Song – German



“Meine Oma fährt im Hühnerstall Motorrad, Motorrad, Motorrad, meine Oma fährt im Hühnerstall Motorrad, meine Oma, meine Oma ist modern. Und da kann ich mich so schrecklich drüber ärgern… Meine Oma hat an Nachttopf mit Beleuchtung… Meine Oma hat Klosettpapier mit Rüscherln… Meine Oma hat ein Himmelbett mit Brause… Meine Oma hat im hohlen Zahn ein Radio… Meine Oma hat an Unterrock aus Wellblech… Meine Oma hat im Strumpfband an Revolver… Meine Oma hat an Bandwurm, der gibt Pfote… Meine Oma führt den Opa an der Leine… Und mein Opa hat a Glatze mit Beleuchtung… ja mein Opa, ja mein Opa ist modern.“


“My grandma goes is in the coop motorcycle, motorcycle, motorcycle, my grandma modern in the coop motorcycle, my grandma, my grandma.  And there I can become angry so terribly about that…My grandma has at night pot with illumination…My grandma has lavatory paper with Rüscherln…My grandma has a sky bed with Brause…My grandma has a radio in the hollow tooth…My grandma has at petticoat out of Wellblech…My grandma has in the garter at revolver…My grandma has gives paw at volume worm, that…My grandma leads the grandpa at the line…And my grandpa has a bald head with illumination…  yes my grandpa, yes my grandpa is modern”


“My grandmother runs in the chicken coop motorcycle, bike, motorcycle, my grandmother runs in the chicken coop motorcycle, my grandmother, my grandmother is modern. And since I can forget it so terribly upset… My grandmother has participated in chamber pot with lighting… My grandmother has Rüscherln with toilet paper… My grandmother has a four-poster bed with Brause… My grandmother has a radio hollow tooth… My grandmother has petticoat made of corrugated tin… My grandmother has garter to revolvers… My grandmother has tapeworm, gives paw… My grandmother, the grandfather on a leash… And my grandfather has a bald with lighting… Yes my grandfather, my grandfather is so modern.”

Xan said he learned this song from his mom whenever he was a child in Hermosa Beach, California. She would sing this song to him in German to the point where he picked up the phrases as well. His mother is originally from Pennsylvania but he thinks that she learned it from her side of the family that is of German descent. At one point in her life, she lived in Germany so she probably heard it performed from the German people living there. However, he also said that she may have heard it directly from her family that is from right outside of Munich. Xan said that the song has been passed down from generation to generation. Before Xan’s mom sang it to him, her mom sang it to her, and so on and so forth. Therefore, this song has been passed down orally from parent to child.

When I asked Xan when this song is usually performed, he said that his mom used to sing it to him right before he went to bed when he was child. He said this is most likely the way most German families sing it as well. He thinks a nice little nursery rhyme to sing to a young German because it is catchy and upbeat. When he sang it to me, he even clapped a little bit, showing how parents can entertain young ones to make it easier for them to go to sleep. Just as American parents sing little jingles and tell nursery rhymes, German parents are able to sing this song to their children.

Xan said that on a personal note, this song meant a lot of tradition and family. He said it brought a special connection between him and mother when he was child. He liked how it was in a different language also because it made it more exciting. His friends who have never heard this song before didn’t understand it like he did, making it unique to him and his mom. On a broader scale, he thinks that this song is just a funny, catchy tune. He says it doesn’t make any sense but he knows that children like it. Children enjoy songs such as these because it is easy to perform and it is fun. It doesn’t matter to them that a Grandma typically would not ride a motorcycle without any breaks. It’s just a way for them to connect with their family and friends.

When I listened to this song for the first time, I was confused by both the German and English translation. I did not understand why a Grandma would ever ride a motorcycle or have all of those interesting characteristics. However, I did laugh and realize that this was just a child’s folk song. It doesn’t make sense but like most childish songs, none ever do. That is probably one of the reasons children like them so much. Additionally, I agree with Xan that this song represents tradition. I can see how generations of families can pass along songs such as these to their children. It is a simple way of connecting with children because it pleases them. There are plenty of other examples of these songs around the world that parents sing to their kids. In America, a good example would be “Mary had a little lamb” or “Rock-a-bye Baby.” My parents as well as many I know used to sing these songs to their children before bed. Therefore, it is easy to say that no matter where you are in the world, there will always be folk songs such as these that will help bring families closer together.