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Returning to Mani Matter's Flight Across the Alps

There are times in the expat experience when you feel very far away from your home country. Even I get a little homesick now and then. Things are going well but at any in some moments there is a tiny voice piping up asking for a little bit of Switzerland.

I have found that the best remedy for those cravings is a bit of nostalgic youtube-ing which basically means watching my childhood favorite "Fascht e Familie" (a Swiss 90ies sitcom) or listening to Swiss German music. Another childhood favorite of mine that I keep visiting on youtube is the singer and songwriter Mani Matter.

Songs that still matter today

His songs are not only funny but also rich in Swiss German expressions and phrases. More than 40 years after his death, the songs of Mani Matter are still meaningful - maybe even more so today than ever. Look at "I han es Zündhölzli azündt" and think of the wars raging around the world. If only more people would pick up their cigarette butts from the carpet if you know what I mean!

One of his best songs in my opinion is "Dr Alpeflug" which means "the flight over the Alps" and tells the story of a scenic flight over the mountains in Switzerland that ended badly. I translated the clever lyrics for you below.

Alpeflug - Rudolpho Duba  /

Dr Alpeflug (the flight over the Alps)

Si zwe Fründe ime Sportflugzüg en Alpeflug go mache
Two friends went for a flight over the Alps in a sports plane
Flügen ufe zu de Gipfle und z'dürab de Gletscher nache
(They) are flying up to the summits and down along the glaciers
Hinde sitzt de Passagier, de wo stüüret, de sitzt vorn
In the back is sitting the passenger, the one who's steering sits up front
Und es ratteret und brummet um sen ume de Motor
Und the motor is rumbling and humming around them

Da rüeft dä, wo hinde sitzt: Lue z'Benzin geit us muesch lande!
When the one who sits in the back shouts: Look the fuel is running out, you must land!
Wie? was seisch? rüeft dr Pilot: Los i ha di ned verstande!
How? What are you saying? shouts the pilot: Listen I didn't understand you!
Wie? Was hesch gseit? rüeft dä hinde: Warum landisch ned sofort?
How? What did you say? shouts the one in the back: Why aren't you landing right away?
Red doch lüüter! rüeft de vorne: Bi dem Krach ghör i keis Wort!
Speak louder! shouts the one in front: I can't hear a word in this noise!

I verstahs nid! rüeft de hinde: Warum machschs nid? Bisch degäge?
I don't get it! shouts the one in the back: Why are you doing it? Are you against it?
I verstahs nid! rüeft de vorne: Muesch mers würkli lüüter säge!
I don't get it! shouts the one up front: You must really tell me louder!
Wie? Was seisch? rüeft dise: Lue, de Tank isch läär du flüügsch nüm wiit!
How? What are you saying? shouts this one: Look, the tank is empty you won't fly far anymore!
Los, be dem Mordstonnerslärme, rüeft de vorne, ghör i nüt!
Listen, with this killing racket, shouts the one up front, I can't hear anything!

Aber los doch! rüeft de hinde, Gottfriedstutz mir hei ned d'Weli!
But listen! shouts the one in the back, damn it we don't have time!
Tue nid ufgregt! rüef dä vorne, red doch lüüter Gottverteli!
Don't act upset! shouts the one in front, speak louder goddammit!
Los, rüeft dise, we mir jitz ned lande, gheie mir ids Tal!
Listen, shouts the other, if we don't land now, we're going to fall into the valley!
Ghöre gäng no nüt, rüef eine. Los begrif doch das emal!
I still can't hear anything, shouts the one. Listen, grasp it at last!

So het im Motorelärme dr Pilot halt ned verstande,
Thus in the racket of the motor the pilot didn't understand
Dass ihm jitz s'Benzin chönnt usgah und dass är sofort sött lande.
That the fuel will be running out and that he whould be landing at once.
Da uf z'Mal wirds plötzlich still, nämlich wil z'Benzin usgeit.
Then, suddenly it all goes quiet because the fuel just run out.
Und jetzt womer's hät verstande, hei si beidi nüt me gseit.
And now when one would have understood, both didn't say anything anymore.

To hear "Dr Alpeflug" just go to Youtube:



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