Follow-up: Heino

In my posting on things Rosamunde, I provided a video of the German singer Heino performing the hymn to beer-drinking “Rosamunde”. Now more information about the man, from Wikipedia:

Heino (born 13 December 1938 as Heinz Georg Kramm) is a German singer of popular music (Schlager) and traditional Volksmusik. Having sold a total of over 50 million records, he is one of the most successful German musicians ever.
Known for his baritone voice and trademark combination of light blond hair and dark sunglasses (which he wears due to exophthalmos [bulging eyeballs, from Graves’ disease]), Heino resides in the town of Bad Münstereifel, where he owned a cafe until June 2012. His interest in music started when his mother gave him an accordion in 1948, although his family could barely afford it.

Heino and his wife Hannelore in 2008:

Most of his [early] recordings were pop versions of traditional folk songs; for example, “How Blue Blooms the Gentian” (Blau Blüht Der Enzian), an adaptation of the folk song “The Swiss Maiden” (Das Schweizermaedel).

And of course “Edelweiss”, and lots of beer-drinking songs.

Also a song he first recorded in 1968 under the title “Zu der Ponderosa reiten wir” (‘We are riding to the Ponderosa’), which I didn’t recognize under that name, though it pretty much had to be American in origin. Turns out it’s “She’ll be coming ’round the mountain when she comes”! From YouTube (audio only):

Translating material from popular culture from one language to another is notoriously tricky, often requiring the creation of entirely new material to get an equivalent feeling in the translating language. Here’s the beginning of “She’ll be coming” as Heino performs it (from a Heino lyrics site):

Zu der Ponderosa reiten wir,
zu den Bergen, die so weit von hier,
Glück und Sehnsucht uns begleiten,
wenn wir durch die Steppe reiten,
zu der Ponderosa reiten wir

In den Bergen suchen wir nach Gold,
wo es stürmt und wo der Donner grollt.
Fürchten keine Indianer, nicht Apachen, Mohikaner,
unser allerbester Freund das ist der Colt

Und wir singen Jipi, jipi, jei, und wir singen Jipi, jipi, jei
in den grünen Fernen, in den blauen Bergen
suchen wir den Schatz von Silbersee

(“Jipi, jipi, jei” is a German spelling for “Yippee, yippee, yay”).

Now there are a great many variants in English, some of them with religious content and many with inscrutable lyrics (involving red pajamas and Grandma’s dumplings, plus the six white horses), but all that is jettisoned in the German version, which is firmly set in California’s Gold Rush days, complete with armed clashes with the Indians (in my favorite couplet, boldfaced above; note that there were neither Apaches nor Mohicans in California, but the words in German scan really well, and Mohikaner ‘Mohicans’ is a perfect rhyme for Indianer ‘Indians’). Really an entirely new song, equipped with the German themes of adventuring far from home, beset by (roughly) longing (Gm. Sehnsucht, the theme of famous poems by Schiller and Goethe)

One Response to “Follow-up: Heino”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Chris Waigl on Facebook:

    Oh, dear, you’re really dredging up my worst childhood media memories. Ponderosa = the ranch in the Bonanza TV series (wildly popular when I was a child). So popular that a middle-aged German today might refer to his (or her, but mostly his) Ponderosa for a weekend cabin or vacation getaway.

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