December 17, 2015

OARS AS OARS - "Different From Usual"

The title of the post is probably misleading, as this blog regularly delves into Frisian-language music.

Today, let's look at "Fries Om Utens," a song about loving and missing Friesland. The video includes lyrics along with the singing. Part of the song is in English.

"Fries Om Utens" video on YouTube with lyrics.

Let's take a peek at some useful vocabulary before we get into an English translation of the song:
Wier means "truth" and is pronounced like the English word "veer."

Photo by OrderInTheQuartz, 2015. All rights reserved.
Farmhouse, 2015 - Photo by author
Hiel oars as oars - entirely different from usual. Hiel was discussed in an earlier post. Oars is handily pronounced like the English word it resembles, though it means "other" or "another." As takes a long "a" like in father and means "as," or "like," or "resembling" in this context. It has broader uses, however, including "if, "in such a way," "how," etc.

Fan hâld is a phrase meaning "to love." E.g., "Ik hâld fan dy" means "I love you" in West Frisian.

Nei dy. The word nei, said like "night" without the final -t, comes up in many phrases. It can mean "for" or "to." E.g., from the chorus: Fryslân o Fryslân, ik longerje nei dy... "Friesland, oh Friesland, I long for you." You can also use nei if you are going somewhere: e.g., nei hûs, "to house/home," from the chorus.

The song title means "a Frisian who lives abroad."

Here is an English translation of Fries Om Utens, leaning heavily towards the literal side:

Oh, yes it's true, I feel today
Wholly different from usual... I understand well.
My home has been all over the world,
No place I can love so (much as I love you).

I steal hearts, the others' pain.
I make friends; lose a pair.
The last days, I've been afraid,
Because I long for you so much.

I should say to you that I'm proud
And my thoughts always stay close to you.
Friesland, you call me: yes, I want to go home.
And if I ever should become a stranger
And your land no more feels like my own....
Friesland, oh Friesland, I long for you.

Oh Frisian ground, you give me bread.
The green meadows, the scent of hay.
Your wild skies, your wide lakes...
That is my picture of time.

Tell stories, sing of your land.
It is where in early times my life began.
I wonder how it can be
That I myself am not (there) today.