A tribute to the Valencian work ethic

Featuring my draft recording of “El dilluns jo no treballe”, with various other European “7 days lazy” songs.

In this number from Miguel Asíns Arbó Cancionero popular de la Valencia de los años 20 (1987), the singer doesn’t work on Monday, spends Tuesday improving his the suntan, devotes Wednesday to preparing to rest on Thursday, on Friday readies the accounts for presentation on Saturday, and enjoys a well-earned holiday on Sunday:

El dilluns jo no treballe,
el dimarts a pendre el sol,
el dimecres me prepare,
per a descansar dijous,
el divendres trac els comptes
p’al dissabte anà a cobrar
i el diumenche com es festa ¡leré!
jo no pense ¡leré! treballar,
i el diumenche com es festa ¡leré!
jo no pense ¡leré! treballar.

Here’s my sketch (Skype headset, Audacity) for cheeky monkey and virtual street organ, which eventually will form part of my repertoire for my organ grinder show, El Organillero y su Mono Descarado:


Image: detail from the Kecsketemplom in Sopron, Hungary, CC Zyance on Wikimedia

The other week Dr Yes implied that I should read Graham Robb’s The discovery of France (2007) before spouting any more about French tinkers. It’s an amusing anecdotarium of French localism whose serious purpose is to relocate Dominique Dufour de Pradt (or whoever)’s dictum that Africa begins at the Pyrenees north to within a couple days 18th century travel from Paris. And since that leaves most of France as brutish and wild as Spain, it wasn’t that surprising to find that he’s also got a lazy-week song. It’s from Paul Sebillot Coutumes populaires de la Haute-Bretagne (1886) and doesn’t work with the same tune:

Lundi et mardi, fête;
Mercredi, je n’pourrai y être;
Jeudi, l’jour Saint-Thomas;
Vendredi, je n’y serai pas;
Samedi, la foire à Plénée:
Et v’là toute ma pauv’ semaine passée!

There are more versions out on the Gallic fringe. One of three recorded on Jersey is almost identical to the Breton one, and another echoes the Valencian motif of readying oneself on the one day to do nothing on the next:

Lundi et mardi – fête,
Mêcrédi pe’t-êt’ ;
Jeudi St. Nicolas,
Vendrédi nou n’travâle pas;
Sanm’di à s’prépather
Pouor dînmanche à s’pronm’ner.

So is this mañana attitude confined to Romance-speaking lands as yet unafflicted by Protestant ethics and capitalist spirit? Well, no. The oldest dated German example I came across on a brief trawl is a poem by Goethe dealing with the weekly routine of the merry folk of (Lutheran) Weimar, Die Lustigen von Weimar:

Donnerstag nach Belvedere,
Freitag geht’s nach Jena fort:
Denn das ist, bei meiner Ehre,
Doch ein allerliebster Ort!
Samstag ist’s, worauf wir zielen,
Sonntag rutscht man auf das Land;
Zwäzen, Burgau, Schneidemühlen
Sind uns alle wohlbekannt.

Montag reizet uns die Bühne;
Dienstag schleicht dann auch herbei,
Doch er bringt zu stiller Sühne
Ein Rapuschchen frank und frei.
Mittwoch fehlt es nicht an Rührung:
Denn es gibt ein gutes Stück;
Donnerstag lenkt die Verführung
Uns nach Belveder’ zurück.

Und es schlingt ununterbrochen
Immer sich der Freudenkreis
Durch die zweiundfunfzig Wochen,
Wenn man’s recht zu führen weiß.
Spiel und Tanz, Gespräch, Theater,
Sie erfrischen unser Blut;
Laßt den Wienern ihren Prater;
Weimar, Jena, da ist’s gut!

Further east still, in what by then had reverted to being Catholic Hungary, daily idleness is expressed in a more simple style in one of Karl Maria Kertbeny‘s translations of Ungarische Volkslieder (1851):

Both, of course, derive from undated but older songs which order the week according to Biblical example, like this folksong from Freiburg im Breisgau included in Ludwig Eck‘s ground-breaking collection, Deutscher Liederhort (1856):

Don’t tell the Chinese, but I fear there’s a great hidden treasure of historical laziness awaiting discovery in this cold, isolated peninsula of hard-working Asia.

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Conversation

    1. Test version of Valencian sloth song | my barrel organ project blog
      April 15th 2011 20:31

      […] text is blogged here. This uses the virtual organ I’ve rigged up and the procedure is still as here. I’ve […]

    2. Candide
      April 18th 2011 09:32

      Here IS you really singing in Valencian. Sorry, I didn’t get the drift, and I didn’t read this entry.

      Are you combining it with the Brahms lullaby at 0:46?

    3. trebots
      April 20th 2011 23:18

      The cool bit is that YouTube’s copyright parser figured it was Brahms. There’s no escape.

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