HOME | ABOUT ME | GIGS | RECORDINGS | PRESS | MP3 | LYRICS | PIRATE JENNY | PERSONAL

Des de Moor
Lyrics


The Sailor's Longing
Het Verlangen van de Zeeman

9x2 English Contemporary Chanson From 9x2
A compilation of English chanson featuring two tracks from Des
More details.

Des de Moor
voice
Julia Doyle
double bass
David Harrod
piano, accordion


Wannes Van de Velde is a Flemish singer-songwriter working in a style known in the low countries by the rather self-deprecating term kleinkunst or 'little art'. This typically combines poetic lyrics, often with the edge of social commentary or satire, with music partly inspired by folk, early jazz, and, in Wannes' case, early music. Some of it is reminiscent of the great southern French chansonnier Georges Brassens and it was a Flemish Brassens interpreter (and excellent kleinkunstelaar in his own right), Koen de Cauter, who introduced me to Wannes' work.

When I first heard this beautiful, haunting waltz on Wannes' album De Kleuren van de Steden (The colours of the cities) I was determined to sing it myself, and eventually got round to doing an English version and established it in my live set. Since the song is fairly concise, I sing an extra first verse in Dutch -- I can't hope to imitate Wannes' own Antwerp dialect, but I manage something close to standard Dutch. Then Robb Johnson asked me for two contributions to his 9x2 compilation and this seemed an obvious choice. The recording features some excellent work by David Harrod on both piano and accordion.

The sailor seeks horizons yet
Beyond the next swift bevvy
Where all his troubles he'll forget
That make his heart so heavy
And as Dutch courage starts to flow,
He's reconciled to sail
On molten seas in starry glow
With gulls that wheel and wail.

The sailor, the sailor, he's but a man too,
A wandering soul in the night.
The sea is an emptiness, dreams don't come true:
You wake and they fade out of sight.

The sailor traces bays and capes
And strange white sunlit strands
And in the sand these words he scrapes
"What would I, with such lands?
As each horizon I have found
Just drifts drift beyond my reach
Under a silent moon as round
As pebbles on the beach."

The sailor, the sailor, he's but a man too,
A wandering soul in the night.
The sea is an emptiness, dreams don't come true:
You wake and they fade out of sight.

Translation: Deptford, London, February 2001.


De zeeman zoekt 'nen horizon,
Een land voorbij de baren,
Waar a't de zorgen niet bestaan
Die nu zijn hart bezwaren.
En hij vertrekt met volle moed,
Verenigd met de zee,
Versmolten met de sterregloed
En het krijsen van de meeuw.

De zeeman, de zeeman, 't is ook maar 'ne mens,
Een dolende ziel in de nacht.
De zee is een leegte, geluk blijft een wens,
Een droom waar de zeeman opwacht.

En gaat de zeeman langs de rand
Van vreemde witte stranden;
Dan schrijf de zeeman in het zand:
"Wat zijn ik met die landen?
Wat zijn ik met 'nen horizon
Die'n altijd verder drijft
Onder het zwijgen van een maan
Die heure kring beschrijft?"

De zeeman, de zeeman, 't is ook maar 'ne mens,
Een dolende ziel in de nacht.
De zee is een leegte, geluk blijft een wens,
Een droom waar de zeeman opwacht.



 Words
Wannes Van de Velde


 Translation
Des de Moor


 Music
Wannes Van de Velde


© Copyright 1995 Hans Kusters Music NV. Translated by permission of the composer.

Originally recorded in 1995 by Groep Wannes Van de Velde on De Kleuren van de Steden, Granota 0910. English version recorded by Des de Moor on 9x2: see opposite.

All rights reserved. No material on these pages can be reproduced in whole or in part in any form, except for short passages for the purpose of quotation or review, without prior written permission of the copyright owner.


 More lyrics
The Sailor's Longing
It's then you know
Lyrics Index