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Jeanette wrote me…

Good Evening;

My husband’s Grandmother was from Norway and she used to sing a song to him as a little boy about a poor man’s horse, a rich man’s horse, a soldier’s horse etc. My children and Grandchildren only remember the chorus – and only phonetically as they remember my husband (who is now deceased) singing it to them as he gave them a horsey ride on his knee.

The chorus sounded like this to them:

Stoldala, stodola, stodola pumpa,
Stodola pumpa,
Stodola pumpa,
Stoldala, stodola, stodola pumpa,
Stodola pum, pum, pum, pum, pum.

I hope you can help me find it for them.

A Grandmother,
Jeanette

If anyone can help Jeanette with this song, please comment below.

Thanks in advance!

Lisa

Note: Many people commented below saying this song is originally Czech.

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This artilce was posted on Saturday, April 26th, 2008 at 2:14 pm and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Languages, Mama Lisa, Norway, Norwegian, Norwegian Children's Songs, Questions, Readers Questions. 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.

36 Responses to “Can Someone Help with a Norwegian or Czech Song about a Horse with the Line, “Stodola Pumpa”?”

  1. Ed Gawlinski Says:

    I remember that song … but I learned it as Czech song. We sang it in our high school glee club (1964-1968).

    I alos found this posting
    http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=11063

    Subject: RE: Anyone know the words to ‘Stodala Pumpa’?
    From: Bob Schwarer
    Date: 20 May 99 – 07:33 PM

    As I recall: Stodala,stodala,stodala pumpa
    Stodala pumpa, stodala pumpa
    Stodala, stodala, stodala pumpa
    Stodala pumpa, pum pa pa.
    Also my recall is that stodala pumpa = barn pump

    Bob S.

    I know that I have a book of songs that includes this one in my attic … if come across it, I’ll send you the music score

    Ed

  2. Ed Gawlinski Says:

    I’d like to confirm that the Polish word for barn is:
    Stodoła – budynek w gospodarstwie rolnym przeznaczony do przechowywania zebranego zboża, siana i słomy. W stodole wykonywało się też omłoty zboża, przechowywano narzędzia, pojazdy rolnicze.

    The Czech word for barn is
    Stodola je zemědělská stavba, ur?ená k uskladňování objemných zemědělských produktů (obilí, sláma, seno). Dříve byla sou?ástí téměř každého statku.

    The Norwegian word is
    Løe er en selvstendig bygning eller et rom i en større driftsbygning. Ei løe er til lagring av høy eller annet tørrfor til husdyr, og for lagring av korn før det blir tresket.

  3. Lisa Says:

    There’s definitely a Czech folk song called “Stodala Pumpa” called “Walking at Night” in English. I don’t know if it’s related to Jeanette’s song though.

  4. Lisa Says:

    Ed Gawlinski was kind enough to send me a midi tune of the Czech folk song “Stodala Pumpa”. You can hear it if you click the link. Is this the tune of your husband’s Grandmother’s song Jeanette?

  5. Kaburto Says:

    I don’t know if this will help, but I’ve found a few different sets of lyrics to this song that I learned from Grandmother.

    http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=7stnHz7dADI

  6. Robert D. Stodola II Says:

    We use to sing this song in grade school back in the 50’s in Detroit Mich.
    In the song book the title, “Stodola Pumpa” was suppose to mean Dance of the Barn Owl? Stodola meaning Barn and Pumpa, meaning Owl. At least that’s what I remember the book stating.

  7. Jim Nelson Says:

    I have also been searching for the Czech text to “Stodola pumpa” without much success. However, being a Norwegian-American who has spoken Norwegian and English since I was a child (at home in the Midwest), and as a public school music teacher in both the US and Norway, I must say that this song is definitely NOT Norwegian; the song rhythm doesn’t fit the Norwegian language, nor does the melodic structure. The passage in Norwegian from Ed Gawlinski is an encyclopedia definition of a “løe”, a hay-barn or a hayloft. I guess we are all still searching for that text. I found an English version of it in an old American songbook — at the home of my Norwegian grandparents in northwest Wisconsin, back in the 1950s.
    Jim Nelson, Drammen, Norway, May 2009

  8. Bill Stinchcomb Says:

    stodola pumpa is a czech folk song. i learned it as a boy in country school in michigan. it was one of our favorite songs even though we didn’t have a clue what it was about. we were just little kids.

  9. Lisa Says:

    I found an English version of the Czech song (this one seems to be meant to be sung in English)…

    Walking at night along the meadow way
    Home from the dance beside my maiden gay
    Walking at night along the meadow way
    Home from the dance beside my maiden gay . . . Hey!

    Chorus: Stodole, stodole, stodole, pumpa
    Stodole, pumpa, stodole pumpa
    Stodole, stodole, stodole, pumpa
    Stodole, pumpa, pum, pum, pum.

    Nearing the woods we heard the nightingale
    Sweetly it helped me tell my begging tale
    Nearing the woods we heard the nightingale
    Sweetly it helped me tell my begging tale.

    Chorus

    Many the stars that brightly shone above
    But none so bright as her one word of love
    Many the stars that brightly shone above
    But none so bright as her one word of love.

    Chorus

  10. Katie Largent Says:

    I was cleaning up in the kitchen just now and for some reason began singing the chorus to “Stodala Pumpa,” and then I thought I might be able to find it on the Internet. Why not — one can find anything on the Internet! Indeed, it is the song everyone is talking about, and the midi tune, referenced above, is what I learned in elementary school in Ohio in the 1950’s. Amazing …

  11. james lopez Says:

    …..i am sixty five years old….this tune has been floating around in my grey matter since i was eleven years old….i had an old accordion teacher teach me to play this….i dont know why but today it was on my mind AGAIN..so i looked it up…….i remember the teacher…in 1956 she musta been a hundred years old….she was a real “old school” type of teacher…she wrote the tune she was to teach me…she used the c clef and g clef lines…and hand wrote the notes on the paper and proceeded to instruct….her name was mrs. ckelly….the is correct spelling…spoke with a strong european accent…..

  12. Merle Hilbrich Says:

    I will be 77 this month (Jan.) and remembered this song as I worked a crossword puzzle today….the word was “stola”…Ilearned “Stodala Pumpa” in elem.music class … we sang song of countries around the world! My teacher was Mrs. Branstead…she liked me because I could sing harmony very easily! What fun to read about this song t…the chorus still sticks in my head!

  13. Steve Fyten Says:

    I remember singing the song in grade school in the early 60’s. The words we sand were Stola Pumpa and I thought that the songbook said that it meant “Barn Pump”. It has also stuck in my head all of these years.

  14. Lisa Says:

    Others seem to agree about the meaning barn pump – which may be just nonsense.

  15. Lisa Says:

    I found this version:

  16. Lisa Says:

    Here’s another video of Stodole Pumpa…

  17. Paul Says:

    Far in the hills I hear the nightingail
    Singing a song that brings home back to me
    Three years ago at home I left my love
    Still she is waiting waiting just for me hey

    Chorus

    Three years to wait is much to for us
    My love and I we now would married be

  18. Paul Says:

    This song is in the Rotary song book we sing it all the time

  19. Roberta Says:

    Yes, I remember learning the song from grade school, in the 60’s. Here is what I remember.

    Strolling along as nightfall ends the day
    sweet scented breezes whisper on their way
    under the stars the night winds softly blow while distant hills re echo with our song ….. HEY!

    stola stola stola pumpa stola pumpa stola pumpa
    stola stola stola pumpa stola pumpa pum pum pum

  20. Allison Elliott Says:

    We sang this song all through my childhood, while dancing a rollicking polka to the chorus… how I miss those days, and my long lost sisters!

    The words were:

    Walking along, while night follows the day
    Sweet scented breezes whisper on their way
    Under the stars, we slowly stroll along
    While distant hills ring, echoing our song – Hey!

    Stodala Stodala Stodala Pumpa Stodala Pumpa Stodala Pumpa
    Stodala Stodala Stodala Pumpa Stodala Pumpa Pum Pum Pum

  21. Steve C Says:

    Ed Gawlinski confirms that the Polish word for barn is Stodoła
    Note that the ” ł ” is pronounced like an English “w” but the slash often gets deleted in transliteration. Thus, “Stow Doh Wa” not “Stow Doh Lat” or Stodola

    Alternatively, “Sto lat” is a common Polish birthday song, wishing someone “one hundred years”. If you repeat it rapidly, it comes out sounding like “stowdolat”

    Granted, repeating “one hundred year pumps” doesn’t make much sense, but neither does “barn pump” in the context of the main verse. Has ‘pumpa’ been garbled in transliteration?

    My Polish in-laws claim not to have heard the song. Polish and Czech are close

  22. Žaba Breptová Says:

    Hi, I’m Czech :-). Stodola pumpa could mean something like “barn pump” but… Stodola is a noun and in Czech nouns don’t sound the same as adjectives. If you mean “barn” as an adjective, in Czech you must say “stodolová”, “stodolový” or “stodolové” (depends on grammatical gender). And another thing is that I can’t imagine any “barn pump”. So I think this is only enumerating of words.
    As for the song about a poor man’s horse, a rich man’s horse, a soldier’s horse etc. – yes, we’ve got such as song. Frankly speaking, it’s not real song, but something like chant. It goes like:
    Takhle jedou páni (fine men ride like this)
    Takhle jedou kmáni or Takhle Cikáni (poor men ride like this or Gypsies ride like this)
    A tak jedou husaři! (and hussars ride like this!)
    Adult person “gives to the child the horse ride” on his or her knees, softly in the begginning, wildly at the end, saynig this words. Children love it :-). There are many variants of this here is one of them (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkdXRVdHEjU) and here is another part with the less often verse about farmers (this part with the slow rocking motion – takhle jedou sedláci) and the completely new verse with Formule 1 :-) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqZiKixNcaY

  23. Alice Says:

    Chorus…
    Stodola, stodola, stodola pumpa,
    Stodola pumpa, stodola pumpa,

    Stodola, stodola, stodola pumpa,
    Stodola pum, pum, pum, pum, pum. (repeat)

    Up from the valley we will make our way,
    leaving behind the worries of the day,
    being at one with all that we survey,
    singing aloud this joyous song. Oh,
    Chorus…

    Greeting the sunlight in the morning air
    is a happy feeling well beyond compare.
    To the mountaintop, we’ll soon be there,
    and as we climb, we’ll sing this song. Oh,
    Chorus…

  24. Brittany Says:

    I am just learning this song as I am in high school right now and my version matches Alice’s. My music teacher researched and found a translation that this song was about drinking. I don’t know though so…..yeah. Um help if you know whatever language this song is in!

  25. Carol Dixon Sparks Says:

    Wow – I can not believe I found this post. I have been singing this song for ages. Since first grade in the 50’s in Fairmont WV. The words I learned were:

    Walking along, while night follows the day
    Sweet scented breezes whisper on their way
    Under the stars, we slowly stroll along
    While distant hills ring, echoing our song – Hey!

    (then the fun begins with the Stolada pumpa chorus…and on pumpa we pounded the tables to make a boom boom sound)

    Our class loved this interactive song. I am so happy to know it’s origins.

  26. Carol Dixon Sparks Says:

    Correction : while distant hills, re-echoing our song!

  27. Kat Says:

    I was surprised to find this information. I remember being taught the chorus before 1972 from some relatives visiting from Germany. My Grandpa was fluent in German and often had visitors and relatives. I don’t remember the verse words but thought they were sung in German but not sure about that. I thought the song was about a horse or horses racing. I have remembered the chorus and tune. I have not remembered to ask my older cousin to see if she remembers more of the story or what language the verses were sung in by our relatives.

  28. Petr Čížek Says:

    It seems to me that many songs quite widespread in the US (and considered to be Czech national songs) are quite extinct in the country of origin. It is interesting how this heritage and some particular songs were preserved by Czech emmigrants for many decades (as far as I know largest communities existed in Texas, Nebraska, Illinois and neighbouring states).

    The text indeed literally means “barn – pump – barn – pump etc.” The catchy music seems to be a traditional tune, quite widespread in the past. Many different songs were probably sung to this melody.

    I have found just this example from the modern days using mentioned tune AND wording (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovISzlWqxFc). You can hear there are two different lyrics used for the chorus.

    In the Czech Republic the tune was most notably preserved in the folk song called “Má roztomilá Báruško” (i.e. “My Sweet Babette”) in one of its versions (lyrics: http://hudba.hradiste.cz/index.php?AKCE=DETAIL&ID=33323336320500 video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPArz_Kz0pc and adapted: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRMcFB0D-8I). The song and this version especially is quite vulgar. It can also sound quite differently and have somewhat different lyrics (check this version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuxM2Eo8Omg).

  29. A Stodola Says:

    Hello,
    Stodola is a Bohemian word. It means “shelter of animals” in bohemian.
    I was raise by bohemian grandparents, my grandfather spoke the language. I do not know the song title or the lyrics, but maybe this will help in any case

  30. Ray Hawkins Says:

    We sang this song in the 5th grade in Houston, back in the mid 1950’s. We were told it was a Czech folk song and meant “Barn Pump.” Our music teacher told us to sing the chorus faster and faster at the end, emulating, I suppose, pumping water furiously until you were exhausted. It was a favorite of ours and I never forgot the chorus, but only remembered a few words of the verses, until the chorus got stuck in my head today and I had to look it up. The wonders of the internet. . .reuniting singer with song after all these years!

  31. Doug Raymond Says:

    I have encountered this song twice in life. In the eary 1950’s I lived in Los Angeles. The ice-cream truck that visited my neighborhood played the chorus of stodola pumpa endlessly as it made its rounds. I didn’t know it was stodola pumpa, because it was just a little mechanical contrivance on top of the truck, playing endlessly on little bells driven by a camshaft. When I went to college in 1961, I joined the glee club, and that’s where I learned the rest of the song, in a Parker-Shaw TTBB arrangement. We recently sang it at our 50-year reunion. It’s still funny! The soloist sings the love song over smarmy barbershoppy chords hummed by the rest of the club. As each verse concludes, the club shouts HEY! and chugs through the chorus. James McMurtry, who makes some of the darkest western music around, once had a line in one of his songs about the endless repetition of a song on the ice cream truck – “sure must play hell on the ice cream man” or words to that effect. He doesn’t name the song, but I’ll bet it was Stodole Pumpa.

  32. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for sharing. If you’d like to record this song, we’d be happy to post your recording.

  33. LH Says:

    In 1948, a number of us (teenagers) were taught the song by a minister visiting from Czechoslovakia. We were in New Hampshire at a non-sectarian workcamp run by the Unitarian church. The words were very similar to those of Lisa’s 11/15/2009 post.

  34. Jim Says:

    I remember this song from music class in grade school in the mid 1950’s. The verses were song slowly and with feeling, the chorus very fast and with exuberance. The verse I remember is quite militaristic:

    Son when you’re grown you must not stay at home,
    Into the Army you will go with me,
    There in the Army, you will learn to drill,
    When you are good, then you can march with me, Hey

    Chorus

  35. Karen Says:

    I see that i’m not the only one who had that chorus going around in their head! It’s such a catchy little tune. I also believe that I learned it in school in the 50’s or 60’s. In looking at Youtube, I see that the kids are still singing it!
    Cool!

  36. Janetta (Perkins) Robinson Says:

    For no apparent reason this song started drifting through my mind tonight. Back in the 1950’s we sang it in school, and loved it! However, we sang only the chorus. What fun we had with it! We also sang a song which sounded like “Hi loshka, loshka…etc. It may also have been Czech.

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