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The Happy Wanderer
Song Lyrics

The Happy Wanderer song is perfect for singing around the campfire. The tune is cheerful and singable and the lyrics are just the thing for a camping trip - especially if you are going to do some backpacking.

This is also a perfect song to belt out lustily as you hike!

backpacker with fishing rod

This is a good song for the entire family: the adults and older kids will easily learn the verses, and the youngest children can join in on the chorus.

The words

I love to go a-wandering along the mountain track
And as I go I love to sing, my knapsack on my back.

Valderi, valdera, valderi, valdera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
Valderi, valdera, my knapsack on my back

I love to wander by the stream that dances in the sun
So joyously it calls to me "Come join my happy song".

Valderi, valdera, valderi, valdera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
Valderi, valdera, come join my happy song

I wave my hat to all I meet and they wave back to me
And blackbirds call so loud and sweet from every greenwood tree.

Valderi, valdera, valderi, valdera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
Valderi, valdera, from every greenwood tree

High overhead the skylark wing, they never rest at home
But just like me they love to sing as o'er the world we roam.

Valderi, valdera, valderi, valdera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
Valderi, valdera, as o'er the world we roam

O may I go a-wandering until the day I die
And may I always laugh and sing beneath God's clear blue sky.

Valderi, valdera, valderi valdera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
Valderi, valdera, beneath God's clear blue sky.


History of The Happy Wanderer

  • The Happy Wanderer song was written for the Obernkirchen Children's Choir of Germany to sing in a 1953 musical competition in Wales. Edith Moller, the choir's conductor, wrote the German words with another woman, and Edith's brother Friedrich-Wilhelm wrote the music.
  • The choir won their competition, which was broadcast by the BBC, and the song became a international hit. The choir was invited to perform all around the world and even appeared twice on the Ed Sullivan show.
  • Later, someone named Antonia Ridge wrote English words for the tune.

I'll bet you didn't know that...

  • The words to "Mary Had A Little Lamb" fit this tune perfectly.
  • An episode of "The Muppet Show" features this song. (It stars 3 hiking pigs!)
  • Barney, the purple dinosaur, recorded this song and substituted "Barneri" for "Valderi".
  • There is a musical version of the 23rd Psalm that uses this tune. (It begins "The Lord's my shepherd, I'll not want, He makes me down to lie/In pastures green He leadeth me the quiet waters by.")

By the way...

After extensive research, I think that I can say with confidence that the words "valderi" and "valdera" have no meaning. They are just nonsense syllables that are fun to sing.

Now that you know everything there is to know about the Happy Wanderer Song, find the words to more great campfire songs!

Click here to visit The Camping Family home page.

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