Share Your World (social activities).

   This week, I thought I’d take part in Share Your World. Thanks so much to Di for hosting. These are her questions: 

 Did you attend Sunday School at your local church as a child? 

   No. I’m Catholic, and Sunday school isn’t  a Catholic thing. Well, at least here it’s definitely not and I’ve never heard of Catholics going to a Sunday school anywhere else either. I did have religion classes two times a week, as part of regular school though, and on Sundays it was Mass. Still is, actually haha. 

 Did you attend after school classes ie. drama, sports, as a teenager? 

   I attended LOADS of things at different points in time, I once wrote a separate post about that actually. Most of it wasn’t because I really wanted to do it, but I was at a boarding school for the blind where pretty much everyone had some after-school activity, be it interest- or talent-based, or therapeutic like mobility training or vision therapy. So I had stuff like piano, swimming, extra English etc. and when I was in an inclusive school closer to home for a while I was in a drama club together with my brother, though neither of us was enthused about that either as far as I recall. Later when I went on to mainstream school I had Swedish and horse riding as my after school activities, which for once were things that I actually hugely enjoyed, but these weren’t organised by school so not sure if that counts at all. 

 Did you go to evening classes after you had left school? 

   Kind of yes, but not for long and it’s a bit complicated. My whole school journey was quite complicated for multiple reasons, including that I had two years’ delay in education compared with my peers, so by the time I went to high school, I was already eighteen when the typical age would be sixteen here. By then I had left the blind school and was in mainstream education already, and since I had no ambitious or well-defined academical plans, but a whole lot of different fears and a strong antipathy for the education system instead, I decided to take advantage of my age and go to a high school for adults, to make life less stressful for myself. Initially I went to weekend classes, but then I switched to evening ones, I guess we had them three times a week, because the level was a bit higher there and you didn’t have to sit such ridiculously long hours at school. That still didn’t last long, because eventually my Mum and I figured that to make it easier for both my teachers (some of whom seemed genuinely scared of catching blindness from me 😀 ) and myself (who didn’t really feel like I was learning a lot as a lot of what we did was either based on slideshows or textbooks that I didn’t have) I would instead homeschool myself (except for math for which I had a tutor) and send them assignments and come only for half-term exams, which all the teachers were relieved about so that’s what I ended up doing and it was great. But yeah, I did attend evening classes for a couple months. 

   Do you now belong to any groups/meetings (ie WI, single (not dating), young Mums, slimming clubs, young wives, Men’s hobbies ) 

   Nope, I’m quite a proud semi-hermit lol. I’m happy to talk to like-minded people but not a big fan of groups usually. 

Alan Stivell – “Ys”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   For today, I decided to share with you an incredibly evocative and deliciously long harp piece from Breton harpist and singer Alan Stivell. It is the opening track from his album Renaissance of the Celtic Harp. The name of this piece refers to a Breton legend about a city called Ys or Ker Ys (literally Low City). It was a rich, luxurious city that is said to have been built by a pious king called Gradlon for his daughter Dahut. Dahut in turn was said to be very sinful and frivolous, but she loved the sea, hence the city was built on  land reclaimed from the sea. very much. To prevent inundation, the city was surrounded by a dike, which had a gate that opened for ships during low tide, and the keys to the gate were held by Gradlon. Once when the king was sleeping, Dahut stole the keys from him, to let her lover in. Instead of opening the city gates though, she opened the dike and caused the sea to flood the entire city, except for Gradlon, who was woken up by saint Gwénnolé and managed to flee. He took his daughter together with him, but Dahut ended up falling into the sea as a punishment for her sins. After falling into the sea, she is said to have changed into a mermaid and haunt the sea to this day, and some believe that the ruins of Ys can still be seen during low tides. 

Weronika Borowiec – “Jutro Może Nie Być Niczego” (Tomorrow There May Be Nothing).

   Hey people! 🙂 

  It is a real shame that I share so little Polish music on here. I would really like to do it more frequently. But the main problem here is that I myself just don’t listen to that much Polish music. It’s really rare that I would hear something Polish and be like: “Oh yeah, I actually like it SO much that I’m going to delve into this peep’s/group’s music”. I really hope that it’s simply because I just didn’t get to hear a lot of truly good Polish music that people make that just doesn’t get much attention and promotion, I don’t want to think that there’s REALLY so very little Polish music that  resonates with me properly and deeply. But for today, I do have something Polish for you. It’s because my Mum’s 50th birthday was on Friday, and she has once told me that she really likes this song. I like it too, so I thought I would share it as something that instantly makes me think of her. 

   Weronika Borowiec is a young singer from Pabianice near Łódź. She released this song last December, and it became very popular, both with Polish radio stations and online. My Mum really likes the lyrics, and they really do fit her, since my Mum is someone who lives very much in the moment and is very spontaneous but at the same time she always looks up into the future and is very keenly aware of her mortality, being a Christian. As I said, as someone who generally likes all sorts of things indie and alternative, I like this song too (I wouldn’t share it if I didn’t 😀 ), even if perhaps not as VERy much as my Mum, and I think Weronika’s music is definitely worth introducing to a wider audience. The translation below was written by Bibielz.

      Although the road is long and there is no asphalt, she is walking and glancing over her shoulder 

She doesn’t think of any possible torments, because she knows she’s ready for them 

Her giggle flirtatious, fate is capricious, but she doesn’t seek the culprit 

She bathes in the sea, drinks white wine, tomorrow there may be nothing 

Let people gossip that I go out after dark and disappear 

Then the music of my heart flows to you 

You and me, getting closer to the stars, though I wanted to go alone 

Let’s go where the time slows down, I need a change 

I have a lot of plans but am thinking of nothing and focusing only on you 

Everything you say will vanish with the wind and no one but me will ever know 

I like the sound of the sea and the sun on my skin, I miss it a bit 

Sit back, I brought us some wine, tomorrow there may be nothing 

We’re going to where the time slows down, I need a change 

Let’s dance until morning, embraced by darkness 

Let the stars cheer us on 

Just for a moment, let’s drown our thoughts 

In Ikea glassware sets 

Let’s not talk about plans, because life is too short, I don’t want to plan everything 

Flirtatious giggle, fate can be capricious, tomorrow there may be nothing. 

Georgia Ruth – “Cynnes” (warm).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   So far, I have shared quite a few songs from Georgia Ruth’s 2020 album Mai (May), a very spring-themed or spring-like album of hers that I really like. Today I thought I’d share another song from it, which is in Welsh. I only understand little snippets from it really, but it seems to be about when the weather feels inconsistent with the season, like having sun in winter, for example, and the mixed feelings that this brings. 

Question of the day.

   What could you talk about for thirty minutes with absolutely no prep? 

   My answer: 

   Lolll, probably a lot of things. I once asked you a similar question about what topic you would give a lecture on to five thousands people if you had only fifteen minutes to prepare for it. What I didn’t say in that post is that, while I’m generally not one for peopling, I have, kind of paradoxically perhaps, often found public speaking to be less challenging than actual interaction with a group of people. Probably because, when just speaking to people, you can prepare yourself better, including all the possible worst case scenarios, and there’s some kind of script so I know what to actually do. The challenging aspect of that lecture scenario would be that I never actually spoke to a crowd THAT huge, so it could feel rather intimidating in a way, and also that I would have such a short time to prepare for that lecture, which would make me feel very insecure about its quality. But like I wrote in that post, I could still talk about something that’s more based on my views/opinions, rather than raw facts, and there is some decent chance that it could go not too badly. I’d just have to pray that my Xanax would kick in on time. 😀

There are a lot of things that I’m interested in long-term,    But just plain talking is a lot less pressuring than a lecture, so it could be even easier, though it would also depend on other things like how large that group of people would be and whether this would be more of a both-sided interaction or Bibiel monologuing, because if it were to be a two-sided talk, I’d do better in a smaller group of people. And I’ve also written about it several times before that my brain can be quite unpredictable when it comes to socialising, more so I guess than with simple social anxiety with a clear specific trigger(s), because sometimes I might have no problem having a convo with a total stranger and they will end up considering me very outgoing or even sometimes “charismatic”, whereas another time I feel cripplingly self-conscious around my own Mother, whom I live with every single day and most of the time my anxiety when interacting with Mum is at my baseline level or above. Sometimes I can spend half an hour with people and not say a single word, whereas other times I get logorrhoea that’s almost as powerful as my late friend Jacek’s, about whom I always jokingly said that he could talk people to death if he wanted. 😀 I sometimes just seem to have very little active control over which Bibiel kicks in when, perhaps because I can’t see very much rhyme or reason to the way it works. 

   Aside from that though, given that just talking is a lot less pressuring than a spontaneous lecture, I think I would have quite a wide range of topics to choose from and bore my interlocutors/listeners with. People that have ever lived with me for any extended period of time know that I can go on for ages about my fazas and anything related, especially during a peak, so much so at times that they think I’m an extrovert, or for others I am overwhelming aka “too colourful”. 😀 Generally as much as I like to bottle up any so-called “negative” feelings, I’ve always found it difficult to keep stuff that I feel excited or enthusiastic about inside. If I can’t talk about it without feeling like I might be bothering people, I will write pages about it in my personal diary. Same applies if I happen to be in some very interesting but temporary rabbit hole at a given time. And there are quite a lot of things that I’m strongly interested in long-term, be it “my” languages and language overall, all the name-nerdy stuff, all things folklore etc. So, because there’s so much to choose from, I’m afraid I can’t really tell you one single thing that I could talk about for thirty minutes. I think I would either choose something that would be of some interest to the folks that I’d be talking with/to, or if I wouldn’t be familiar with them beforehand then go with my most intense obsession at the time of having such talk, but then right now I have a few strong interests going on at once, so it still would be hard to choose one. So, if all else fails and I couldn’t make up my mind, or if I’d have to talk to some totally random people and wouldn’t want to exhibit my personal and quite intense stuff to them very much, there’s always the safe small talk topic of Misha which has saved me numerous times in social situations, particularly when Misha himself is present. I could definitely talk for thirty minutes about Misha. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Fåglar” (Birds).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Today, I have for you a very interesting song by Cornelis Vreeswijk. I’ve always found it very interesting and have wondered what it’s trying to convey. I mean of course birds are partly a metaphor and partly a comparison for humans and various constraints of their existence, but some things here seem to have different layers of meaning and I don’t know if I get it all right. The lyrics to this song were written by Cornelis, but I’m sure that anyone who has some more interest in his music would pick up that the same could not be true about this interesting tune, and they’d be right, because it was composed by the jazz musician Björn J:son Lindh, who also plays piano here. The song comes from one of my favourite albums as a whole by Cornelis, Poem, Ballader och Lite Blues (Poems, Ballads and a Bit of Blues). One line in this song has quite an unusual grammatical structure, which I find kind of confusing so I translated it in two ways because I’m just not sure which one makes more sense, and perhaps neither is very good. 

   Birds who are old have their own forest
Birds who are sick do not sing anything
Birds who are in love do not buy a ring
Birds never sit at a bird pub
The souls of the birds never know about birds [/The birds never know about the birds’ souls]

Birds who are dead have no grave
The one who was a bird was not seen
And she who got wings immediately flew away
Birds that can remember are a rare species
No one can fly on their own when they want 
The birds’ grandfather eats raw eggs
Birds that are sad grow beards
Grandpa’s parrot is damn smart
He has always been unlucky in love
No bird understands what he desires
But something’s not quite right somewhere 
Birds who can fly, I sure love you
But I will never fly again

Llio Rhydderch – “Alawon Môn – Anglesey Tunes”.

   Hey all you people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you something else from Llio Rhydderch, the Welsh triple harp player, and definitely my favourite one out of those triple harp players with whose music I’m familiar with. This is a set of three different traditional Welsh tunes, which originate from Llio’s native isle of Anglesey, including the popular Lisa Language (Fair Lisa), which I’ve shared on here in a few different versions before. 

Question of the day.

   What do you do first when you wake up? 

   My answer: 

   Usually, probably what most people do these days. Look at my phone, lol. As someone who didn’t have a smartphone until 2020, I adapted to the whole smartphone culture pretty quickly in most aspects, I guess. Well, sometimes I do not do it right away, but if I’m looking forward to getting some specific email or something else like that, or if I’m deep in some temporary rabbit hole all the way up to my knees and just keep reading about something and obsessing about it etc. or when I wake up right as my alarm goes off on the phone (unless I’m sleeping with my Apple Watch) then that’s the first thing I do. Otherwise, I hit play on my PlexTalk and read whatever book I’m reading at the time. Another answer I could give you is that I get out of bed immediately to let Misha out, as he usually wakes up sometimes between 4-6 AM and regularly sleeps with me, and I can’t stand sleeping with my door open so he has to wake me up to let him out, but that’s not always exactly true, because sometimes I think I just do it on autopilot if I’m really sleepy/tired, and when I wake up later, sometimes I don’t recall ever letting him out and wonder how he managed to get out. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Siân James – “Huna ‘Mhlentyn” (Sleep, My Child).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   I want to share another lullaby with you, because lullabies are great. This one is by Welsh singer and harpist Siân James,, who has been featured quite a few times before on here. The lullaby is better known under the name Suo Gân, which simply means lullaby in Welsh, and it’s one of more popular and widely known Welsh lullabies. I personally find it quite cute. Siân James sings only two verses here, but there’s also a third one, in which the mother calms her child’s fears, and while this  lullaby as a whole makes me think of Misha, that last verse is particularly appropriate for him as he’s so fearful that even little things like a bit of stronger breeze coming through the window can startle him awake sometimes. 

   It was composed in the 19th century, and this simple tune has since been set to other lyrics too, like multiple hymns. The translation below comes from Wikipedia’s page on Suo Gân

   Sleep child upon my bosom,
It is cosy and warm;
Mother’s arms are tight around you,
A mother’s love is in my breast;
Nothing shall disturb your slumber,
Nobody will do you harm;
Sleep in peace, dear child,
Sleep quietly on your mother’s breast.

Sleep peacefully tonight, sleep;
Gently sleep, my lovely;
Why are you now smiling,
Smiling gently in your sleep?
Are angels above smiling on you,
As you smile cheerfully,
Smiling back and sleeping,
Sleeping quietly on my breast?

Anne Crosby Gaudet – “A Sense of Wonder”.

   Hey guys! 🙂 

   Very recently, I introduced you to a new to me Canadian harpist and harp teacher Anne Crosby Gaudet, and shared her arrangement of a traditional Irish tune Buachaill ón Éirne. Like I mentioned in that post though, Anne also writes her own music, composed especially with learners in mind. And this short, light piece is her own creation. 

Loreena McKennitt – “The Mummers’ Dance”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you Loreena McKennitt’s original song. Personally, the only context in which I’ve heard more about mummers (except for this song, of course), is the mumming tradition in Ireland, which was linked to Christmas and involved the mummers wearing masks of characters associated with Christmas in one way or another and going from house to house playing and dancing. Quite similar to our Polish kolędnicy, except, at least in my area, those are more of a New Year’s thing, if a thing at all as the tradition is dying out. However, in Loreena’s song, the mummers’ play is taking place during spring, so I wonder if it’s a custom around Easter time somewhere or if it’s some other spring holiday that they are celebrating. It sounds more like the Celtic Beltane festival or something, but I’ve never heard of mumming being  part of it. 

Carol Thompson – “Lullaby”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I have for you a really lovely arrangement of a traditional lullaby. It is played by Carol Thompson. She is an American harpist of English and Welsh descent, and is quite versatile, as she plays the Neo-Celtic harp, but also  classical and even triple harp. 

Harriet Earis Trio – “Laughing Wolf”.

   Hi guys! 🙂 

  Today I’d like to share with you another piece from  Harriet Earis Trio’s album From the Crooked Tree. For those unfamiliar, this is a trio based in Wales, consisting of Celtic harpist Harriet Earis, as well as Andy Coughlan on bass and Sam Christie on drums. Their music could be described as an experimental blend of folk and jazz, and I really like it because I like when the harp is used in experimental settings like that, and the way they do it sounds really good and interesting. This particular piece is a jig composed by Harriet Earis herself. 

Lisa Lynne & Aryeh Frankfurter – “Aran Boat Song”.

   Hey guys! 🙂 

   For today I chose a traditional Scottish piece, played by the duo whose music I have featured on here before – harpist Lisa Lynne and multi-instrumentalist Aryeh Frankfurter. – I’ve shared this song previously played by the Irish harpist Aine Minogue

Elinor Bennett & Meinir Heulyn – “Cader Idris” (Idris’ Chair).

   And for today I would like to share with you another harp piece, this time a Welsh one. It is played by Elinor Bennett and Meinir Heulyn, both of whom play classical as well as Welsh traditional music. Elinor Bennett is actually the mother-in-law and former teacher of another acclaimed Welsh harpist – Catrin Finch, whose music has been featured here many times before. – The title of this tune refers to a mountain in Snowdonia of the same name, about which I’ve written more in the past, as I’ve featured two songs about the same mountain before, one by Rachel Newton and the other by the Harriet Earis Trio

Song of the day (15th February) – Anne Crosby Gaudet – “Buachaill ón Éirne” (A Boy From Ireland)

   Hey people! 🙂 

   For yesterday’s overdue song of the day, I want to share with you something from a harpist that I discovered recently. Anne Crosby Gaudet is a harpist, pianist and composer from Nova Scotia. She also teaches other people how to play harp, both with her compositions which she writes specifically with learners in mind, as well as tutorials that she posts on her YouTube channel (she actually makes playing harp sound so easy that watching her videos just for fun I started wondering whether perhaps it would be doable even for someone as uncoordinated as me 😀 ). Anne also has her own shop called Music Discoveries, where she offers various resources for learning the harp as well. This piece, however, is not her original composition, but a traditional Irish tune, which I have already shared here sung by Clannad and included a translation of the lyrics in that post. 

Question of the day.

   What are you doing for Valentine’s day? 

   My answer: 

   Absolutely nothing. I mean, I’m doing a lot of things, but nothing specifically for Valentine’s. I’m single for starters, and I just don’t really care about Valentine’s anyway. It’s a bit cringey imho. I think I wrote a more extensive post on a similar topics around Valentine’s Day last year, but I was just talking with Mum over breakfast actually how it’s a very bad idea psychologically, because people feel this pressure that they have to do something special with/for their other half for Valentine’s Day or otherwise it feels weird and looks like they don’t love their significant other, even though they show them love every day, just not so spectacularly. And I personally think that it’s wedding anniversaries, or other special day for each couple individually, that should be their day for spectacular manifestations of love. It’s a bit lame and artificial that there is supposed to be one such day for all the lovers in the world. It should be a personal and intimate thing, I believe, then it would feel a lot more significant and less shallow. And then some people who are very sensitive to such things that will not get any Valentine’s gifts or anything like that, who are unhappily single, will only feel sad about it. Hence there was the need for creating a Singles Day or whatever it’s called, so people don’t feel left out. 😀 When the solution could be a lot simpler. And I guess it’s not only singles who might feel left out. What about those couples where one person is into Valentine’s and the other is not and is very uncompromising in this aspect for some reason, so the one who is into it doesn’t get anything and feels unloved? There should be a special day for such people too, to further help the marketing and give media something to chatter about. So for me it’s just a regular day. Unless you want to consider my buying food for Misha a Valentine’s gift for him haha, but it’s just regular food and nothing fancy. 

   How about you? 😕 🙂 

Jack Vreeswijk – “Visa om ett Rosenblad” (A Song About a Rose Petal).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Last month, I shared with you Visa om ett Rosenblad  by Cornelis Vreeswijk. Today I thought we could listen to another version of it, sung by Cornelis’ son Jack. If I had to say which version I like more I’d have a really hard time because I find them both really beautiful and gripping, each in its own way. I wrote the translation and shared some thoughts about the song in the post with the original version. 

Jack Vreeswijk – “Visa om ett Rosenblad” 


Loreena McKennitt – “Bonny Portmore”.

   Hi guys! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you a traditional song by Loreena McKennitt. I think it’s her version that is most well-known today, and she has revived this song in a way when she recorded it in the 90’s. This is an Irish song, lamenting the demise of an oak that was known as the Portmore Ornament Tree that stood on the estate of Portmore Castle in Antrim, near the shore of Loch un Phoirt Mhóir (Portmore Lough). The castle belonged first to the O’Neill clan of Ballinderry, who then were forced to sell the property to Lord Conway, . The castle had become badly neglected after its subsequent owner’s death, and the oak tree fell during a windstorm in 1760, and was eventually used as timber for shipbuilding like many other trees that grew there. The tune of this song, also known as Margaret Lavin, was collected from an Ulster harpist called Daniel Black, some thirty years after the fall of the Ornament Tree.