German music: Ostrock (Karussell – Als ich fortging)

Posted on 27. Aug, 2012 by in Culture, History, Language, Music

I have already published several post about German song lyrics and their English translations but those were rather new songs. This time I would like go back in time and suggest a song from the 1980s by a band from the former German Democratic Republic.

Karussell (carousel) is a German band from Leipzig and they were one of the most considerable and popular bands in the former GDR. Since Karussell was a rock band, their style of music is often referred to as Ostrock (East-Rock). Ostrock distinguishes from “West-Rock” that the lyrics were exclusively in German. English lyrics and English music in general was a taboo in those time in the GDR because the government wanted to make sure that its citizens do not get in contact with other languages or cultures.

The song “Als ich fortging” (When I departed), released in 1989, is still played on the radio nowadays. It is about losing a beloved person and it is one of the most beautiful and saddest songs I know. The following version is a new one, sung by Dirk Michaelis (a former singer of Karussell) and Matthias Reim, a German Schlagersänger (pop singer; crooner).

 

YouTube Preview Image

 

Als ich fortging When I departed
Als ich fortging,war die Straße steil,

kehr wieder um.

Nimm an ihrem Kummer teil,

mach sie heil.

 

Als ich fortging,

war der Asphalt heiß,

kehr wieder um.

Red ihr aus um jeden Preis,

was sie weiß.

 

Nichts ist unendlich,

so sieh das doch ein.

Ich weiß,

du willst unendlich sein,

schwach und klein.

 

Feuer brennt nieder,

wenn’s keiner mehr nährt.

Kenn´ ja selber,

was dir heut widerfährt.

 

Als ich fortging,

war´n die Arme leer,

kehr wieder um.

Machs ihr leichter,

einmal mehr,

nicht so schwer.

 

Als ich fortging

kam ein Wind

so schwach,

warf mich nicht um.

Unter ihrem Tränendach

war ich schwach.

 

Nichts ist unendlich,

so sieh das doch ein.

Ich weiß, du willst unendlich sein,

schwach und klein.

 

Nichts ist von Dauer,

was keiner recht will.

Auch die Trauer wird dann sein,

schwach und klein .

When I departedthe path was steep,

I turn around.

Attend her woe,

to heal her.

 

When I departed,

the path was hot,

I turn around.

At all cost, I dissuade her from

what she knows.

 

Nothing is infinite,

so please realize that.

I know

you want to be infinite,

weak and small.

 

Fire expires

when no one fuels it.

I know myself

what befalls you today.

 

When I departed,

my arms were empty,

I turn around.

Make it easier for her,

once more,

not such a hard time.

 

When I departed

a wind was getting up

which was so faint,

it didn’t knock me down.

I was weak

under her roof of tears.

 

Nothing is infinite,

so please realize that.

I know you want to be infinite,

weak and small.

 

Nothing is here to stay,

and no one wants that.

Also grief will be then,

weak and small.

 

Tags: , , ,

About Sandra

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra

One Response to “German music: Ostrock (Karussell – Als ich fortging)”

  1. Ivan 28 August 2012 at 5:41 am #

    Thank you Sandra!!


Leave a Reply