Sometime in the next 24 hours we will be switching European Tribune over to a new layout. This will involve a little downtime and no doubt some teething troubles. Do not adjust your set. - Colman

Ramses Shaffy 1933 - 2009

by Nomad
Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 03:08:13 AM EST

I'm extending my little tribute to a true Dutch chansonnier, actor, and citizen of Amsterdam: Ramses Shaffy.  

Up Sammy look
Up Sammy because
There is the blue sky


Born in France, a son from an Egyptian father and a Russian mother, Ramses was put on the train to his aunt the Netherlands at the age of five, after his mother contracted tuberculosis. The bad momentum still wasn't over - for some reason (I still don't understand why), he ended up in child care. His chances turned: he met and was adopted by his foster family. His formative years were in the city of Leiden (in the province of South Holland). The adoption was his godsend. In Leiden, he learned to play the piano.

Never finishing his secondary school, Ramses moved to the School of Arts in Amsterdam. In 1960, he attempted a career as actor in Rome, travelling to Italy's capital with his partner, but to no success. Perhaps for the best. He returned to the Netherlands.

In 1964, in collaboration with many friends, Ramses performs a literary cabaret of poetry and song, called Shaffy Cantate. The combination of classical music and cabaret is both riveting and revolutionary in the Netherlands. His 1966 song "Sammy" exemplifies this. It is a spirited song and uplifting - the singer is cheering up a downcast person (Sammy):

Up Sammy look
Up Sammy because
Up there smiles the moon


His star rises, and does never really fade. During the seventies and eighties, Shaffy is active and successful as a musician, in cabaret, as actor both on stage and in television productions. Everything what he does is marked with passion and a feverish zest for life. His lively music and passionate voice could engender the sober Dutch with the rarity of dance, make them remember a joy de vivre. In the course of the nineties, he slowly retreats from the stage.

Shaffy's music is an ode to life, in the brightest colours possible.  

Below an excerpt from one of his best, with my attempted translation. Though you'll need to listen to the song to hear the energy behind the words.




Voor degene in een schuilhoek achter glas
Voor degene met de dichtbeslagen ramen
Voor degene die dacht dat-ie alleen was
Moet nu weten, we zijn allemaal samen
 

For those in a retreat behind glass
For those with fogged up windows
For those who thought he was alone
Should know now we're all together

Voor degene met `t dichtgeslagen boek
Voor degene met de snelvergeten namen
Voor degene die `t vruchteloze zoeken
Moet nu weten, we zijn allemaal samen
 

For those with the closed book
For those with quick forgotten names
For those who search the fruitless
Should know now we're all together

Zing, vecht, huil, bid, lach, werk en bewonder
Zing, vecht, huil, bid, lach, werk en bewonder
Zing, vecht, huil, bid, lach, werk en bewonder
Zing, vecht, huil, bid, lach, werk en bewonder
Niet zonder ons

Sing, fight, cry, pray, laugh, work and admire
Sing, fight, cry, pray, laugh, work and admire
Sing, fight, cry, pray, laugh, work and admire
Sing, fight, cry, pray, laugh, work and admire
Not without us



Login
. Make a new account
. Reset password

Display:
.
Ramses Shaffy, larger-than-life entertainer

(RNW) - In 1964 he formed his own theatre company Shaffy Chantant, which presented a new type of cabaret for the time with literary, poetic and mildly erotic material. This also marked the beginning of a long-lasting musical partnership with singer Liesbeth List.

Ramses Shaffy became enormously popular as a singer in the 1960s and into the 1970s with hits including We zullen doorgaan (We will go on), Laat me (Leave me be), Sammy and Zing, vecht, huil, bid, lach, werk en bewonder (Sing, fight, cry, pray, laugh, work and admire).
His recordings with Liesbeth List were also extremely successful, particularly the duet Pastorale.

Shaffy received numerous awards including an Edison in 1967, the Louis Davids award in 1971 and a Golden Harp in 1980.  

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

by Oui on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 11:27:19 AM EST
He sounds like a real singer of songs. I can hear why he might be compared to Brel.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 02:46:08 AM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]