Sproetjies

by Riaan Eloff

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about

This song holds quite some value for me for two reasons.

1) The beauty and nostalgia of the story, and
2) The reminder of my sister

Allow me to explain:

1) The nostalgia of the story:
It speaks of a little girl, growing up in a rural town (where the composer is also from), and how that she was very shy and alone, and possibly even often teased for her looks, as she had many freckles. She stands alone and cries. The composer tells her that she is beautiful, and she replies: "I wish I could see myself through your eyes".
A few years later the composer meets up with her, and he is amazed, as this "ugly duckling" has turned into a beautiful swan.
A few more years pass, and he visits a theatre where he sees a beautiful girl dancing and enthralling the audience with her smile, her dance, and her beauty. Suddenly he realizes it's "Freckles" who is now charming the masses.
It is such a beautiful story, and in a sense bitter-sweet (considering the fact that a little girl is so rejected at an early age because of a few freckles), but yet so moving, and, in fact, with a very happy ending.

2) The reminder of my sister:

2a) Firstly, my younger sister (she was the middle one of three children) had many freckles. I would never have described her as an "ugly duckling", so in that sense it does differ from the story, but, yes, she had many freckles. When this song was released in Afrikaans, in South Africa, a gentleman by the name of Sias Reynecke performed it on an album, and was doing his circuit tour of the country, promoting the album. My sister and I attended one of these concerts, and, I will never forget (she was probably about 8 or 9, and I was about 11 or 12), he introduced the song by speaking of how little boys often tease little girls, and how, when they are young, they "fight". He also mentioned something that many may not recall, but, how the boys would take the pony-tail of the girl sitting in front of him in class, and dip it into his pot of ink on his desk. See, in those days, they still used actual ink pots and quills in school (not so long ago, mayby 60 years?). This made everyone laugh, obviously, and then he said that the first little girl with freckles to reach the stage, gets a free album (vinyl LPs in those days). Even though Almari (my sister) ran forward, she was, unfortunately not the first. Yet, this is a very fond memory relating to both her, and the song.

2b) My sister was an amazing singer, and we often made music together. We obviously performed many concerts together when we were both still at school, and shortly after. We also recorded together, but, unfortunately not enough, before she left for the United States.
Because of the fact that we often performed together, this specific song, which relates so much to her (who grew up from the freckled face little girl, to quite a beautiful young woman) does lie close to my heart. Almari lived in the US for about 15 or more years before her death. This is where the song hits home the hardest for me, and I decided that whenever I perform, I will always attempt to include this song, and if the situation allows it, also tell this story in memory of her.
She died of Leukemia at age 36, in 2009. It was an immense shock to our family, and obviously even more-so to my parents.
Many times when I make music, I am reminded of our times performing shows and recordings together, and when I play this song, I miss her and her talent the most. This song is for you, Almari...the freckle-faced girl that we as a family miss to this day.

lyrics

Daar's 'n park in my tuisdorp ver weg van die stad se lawaai.
Waar die kinders na skool in die middae kom speel en baljaar.
En eendag sien ek 'n klein dogtertjie, eenkant alleen.
Met traantjies wat rol oor haar sproet gesiggie heen.

En ek sê:
"Sproetjies, liefling daar's 'n reënboog in jou oë.
Wil jy graag 'n groot geheim hoor, almal wil graag soos jy wees.
Want jy's pragtig , lieflik" , en sy druk saggies my hand.
En sê: "Ek wens ek kon my deur jou oë sien."

Al die somers en winters is nou reeds so lankal verby.
En die glimlag van jonk wees verberg soms 'n ou hartseer pyn.
En eendag sien ek Sproetjies weer en my oë staar verdwaas.
Want die lelike eendjie verander in die mooiste swaan.

En ek sê:
"Sproetjies, jy's pragtig".
En sy druk saggies my hand.
En sê: "Ek wens ek kon my deur jou oë sien."

Ek gaan by die skouburg een aand na 'n opvoering kyk.
En daar dans 'n meisie wat net soos 'n feë prinses lyk.
Met 'n glimlag so stralend begroet sy die hele gehoor.
Ek sien toe dis Sproetjies wat harte so bekoor.

En ek sê:
"Sproetjies, liefling , daar's 'n reënboog in jou oë.
Onthou jy nog die parkie, en die trane in jou oë.
Sproetjies, jy's pragtig." En ek hou haar teen my vas.
Sy sê: "Ek wens ek kon my deur jou oë sien."

"Ek wens ek kon my deur jou oë sien".

credits

released December 4, 2015
A special thanks goes out to my two buddies Corné Dannhauser and Wiehahn Eksteen. To Corné for the use of his custom-made, hand-built Kruger-Bass, and Wiehahn for the use of his Martin D35 Acoustic. Thanks guys, these instruments are awesome!

All instruments, recording, mixing and arranging/producing by Riaan Eloff.
Recorded at Studio 1 www.studio1.co.za

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about

Riaan Eloff Pretoria, South Africa

Riaan is an extremely capable pianist, keyboardist and arranger/producer. He regularly plays at Cocktail parties, Restaurants, Weddings, Dinner parties, Corporate events and other live shows.
He is an accomplished songwriter, and several of his own pieces feature on his latest instrumental album: Piano by Riaan Volume 1.
His playing style is reminiscent of a Clayderman, with a light jazz twist.
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