French camp song – Cunégonde


This piece was collected in a casual interview setting in the informant’s back yard. My informant (JP) was born in Lynon, France, and moved to California in 2002 with his wife for their jobs at Caltech. He is a professor of Seismology, enjoys playing tennis and guitar, has two teenage daughters, and loves to sing old French camp songs he learned as a kid. The following is a song JP learned when he went to summer camp as a child, when he was around 10 years old. He still sings it and taught it to his daughters who like to sing along.

Main Piece: The following is a transcribed camp song JP sung.

Cunégonde, veux-tu du fromage,

Oui ma mere, avec du beurre dessus,

Bein ma fille, t’es bien trop gourmande, et t’auras un coup pied aux…

**repeats from the start** 


Transliterated translation: **note: “gourmande” has no direct translation. It is closest to “greedy for food”** 

Cunégonde, want you cheese,

Yes my mother, with some butter on top,

Well my girl, you’re well too greedy, and you’ll have a kick to the … 

Fully translated version: 

Cunégonde, do you want cheese,

Yes my mother, with some butter on top,

Well my daughter, you are too greedy for good, and you’ll have a kick to the … 


The reason this song is so funny to children is that the beginning of the name “Cunégonde” sounds like the word “ass” in French. When the mother tells her daughter she’s going to give “a kick to the…” and the song repeats, it sounds like the mother is going to kick Cunégonde’s ass. This was a playful song my sister, dad and I would song together growing up, but I was never really able to share it with my American friends because it does not translate well. 


For another version of the Cunegonde song, please follow this link: