Previously, I wrote about how my family and I toured the Amish country in Pennsylvania. While there, I was lucky enough to be put in contact with a young Amish lady (she may have been in her late teens) who was willing to give me an Amish song for Mama Lisa’s World, my site of children’s songs from around the world.
The Amish speak Pennsylvania Dutch, a dialect of German. They reject much of modern technology and they live somewhat apart from the outside world. They are a very private people, and I wasn’t sure how much it was appropriate for me to ask for.
The lady asked if I wanted a song like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (which I’ll refer to herein as TTLS). I said that was exactly the type of song I was looking for. She said they had a song in Pennsylvania Dutch that’s to the tune of TTLS, but that is not a translation of it.
I told her that was not unusal. TTLS is well known all over the world. Some versions are direct translations from English, but some have totally different lyrics. For instance, the version from Spain is about a bell. Her eyes lit up and she was very interested.
I also told her how Mozart wrote classical music to the tune of TTLS. But she wasn’t familiar with Mozart.
Then the lady told me that the Amish learn their version in school. It’s in a little brown book they use. She asked me how many verses I’d like for her to write down. I told her as many as she’d like.
Well I admit I was a little nervous about scaring her away, as I’ve never engaged in a long conversation with an Amish person. I wanted to be honest about where I was using the song, how I was going to put the song on my web site. That led to an interesting little conversation about the web. Did she know about the internet? Yes she did. Had she ever been on it? No she hadn’t. But she was interested. I was afraid of saying too much. She did work with non-Amish people so she must have been somewhat used to people talking about the rest of the world. But I didn’t want to overstep any boundaries.
Finally, I told the lady that I usually thank people on my site for contributing songs. Would she like me to thank her, even using only her first name? Otherwise, I could post it from anonymous. She chose to remain anonymous. I’m still grateful for the experience of having spoken with her and that she spent the time with me and shared an Amish song with all of us on the internet!
Click the following link if you’d like to see the Amish Children’s Song that the young lady gave me.
This artilce was posted on Thursday, September 20th, 2007 at 5:01 pm and is filed under American Kids Songs, Amish, Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, German, Languages, Mama Lisa, Pennsylvania Dutch, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.