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Jean-Louis Pisuisse - Dare to live, people

Dutch songs with English translation, translated in English


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picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation

Jean-Louis Pisuisse - Dare to live, people
Lyrics and music: Dirk Witte / Recording (voice): Henri Wallig
(1917)

Jean-Louis Pisuisse - Mens, durf te leven
Tekst en muziek: Dirk Witte / Opname (zang): Henri Wallig
(1917)


©  copyright translation

picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation



Dutch song Jean-Louis Pisuisse - Mens, durf te leven
with lyrics, music, video and English translation songtext


picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation

You only live short and you only live once
If you want to change some day, you'll be too late
Dare to live, people
Don't ask every day the short time you exist
How did both my dad and my granddad behave
How's my cousin acting and what did my friend
And who knows what the whole world is thinking of this
And what are 'decency regulations'
Dare to live, people

Je leeft maar heel kort, maar een enkele keer
En als je straks anders wilt, kun je niet meer
Mens, durf te leven
Vraag niet elke dag van je korte bestaan
Hoe hebben m'n pa en m'n opa gedaan
Hoe doet er m'n neef en hoe doet er m'n vrind
En wie weet, hoe of dat nou de wereld weer vindt
En wat heeft 'het fatsoen' voorgeschreven
Mens, durf te leven


picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation

The people dictate here the shade of your tie
The shape of your hat and the style of your coat
And of your life, too
They're pointing the pathways you're allowed to go
And call: "Shame on you" if you pause for a while
They're choosing your future, they're choosing your job
They're picking a pub for you, also a church
And how much to give to the paupers
That's no life, people

De mensen bepalen de kleur van je das
De vorm van je hoed en de snit van je jas
En van je leven
Ze wijzen de paadjes waarlangs je mag gaan
En roepen: "O, foei" als je even blijft staan
Ze kiezen je toekomst en kiezen je werk
Ze zoeken een kroeg voor je uit en een kerk
En wat j' aan de armen moet geven
Mens, is dat leven


picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation

The people enforce what the rules are to live
They give you advice and are shouting as one
Live in this manner
These guys are beneath you, those can be your friends
This girl you must marry and don't you resist
That house in this city is decent and neat
And you will ben ignored if you choose otherwise
As if it's a bad misbehaviour
That's no life, people

De mensen, ze schrijven je leefregels voor
Ze geven je raad en ze roepen in koor
Zo moet je leven
Met die mag je omgaan, maar die is te min
Met die moet je trouwen, al heb je geen zin
En daar moet je wonen, dat eist het fatsoen
En je wordt genegeerd als je 't anders wil doen
Als had je iets vrees'lijks misdreven
Mens, is dat leven


picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation

Our life is so lovely, delightfully fair
Fly high in the sky and don't crawl in a cage
Dare to live, people
Always keep your head up, your nose in the wind
And don't care at all how another will judge
Keep a heart full of warmth, full of love in your chest
But on your square metre behave like a king
No one else can give you what you search for
Dare to live, people

Het leven is heerlijk, het leven is mooi
Maar vlieg uit in de lucht en kruip niet in een kooi
Mens, durf te leven
Je kop in de hoogte, je neus in de wind
En lap aan je laars hoe een ander het vindt
Hou een hart vol van warmte en van liefde in je borst
Maar wees op je vierkante meter een vorst
Wat je zoekt kan geen ander je geven
Mens, durf te leven



©  copyright translation

picture garland guirlande symbol of dutch song translated English translation



Jean-Louis Pisuisse (1880-1927) was a journalist and singer. With fellow-journalist Max Blokzijl (1884-1946), he traveled through the Netherlands in 1907 as Italian street singers (photo in newspaper article). They wrote a book about this experience: Adventures as street musician/Avonturen als straatmuzikant (1907).

In the years 1908-1913 they traveled through Europe. Pisuisse started to also sing in French, German and English. He published several books with songtexts, like Chansons internationales (1910) and Hundred songs from the French, Germand and English repertoire/Honderd liederen uit het Fransch, Duitsch en Engelsch repertoire (1915).

Jean-Louis Pisuisse and Max Blokzijl translated the word 'chanson' as 'levenslied' ('lifesong'). However, other artists started to use this word to refer to songs about the misery of life, mostly sung in pubs (it is still used in this way). Later the word 'luisterlied' was used as translation of 'chanson', meaning a song of good quality.

jean-louis pisuisse portret zwart wit         jean-louis pisuisse

From 1912 Pisuisse formed the first Dutch cabaret theatre group, inspired by the theatre in Paris. He married three times, with Jacoba, Fie and Jenny - his last wife was also a member of his cabaret group (their photo in newspaper article, receiving an award).

On 26 november 1927 Jean-Louis Pisuisse and his third wife Jenny Gilliams were shot to death in Amsterdam. They were killed by a former lover of Jenny, who also was a group member. He also killed himself on the crime scene.

The couple was burried in The Hague (photo of the funural in newspaper article, including the crowd). His second wife, however, bought the grave and arranged for Jenny's body to be burried elsewhere, because she wanted to be burried with her former husband herself. This indeed happened in 1975.

Jean-Louis Pisuisse became only 47 years old. He still is considered as the founder of the Dutch 'small art' ('kleinkunst'): songs and cabaret (by comedians) of good quality, in the theatre. The word 'small' refers to the intimate setting of a stage.

dirk witte

The song 'Mens, durf te leven'/'Dare to live, people' (1917) was written by Dirk Witte (1885-1932). He was a singer and lyricist. Famous songs he wrote were: 'The girl of the choral society'/'Het meisje van de zangvereniging' (1914); 'The pears'/'De peren' (1915); 'The wine glass'/'Het wijnglas' (1918); and 'Night song'/'Nocturne' (1919).

But his most famous song was 'Dare to live, people' (1917). He wrote it for Jean-Louis Pisuisse towards the end of World War I. Over the decades, it was (and is) covered by many artists, like Willy Alberti, Ramses Shaffy, Willem Nijholt, Wende Snijders and Tim Knol (links open youtube).

Unfortunately, no recording of this song by Jean-Louis Pisuisse himself has been preserved. The youtube-video above is a recording (around 1920) of the contemporary singer Henri Wallig (1881-1939), who was a member of Pisuisse's cabaret theatre group for a while.



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©  copyright translation
(2017)


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