Wednesday, February 12, 2020

SearchResearch Challenge (2/12/20): What is Bernard singing about?


I guess I'm still in a Central European frame of mind... 

A few weeks ago we had a Challenge about the song that goes "eins, zwei, g'suffa."  

In the process of doing my research for that Challenge, I ran across a hauntingly beautiful song on YouTube. 


I found this YouTube video with the song “Ranz des Vaches” as sung by Bernard Romanens. 

Bernard Romanens singing Ranz des Vaches.




Listen to it--a wonderful song that strikes at your heartstrings.  

But the description is in French, and as I listened, I realized that I don't understand either the song OR the context.  

What's going on in this little video? 

As I listened I couldn't help my curiosity about what's happening here.  My brain started asking questions--maybe you can answer them!!  (Doesn't your mind work like this too?)  


In particular... 

1. He’s singing this song at a festival.  What festival was it?  

2. When will that festival be held next?

3. Once upon a time, this song was forbidden from being sung?  (What?  Why?  Where?  When?) 

4. What are the lyrics?   What is the translation into English?  (I can’t understand ANYTHING!) 

5. Bernard Romanens is clearly wearing some kind of traditional costume that suggests a particular kind of job.  What is Romanens job (as indicated by his costume)?  

Next time we'll move beyond Central European tunes, but I had to pose this Challenge because I couldn't get this song out of my head for the past two weeks.  Ever since I heard it, I've been dreaming of singing in a sunny field in Switzerland, alphorns in the distance, gazing happily across the snowy Alps with clouds of edelweiss in the meadow before me.  

Search on!  


9 comments:

  1. 1. He's singing the Ranz des Vaches at the Fête des Vignerons in 1977.
    2. The next Fête des Vignerons will be held in 20 years time.(more or less https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/f%C3%AAte-des-vignerons_how-vevey-organises-its-once-in-a-lifetime-winegrowers--festival/45035540 "Throwing the Fête des Vignerons, a traditional winegrowers’ festival held roughly every 20 years in the lakeside town of Vevey, is no small endeavour." The last Fête was held last year, in August, 2019.
    3. "Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote in his 1768 Dictionnaire de la musique that it was forbidden to sing a ranz des vaches near Swiss soldiers in foreign services, because they became homesick and risked to die."https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/ranz-des-vaches/7685444
    4. The words of the song are in the patois of the Gruyères region. A side by side translation is at https://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=6596
    5. Romanens is wearing the traditional male costume of cattle farmers in the Gruyères region, the Bredzon. https://www.fribourgregion.ch/en/P10725/bredzon

    ReplyDelete
  2. 1) When looking at YouTube links I always look at the descriptions for anything else. In this case, the answer to the festival is in the description (Thank you Google Translate). L’armailli Bernard Romanens donne une interprétation vibrante et émouvante du chant traditionnel «Lyoba» lors de la Fête des vignerons, à Vevey. i.e. Bernard Romanens is singing "Lyoba" at the Wine growers festival in Vevey - the Fête des vignerons

    2) Googling when this will be held next came up with absolutely nothing accurate because we don't know the answer. The last time was from July 18 to August 11, 2019 but (at least according to Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fête_des_Vignerons) the festival takes place between 14 - 28 years apart, so the next one could be July-August 2033 or as late as 2047. The UNESCO site (https://ich.unesco.org/fr/RL/la-fete-des-vignerons-de-vevey-01201) linked from the Wikipedia page says every 20 years so the next one would be July/August 2039.

    3) The song evokes nostalgia for Switzerland and so was banned from being sung by Swiss soldiers. Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote in his 1768 Dictionnaire de la musique that it was forbidden to sing a ranz des vaches near Swiss soldiers in foreign services, because they became homesick and risked to die. (Source: https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/ranz-des-vaches/7685444 - found by searching for "Ranz des vaches"). Or from Google (via translate) of https://archive.is/20130115222650/http://www.lyoba.ch/culture/desalpe/ranz.htm#selection-323.1-335.224 mentioned in the references on the Wikipedia page: "The young Gruyère men, recruited into the Swiss guard of the kings of France, had the annoying tendency to desert or suffer from "homesickness" at the sound of this song. It was therefore quite simply forbidden to sing it at Versailles. The Swiss Guard was made up of young and solid peasant farmers from Gruyère, who had often been recruited from the mountain pastures after having intoxicated them a little to make them sign their employment contracts better".

    4) The bottom of the wikipedia article gives a source with the lyrics and Google translate gives them in English. Not sure they make any more sense in English either. https://archive.is/20130115222650/http://www.lyoba.ch/culture/desalpe/ranz.htm#selection-131.0-131.22 There are several descriptions of the song - again from searching for Lioba, Lyoba or Ranz de vache - telling the story e.g. https://www.fribourgregion.ch/en/P10772/the-origins-of-the-ranz-des-vaches. The chorus goes
    Lyôba (call of the cows) to milk (twice).
    Come all, the white, the black,
    the red, the stars on the head the young, the others,
    Under this oak where I milk you,
    under this aspen where I make the cheese,
    Lyôba, lyôba, for milking (twice) .

    5) I started looking for Cowherd, Swiss national costume men and similar and found that this was what most of the people in the video are wearing. E.g. https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/275634439667036263/?lp=true. However it's not exactly the same.

    I then noticed that Bernard is called an Armalli and this word kept featuring so I searched on that - and found this https://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armailli&prev=search which has a photo with this description: "Costume of the armailli as Roger Cochard wore it to sing the Lyoba ( Ranz des vaches ) at the winegrowers' festival in 1955 exhibited at the museum of the Confrérie des vignerons de Vevey . Bernard Romanens' costume in 1977 was blue with red piping and stockings."

    ReplyDelete
  3. "The news spread like wildfire, this Monday January 30, 1984. Bernard Romanens, the singer of the Ranz des vaches of the Fête des vignerons in 1977, was found lifeless in the room he rented at the dairy from Villarimboud. Thirty years after his disappearance, at the age of 37, the armourer of Marsens is still a myth."
    Bernard Romanens
    related
    …and yet, something seems askew…
    a translation… warriors
    supporting info -
    swiss
    goo books - Swiss mercenaries…
    in FR
    Romanens
    L'armailli

    web site
    wiki - Fête des Vignerons
    Aug, 2039
    'origin of 'ranz-des-vaches' (a type of Swiss melody)'

    audio alpen
    Sarah Willis

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good day! Great Challenge as always.

    I started with [Bernard Romanens]

    1. He’s singing this song at a festival. What festival was it?

    Wikipedia That links to this article and shows the costume. He was a Swiss armourer,cheese maker and singer. The photo says "Costume de l'armailli"

    Festival

    Answer: The Fête des Vignerons

    2. When will that festival be held next?

    The link in Wikipedia says last one was in 2019

    3. Once upon a time, this song was forbidden from being sung? (What? Why? Where? When?)

    With [Ranz des vaches unknown facts] and ["Ranz des vaches" unknown facts]

    Ranz des vaches forbidden

    2019: This is how amazing the Fête des Vignerons in Vevey is! Next one: 2039

    Homesick for the mountains

    *The children’s book character Heidi also suffered from homesickness.
    *In 1688, Alsace doctor Johannes Hofer described a new, insidious disease: Nostalgia
    * It is not know if it was forbidden.

    4. What are the lyrics? What is the translation into English? (I can’t understand ANYTHING!)

    [ Ranz des vaches lyrics English]

    From Wikipedia: "A Ranz des Vaches or Kuhreihen is a simple melody traditionally played on the horn by the Swiss Alpine herdsmen as they drove their cattle to or from the pasture. The Kuhreihen was linked to the Swiss nostalgia and Homesickness (also known as mal du Suisse "Swiss illness" or Schweizerheimweh "Swiss homesickness")." This is why the song was forbidden: Nostalgia.

    Artlicle mentions Bernard was representing: "Swiss alpine peasant, the poya

    lyrics and history in English

    5. Bernard Romanens is clearly wearing some kind of traditional costume that suggests a particular kind of job. What is Romanens job (as indicated by his costume)?

    [Bernard Romanens costume 1977]

    Answer: Costume de l'armailli. Wikipedia adds, "The armailli (from the patois gruérien armaye , cow) is the typical shepherd of the Friborg and Vaud Alps." Bernard's costume was the one he used as Armailli soloist.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Since all the questions are well answered already, I thought I'd look into the life of the singer, Bernard Romanens.

    Here is the Google-translated text from his French-language Wikipedia page: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Romanens

    Bernard Romanens is the son of Robert Romanens and Hélène Chollet-Romanens. He is the oldest of six boys, and his brothers are given names, Jean-Marie, José, Claude, Daniel and Francis.

    Armailli and cheese maker by profession, member of the Choir of Armaillis de la Gruyère, he made himself known during the Vevey Winegrowers' Festival in 1977 where he interpreted the Ranz des vaches, a traditional song. He then became the personified representation of the Swiss alpine peasant, the poya, and, as such, was invited for several tours in particular in the United States of America in 1976 and in the People's Republic of China in 1980. He recorded also several albums of traditional songs.

    One morning in 1984, he was found dead in his room. To date, the causes of his death have not been clarified.

    According to Michel Gremaud, former editor-in-chief of La Gruyère, “Bernard Romanens, without forfanterie, embodied the country. Identified not with a song, but with a rite, he had become the master of incantation, the priest. No other explanation for the quasi-religious fervor that surrounds the character.

    - - - -

    Born 1947; Marsens (a municipality in the district of Gruyère in the canton of Fribourg in Switzerland.)

    Died January 30, 1984; Villarimboud (a former commune and locality in the canton of Friborg, located in the district of Glâne)

    = = = =

    Here is a link to a list of his recordings: https://www.discogs.com/artist/3030895-Bernard-Romanens

    = = = =

    Here is a link to a tribute in the Sept. 14, 1984, (page 30) issue of the Swiss-French-language daily newspaper Lausanne newspaper, "24 heures": https://scriptorium.bcu-lausanne.ch/zoom/12923/view?page=30

    - - - -

    BTW, 24 heures is the oldest newspaper in the world with uninterrupted publication, having been founded in 1762 by François Duret as the "Annonces et avis divers", a collection of announcements and classified ads like many at the times. The paper later became the "Feuille d'avis de Lausanne", and integrated an independent news section on 16 December 1872. The paper adopted its current name a century later, in 1972.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24_heures_(Switzerland)

    = = = =

    ReplyDelete
  6. Also, since you like the song itself, here's a link to a version that includes a beat-boxing bass flute by Swiss jazz musician, Mathieu Schneider: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rnBpPyeNAc

    ... and also in the description is a short history of the song, Lyoba (Google-translated):

    Lyoba - - Mathieu Schneider, bass flute

    The ranz des vaches or kühreihen has been the traditional a cappella song of the armaillis (cowherds) of the Gruyère district (Switzerland) for centuries.

    It is usually sung during the herding of the herds to the pasture and the return to the stables at the end of the summer. The term comes from the arpitan ayôbo (to call the cattle).

    A little history...

    We neither know the composer nor the origin of this song. The text and the song were published for the first time in 1813 by the dean Bridel, pastor from Vaud. According to other sources ("Le patois fribourgeois" by Louis Page), the first who had the music of the Ranz des vaches printed in 1710 was the Basel professor Théodore Zwinger, in his curious Dissertation on Nostalgia. We know that this song already existed in the 18th century and that it was well known to the Gruériens of the time. The young Gruyère men, recruited into the Swiss guard of the kings of France, had the annoying tendency to desert or to suffer from "homesickness" at the sound of this song.
    It was therefore quite simply forbidden to sing it at Versailles. The Swiss Guard was made up of young and solid peasant farmers from Gruyère, who had often been recruited from the mountain pastures after having intoxicated them a little to make them sign their employment contracts better.

    Lyoba present and future

    This traditional song still retains all its vitality, vigor and the mystery of the emotions it arouses in the listener. Lyoba is also the symbol of continuity and the highlight of the famous Fête des Vignerons in Vevey.

    Some of us even secretly dream of seeing this moving song reach the title of new national anthem ... but that's another song!

    = = = =

    ReplyDelete
  7. almaden mike – nice write-up… who would guess China…
    talent is talent anywhere on the globe.

    Dan, just curious — do you ever run any analytics on the subjects/topics - or responses to - your questions/queries, to glean additional background data/patterns?
    2039… plenty of time to practice…

    ReplyDelete
  8. different subject, similar techniques…
    …translate/image search… and still mystery… Belgian Hollywood journalist Maria Snoeys-Lagler
    Dutch
    still an element of mystery… where's Goose?
    belgian coverage
    additional

    ReplyDelete