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Subject: Nonsense songs
(26 april 2015)

Hello Rozemarijn,

I read with great pleasure about the Dutch nonsense song "In Pompeii pudineii pudinaska" on your web (from 2014). I also read the comments in your guestbook (from 2012) about "Belgian Congo song".

It is an interesting song that according to our research seems to belong to one family of gibberish songs. We have already published an article in the Swedish "Noterat" (a folklore music magazine). And will eventually and hopefully publish again on the most recent foundings.

We would be interested if you would have any information on the above song family going back to around and before the turn of the 19th century.

Best regards,


Answer     (26 april 2015)

Hello Lars,

I remembered the earlier messages about the Dutch nonsense songs ('In Pompeii' and the Congo song 'Heiwaddoewei, waddoewoetsjambo').

The best source to look for more/earlier variations or other nonsense songs, is the Dutch Song Database (Nederlandse Liederenbank):

The songs are hard to find, because of the strange words and spelling variations.

I could find some songs, with searching 'nonsens'; 'nonsenslied' (=nonsense song); and 'nep' (=fake).

When you click on "All songs with this text", you'll find other sources with the same song.

If you want to find more songs or older versions, you can contact the Song Database yourself with a specific question, see their e-mail adress at the bottom of each page.

It's a project of the Research Centre Meertens Institute (in Amsterdam), part of the Dutch university's.

I wish you good luck with future publications about the groups with variations spreading over Europe or even the world.

With kind regards, met vriendelijke groeten,


Dutch children's songs with music and English translation  (

Re:     (27 april 2015)

Thanks a lot, Rozemarijn, for an extremely fast reply.

We shall pursue the Dutch Song Base further. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Interesting that the "ine mine" counting out rhyme turns up here too ('Ine mine matsjang kwing kwang kwore' (fake Chinese)). Two of the verses of the 1901 version of our target song start in a similar manner:
"Ponie, ponie, poniassa run, qua qui qua qua" and
"Quonni genni, quonni genni, quonni nassa run, qua qui qua qua".

Helmuth Segler (Tanze der Kinder in Europa) refers in that book to one hypothesis that the "ene mene" rhyme is derived from a song sung by black people from Guinea in Africa, as they were shipped across the Atlantic as slaves.

Q1. Would you have any comments to that?

Another intriguing song/rhyme is the so called Sarasponda song (not in the Database as far I can see). To me at least its first phrase sounds very similar to the first phrase of the Dutch recordings from the 1950-ies of Em Pom Pi.

Q2. Any comment to that or to the present tradition (we have not seen an evidence for it so far) that Sarasponda is a Dutch song performed by weavers?

Best regards, Lars.

Re:     (29 april 2015)

Lars, about the 'ine mine'-phrase: in Dutch we have a counting rhyme for children ('Iene miene mutte / tien pond grutten'). See here: ;

On the Dutch Wikipedia you can find 3 theories about the origin of this rhyme: (Herkomst).

1: it comes from Creol rhymes by black people - but no evidence is ever found for this theory and in the song research it's not considered a serious option.
2: it comes from Celtic words for numbers ('ina, mina, ethera, methera'). Spread by Celtic sailors.
3: it comes from a Bhudistic phrase ('Ene mene dasphe dandadasphe'); but it's unclear how it came to Europe and became a children's rhyme for counting.

About the Sarasponda song: I really don't know, other than that the weaver song is a known phenomenon in the history of Dutch songs. You can find some of them by searching in the Song Database with 'weven' (to weave) or 'weverslied' (weavers song).

With kind regards,


Dutch children's songs with music and English translation  (

Re:     (29 april 2015)

Thank you very much, Rozemarijn,

I will look the links.

Best regards,

Lars (Sweden).

See also the guestbook message:
'Belgian Congo song' and 'Ging gang goolie' (Ingemar).

More English questions about Dutch songs:

English guestbook Dutch songs


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