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Willy Alberti - At the foot of the Western Tower

Dutch songs with English translation, translated in English


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picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation

Willy Alberti - At the foot of the Western Tower
Lyrics: Jaap Sjouwerman / Music: Tom Erich and Harry de Groot
(1957)

Willy Alberti - Aan de voet van die oude Wester
Tekst: Jaap Sjouwerman / Muziek: Tom Erich en Harry de Groot
(1957)


©  copyright translation

picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation



Dutch song Willy Alberti - Aan de voet van die oude Wester
with lyrics, music, video and English translation songtext


picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation

I was born here as a small infant
I played here, was romping around
I have lost my heart to this district
I shared here much misery, grief

Ik ben er als kindje geboren
Ik heb er gestoeid en gespeeld
Ik heb er m'n hartje verloren
Ik heb er veel leed mee gedeeld


picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation

Wherever I go in this wide world
How far, far away it might be
This Amsterdam neighbourhood I'll praise
This so cosy and lovely Jordaan

En waar ik ook kom op de aarde
Al is het ook ver hier vandaan
Dan zal ik steeds van je vertellen
Van die mooie, die fijne Jordaan


picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation

At the foot of the splendid Western
The old church tower, where my whole life
I've been often musing, dreaming
'Bout the beautiful, charming Jordaan

Aan de voet van die mooie Wester
Heb ik vaak in gedachten gestaan
'k Heb er dikwijls staan te dromen
Van die mooie, die fijne Jordaan


picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation

I dream about bridges and canals
The geraniums colourful, bright
The poker, who woke you at daybreak
The waste food collector, that smell

Ik droom van de bruggen en grachten
De geraniums edel van kleur
De porder in donkere nachten
De schillenman, jofel van geur


picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation

I still hear the street-vendors yelling
Of fine pickled mussels and clams
My mouth started watering promptly
And my heart was at once set on fire

Ik hoor ze nog schreeuwen, die knapen
Van mosselen, fijn in het zuur
Het water dat droop langs m'n tanden
En m'n hartje geraakte vol vuur


picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation

At the foot of the splendid Western
The old church tower, where my whole life
I've been often musing, dreaming
'Bout the beautiful, charming Jordaan

Aan de voet van die mooie Wester
Heb ik vaak in gedachten gestaan
'k Heb er dikwijls staan te dromen
Van die mooie, die fijne Jordaan


picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation

My hair might turn grey in the future
My worries cause wrinkles maybe
But I'll stay as proud as a tiger
No doubt I'll return here once more

En komen er ook grijze haren
De rimpels van zorgen misschien
Toch blijf ik zo fier als een tijger
Toch wil ik jou eenmaal nog zien


picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation

And when the farewell-bells are tolling
I surely go back, lame or limp
My place of birth, I will also die there
In the proud, nice and pleasant Jordaan

En klinkt straks het klokje van 't scheiden
Al moet ik straks kreupel ook gaan
Om waar ik ben geboren te sterven
In jouw fijne en fiere Jordaan


picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation

At the foot of the splendid Western
The old church tower, where my whole life
I've been often musing, dreaming
'Bout the beautiful, charming Jordaan

Aan de voet van die mooie Wester
Heb ik vaak in gedachten gestaan
'k Heb er dikwijls staan te dromen
Van die mooie, die fijne Jordaan



©  copyright translation

picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation



Willy Alberti (1926-1985), stage name of Carel Verbrugge, was a famous Amsterdam singer of the Dutch 'life songs' ('levenslied'). These are songs about the common people and the problems, misery and hardship of daily life. They are usually sung lamenting with whines and whimpers, with an Amsterdam accent, often accompanied by accordions. Other Amsterdam singers of this genre are e.g.: Johnny Jordaan, Tante Leen and André Hazes.

As a young child, Willy Alberti sang on markets and street corners of the Amsterdam district the Jordaan and he participated in a singing contest in the Amsterdam Edison theatre, where he came in second. In the 1940's and 1950's he mostly sang in Italian (which explains his Italian stage name). He was a cast member of the radio programme The colourful tuesday evening train/De bonte dinsdagavondtrein (1948-1957) and formed the duo The street singers/De straatzangers (in the 1950's) with Max van Praag (singing in Dutch).

From 1958 onward Willy Alberti sang several duets with his oldest daughter, Willeke Alberti (like 'No one wants to leave his child alone', 1983). Some well-known songs of Willy Alberti are: 'Marina' (1959); 'Buona notte bambino'/'Good night child' (1963); 'That corny sentence'/'Dat afgezaagde zinnetje' (1967); and 'To see a smiling child'/'De glimlach van een kind' (1968). Alberti won an Edison Music Award (1960) and a Golden Harp (1973).

willy alberti portret foto zwart wit         willy alberti plakkaat plaquette aan westertoren westerkerk         westerkerk westertoren aan gracht amsterdam

In the 1970's Willy Alberti started a record shop with his son Tonny. He died suddenly in 1985, because of liver cancer, only 59 years old. In 1997 his widow Ria founded the Willy Alberti-museum in the inner city of Amsterdam. In 2008 a compilation album was released with the title The 100 most beautiful songs of Willy & Willeke Alberti/De 100 mooiste liedjes van Willy & Willeke Alberti (2008).

The above song 'At the foot of the Western Tower'/'Aan de voet van die oude Wester' (1957) praises the Amsterdam district Jordaan and the tower of the Western Church in Amsterdam (between the ring of canals and the district Jordaan), built in 1620-1630. The tower is called the 'Old Western'/'Oude Wester' or 'Long John'/'Lange Jan'. It's a famous church tower, mentioned in renowned literature, like the play Gijsbrecht van Aemstel (1637) by Joost van den Vondel; The Diary of Anne Frank (1943-44); and in several poems and songs.

Above song was recorded by many artists, like Johnny Jordaan & Willy Alberti, Max van Praag & Willy Alberti, Frans van Schaik and Manke Nelis. In 1986 a commemorative plaque was placed in the Western Tower in honour of Willy Alberti. It says: "Oh, beautiful Western Tower, high in the blue sky / Willy Alberti 1926-1985 / our Italian tenor from Amsterdam".

Other 'life-songs' ('levensliederen') from the Jordaan in Amsterdam, translated on this website, are: 'In the Jordaan'/'In de Jordaan' (1917); 'In our own Jordaan'/'Bij ons in de Jordaan' (1955); and 'My choice is Amsterdam'/'Geef mij maar Amsterdam' (1955).

icon list orange   More translated Dutch songs in the genre 'life song' ('levenslied') and more with the theme 'songs about Amsterdam'. See also the list of Dutch singers with all their songs on this website.
dutch flag the netherlands holland   Lyrics 'Aan de voet van die mooie Wester' on Dutch website: Nederlandse songteksten.



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©  copyright translation
(2017)


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