. For a certain period, I was one of the animators of the Wednesday Club for children.

In response to a call for a competition, launched by the national headquarters of ATD, inviting me to compose a song for the World Day Against Poverty, I composed “Une dalle de pierre”. 

Peut-on parler des droits de l’homme
Quand la misère touche tant d’hommes
Quand ils ont faim, quand ils ont froid
Et qu’ils n’ont même plus un toit
Même en plein cœur de nos richesses
Même à deux pas de nos avenues
Des familles vivent dans la détresse
Des hommes meurent comme des exclus

UNE DALLE DE PIERRE
CONTRE LA MISÈRE
UNE DALLE D’ESPOIR
SOUS TOUS LES REGARDS
AU COEUR D’UN PARI(S)
CONTRE LA MISÈRE
SUR TOUTE LA TERRE
UNE DALLE DE PIERRE
CONTRE LA MISÈRE
POUR UN MONDE NOUVEAU
LA DALLE DU TROCADÉRO

Chaque fois qu’un homme est humilié
Bafoué, rejeté ou méprisé
En fait c’est toute l’humanité
Qui perd un peu sa dignité


Peut-on parler des droits de l’homme
Quand la misère touche tant d’hommes
Quand ils ont faim, quand ils ont froid
Et qu’ils n’ont même plus un toit
REFRAIN


Can we talk about human rights
When misery affects so many people
When they are hungry, when they are cold
And they don’t even have a roof over their heads
Even in the heart of our wealth
Even just a stone’s throw from our avenues
Families live in distress
Men die as outcasts

A SLAB OF STONE
AGAINST MISERY
A SLAB OF HOPE
UNDER ALL EYES
IN THE HEART OF A BET
AGAINST MISERY
ON THE WHOLE EARTH
A STONE SLAB
AGAINST MISERY
FOR A NEW WORLD
THE SLAB OF THE TROCADERO

Every time a man is humiliated
scorned, rejected or despised
In fact it is all of humanity
Which loses a little of its dignity
Can we talk about human rights

When misery affects so many people
When they are hungry, when they are cold
And they don’t even have a roof over their heads
REFRAIN
Copyright Jean-Yves Ragot

It is a text about the slab inaugurated on the Trocadero Square, in Paris, on October 17th, 1987. The founder of the ATD movement, and the initiator of this World Day, was Father Joseph Wresinski. You can see this slab in detail in the video, with the central phrase which is so important.

The young people who had gathered at the ATD national centre in Noisy-le-Grand chose my song for this World Day Against Poverty. It was officially recognised in 1992 by the UN and is now held every 17th October.

The song is still in our repertoire. You will discover it, with pictures, with my accomplice Chris on the guitar here. : 

The song version 2015/2017

Some years later, a faithful friend who knows who is meant, and for whom this music was “my best music”, urged me to rework it and to open it to a wider public with a less specialized theme. 

So, I wrote a completely different text to the same music.

In the heading, I wrote “two totally different sound worlds”. Of us seven children, five wrote or still write songs. For “Je reviens de si loin”, which is the title of this second version, it was my big brother Michel, from Paris, who did all the orchestration.

I have placed it on my website, which, thanks to you, for sharing, I have started to update.

You can listen to it here link

J’ai traversé tous les abîmes
Dans des vertiges de déprimes
J’ai traversé toutes les tempêtes
Quand toutes les fuites sont des défaites

J’ai traversé tous les déserts
Et tous les cercles des enfers
J’ai traversé toutes les souffrances
Et jusqu’aux portes de la démence

Je reviens de si loin
Mais je te reviens
Du fin fond de moi-même
De tous les extrêmes
Impatient de vivre
Chaque seconde
De ton cœur
Je reviens de si loin
Mais je te reviens
Du fin fond de moi-même
Comme un tout premier je t’aime


J’ai traversé tous ces cauchemars
Qui nous déchirent dans le noir
J’ai traversé toutes ces angoisses
Qui nous submergent et qui nous glacent

Mais durant toutes ces traversées
C’est ton visage que je voyais
C’est ta présence qui me portait
C’est ton amour qui me guidait
Refrain

PONT MUSICAL

Je reviens de si loin
Je reviens de si loin

Je reviens de si loin
Mais je te reviens
La tendresse dans les yeux
Et le corps en feu
Je te reviens plus fort
Pour t’aimer mille ans
Et bien plus encore
Je reviens de si loin
Mais je te reviens
Du fin fond de moi-même
Comme un… tout premier… je t’aime

Je reviens de si loin
De si loin

I have crossed all the abysses
In dizzy spells of despondency
I’ve been through all the storms
When all escapes are defeats


I’ve crossed all the deserts
And all the circles of hell
I’ve been through all the sufferings
And to the gates of insanity

I’ve come back from so far
But I come back to you
From the depths of myself
From all extremes
Eager to live
Every second
Of your heart
I’ve come so far
But I come back to you
From the depths of my being
Like a very first I love you

I’ve been through all these nightmares
That tear us apart in the dark
I’ve been through all these anxieties
That overwhelm us and freeze us

But through it all
It was your face that I saw
It was your presence that carried me
It was your love that guided me
Refrain

MUSICAL BRIDGE

I’ve come back from so far
I’ve come back from so far

I come back from so far
But I come back to you
The tenderness in my eyes
And my body on fire
I come back stronger
To love you for a thousand years
And much more
I come back from so far away
But I come back to you
From the depths of my being
Like a… very first… I love you

I’ve come back from so far away
From so far away
Copyright: Jean-Yves Ragot.

Creation is magic!

Take a block of stone or a piece of wood and make an animal or a statue out of it. Buy an old, dilapidated farmhouse and turn it into a superb and pleasant place to live. With old clothes or brand-new fabric cuts, you can make surprising and elegant clothes. One can multiply the examples endlessly and in all fields.  

Now, add to this: having a phrase or the beginning of a melody in your head, or under your fingers, making a complete song out of it, orchestrating it, recording it and being able to share it. At each level we are craftsmen. And the creation keeps its magic side each time.

So, in keeping with the spirit of what I wrote earlier, it was my big brother Michel, from Paris, who again did all the orchestration and came up with a valuable remark. 

He pointed out to me that I should leave more breathing space and music between my words, and inside my stanzas and refrains. 

“Breathe when you sing.” I had the first sentence. A new song was in gestation. This is the one you are about to discover.

For those of you who prefer to listen to the song without looking at the pictures, I would like to point out that in this montage, there are more texts than pictures.

And you can even breathe as the song unfolds, or even experience this “mindfulness breathing”, which has rightly been well publicised recently.

 Here is the link: 

 Wishing you good health and stimulating projects.

                              Jean-Yves

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