Ukulele & Languages

Different countries,
Different cultures
one common language... the ukulele.

Dutch ukulele sing-along, ice-skating and Elfstedentocht

31 2010

Do you reckon it is possible to find a logical transition from a post about Beatles ukulele covers to a post about Dutch and the Netherlands ?

I stumbled upon a video which makes an unexpected yet perfect introduction. A Dutch fan has recorded all the Dutch words uttered by Paul McCartney in a concert he played in Arnhem :

Jeff from Humble Uker Ramblings has published a post about a Dutch ukulele song which I found great to revise some Dutch as the lyrics of the song are displayed for you to sing along. The ukulele chords are also shown if you’d like to strum along too (tuning : A D F# B)

The song describes Piriki, a black and white cat that has gone missing. Let’s hope Piriki has found its way home by now.

I spoke to a Dutch friend of mine a couple of weeks ago and we reflected on the fact that winter was quite cold this year. He then explained that he was hoping it would stay quite cold for a good while so as to enable the Elfstedentocht (Eleven cities ice-skating tour) which has not taken place since 1997.

The Elfstedentocht is the world’s longest  speed-skating competition as well as leisure skating tour (see map here) around eleven Frisian cities on frozen canals, lakes and rivers. The Elfstedentocht can only be held when the ice is 15cm thick on the whole route.

My friend explained that there were people in charge of checking ice thickness on a daily basis, transplanting ice to places where it is weaker (such as under bridges and around in- and outlets). These people sometimes even had to move ducks around as they prevent water from freezing by their swimming.

The Elfstedentocht is such a rare event that when it occurs, it creates national excitement, schools are closed and people don’t go to work so as to watch the races and party in the streets..

Let’s hope there will be an Elfstedentocht in 2010 !

In the meantime, let’s listen to The Skaters Waltz, a waltz written by French Émile WaldTeufel, and arranged for the ukulele by German Goschenhobel.

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A place for language lovers where I’m trying to demonstrate how fun it is to learn other languages and how much of a culture you understand through its language.
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