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"ABC Café" or "Red and Black"
Red and Black

Claude-Michel Schönberg


Herbert Kretzmer



Song Order

"Éponine's Errand"


"In My Life" (2012 film)
"Do You Hear the People Sing?" (musical)

"ABC Café" (also known as "Red and Black") is a song from Les Misérables.

Role Edit

This song takes place in the Café Musain, where a group of young student revolutionaries are planning the June Rebellion. In the middle of the meeting, Marius barges in, ruining the serious atmosphere by fantasizing about his newfound love, Cosette. Enjolras, however, soon brings the meeting back to order with Gavroche's announcement that General Lamarque is dead. The students then proclaim their coming victory.


[Students gather in the Café Musain.]

At Notre Dame,
The sections are prepared!

At Rue de Bac,
They're straining at the leash!

Students, workers, everyone,
There's a river on the run,
Like the flowing of the tide,
Paris coming to our side!

The time is near...
So near, it's stirring the blood in their veins!
And yet beware...
Don't let the wine go to your brains!

For the army we fight is a dangerous foe
With the men and the arms that we never can match.
Oh, it's easy to sit here and swat 'em like flies,
But the national guard will be harder to catch.

We need a sign
To rally the people,
To call them to arms,
To bring them in line!

[Marius enters.]

Marius, you're late.

What's wrong today?
You look as if you've seen a ghost.

Some wine and say what's going on!

A ghost you say...a ghost maybe.
She was just like a ghost to me.
One minute there, then she was gone!

I am agog!
I am aghast!
Is Marius in love at last?
I've never seen him 'ooh' and 'aah.'

You talk of battles to be won,
And here he comes like Don Juan.
It's better than an opera!

It is time for us all
To decide who we are.
Do we fight for the right
To a night at the opera now?

Have you asked of yourselves
What's the price you might pay?
Is it simply a game
For rich young boys to play?
The color of the world
Is changing day by day.

Red - the blood of angry men!
Black - the dark of ages past!
Red - a world about to dawn!
Black - the night that ends at last!

Had you been there tonight
You might know how it feels
To be struck to the bone
In a moment of breathless delight!

Had you been there tonight
You might also have known
How the world may be changed
In just one burst of light!

And what was right
Seems wrong,
And what was wrong
Seems right.


I feel my soul on fire!


My world if she's not there!


The color of desire!


The color of despair!

Marius, you're no longer a child.
I do not doubt you mean it well,
But now there is a higher call.

Who cares about your lonely soul?
We strive toward a larger goal.
Our little lives don't count at all!

Red - the blood of angry men!
Black - the dark of ages past!
Red - a world about to dawn!
Black - the night that ends at last!

Well, Courfeyrac, do we have all the guns?
Feuilly, Combeferre, our time is running short.
Grantaire, put that bottle down!
Do we have the guns we need?

Give me brandy on my breath
And I’ll breathe them all to death!
At St. Antoine, they’re with us to a man!
At Notre Dame, they’re tearing up the stones!
Twenty rifles, good as new!
[Gavroche rushes in, shouting.]
Twenty rounds for every man!
Listen to me!
Jean Prouvaire:
Double that in Port St. Cloud!
Listen, everybody!
Seven guns in St. Martin!
General Lamarque is dead!
Lamarque is dead.
Lamarque! His death is the hour of fate.
The people's man.
His death is the sign we await!

On his funeral day, they will honor his name.
It's a rallying cry that will reach every ear!
In the death of Lamarque we will kindle the flame.
They will see that the day of salvation is near!

The time is here!
Let us welcome it gladly with courage and cheer.
Let us take to the streets with no doubt in our hearts,
But a jubilant shout.
They will come one and all.
They will come when we call!

Trivia Edit

  • The song gets its name from two major components: the group's name, Les Amis de l'ABC (a pun on the French word "abaisse," meaning "oppressed;" to the ear, it sounds like the French pronunciation of the letters A-B-C; they are "The Friends of the Oppressed"), and their favorite meeting place, the Café Musain.
  • In the original French version of this song, the track is titled "Rouge et Noir," which translates to Red and Black.[1]
  • In the Spanish production this song is called "Rojo y Negro", translating literally to Red and Black.
  • In the Parisian Revival version of this song, the track is titled "Le Café des Amis de l'ABC," which translates to The Café of the Friends of the ABC.[2] It is also titled "Rouge, la Flamme de la Colère," which translates to Red, the Flame of Anger.[3] The song order is reversed to match the English versions.
  • In the Polish production the track is titled "Kawiarnia ABC" what's translated to: "ABC Café". Also, it's not on official CD track.
  • The following are alterations to the song in the 2012 movie version:
    • The opening verses sung by Courfeyrac, Combeferre, and Feuilly are cut. The same goes for the verses' reprise during Gavroche's interruption.
    • Gavroche's interruption is noticed by Courfeyrac, who says, "Listen, everybody!" instead of Gavroche to catch their attention.
    • Enjolras's lines from "But the army we fight is a dangerous foe" to "But the National Guard will be harder to catch" are cut.
    • Because Marius is present at the café at the start of the song, Enjolras's line "Marius, you're late" is omitted. Instead, Joly sings, "Marius, wake up!" since despite being present at the Amis' meeting, Marius is still thinking of Cosette.
    • Enjolras doesn't sing the entirety of the final part, though he still sings until "Let us welcome it gladly with courage and cheer!" and "Lamarque is dead" is omitted. The first three lines afterwards are taken by Feuilly, Courfeyrac, and Lesgles; and all the students sing, "They will come when we call!".


The 10th Anniversary Version The 25th Anniversary Version
Les Misérables (10th Anniversary) - ABC Café-Red and Black

Les Misérables (10th Anniversary) - ABC Café-Red and Black

The 10th Anniversary version of "ABC Café / Red and Black"

25th Anniversary - Red and Black

25th Anniversary - Red and Black

The 25th Anniversary version of "ABC Café / Red and Black"

Original London Cast The 2012 Film Version
Original London Cast - Red and Black

Original London Cast - Red and Black

Movie Soundtrack - Red and Black

Movie Soundtrack - Red and Black

The 2012 film version of "ABC Café / Red and Black"

References Edit

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
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