Song of the day (15th February) – Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Hajar’u De Dá Jack? (Do you get this then, Jack?)

   Hey guys! 🙂 

   Although I didn’t celebrate it on here like I did in some previous years, the fact is that, on January 25, Jack Vreeswijk had his 58th birthday (time is most definitely flying, as, at least according to my dyscalculic brain, it means that I’ve had a faza on Cornelis Vreeswijk for eight years now, because when it all started out Jack was 50). And so I decided that I would share a song by Jack, or something that Cornelis wrote for Jack, this month, even though some time has already passed since his birthday. 

   Cornelis had written several songs for Jack, one of them – “Vaggvisa” – I’ve already shared in the past. The song about Jack that I want to share with you now is a lot more cheerful than “Vaggvisa” and also has an interesting message in it. 

   For a long time, I didn’t even quite know what the title of this song means because it looks weird, and that’s because it’s quite slangy. In Swedish, as I guess in most languages, people reduce quite a lot of sounds while speaking. And so when we ask a question, let’s say “How are you?” For example, which is “Hur mår du?” In Swedish, in speech the “d” in “du” will change into a retroflex consonant when it occurs after “r”, and then many people reduce it even further so that it sounds more like “Hur mårru?” Or even “Hur mår’u?” I’ve been aware of this for a long time, but I didn’t know it’s a thing in writing (well, I guess it’s normally not, but in this case it is 😀 ). Additionally, I didn’t know what the verb “att haja” as in “hajar’u” means (now I know it’s a colloquial word for to understand). And then the word “de”, in standard, written Swedish, it means “they” and would be pronounced as “dom” but in more casual writing, “de” can also be a shortened, phonetic way of spelling the word “det” which means “it” or “this”. But all this slanginess was quite confusing for me for a long time and I just didn’t know how to translate it. Now I theoretically know, but still I suppose it could have been translated better into English than I did, but I had no better ideas, plus, with neither English or Swedish being my native language, the only thing I aim to do is making a literal translation so that you can get an idea of what a song is about, rather than a poetic one. Generally while I think I understand these lyrics well in their entirety, putting that into English was quite difficult. 

   I really like this song. As you’ll find out from the translation below, it is about little Jack’s first, unconventional artistic endeavours. One can wonder whether Jack is so extremely imaginative, or perhaps colour-blind, but he doesn’t care what others think of his creations and keeps on painting, which his dad strongly encourages and tells him to do what he wants and not care about criticism. I really like that! I think so many parents would be something like: “Oh no, Jack! Trees aren’t black, you should redo this!” Or even discourage him from painting altogether, possibly undermining his self-esteem and confidence in general, not just in regards to painting and creative expression. Maybe in his brainworld trees are black, and why not? I guess nowadays this kind of experimental art is quite trendy, or that’s what I’ve once been told, though I’m no visual arts expert so what do I know. 😀 I wonder if Jack still paints, and if he still uses “wrong” colours. 🙂 Here’s the translation: 

  And the black trees and the sun that is blue
The sea is blue as well
And the people are ugly and beautiful and yellow
On the picture that you are making
Nothing that disturbs
Do you get this then, Jack? Can you understand?
One has to paint like this
And dad is working and mum has gone out
The TV is soon over
And mum she is strict she, she puts you to bed she
But the picture that you have
It must be finished first, after all
Do you get this then, Jack? Do you fathom this?
For I would like to see this
You, the art criticism is boring and dull
It is the last to understand you
And then some say that the colour, it is wrong
So don’t care about it
You know what you know
Do you get this then, Jack? Do you get them?
They are nothing to care about
Do you get this then, Jack? What you want to have
Might be good
Just so you are happy, it doesn’t matter what
the picture looks like
Don’t care about criticism
Do you get this then, Jack? Do what you want
That’s how it is

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.