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Subject: Dutch nonsense song
(4 maart 2014)


I'm looking for the origins of a nonsense song my mother (born in 1924) sang to her children. It was "pretend" Chinese so has no real spelling, just the Dutch concept of what Chinese would have sounded like. My rendition is phoenetic and probably in English to make things even more difficult.

  In Pompeii pudineii pudinaska
  In Pompeii in Pompeii
  miniminimachang quin quan quroum
  quo quo quo

and more of the same nonesense.

Any ideas?


Answer     (4 maart 2014)

Hello Frank,

I don't know this song, but I searched for this kind of song in the Dutch Song Database (Nederlandse liederenbank) and I found it with a bit different spelling:

  In pompé poederné, poedenaska, in pompé, in pompé

The Dutch Song Database has 9 variants of the song, mainly from the fifties and sixties. That's not very rare, but also it seems not to be a very wide-spread and well-known song.

See 3 of the versions I found at the end of this e-mail.

In the descriptions in these 9 sources (songbooks/recordings), the song is charcterised as: a children's song, a play for children, a counting-out game, a song for scouts (the scouting) and a nonsense song. There is no source where it is described as a Chinese-like song - in fact, there are children's songs that pretend to sound like Chinese, but they sound rather different (with sounds like: ching, chang, chong, and: ping pang pong). The 9th variant here resembles most like the words you send me.

The oldest source is a song book from 1946. But at one of the recordings (recording in 1953) the lady who sang it, told that she learned it around 1920 (in Zutphen, in the east of the Netherlands). Of course, the song can be even older than this.

Four of the songs in the Database have music (mp3) and four of them have sheet music and/or full text. See link below this mail.

After this, I searched this song with google, to see if I could find more information (with different possible spellings). Most results I found with 'epompee poedenee', but these websites with children's songs give no further information about the song. The website SeniorPlaza gives 4 variants of the song, with one description of a little child's play (they tried to slap the other at the end of the song). The 4th variant here, ends different than other variants I saw, and here with some a littlebit 'Chines-like' words (like kwing kwang kworum (Chinese-like would be: kwing kwang kwong)). This one has maybe more similarities with your version. Even then, I would still describe it as a nonsense song, more than a song that tries to resemble a real language. See link below.

Of course, like all folk songs, children's songs can have many variants in text and melody (in region and in the course of time). There is not one version that is better than another. I'm afraid that the original version and the origin of the song are not known.

I hope you learned at least some more about the song that you were looking for. I understand that many memories can be connected to a song your mother sang to you when you were a child. I wish you much singing-pleasure with many good memories.

With kind regards,


Dutch songs with music and English translation  (


Dutch Song Database:
'Epompee poedenee poedenaska' in Dutch Song Database

You can click on the first line to find the basic information about that version and the source. You can click at the right on 'mp3' and 'transcription' to find more text and music. The mp3's are recordings in the fifties from a research to old folk songs with elderly people, so they sing the song for the research team.

SeniorPlaza, 4 versions of the song:
'Epompee poedenee' on SeniorPlaza

Some versions:

In pompé poedené poedenaska
In pompé, in pompé
In pompé poedené poedenaska
In pompé, o jé o jé!

Ninemine matsjang quing quang quorum

In: In die grote stad Zaltbommel; liedjes van school, club en kamp. Verzameld door Jacques Klöters (1993).
Bron: Dutch Song Database.

Epompee poedenee poedenaska
Epompee epompa
Epompee poedenee poedenaska
epompee, owee owee.
Academie, vasalemie,
academie, vasalemie,

In: Adelijn, bruin maagdelijn. Verzameld door B. Veurman (1966). With sheet music.
Bron: Dutch Song Database.

Impompee poedenee poedenaska,
impompee impompee,
impompee poedenee poedenaska,
impompee, ojee ojee!

Ninemine matchang kwing kwang kworum
kwing kwang kwoo, kwoo kwoo, kwoo kwoo,
o sjalum sjalum kwing kwang kworum
kwing kwang kwing kwang kwoo.

Bron: SeniorPlaza.

Re:     (4 maart 2014)

Boy! That was fantastic! And so quick!

Thanks you so much for this. I'll take a while to investigate further and really appreciate your work.

Thanks again, Frank.

Re:     (4 maart 2014)

Hi Frank,

thank you for your enthusiastic response! Well, at least now you have some lines you can further investigate, because I understand it's very hard to find a song if you don't know a possible spelling.

That I responded quick was a coincidence, I had a free morning ;-)

Have a nice day and enjoy singing about the poederné and the poedenaska!

With kind regards,


Dutch songs with music and English translation  (

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