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Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)

DigiTrad:
A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD
BRAHMS' LULLABY
BUMM! BUMM!! BUMM!!!
CORPORAL SCHNAPPS
DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREI
DIE GUTE KAMERAD
DIE LAPPEN HOCH
DIE MOORSOLDATEN
EDELWEISS
GORCH FOCK LIED
HANS BEIMLER
HEISE, ALL
LILI MARLEEN
MARIA DURCH EIN DORNWALD GING
ODE TO JOY (GERMAN)
YAW, YAW, YAW


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Ginger Hulsopple 14 May 98 - 11:17 AM
Bill in Alabama 14 May 98 - 11:28 AM
Allan C. 14 May 98 - 12:47 PM
erica 14 May 98 - 12:56 PM
Cuilionn 14 May 98 - 01:20 PM
erica 14 May 98 - 01:40 PM
Bill in Alabama 14 May 98 - 02:28 PM
Allan C. 14 May 98 - 02:45 PM
Joe Offer 14 May 98 - 04:11 PM
Bill in Alabama 14 May 98 - 04:29 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 14 May 98 - 09:37 PM
erica 15 May 98 - 12:46 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 16 May 98 - 09:21 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 18 May 98 - 10:14 PM
Wolfgang Hell 19 May 98 - 04:12 AM
Bob Schwarer 19 May 98 - 07:47 AM
erica 19 May 98 - 12:14 PM
Genie 08 Dec 01 - 12:34 AM
CRANKY YANKEE 08 Dec 01 - 01:43 AM
CRANKY YANKEE 08 Dec 01 - 02:23 AM
GUEST,mae 07 Sep 06 - 03:57 PM
KenBrock 07 Sep 06 - 05:17 PM
Ron Davies 07 Sep 06 - 10:58 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Sep 06 - 11:49 PM
Genie 08 Sep 06 - 12:40 AM
Bat Goddess 08 Sep 06 - 07:57 AM
Bat Goddess 08 Sep 06 - 10:54 AM
Bat Goddess 08 Sep 06 - 03:45 PM
Bat Goddess 10 Sep 06 - 04:21 PM
Susanne (skw) 10 Sep 06 - 06:52 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Nov 07 - 09:31 PM
quokka 03 May 08 - 12:53 AM
GUEST,Dave MacKenzie 03 May 08 - 07:51 PM
Joe_F 03 May 08 - 08:18 PM
Jim McLean 04 May 08 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,Karin 26 Aug 08 - 06:00 PM
Genie 03 Sep 09 - 01:42 AM
Joe_F 03 Sep 09 - 09:16 PM
Marje 04 Sep 09 - 05:29 AM
Nick 04 Sep 09 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,markz 13 Sep 09 - 06:03 PM
Gorgeous Gary 13 Sep 09 - 09:10 PM
GUEST,Dave 24 Nov 11 - 01:18 PM
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Subject: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: Ginger Hulsopple
Date: 14 May 98 - 11:17 AM

I am desperately searching for the words to a song that my father used to sing to me when I was very small. I can remember the melody but very few of the words. The name of the song was "The Lorelei" and it was about a mermaid. I hope someone can help!

Thanks, Ginger 7angels@airmail.net


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 14 May 98 - 11:28 AM

Ginger-- There's a nineteenth-century German romantic poem about a cliff on the seacoast where a mermaid lives. Both the mermaid and the cliff are called The Lorelei. The poet's name is Henreich Heine. There might be a translation of this work which found its way into the canon; I seem to remember such a song.


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: Allan C.
Date: 14 May 98 - 12:47 PM

It did, Bill. See words and melody at:

http://ingeb.org/Lieder/ichweiss.html

(Some day soon I'm going to reread all of those great notes on how to post such things as this so I can do it like the big boys and girls!)

Look here, Allan.


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: erica
Date: 14 May 98 - 12:56 PM

allan--i'm really glad you found that...with the melody to boot! i have a soft spot for mystical seasongs (silkies, mermaids, etc...)


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Subject: Lyr Add: DIE LORELEI
From: Cuilionn
Date: 14 May 98 - 01:20 PM

I found the following lyrics and translation in the “Rise Up Singing” songbook, published by the folks at “Sing Out.” I’m going to try and type the umlauts, but if they don’t show up hopefully things will still make sense.

DIE LORELEI

Ich weiss nicht was soll es bedeuten, dass ich so traurig bin
Ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten, das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn
Die Luft is kühl und es dunkelt, und ruhig fliesst der Rhein
Der Gipfel des Berges funkelt im Abendsonnenschein

Die schönste Jungfrau sitzt dort oben wunderbar
Ihr gold’nes Geschmeide blitzt, sie kåmmt ihr goldenes Haar
Sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme, und singt ein Lied dabei
Das hat eine wundersame, gewaltige Melodei

Den Schiffer im kleinen Schiffe, ergreift es mit wildem Weh
Er schaut nicht die Felsenriffe, er schaut nur hinauf in die Höh!
Ich glaube, die Wellen verschlingen am Ende Schiffer und Kahn
Und das hat met ihrem Singen, die Lorelei getan

Translation by Varda Piper:

I know not the cause of my sorrow & yet it conquers me.
An ancient tale floats from nowhere into my memory.
The air is cool at evening & calmly flows the Rhine
The crest of the hilltop glimmers as the last of the sun’s rays shine.

The wondrously beautiful maiden is sitting above me there.
Her golden bracelets flash as she combs her golden hair.
She combs it with a comb of gold & sings a melody.
It has the seeds of magic, the song she sings to me.

The passing sailor in his boat is seized with wild grief.
His gaze is held by the hilltop, he sees not the threatening reef.
The waves have swallowed him, I know, to keep him in their depths.
The Lorelei with her magic song has lured him to his death.

The songbook lists this as traditional, so I appreciate the above comment about a specific poet whose work the lyrics may be. Sorry for any mistakes in my typing, but my knowledge of German is distant and weak and I might not have caught errors. I also wonder how “good” this singable English translation is...Maybe someone better versed can tell. My expertise in mermaid songs is limited to a handful of songs in Scots Gaelic and Broad Scots. My idea of the ultimate songbook would be an international and exhaustive collection of songs about mermaids and water and dryads and trees!

An beannachd leit (blessings...)


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: erica
Date: 14 May 98 - 01:40 PM

indeed the ultimate songbook!!
(or at least one of 'em!)


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Subject: Lyr Add: DIE LORELEY (Heinrich Heine)
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 14 May 98 - 02:28 PM

Ginger--

Following is one translation of the Heine song; does anything sound familiar?

DIE LORELEY
"The Loreley"

I do not know what it means
That I am so sadly inclined,
There is an old tale and its scenes
That Will not depart from my mind.

The air is cool and darkling,
And peaceful flows the Rhine,
The mountaintop is sparkling,
The setting sunbeams shine.

The fairest maid is reclining
In wondrous beauty there,
Her golden jewels are shining,
She combs her golden hair.

With a golden comb she is combing,
And sings a song so free,
It casts a spell on the gloaming,
A magical melody.

The boatman listens, and o'er him
Wild-aching passions roll;
He sees but the maiden before him,
He sees not reef or shoal.

I think at last the wave swallows
The boat and the boatman's cry;
And this is the fate that follows
The song of the Lorelei.

Heine, Heinrich, Book of Songs, The Homecoming (1823-1824) No. 2


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: Allan C.
Date: 14 May 98 - 02:45 PM

Just an additional note here. There are also two songs in the public domain:

Mermaid 1882 Mermaid The 1885

But no lyrics are listed.


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 May 98 - 04:11 PM

Bill in Alabama, do you know where your translation comes from? I think I like it better than the "Rise Up Singing" version, but both seem to be pretty good renditions.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 14 May 98 - 04:29 PM

Joe-- I did an Alta Vista search on Die Lorelei, and found the translation at: http://www.cxo.com/~nyaeve/lorelei.html


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 14 May 98 - 09:37 PM

Alabama Bill's version does scan better if you try to sing it, and it is the one I recall singing in school.

I like the sequenced version of the melody in the site Allan C gave us. If Ginger's father was an ancient Roman, he might have sung the translated version supplied there :)

The Loreley (as Heine spelled it) is a mass of tunneled rocks on the banks of the Rein. From pictures, I can believe it is a navigational hazzard. The river is narrow and at its deepest there.

There is supposed to be a mermaid whose singing would bring ships toward it and to their destruction. This mermaid was also called the Loreley. The tunneling tends to produce echos which probably sounds like wierd singing.

Some think the name comes from the German word "Lauern" which means to lurk. I learned somewhere that the legend was created by C. Brentano in a novel called "Godwi" in the early 19th century; but he was a great collector of folk-songs, so perhaps he was also a collector of folk-legends too.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: erica
Date: 15 May 98 - 12:46 PM

aieee! now the mermaids are lurking?? what is this world coming to?!


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 16 May 98 - 09:21 PM

I imagine Heine didn't spell "Rhein" as I did in the last posting :(.

Erica, I looked up Lorelei in the Britanica, and they claim that the "lor" does come from the German word for to lurk, as I said; but also that "lai" means rock (I don't know in what version of German!). So loreley refers to the rocks lurking--I guess the hidden reefs that did in the ships rather than the mermaid were the lurkers. Her job was to lure rather than to lurk.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 18 May 98 - 10:14 PM

There is that sea song about the mermaid, but I can't remember the name. "On Friday morn when we set sail/We were not far from the land/When the captain he spied a lovely mermaid . . ." Can't remember all the words. The chorus is "And the ocean waves do roll/And the stormy winds do blow/And we poor sailors go skipping to the top/While the landlubbers lie down below, below, below/While the landlubbers lie down below."

There is the song that Stan Rogers sings, The Maid On The Shore, but I am not certain if she is a mermaid or a witch or just good at singing sailors to sleep. No mention is made of a fish body, but she puts them into a sleepy trance and makes her escape.


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: Wolfgang Hell
Date: 19 May 98 - 04:12 AM

The words are definitely not traditional (I wrote to "Rise Up Singing" and they will correct it in a later edition), but by Heinrich Heine (the story is traditional). You might be interested to read how the author was "lost".
When the Nazi were in power they first tried to eliminate everything Jewish from the German culture (it is well know n how far their idea of elimination went in later years). They eliminated for instance names of German jews from the history books, at least in all positve connections. They didn´t print anymore any stories, books, music by jews. But when they were compiling books with German (folk)songs they had a problem with "Die Lorelei". To print this song with the hated name Heine as author was unconceivable for them, to omit this particular song which rates among the top five on the popularity scale also could not be done. Their solution for this dilemma was to call it "traditional" which they knew it wasn´t. This makes you understand why I insist that this particular song gets its author back.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: Bob Schwarer
Date: 19 May 98 - 07:47 AM

To Tim:(and anyone else)

The Clancy Brothers do "The Mermaid" on their Clancy Brothers Greatest Hits released by Vanguard.

Probably on other records also, but that's the one I found first. May be on CD by this time.

Bob S.


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: erica
Date: 19 May 98 - 12:14 PM

wolfgang--thanks for the history byte...i'm extremely glad that you wrote to Rise Up..., Heine should certainly get his due...especially due to the reasoning of his involuntary anonyminity.


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Subject: Lyr Add: LORELEI
From: Genie
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 12:34 AM

Here is a translation lyric I put together.  Most of it is borrowed from other translations, but in a few places I tried to tie my lyrics more closely to the German.

Genie

Lorelei (Trans. from "Die Lorelei")

I know not the cause of my sorrow, why I tormented should be.
An ancient story I never knew has come out of nowhere to me.
The breeze is cool as the day fades.  Serenely flows the Rhine.
The crest of the mountain top sparkles in the last rays of evening sunshine.

The wondrously fairest of maidens sits above me there.
Her golden bracelets are sparkling, she combs her golden hair.
With a comb of gold she combs it.  I hear the song that she sings.
With an awesome, overpowering melody it rings!

The sailor in his tiny boat is wildly seized by grief.
Transfixed on the hilltop above him, he sees not the rocks of the reef.
The waves, I believe, have swallowed sailor, boat and all,
And with her singing Lorelei has been the sailor's downfall!


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE MERMAID
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 01:43 AM

Here's another "The Mermaid"

I looked in the digitrad and this one isn't in there. However, every singing sailor that I know knows this song as do a lot of landlubbers. It has no relation to the Lorelie, in fact, it is cxonsidered to be slightly humerous. It goes along with the legend that if a member of a ship's crew spies a mermaid, the ship is doomed. In this song, it's the Capt. who sees the mermaid. I have this observation to make, If the Captain of your vessel spies a mermaid, you are, indeed, in deep trouble.

THE MERMAID (traditional)

I
'Twas Friday morn' when we set sail and we were not far from the land
When our Captain spied a pretty mermaid with a comb and glass in her hand

(chorus)
Oh the ocean waves, they roll and the stormy wind it blows.
While we poor sailors go skippin' to the tops
And the landlubbers lie down below, below, below
And the landlubbers lie down below.

II
Then up spake the Captain of our gallant ship and, a fine stalwart man was he.
"I care much more for my wife and my children than I do for the bottom of the sea".

(repeat chorus)

III
Then up spake the Boatswain of our gallant ship, and, a well spoken man was he
"I care much more for my riggin' and my sails than I do for the bottom of the sea"

(repeat chorus)

IV
Then up spake the cook of our gallant ship, and, a rotten little bastard was he.
I care much more for my pots and my pans than I do for the bottom of the sea.

(repeat chorus)

V
Then three times around spun our gallant ship, three times around spun she.
Three times around spun our gallant ship and then it sunk to the bottom of the sea

(repeat chorus)


Wolfgang: Every time I read one of your posts I think to myself, "I'd like to meet that man someday"

And then, there's, "The Keesper of the Eddystone Light", which is about a lighthouse keeper who's mother is a mermaid. I'll see if it's in the digitrad and follow this with another post.

Jody Gibson


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 02:23 AM

Yes, "The Eddystone Light" is in the digitrad. It's under "Eddystone light"
If you click on that from the index, you'l get, "The man at the Nore" then "The keeper of the London Zoo" and then, "The Eddystone Light. All three have the same melody. It's a classic and the favorite song of Capt. Herb Spinney, of Jamestown, Rhode Island. Herby spent most of his life at sea. He was in his seventies and a commercial fishing captain when he was lost at sea to a "White Squall" In 1939 he was Boatswain of "Lawhill", one of the huge square riggers in "The Last grain race". The man was a legend among the George's Banks commercial fishermen. He was tied up next to a U.S. Coast guard ship, down below in the engine room with two coast guardsmen working on his stalled engine when the squall hit. His vessel capsized. The two coasties got out, Herby didn't. He had a deep melodic voice, and, his war cry was, "Nobody sings anymore, God dammit".
Herb Spinney was one of the closest friends I've ever had, and, my wife and I miss him terribly.
Everytime I hear "The Eddystone Light" I think of Herby. One can always tell when hearing the song sung, if they learned it from Capt Spinney, because, he sang the third vers, "And what has become of my children three, My mother then accosted me"

Commercial fishing is the most dangerous job there is. In the "National Fisherman" a weekly newspaper devoted to the industry, under "Coast Guard News" there is ALWAYS a list of names, "Lost at Sea". It's so commonplace that it usually only rates one or two paragraphs on page three of the daily newspapers.

There I go with another long winded story that has very little to do with the subject at hand. My wife, Donna, just called me "King Nebuchudnezer" again, because I do "Babble on". So, I'll close, for now.

Jody Gibson


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: GUEST,mae
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 03:57 PM

Does anyone know where I could get The Mermaid song about the ship sinking to the bottom of the sea on CD?


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: KenBrock
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 05:17 PM

FWIW there's two Broadway songs about the Lorelai from George and Ira Gershwin, both from flop musicals. "The Lorelai" from PARDON MY ENGLISH (1932) was recorded by Ella Fitzgerald circa 1960, and "Ukulele Lorelai" from TELL ME MORE (1925) has recently been released on a double CD containing TELL ME MORE and TIP-TOES (also 1925).

Also, the Moross-LaTouche THE GOLDEN APPLE (1954) contains a spoof of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Bali Hai" about mythical sirens called "Goona-Goona".


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: Ron Davies
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 10:58 PM

Mae-

I'm sure we could help you--but there's more than one song by that description. We'd need as many lyrics and other details as you can give--in order to narrow it down.


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 11:49 PM

Mae is asking about the song mentioned -irrelevantly- by Jody ("Crankee Yankee") above, not 'Lorelei' (but not the variant Jody quoted). It was printed in songbooks for a century and more, and everybody who grew up in the UK during at least the middle 50 years of the 20th century probably knows it.

That's the trouble, I guess; because it is so familiar, probably nobody has recorded it for donkeys years, except perhaps on records intended for children. I don't know of any such, but there are probably a good few.


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: Genie
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 12:40 AM

Cuilionn,
It's interesting (and gratifying) to me that the "singable translation" by Varda Piper is so close to the translation I came up with.
There is one place where I take issue with Piper's translation:

In the last verse, the line "The Lorelei with her magic song has lured him to his death" fails to translate the idiom properly. German and some other languages use the definite pronoun "the" in front of proper names, but English doesn't.   "Die Lorelei" just refers to a maiden named "Lorelei." In English, we wouldn't call her "the Lorelei," just "Lorelei."

(There was a time when I thought "Die Lorelei" referred to a type of creature, such as "the sirens," instead of to someone's proper name.)

Genie


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 07:57 AM

There was a recording on a 45 (remember those?) in the late '50s or early '60s (which I've got somewhere) -- I think it was on the flip side of "Little Drummer Boy" (the original).

Die Lorelei

Oh tell me what is this sadness
That fills my heart with woe?

That's all I can remember right now as I dash off to work, but I'm pretty sure I have it in the wood pulp database of my youth -- which I'll look for tomorrow.

I used to sing this (never in public) back in the '60s -- it's a wonderful melody, too.

Linn (Schulz -- there, that's my German antecedents!)


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 10:54 AM

1958, Harry Simeone Chorale with the flip side (Die Lorelei) credited to the Voices of the Junior Chorale.

From the Fox LP (remember those?) "Sing We Now of Christmas".

I have a copy of the 45 -- and, if I can find my notebook of song lyrics, should be able to come up with the words. Alas, the words in my memory hasn't floated to the surface yet -- just the lovely melody (which I could probably hum to Jeri and come up with ABCs or a MIDI).

Linn


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 03:45 PM

Why, exactly, is "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" up at the top of the Digitrad entries at the top of this thread?!? (And does anyone know where I can get the polka version that was on "A Prairie Home Companion" a few years ago?)

Anyway, I'll try to find my '60s collection of songs tomorrow and post the Harry Simeone Chorale words to "Die Lorelei".

Linn


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 04:21 PM

Okay, does anyone CARE if I find the words?!?

Didn't have time to look -- my weekend got screwed up by having my car rear-ended yesterday morning, which modified my schedule somewhat. Sigh.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 06:52 PM

Mae, The Mermaid (a version of Child #289) was recorded by The Spinners on 'Folk at the Phil' (1964), still to be got second hand occasionally.


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Nov 07 - 09:31 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: quokka
Date: 03 May 08 - 12:53 AM

The Pogues do a song called Lorelei on their 'Peace and Love' album. It is a gorgeous song.Written by Philip Chevron.

You told me tales of love and glory
Same old sad songs, same old story
The sirens sing no lullaby
And no one knows but Lorelei

By castles out of fairytales
Timbers shiver where once there sailed
The lovesick men who caught her eye
And no one knew but Lorelei

(CH) River, river, have mercy,
Take me down to the sea
For if I perish on these rocks
My love no more I'll see

I've thought of you in far-off places
Puzzled over lipstick traces
So help me God, I will not cry
And then I think of Lorelei

I travel far and wander wide
No photograph of you beside me
Ol' Man River's not so shy
And he remembers Lorelei

(CH)

If I should float upon this stream
And see you in my madman's dream
I'd sink into your troubled eyes
And none would know 'cept Lorelei

(CH)

But if my ship, which sails tomorrow
Should crash against these rocks,
My sorrows I will drown before I die
It's you I'll see, not Lorelei

(CH)


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: GUEST,Dave MacKenzie
Date: 03 May 08 - 07:51 PM

The Lorelei is still A fairly sharp narrow bend on the Rhein, but has been thoroughly dredged so isn't the navigational hazzard thet it was when the legend arose, or when Heine wrote his song. If you take a boat trip through the Lorelei nowadays, the boat will almost always play the song as it rounds the rock.

There's also a 26 verse poem "Die Lore Lay" by Clemens Bretano that I've been thinking of translating for over 20 years (so don't hold your breath. It starts "Zu Bacharach am Rheine wohnt' eine Zauberin" (At Bacharach on the Rhine there lived a sorceress).


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: Joe_F
Date: 03 May 08 - 08:18 PM

Heine was not just "racially" objectionable as a Jew; he was politically objectionable as a liberal, and nationalistically objectionable as a Napoleonic fellow traveler. He was about as unNazi as you could get.


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 04 May 08 - 04:50 AM

A slight thread creep but I hope still relevant. In the early sixties I was an extra in a film called The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm', shot in Germany. In one scene we were aboard a steam ship, a paddle boat, sailing up the Rhine. I was chatting, between takes, to Karl Boehm who played Jacob Grimm. He was Austrian and I was Scottish and rolled my 'Rs' quite heavily. When we passed the Lorelei he had to say 'Regardles of its name, a rock's a rock' which he did with heavily accented 'Rs', in mockery of myself. The director Henry Levine made him do the take again but this time soften the 'Rs'!


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: GUEST,Karin
Date: 26 Aug 08 - 06:00 PM

Hello Varda:
I took the liberty to make a few changes on your translation of the Lorelei, humming the tune while I did it and that should work. I am German and lived here for a number of years. Enjoy it or disregard it! Karin

The Lorelei
English Translation by Varda Piper:

I know not the cause of my sorrow and yet it conquers me.
An ancient tale floats from nowhere into my memory.
The air is cool and it darkens, and calmly flows the Rhine
The crest of the hilltop shimmers in the evenings sun glow

A beautiful maiden is sitting above on the hill so far
Her golden jewels glitter as she combs her long golden hair.
She combs it with her golden comb and sings a song so fine.
It has a wondrous magic, the majestic song melody

The sailor in his little boat, is touched with a wild ache
His gaze goes up to the hilltop, he sees not the threatening reef.
I think the waves have swallowed the sailor including the boat
And this did the Lorelei, with her magic alluring song


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Subject: Die Lorelei - composer and date of lyrics
From: Genie
Date: 03 Sep 09 - 01:42 AM

Thanks for the translation, Karin.   I still like the lyric variations that preserve the meaning and the rhyme pattern as well. And there are various ways to accomplish that.

Wolfgang, I fully concur about the importance of not calling songs "traditional" when the lyricists and or composers are known (especially for the reasons the Nazis had). (It bugs me that I so often see "Stille Nacht" listed as "traditional" too.)
Do you know when Heinrich Heine wrote his poem? And is the composer of the music known?

Wikipedia (at the moment) suggests that Heine's poem came sometime after 1801, but says not more about the date.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: Joe_F
Date: 03 Sep 09 - 09:16 PM

Tune by Friedrich Silcher, 1837, says Google's first retrieval.


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: Marje
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 05:29 AM

The poem seems to have been written around 1823.

When we studied it, we were told that the "Ich glaube" (I think) which begins the last 4-line stanza is crucial: it indicates an ironic standing back from the narrative. It almost suggests that the narrator is turning away from us with a shrug, saying, "you can think what you like ..."
It's certainly an odd thing for him to say just when he gets to the climax of the story, but it's something you do come across in German romanticism.

I'm just mentioning this so that anyone who wants to be strictly correct will be able to choose a translation that doesn't lose this. But I doubt if it's regarded as important to most people who sing the song, including German speakers.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: Nick
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 08:57 AM

"I'm singing in the Rhine
Just singing in the Rhine
What a glorious feeling
I'm happy agian"

Sorry - it's been a bad day


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: GUEST,markz
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 06:03 PM

Nobody's mentioned the treasure trove of lore related to Silkies; are they not mermaid enough for this thread? If anyone cares, this is how I remember and play it.


The Great Silkie

D                   C                     D
An earthly nurse sits and sings
       D                C                D
And aye she sings by lilly wean
         G             D          C          D
And little ken I my bairn's father
       Em                         C          D
Far less the land that he steps in

Then in steps he to her bed fit
And a grumbly guest I'm sure was he
Saying, "Here am I, my bairn's father
Although I be not comely"

"I am a man upon the land
I am a silkie on the sea
And when I'm far and far frae land
My home it is in Sule Skerrie"

Then he has taken a purse of gold
And he has put it upon her knee
Saying, "Give to me my little young son
And take thee up thy nurse's fee"

"And it shall come to pass on a summer's day
When the sun shines bright on every stane
I'll come and fetch my little young son
And teach him how to swim the faem"

"And thou shall marry a gunner good
And a right fine gunner I'm sure he'll be
And the very first shot that e'er he shoots
Will kill both my young son and me"


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: Gorgeous Gary
Date: 13 Sep 09 - 09:10 PM

The Pyrates Royale recorded the version of "The Mermaid" that Jody/Cranky Yankee posted back in '06 on their most recent CD, BLACK JACK. (An excellent CD, BTW!)

-- Gary


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 24 Nov 11 - 01:18 PM

I cannot explain the depression
   that now steals over me;
or why in my mem`ry should freshen
   a legend from dim history.
The air is cool, the light fading,
   and smoothly flows the Rhine.
The peak of the mountain is bathing
   in evening`s sinking sunshine.

The lovely young woman is sitting,
   her wondrous beauty rare.
Her jewellery`s flashing and flitting,
   she`s combing her golden hair.
She combs with a comb of pure gold,
   and sings so beguilingly.
Her song has a magical hold,
   a powerful melody!

The boatman, hearing,is sore distressed
   by a wild and passionate grief.
He gazes above, as if possessed,
   and sees not the perilous reef!
I believe then the rapids nearby
   engulfed the boat and the man;
and, with her singing, the Lorelei
   this tragedy began!


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song
From: Eldergirl
Date: 10 Jan 14 - 02:20 PM

Request for origins, really.
This Mermaid Song is sung by Julie Murphy, we learned it at the Baring-Gould festival last October, but I'd like some background to it. Julie said in passing that it was American, but I didn't follow up on details at the time. Words as follows:

As I walked out one evening fair
Far out of sight of land
I spied a mermaid sitting on a rock
With a comb and a glass in her hand.

A combing down her gorse-coloured hair
Her eyes like a pale June sky
Her skin was as white as the ocean spray
Her voice wept a seagull's cry.

The song she sang, she sang so wild
No answer at all could I make
Till at length our ship she blew round about
Which made all our poor hearts ache.

This mermaid sprang back into the deep
The winds began to blow
Now the hail and the rain was so dark in the air
We'll never see the land no more.

Come take out your loads as fast as you can
The truth to you I tell
This night we all must depart
To heaven or else to hell.

Come all you folks that's living on the land
That's living at home at your ease
Try the best that you can your living for to gain
And never incline to the sea.

It has a haunting little tune. And i'm not v good with tadpoles.


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jan 14 - 03:09 PM

Worth mentioning that the "Friday Morn as we set sail" version mentioned a couple of times a way back, and the variant cited in the post just above, are versions of Child #289, The Mermaid..

Also that the legend is referenced by the name of the charming but dysfunctional heroine of Anita Loos' delightful novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes [1925], Lorelei Lee -- the forename given to her by one of her gentlemen-admirers in reference to the legend: "This prompted Judge Hibbard to buy a ticket to Hollywood for her so that she could use her talent to become a professional actress. He also names her 'Lorelei' because he believed it expressed her personality." Wikipedia -- "which," as Lorelei ingenuously explains for the reader's benefit, "is the name of a girl who became famous for sitting on a rock in Germany." It is perhaps of significance that she is herself a native of Little Rock.   

~M~


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Subject: RE: Searching for a Mermaid song (Lorelei)
From: Eldergirl
Date: 10 Jan 14 - 09:23 PM

Thanks M, good info. So it's a pared-down version of the Child ballad, essentially.
As to the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; I can just hear Marilyn saying the line, Famous for sitting on a rock in Germany, in that perfectly innocent enthusiastic way she had.. Surely that line was used in the film? :)
Would still like to know, anyone else recognise this variant, and where it was found? I'm guessing Appalachian..


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