Sofia Karlsson – “Lisa Lill” (Little Lisa).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Sofia Karlsson is someone whose name has already appeared on my blog, twice, actually, but both of these times it was in the context of Cornelis Vreeswijk’s music, as I shared two songs of his that she has covered. Well, today the time has come to share with you guys a song that, as far as I know, is Sofia’s original song, because it’s most definitely not just those two covers of Cornelis’ songs that I like of Sofia’s music. I think Sofia Karlsson is a great singer, and what’s interesting is that despite being a “proper” folk singer (as in, not just folk-ish and sliding on the borders of the genre) her music seems to speak not only to those who generally like folk, but to a much wider audience, because she has been a best-selling artist not only in Sweden, but apparently in Denmark and Norway as well. More interestingly, it was her album Svarta Ballader (Black Ballads) with her arrangements of poems by Dan Andersson, which has made her such a prominent artist and garnered most attention, which is surprising because as far as I know it’s not like Dan Andersson is some extremely popular and widely known Swedish poet. Also I’ve heard her music several times in our Polish Radio Programme 2, whhich, as a classical/jazz/folk/all-round sophisticated stuff radio station does admittedly play a lot of obscure music, but I feel like if some non-Polish-language and non-Anglophone folk music is played in a Polish radio station, the artist has to be someone really successful in their home country, or their music has to be incredibly accessible so that the language barrier doesn’t matter to those to whom it usually tends to do.  

   Sofia Karlsson is from Stockholm and comes from a very musical family. One little detail that I, being a name nerd, find very cool and interesting about her is that she has an absolutely cute middle name, and I believe a very rare one, which is Blåsippa. Blåsippa is the Swedish name for the plant that is called hepatica nobilis in Latin (no idea if it has a more English-sounding name) and I’ve never come across this name in any other situation. I really like obscure flower names as given names. And I guess it must suit her because it’s an early spring flower, and she was born in early spring as well. 

   I actually first heard this song thanks to my friend, back when I was still hanging around in the blind online network where I used to blog in the past and stuff. It was when I was finally able to restart my Swedish learnning and became familiar with SOfia’s music, though not all of it yet, and introduced it to said friend, who really liked it, despite speaking no Swedish. And she must have done some further digging herself, ‘cause she found this song before I became acquainted with Sofia’s entire discography, and she in turn introduced it to me and I fell in love with it instantly. I wrote a translation of it for y’all, which is probably not without errors/things that could have been put better but generally wasn’t a very difficult thing to do. 

  Little Lisa, you turn your gaze towards the street
Towards the asphalt, last year’s leaves
And the air is heavy when you breathe
And tastes old and dead
It drips from the lime trees’ branches
You are cold and you don’t see anything
But you know where you are going
Go now, little Lisa, go all the way in
You’re walking there so quietly in the shadow
And it blends in with your hair
And the twilight’s dullest colours
Wrestle with the beating rain
But then you hear up from the grey
A bird whistling a wind
And you know that now you must go
Go now, little Lisa, go all the way in
Sometimes the time has pockets
In which you put your freezing hands
A little moment of warmth
A little moment to live in
Little Lisa, you are upstairs in the chamber
And everything feels so dirty and small
You sit down at the piano
Want to play for faith and for hope
But the tears are falling on the keys
Because you shall leave today
It hurts, but you must not hesitate
Go now, little Lisa, it will get worse if you stay
Little Lisa, you play your tango
You live your Norrland blues
So the heart jumps and flies
And never comes to rest
Little Lisa, you must now be brave
Play strong and play now
For your mum in heaven, for children that shall come
Go now, little Lisa, go all the way out
And the lonely out on the street
They live for themselves and as before
Can you feel it in your chest
Then you’re still human
The line is already drawn
Little Lisa, the forests miss you
Everything can be yours now
The world is waiting to show itself
Little Lisa, you turn your gaze to the sky
And you hope for sunlight again
And I promise that it soon will get better
Go now, little Lisa, go all the way home
Go now, little Lisa, go all the way home 

2 thoughts on “Sofia Karlsson – “Lisa Lill” (Little Lisa).”

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