I can sing I can sing I can sing! One rooster’s battle for 'free speech'

Audio 21:14
Sound Kitchen Podcast
Sound Kitchen Podcast RFI

This week on The Sound Kitchen you’ll hear the answer to the question about the French rooster who won the right – legally! – to crow. There’s a brief history lesson about Good King Henry IV of France, Muhammad Shamim’s “Happy Moment”, great music - and of course, the new quiz question. Just click on the “Audio” arrow above and enjoy!


Hello everyone! Welcome to The Sound Kitchen weekly podcast, published every Saturday – here on our website, or wherever you get your podcasts. You’ll hear the winners' names announced and the week’s quiz question, along with all the other ingredients you’ve grown accustomed to: your letters and essays, “On This Day”, quirky facts and news, interviews, and great music … so be sure and listen every week.


Do you remember The Sound Kitchen Listeners Cookbook we published a couple of years ago, filled with your recipes? I had good news this week: our Communications Department has decided to re-print the original, and add some new recipes – from you, of course! So cooks, get your recipes to me, and quickly – we must “strike while the iron is hot”! Include a photograph of yourself, just in case we can include them this time around. Send your recipes to thesoundkitchen@rfi.fr - don’t put it off!


It’s ePOP time!

RFI Planète Radio is sponsoring a video contest, and we want you to enter!

Planète Radio is an RFI department that gives voices to remote populations around the world. They are looking for 3-minute videos about climate change, the environment, pollution - told by the people it affects. Here’s what Planète Radio says about the competition:

“Environmental deterioration, climate change, pollution, everybody's talking about it. But amid articles, figures and expert reports, what do we really know about the feelings of the people already impacted? The video clips produced by the ePOP community in more than 50 countries allow us to hear from those who never ask for anything, yet have seen it all. Those who are already living with these changes that are deteriorating their quality of life.”

Your project should be intergenerational: get together with your grandfather, your aunt, someone older in your community and ask them how they feel about what is happening where they live, maybe in the place where they grew up. How do you feel about it? Tell us what you think, too.

For competition guidelines and more information about the different categories you can enter, click here    

You can also write to us at english.service@rfi.fr if you need more help.

We’re very proud that the winner in the ePOP 2020 RFI Club category went to an English language club – Adita Prithika’s RFI Agnichiragu Phoenix Club in Tami Nadu, India. Here’s Adita’s award-winning video.

She won a trip to Paris to attend an ePOP workshop (as soon as we have Covid-19 under control!) and five ePOP turning kits (tripod, lavalier microphone, USB key, report bag, t-shirt). 

Please note that you do not have to be a member of an RFI English Club to enter. Everyone is welcome!

The deadline for entries is 4 April, so time to get creative!


During the French lockdown to fight the Coronavirus last spring, we were constrained to stop broadcasting Paris Live, our afternoon news broadcast.

In the meanwhile, we are focusing on our digital presence, and making our website the best! You can read breaking news articles on our site, as well as in-depth analysis of current affairs, both in France and across the globe.

We are also developing new and exciting podcasts for you. There’s Paris PerspectiveAfrica Calling, Spotlight on France, and of course, The Sound Kitchen. We have a bilingual series - an old-time radio show, with actors (!) to help you learn French, called Les voisins du 12 bis. And there is the excellent International Report, too.

As you see, sound is still quite present at the RFI English service!  Keep checking our website for updates on the latest from our excellent staff of journalists.


Send me your music requests! I’ll make programmes of your favourite music when I can’t be in the kitchen to cook up something new for you … write to me at thesoundkitchen@rfi.fr

To listen to our features from your PC, go to our website and click on the three horizontal bars on the top right, choose Listen to RFI / Podcasts, and you’ve got ‘em! You can either listen directly or subscribe and receive them directly on your mobile phone.

To listen to our features from your mobile phone, slide through the tabs just under the lead article (the first tab is “Headline News”) until you see “Podcasts”, and choose your show. 

Teachers, take note! I save postcards and stamps from all over the world to send to you for your students. If you would like stamps and postcards for your students, just write and let me know. The address is english.service@rfi.fr   If you would like to donate stamps and postcards, feel free! Our address is listed below. 

RFI Clubs: Be sure to always include Audrey Iattoni (audrey.iattoni@rfi.fr) from our Listener Relations department on all your RFI Club correspondence. Remember to copy me (thesoundkitchen@rfi.fr) when you write to them so that I know what is going on, too. N.B. You do not need to send her your quiz answers! Email overload!

And don't forget, there is a Facebook page just for you, the RFI English Clubs. Only members of RFI English Clubs can belong to this group page, so when you apply to join, be sure you include the name of your RFI Club and your membership number. Everyone can look at it, but only members of the group can post on it. If you haven’t yet asked to join the group, and you are a member of an independent, officially recognised RFI English Club, go to the Facebook link above and fill out the questionnaire!!!!! (if you do not answer the questions, I click “decline”).

There’s a Facebook page for members of the general RFI Listeners Club, too. Just click on the link and fill out the questionnaire, and you can connect with your fellow Club members around the world. Be sure you include your RFI Listeners Club membership number (most of them begin with an A, followed by a number) in the questionnaire, or I will have to click “Decline”, which I don’t like to do!

This week’s quiz: On 30 January, I asked you a question about the sounds of the country-side and a new French “Sensory Heritage” law. This law will protect rural sounds and smells.

The background: many French city people either retire to the country or have a holiday house in the country. But the pre-dawn crow of the rooster, the honk of geese, the non-stop jingle of cowbells – as well as the lovely smell of cow manure – this they were not ready for. There have been numerous cases brought to court by these newly rural people against the full-time, long-dated residents of the country – who have farm animals. With the passage of this legislation, there will be no more disputes over normal country-side noises.

This struggle between the neo-rurals in their new environment became a headline when a newly installed couple on the Island of Oléron, off France’s northwest coast, sued a rooster - well, his owner, actually - for his pre-dawn singing.  The couple not only lost the case but also had to pay court costs.

I asked you to tell me the name of the famous rooster from the Island of Oléron – the rooster who garnered thousands of signatures on a “Let him sing” petition, and in 2019 won, legally, the right to crow: his case paved the way for France’s new law, the Sensory Heritage law.

The answer is: Maurice. Maurice was the beloved rooster of Mme Corinne Fesseau – but he wasn’t there to crow in victory over the law: he went to Rooster Heaven this past summer. However, his successor, Maurice II, can. As Mme Fessau told RFI’s sister television station, France 24: “The city has its noises, and so does the countryside.”

The winners are: Tapsi Bain, who’s a member of the Paribar Bandhu RFI SWL Club in Chhattisgarh, India, and RFI Club members H M Tarek from Narayanganj, Bangladesh; Razia Hosen Iti from Sunamganj, also in Bangladesh; Krzysztof Borski from Poznan, Poland and Rakesh Seshan from Chennai, India.

Congratulations winners!

Here’s the music you heard on this week’s program: “Bonjour mon coeur” by Orlando di Lasso, performed by Trond Bengtson, lute and Ernst Stolz, viola da gamba; “The Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov; Fugue in G minor, BWV 542, by Johann Sebastian Bach sung by The Swingle Singers, and “Muy Sabroso Blues” by Don Tosti, performed by Lalo Guerrero y Sus Cinco Lobos.

Do you have a musical request? Send it to thesoundkitchen@rfi.fr

This week’s question ... You'll have to listen to the show to participate. You have until 22 March to enter this week's quiz; the winners will be announced on the 27 March podcast. When you enter, be sure you send your postal address in with your answer, and if you have one, your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

Send your answers to:



Susan Owensby

RFI – The Sound Kitchen

80, rue Camille Desmoulins

92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux



By text … You can also send your quiz answers to The Sound Kitchen mobile phone. Dial your country’s international access code, or “ + ”, then 33 6 31 12 96 82. Don’t forget to include your mailing address in your text – and if you have one, your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

To find out how you can win a special Sound Kitchen prize, click here

To find out how you can become a member of the RFI Listeners Club, or to form your own official RFI Club, click here


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