Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dip Parpal: The Joys of Listening to the Radio with My Serbian Husband

The other morning we were lazing about when 'Smoke on the Water' came on the radio. "I know that band!" my husband exclaimed. "They were a big favorite of mine growing up in Yugoslavia. That's Dip Parpal."

"Dip Parpal? Oh, you mean Deep Purple." He was considerably shocked to discover not only had he gotten the name wrong for decades, but now it actually made some sense.

When you grow up in Europe, much of the music you hear on the radio is in English. In fact I recently heard an NPR interview with the hottest band in France who explained that although they barely spoke English themselves, all their lyrics are in English because "that's the language rock and roll on the radio is supposed to be in."

My husband just learned English a few years ago at the age of 40 when he moved to America. At last he could understand the lyrics of songs he'd enjoyed on the radio for a lifetime. Some were unhappy revelations. His longtime favorite Jimi Hendrix song is about a subject so depressing he can no longer bear to hear it.

But there are moments of joyous discovery to make up for it. For example, the first time he understood the lyrics "I Shot the sheriff, but I didn't shoot the deputy" was worth its weight in gold.

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