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Subject: Old Dutch folk song
(24 juli 2011)


Greetings,

I came across your website listing many Dutch songs and translations to English. I apologize I can only write you in English, but I hope you can understand my email and help me. I am looking to identify an old Dutch song my grandmother used to sing as a girl 80+ years ago. Her health is failing and so is her memory and she can no longer recall the song or lyrics.

I would love to find out what it is and share it with her again. From what I remember, the song was about a bird that visited a child away at school with a question or message from the boy's parents and asked for a reply. I can only recall some of the lyrics and do not know the correct spelling or order they were in, so I apologize. I will try to spell how it sounds:

Dat ou darlig out lasa, wat ou answer moot?
leva vogel, ik dank ou
branga ou met a grou

I am sorry this little is all I have to go on, but this is all I recall. Do you know which Dutch song this could be? I appreciate your time and effort.

Most Sincerely, Tracy.





Answer     (24 juli 2011)


Dear Tracy,

I understand you hope to find the lyrics of a Dutch folk song for your grandmother. I think it's very kind of you to take all this trouble for her.

The theme of a bird that brings a message or (love)letter is well-known in the history of european folk songs. This particular lines I don't recognize.

But I have googled on dutch words I recognized (answer moot = antwoorden moet; leva vogel = lieve vogel; met a grou = met een groet). And I have found lyrics that just might be the song that you're looking for. I give the complete text and online sources of 3 variants at the end of this e-mail.

I saw similarity in the second and third couplet/verse:

- wat ou answer moot?
- Wat ik antwoorden moet

- leva vogel, ik dank ou / branga ou met a grou
- Lieve vogel ik dank u / Breng ik u met een groet

It's indeed about a bird/dove who brings a letter to a girl and asks what message it will take back to her parents. I'll give you simple translations, also at the end of this e-mail. Further more, the first website gives some information. It is a translation of a German song, this is a song from an opera by A. Bäuerle and Wenzel Müller (Wenen, Austria) in 1822. It became a folk song in Germany and later became known in The Netherlands in a Dutch translation.

Then I checked this song in de Dutch Song Database. It gives two versions of this song, I also give them at the end of the mail with simple translations. You can also find an mp3 on their website (last link).

I think this was not a very well known song, because the Dutch Song Database gives so little hits and none of a song book.

I hope this is the song that you are looking for and I hope that one of the three lyrics below gives the text as your grandmother did sing it. Good luck with it and let me know if you have any more questions.

With greetings / met groeten,

Rozemarijn


Dutch songs with music and English translationsdutchsongs.overtuin.net
Dutch children's songs with musickinderliedjes.overtuin.net
Dutch folk songs with musicvolksliedjes.overtuin.net


---


Het duifje

1.
Zie daar buiten voor 't venster
Vliegt een duifje heen en weer,
Heeft een briefje in haar snavel
Zie daar legt ze het neer.

2.
Lieve Mina dit briefje
Breng ik u met een groet,
Zeg aan vader en moeder
Wat ik antwoorden moet.

3.
Lieve vogel ik dank u
Breng mij die groeten weerom,
Zeg aan vader en moeder
Dat ik spoedig weer kom.

4.
Zie daar vliegt weer ons duifje
Klipklappend weer heen,
Zo'n allerliefst als dat diertje
Is er waarlijk niet een.

cubra.nl/duif

The name of this website is: Cultureel Brabant (Culture of Brabant; Brabant is a province in the south of the Netherlands). On this page you can also find a variant of the song.



I'll give a short translation of every couplet/verse.

The little dove (duifje: the Dutch language uses often diminuatives, by putting -je or -tje behind a word. So: duif (dove) becomes duifje (little dove)).

1.
Look outside before the window
A dove is flying there en back
It has a little letter is it's beak
Look there she puts it down.

2.
Dear Mina (old fashioned female name) this little letter
I bring to you ('thee') with an greeting
Tell, to father and mother,
What my answer must be.

3.
Dear bird I thank you
Bring my greetings back
Tell father and mother
I will return soon.

4.
Look, over there our little dove flies again
Flapping (? wings up and down) again away
So lovely as that little animal
Truly is no one.



DUTCH SONG DATABASE
http://www.liederenbank.nl/index.php?lan=en

1.
Er kwam een duifje aangevlogen
Zie, het vliegt heen en weer
Met een briefje in zijn snavel
Zie, daar legt het hem neer.

2.
Aardig meisje, zei het briefje
Ik breng u met een groet
Zeg aan vader en moeder
Wat ze antwoorden moet.


1.
A little dove came flying
Look, it's flying there and back
With a little letter in it's beak
Look, there it lies it down.

2.
Sweet girl, said the little letter
I bring you ('thee') a greeting
Tell, to father and mother,
What she has to answer.


liederenbank.nl/80350
Comment: Singer says it's a German melody; and can't remember the whole song.



The Dutch Song Database gives a variant. This is a recording from 1953, you can listen it online (click on 'mp3').

1.
Komt een vogel gevlogen
Ziet hij vliegt heen en weer
Met een briefje in zijn snavel
Zie daar legt hij het neer.

2.
Aardig kindje, dat briefje
Breng ik u met een groet
Wil mij spoedig vertellen
Wat ik antwoorden moet.

3.
En daar vliegt nu die vogel
Vrolijk klepperende heen
En zo lief als dat diertje
Is er waarlijk geen een.


1.
A bird comes flying
Look he is flying back and forth
With an little letter is his beak
Look there he lies it down.

2.
Sweet little child, this little letter
I bring you ('thee') with a greeting
Will you tell me soon
What I have to answer.

3.
And there the bird flies now
Happy flapping (with is wings) away
And so lovely as that little animal
Is truly no one.


liederenbank.nl/70363 with mp3





Re:     (12 augustus 2011)


Dear Rozemarijn,

I wanted to thank you so very much for your time in finding the song my grandmother used to sing. The third set of lyrics you listed is it!

I am so excited to be able to share this with her when I visit next. I hope it will refresh her memory and bring a big smile to her face.

Thank you again so very much for helping me.

Best wishes, Tracy.





Re:     (13 augustus 2011)


Dear Tracy,

I'm happy that my search was helpfull and that you found the song you were looking for.

I hope it brings old memories back for your grandmother.

Best wishes, Rozemarijn.


Dutch songs with music and English translationsdutchsongs.overtuin.net
Dutch children's songs with musickinderliedjes.overtuin.net
Dutch folk songs with musicvolksliedjes.overtuin.net








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