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[Embedded videos are still not working; I'll fix this when and if I can.  In the meantime, clicking the links provided will take you to the videos on YouTube.]

During our recent visit to the Netherlands with our Swiss grandchildren, we enjoyed a visit to the Openluchtmuseum (Open Air Museum) in Arnhem. As far as learning Dutch history goes, the kids might benefit from another visit in a few years. But when it comes to having fun, they got what they came for.

The museum occasionally features concerts and other events, and very near the beginning, the theatrically-minded of our crew were hooked. Not that this sign explained much to us, though our eyes lighted on the word "Annie." The sound of singing drew us like a magnet. Well, most of us. Porter and Joseph spurned the SRO crowd for comfortable chairs and some man-to-man discussion time in the wings.

I'm not much of a fan of Broadway musicals myself, but I was intrigued by the familiarity of the music. Later, I concluded that there's a similarity among musical theater numbers that makes them nearly indistinguishable to the non-initiate, especially when the lyrics are in a foreign language. At the time, however, all we could conclude was that this was defnitely not the Annie we were expecting.

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I submitted this recording to my Facebook audience, some of whom are very knowledgeable about musical theater. But no one came through. This lack of response was inexplicable until I realized that the amazing Tim Hanes—who, as far as I can tell, knows every musical ever penned—was himself out of the country in my hour of need. On the other hand, even when I got back to a good Internet connection and the full resources of Dr. Google, it took me a while to track down this show.

It is as Dutch as you can get. According to Wiipedia, Annie M. G. Schmidt was "the mother of the Dutch theatrical song and the queen of Dutch children's literature."

in 2007, when a group of Dutch historians compiled the "Canon of Dutch History" [they] included Schmidt, alongside national icons such as Vincent van Gogh and Anne Frank.

(Even her death was Dutch: I have never before seen a cause of death listed as "euthanasia" and I hope never to see it again. Some parts of this lovely country are surreal and disturbing—but that's better left for another post.)

Ja Zuster, Nee Zuster, one of the most popular Dutch television shows of all time, was written in the 1960's by Schmidt. In 2002 it was made into a movie (English version Yes, Nurse! No, Nurse!) As you can see from the excerpt below, it's no more a children's show than Into the Words (despite the latter's fairy tale setting).

[Placeholder for currently non-working embedded YouTube video.  Click here.]

Since the version we saw was designed for children, it was shorter, and presumably cleaner—in any case, even the most multi-lingual of our grandkids doesn't know enough Dutch to deciper the lyrics (and he wasn't listening). This particular song, however, is a powerful earworm, and certainly made an impression. All the children enjoy play-acting, and the three-year-old, especially, treated us to many subsequent performances of her version, in which the title morphed—understandably, for one who speaks English and German—into Jah Sister, Nah Sister. The only part of the original they maintained was this refrain, but it spawned endless variety. You'd think I'd have had the sense to video at least one of the innumerable performances, but I didn't.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at 7:05 am | Edit
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