So today Bee over at The Bee Writes
is making a blog party and encouraging us to celebrate our life and work, as well as the life and work of those musicians we love and who passed away too quickly.
I’ve had a busy day today, doing some preparations to my finals and having two hours long lesson with my maths tutor which brain drained me completely or so I felt, but I did carve out some time to celebrate my life.
I had two cups of strong black coffee (primarily to get rid of an awful headache I was having and raise my blood pressure, but also just because I love coffee so so much) and I’ve also had a brownie. Yummmm. Then I was listening to some music, about which I’ll write more in the next paragraphs. Then I had a quick shower, but although it had to be quick I was singing in the shower all the time, not the music I was listening to before though, but some Sandy Dennyäs songs. As I said before I felt pretty much brain drained in the morning, but now I feel really cheered up and relaxed, and I agree with Bee that we do need to celebrate our lives, and that we – as people, but particularly in my opinion, we as people struggling with all kinds of mental illnesses, should think about celebrating more often – we think so often about how we hate our lives so that I feel like we often just forget to think about how much is there to celebrate.
Now on to the musicians. I was wondering and wondering and wondering who to choose for this post. There are so many musicians I love, and so many of great musicians have passed away too early, too young. It’s always striking and shocking when it happens. To name a few of those whom I love, respect and listen to very often – Amy Winehouse, Sandy Denny, John Lennon or, very recently, Dolores Oriordan, they all could live much longer than they did. But finally I realised that my choice should be clear and obvious. Cornelis Vreeswijk.
Cornelis Vreeswijk lived 1937-1987, definitely too short. He’s been my previous music crush. When I say previous, I definitely don’t mean I no longer have a crush on him. When I get a music crush, it lasts long, and even if someone new appears, they aren’t replaced, just kind of suppressed by this newer crush, but still there, still alive in my brain. And when I say crush, I don’t mean what most people would probably mean by saying they have a crush on someone, or not only this. My crushes, besides being my crushes, are my deep fascinations, my inspirations, my motivators, and, as someone put it in a raw and beautiful way, my “antidote for pain” of any kind. And much much more.
Cornelis was Dutch, but he emigrated to Sweden at the age of 12 with his family, because of the war, and most of his artistic work was in Swedish and in Sweden. He was a singer, songwriter and guitarist, sometimes a composer too, but also a poet and, occasionally, an actor. He was my big inspiration ever since I heard his music for the first time and got to know him more. It was so impressive for me when I read how quickly he learned Swedish and became fluent in it, I wanted it for myself too, so started to see him a bit like my rival, in a positive sense, which, as I see it now, has really helped me to become good and confident at Swedish quickly. Well he had it easier, because Dutch is a Germanic language like Swedish and he lived in Sweden, and he was younger than me, and thatäs why Iäm the more proud of my results, being only once in Stockholm and having so many people complimenting me on my accent and how natural my Swedish seems to be. 😀 Well I don’t think it’s natural, but maybe Swedish people aren’t used to talk to foreigners that are as fluent as me. Also very early on in the development of my crush, I started to see how much in common he must have with me. Seemingly it could be even the opposite, he was a rebel, a drunkard, an extreme socialist – while I am a definite rightist, – famous for his countless sexual affairs and three very stormy marriages and other stuff of this kind, just you wouldn’t think we could have shared anything. But, as I was learning Swedish and learning about him, I was discovering there is a lot of things we share, from pretty small, odd coincidences like both our dads are professional drivers and both of us were constantly moving places as children 😀 to how we perceive the world, to how our personalities are like. I read about how much he didn’t feel safe anywhere, how, being so rebellious and controversial on the outside, inside he was very shy and struggled with incredibly low self-esteem and was very vulnerable and doubting his own possibilities all the time. He was constantly craving for a relationship with someone and for love, but when he finally was close to starting and building it, he was runing away desperately and in fear of closeness and intimacy. That all, and lots of other things, just sound so familiar, he, he, he. Maybe he also had AVPD? Thinking now… Well from some things I’d rather assume BPD, but I guess it’s not my thing to diagnose people, especially people that I didn’t know and that died years ago. 😀 Didn’t actually think about him having any PD’s before. But well anyway, I love his a bit cynical and untoward, perverse or pawky sense of humour, don’t really know how it’s exactly called in English. 😀 I love how he always noticed funny or weird details about people and situations and could read between the lines and describe it all in an interesting way. I love his approach to hard situations, complaining about them, but laughing them off at the same time. I love how he was able to play with the language.
And it all just inspired me so much that one night a crazy idea popped in in my head. Why not to translate his poems and song lyrics into Polish? That felt really crazy, but I loved the idea. And you know what? So far, I managed to translate 6 of his songs. These aren’t very good translations, but they are decent imo and still they rhyme and their verses are as long as original, so, I guess I did a good job. 😀 I haven’t translated anything in months now, I just get stuck somewhere anytime I try to translate something fully and can’t get out in any way, but I have a whole folder of drafts and unfinished pseudotranslations.
I can’t say I like/agree/relate to all of his lyrics. His views on most things were completely different than mine, so even if I like some of his political songs, I usually don’t agree with them or just don’t know what they’re really about since I’m not very familiar with Swedish politics in 70’s-80’s. But still I think he deserves to be known more widely, even if it wasn’t directly his goal. ANother thing is that I’m worried that it might be like planting bananas in Lapland – you know, he just won’t be understood here by other people than “Swedophiles – and man I’ve had countless dreams about how I translated a ton of his poems and published them and it was a massive failure, but, I guess I won’t know how it’ll be if I won’t try. So I hope I’ll manage to do it some day and that I won’t bungle it.
So I’ve already told you that he was drinking and having many relationship issues, he was married three times, was in prison, had economic issues, was smoking all the time and addicted to drugs and sedatives and other “comforters”, as my Mum calls them, he had also chronically issues in other kinds of relationships, not only romantic. He quitted drinking and smoking and all in 1985 when he was diagnosed with diabetes, but it didn’t help that much. Soon after it he was also diagnosed with liver cancer which destroyed him completely and so he died in 1987 (before I was even born! THAT’S SO UNFAIR!!! 😥 ), being lonely and in a very bad economic situation, having a bunch of dedicated fans, but generally being condemned by Swedish very politically correct society, though soon they discovered him and now they love him and he’s very famous there, so famous that I heard people in Netherlands telling he’s a Swede, although he doesn’t even have Swedish citizenship as far as I know.
So I’ve been listening to Cornelis’ music for the whole evening and now I have a great trouble deciding what to show you…
Well OK, I guess I already know, after another 15 minutes.
The song I want to show you is the first song by Vreeswijk I’ve ever heard, my Swedish teacher showed it to me and I was immediately lost, though I didn’t realise it back then yet. It has stuck in my head and even though I then had to have a long long break from learning Swedish, for years, I still remembered this song and its almost whole lyrics and after I rediscovered it, my full blown crush started and helped me indirectly to start with Swedish again. It is probably his most popular song. It’s called “Balladen Om Herr Fredrik Åkare Och Den Söta Fröken Cecilia Lind” (The ballad about Mr. Fredrik Åkare (Åkare means actually a driver) and the sweet maiden Cecilia Lind). This is something I’m working on translating for a ridiculously long time but it’s terribly hard mainly because we don’t have enough words ending in -ind in Polish, that would rhyme with the heroine’s last name, and we generally have too few one-syllable words, I love Polish, but that sucks sooo much.
Below are the English lyrics I found on the Internet, this is a literal translation:
From Öckerö barn (on a farm) sounds of accordion and base are heard and the full moon’s shining as if it was made of glass.
There Fredrik Åkare dances cheek to cheek
with little miss Cecilia Lind
She dances with closed eyes near (to him)
She follows in the dance right where he wants.
He leads and she follows light as a breeze,
but tell (me) why is Cecilia Lind blushing?
Say, was it because of what Fredrik Åkare said:
“You smell so good and you dance so well.
Your waist is thin and your bosom is round
You’re so beautiful, Cecilia Lind
But the dance ended and where could they go?
They lived so close to each other anyway
Finally they ended up at Cecilias gate
Now I want to be kissed, said Cecilia Lind
[You should] Know shame, Frederik Åkare, be ashamed old man!
Cecilia Lind is only a child
Pure as a flower, shy as a doe
I will soon turn 17, said Cecilia Lind
And the stars wander and the hours pass
And Fredrik is old, but the moon is new
Yes, Fredrik is old, but love is blind
Oh, kiss me again, said Cecilia Lind
And here’s the song: