Saturday, August 02, 2008

Globalization's gems:

Late night (early morning here) I explore the strange fate of Geordie (Child ballad 209).

Folk On

Geordie's fate lamented by Chyi Yu accompanied by some instrument which is more suited to the ballad than any harp or guitar



Note that the extreme decline in fertility from "She pleads for his life, mentioned the children she had borne him, usually seven, or twelve; she may still be pregnant with the youngest, or the youngest has never seen his father." to "the third lies in my body" was declared by Joan Baez and has nothing to do with current policy in the PRC. There is a theory that Geordie was George Gordon (not lord Byron but related).

I met the song (sung by my 11 year old daughter) in it's Italian version translated by Fabrizio de André (think of a cross of Leonard Cohen and Tom Lehrer) sung by de André and Joan Baez (who manages to sing in Italian with one tenth of my accent)




I recognised the melody and thought that I had heard the ballad. In fact I think I heard it sung in English by Baez. I couldn't remember the lyrics.

de André is an Italian with a three digit IQ so don't be surprised that he was a communist when he translated Geordie. Geordie's royal parentage is suppressed and his crime is diminished from 16 to 6 deer. De André was not an extremist. In the song he offers to compromise with the judge and have the hanging just delayed until winter.

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