Broadside ballads > 15. Zusje, kun je mij soms ook vertellen - Sister, could you tell me

 Zusje, kun je me soms ook vertellenListen to this song, performed by Mieke Stemerdink en Suze van Grootel

Het lied in Real AudioMP3 sound file

Little sister writes a letter to her older sister. Life has been miserable since she left home. What could be the matter? Big sister writes back a sad letter. Rejected by her family, she has ended up a prostitute.

Letter and answer are part of a cycle of nine songs set to a single melody, written and composed in 1916 by Armand Haagman. The great sadness from the opening verses remains undiminished in the later verses: the older sister ultimately dies of consumption and is buried by a sad group of mourners.

This song was the inspiration for many new ones, most of which dealt with social injustice or other unhappiness. Incidental political complaints have also been written to this melody.

'Zusje' became known as a recording by Stella Fontaine (1919). In 1963, Willeke Alberti and Corry Brokken recorded it with a slightly different melody.

The verses 'Zusje' ('Sister') and 'Zusjes antwoord' ('Sister's reply') are sung here by Mieke Stemerdink and Suze van Grootel, accompanied by Kees Schul on piano and Bouke Feleus on violin.

Return to the Top 30
View the original broadside

Examples from this collection Broadside ballads

View all images of this collection