Jackson Mullane – “The Flood”.

Hey lovely people!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Sorry for quite a long absence.

This time, I don’t have a Jack, but a Jackson for you. I think this is a very cool name too, it comes from Jack, after all. Jackson Mullane is an Australian composer and pianist, and I’ve been really liking his music recently. This piece that I chose for you today is particularly relaxing in my opinion.

Maria Kalaniemi – “Pilvet”.

Hey people! ๐Ÿ™‚

Today I have a Finnish folk piece for you. It comes from Maria Kalaniemi’s brand new April album called “Mielo”, which means Mind in Finnish, recorded together with harmonium player Eero Grundstrรถm. Maria Kalaniemi is a multi-instrumentalist, but her main instrument, andt the one she’s most known for playing, is accordion, she also seems to be a bit of a promoter/propagator of accordion in Finland, and Sweden too.

I am generally not a fan of accordion at all. Like, it’s my second least favourite instrument after saxophone, though I don’t like these two instruments for vastly different reasons. I don’t like saxophone because it doesn’t agree with my brain, I find the sound of it sensorily overwhelming, while with accordion I just think it’s not particularly aesthetically pleasing. I’d always had such an idea about accordion that it’s just the most primitive, kinda ribald, kitschy instrument that has ever existed and I’ve always associated it with cheap, village bridals and heavily drinking people. ๐Ÿ˜€ Okay, alternatively with tangos as such, which I’m not into either. I guess it’s not just me being weird because lots of people seem to share such opinions. Not even my fascination with Celtic music was able to change that. But… it did change a bit after I first heard Maria Kalaniemi. When I was trying to learn something about Finnish folk, back when I was still completely clueless about it, Maria Kalaniemi was the first Finnish folk musician that I came across, and was mentioned as very popular in her genre in Finland, and I was a bit disappointed, because “What? Really? Doesn’t Finland have anything better in her musical heritage than accordion? That sounds concerning!”. But when I heard her I changed my mind. Because when Maria Kalaniemi plays accordion, it sounds nothing like what I’d ever heard on this instrument. It suddenly becomes very lyrical and dreamy. And even folk dances performed by her sound better than most dance pieces for this instrument I’ve heard. She’s really, really good, or at least resonates with me somehow. I do not like all of her music, but she definitely managed to change my view on this instrument a bit. Another interesting person (also from Finland) who made me see that accordion doesn’t necessarily have to be kitschy was another Finn, though not folksy – Kimmo Pohjonen. – I watched a documentary about him with my Mum and it was quite stunning what bizarre and intriguing things he could do with this instrument. It still remains one of my least favourite instruments but, as I said, has a better reputation with me now.

And this piece from Kalaniemi I want to show you is definitely very lyrical and emotive, I just love it and its harmonies. It does really make me feel a bit like I was floating on clouds, and I love music that can convey such rich images/emotions.

I haven’t made up my mind about it yet but it’s possible I’ll share another piece by Maria Kalaniemi tomorrow as well, the one I’ve heard first. For now, I hope you enjoy Pilvet.

Lynn Saoirse – “Mervyn Pratt”.

Hey people! ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s listen to some more Celtic harp today! I have a lovely little tune for you by an Irish harpist Lynn Saoirse who plays Celtic harp. It is called Mervyn Pratt. I did a little bit of research to learn who the title character was and found out that there was a Pratt family in Ireland who owned the Cabra Castle, which is now a hotel, and there were a few Mervyns born into this family. I really like the whole album from which this song comes – The Seas Are Deep – and Lynn Saoirse’s harp play is great!

Lxandra – “Swimming Pools”.

Hi lovely people! ๐Ÿ™‚

I have a song from a really cool, young singer for you today. Alexandra Lehti, aka Lxandra, was raised in an inhabited Finnish fortress called Suomenlinna, and has a Finnish father (Pekka Lehti – bassist who played with a fair few bands including a great female folk Vรคrttinรค, and he also seems to be a music producer -) and a German mother. I’ve heard this song for the first time a couple weeks ago and this was my first contact with Lxandra’s music. I really like her vocals, which are often compared with Adele and indeed there is some similarity. This song is about being true to who you are and where you come from, which is something that resonates with me as I feel strongly about cultivating your roots, on all sorts of different levels, and the message in Lxandra’s song seems to be more about our individual roots and background.

Jack Hawitt ft. Nyaki – “Dark Hotel”.

This song has been one of my favourites for quite a while now. I’ve heard about Jack Hawitt for the first time some months ago, don’t remember when exactly, and this song was the first of his that I’ve heard. This must have been around the time that my faza on Gwil was slowly fading from the dominant position so I was beginning to look for someone new to get a faza on. Jack Hawitt was one of the first candidates that I’ve considered, mostly just because his name was Jack and I wanted to have a faza on Jack, but it didn’t work out, he’s cool but too normal for that.

What I like most about this song is the lyrics, which I think are very relatable but also full of hope, hope that there is help and support out there, for many people with mental illness, or those who experience some temporary lows or crises in life as well. Also it’s just a very nice song, and both Jack and Nyaki are very good singers.

Jack Hawitt is from Britain, and he’s been active as a singer for a while already, and Nyaki is from Norway, but I haven’t heard any other songs by her.

I hope you enjoy this very nice pop piece. ๐Ÿ™‚

Blue Cafe – “Reflection”.

Hey people! ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s Mother’s Day here in Poland, so I thought I’d share a song that both my Mum and I like. It’s actually my Mum’s favourite song as of late. I completely didn’t associate this kind of music with her, but she likes this song, and when I heard it for the first time, I started to like it too. Generally our tastes aren’t incredibly similar.

Blue Cafe is a Polish band which I used to really hate, and am still not a huge fan of at all. They used to have a really awful vocalist, now they have a different one who at least can sing, but this song of theirs is one of the very few that I like and it always makes me think of Mum.

Celia Briar – “Pretty Girl Milking A Cow”.

Today I have a beautiful Celtic harp piece for you, as I’ve been listening to a lot of Celtic harp lately. I mean, I always do, but recently it’s been more than I had done it in a long while.

Celia Briar is a harpist from New Zealand, plays Celtic harp. She used to tour a lot and have a lot of concerts in different countries, but I don’t know if she still does. She’s also collaborated with Irish flautist Bev Whelan. I’ve heard that she currently resides in the UK. This piece comes from her 1995 album which is all very beautiful, I couldn’t decide which piece to choose for this post, to the point that in the end I decided to choose at random. ๐Ÿ˜€ Hope you enjoy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hamzaa – “Hard To Love”.

Hi people! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve found a new British artist that I really like lately. Her stage name is Hamzaa, which apparently comes from her stepfather’s surname, and her real name is Malika, and she has a gorgeous voice. This song of hers is my absolute favourite, also because I think the lyrics are quite cool.

Rebecca Ferguson ft. Afsheen – “Uncrazy”.

Hey guys! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve heard about Rebecca Ferguson a couple of times over the years, and I’ve also heard some of her music, but previously somehow it didn’t make a strong impression on me. But recently I’ve heard more of her music and I realised that I actually like her. She has a really cool voice and I love her Liverpudlian accent. I think this song also has great and relatable lyrics. Who’s your uncrazy? For me, it’s undeniably Misha. ๐Ÿ˜€

Aimรฉe – “Break Me”.

Hey people! ๐Ÿ™‚

A song I have for you today is by Irish singer called Aimรฉe. I often decide to show you acoustic versions of songs because I think they often just sound better and are more expressive, especially when it comes to just normal pop, but this time I think the original album version sounds better and conveys more emotion, I just like it more. Though what i like it mostly for is the lyrics. Aime is quite a new artist to me, but I think I’m going to like more of her music.

Nina June – “We Watched It All Come Down”.

Hi people!

As I’ve already told you, I’ve been discovering some Dutch music – mainly in English so far – lately, and my search is continuing, so I may show you some more Dutch music in the near future. Today I have for you a piece from an Amsterdam-based artist called Nina June. This was the first song by her I’ve heard, so far I’ve heard a few more but still I think I’ll need to familiarise myself better with her music to get a proper feel of it. This one is the one that I like the most so far though, so thought I’d share it with you as well.

Song of the day (16th April) – Declan J Donovan – “Anymore”.

Here’s a song I’ve recently grown to really like. In case someone of my more long-term readers would be confused, this is not that Declan I’ve had a faza/music crush on, that one is Declan Galbraith. I do like Declan J Donovan too, even though I don’t think I could ever have a faza on him, and this is my absolutely favourite song of his. I’ve only just learnt about it when preparing a bit for this post that this song was actually played on Love Island, which I suppose might be an interesting bit of info.

Song of the day (14th April) – Celine Cairo – “Strong Enough”.

I’ve said on my blog a couple times that despite one of my most favourite languages that I am aiming to learn at some point is Dutch, I know very little Dutch music, whether English- or Dutch-language, and that I can’t find a lot of Dutch stuff that I would particularly like. Recently though I’ve been discovering some Dutch pop, and hope that from there I can also move on to other genres.

So, here is a Dutch singer called Celine Cairo, and I think this song of her is particularly beautiful.

Song of the day (13th April) – Bluma Petersen – “All My Time”.

Hey guys! ๐Ÿ™‚

This is a song from an artist I’ve only heard about recently, and I quite like it, although I was able to find very little to no information on Bluma Petersen herself. She is signed to a Swedish label called Epidemic Sound, and it looks like most artists collaborating with Epidemic Sound are quite elusive, have no social media or anything, strange thing. From the little info I’ve got on her it looked like she might be American, but then her accent would rather slightly suggest that she’s from some Scandinavian country, and that’s about all I know.

Olivia Garcia – “Freedom Hearts”.

Today I have a very catchy pop song for you. Olivia Garcia is a singer from Manchester who took part in X Factor some years ago, and then also in British preselections for Eurovision 2017, but didn’t get chosen in the end. I think the song is quite cool and her voice is very powerful, so thought I’d share.

Olivia Chaney – “False Bride”.

Hello people! ๐Ÿ™‚

I have another beautiful folk ballad for you today, and an English one as well. In any case, at least this version is English, the ballad itself apparently comes from Scotland. It is also known as “I Once Loved A Lass” and is told from a man’s perspective.

I know a few versions of this song, but I guess Olivia Chaney’s is my favourite, although I love Sandy Denny’s version too.

And, again, it strikes me how easy it seemed to be for people in the past centuries to die. You only needed an unrequited love, and then you could just lay down and die. I guess, looking at it objectively, it’s good that mankind has grown out of this strange ailment. ๐Ÿ˜‰ At the same time, as someone who has struggled with passive suicidal thoughts for most of my life, I have to admit that I often thought that this ability must have been really handy. I remember listening to “Annachie Gordon” for the first time as a tween or so, and I was so utterly amazed that one can just die in a matter of seconds solely because of love.

Olivera – “I Can’t Sleep”.

Hey people! ๐Ÿ™‚

Yesterday I said that I listen to a lot of Finnish pop lately. Well, here is one of my recent favourites. I was thinking for quite a while whether I’d prefer to show you the normal version, or the acoustic one, as I like both, but in the end I thought I like the acoustic more in this case, so I’ll share the acoustic. Olivera is a Finnish artist that is very new to me but I am hoping to explore more of her music. By the way I had no idea that the name Olivera is used anywhere outside of countries like Serbia or Macedonia, would never think it’s used in Finland, that’s interesting. Not that it wouldn’t sound right in Finnish, it just somehow surprised me.

Emily Portman – “Two Sisters”.

Today I have a folk song for you, a beautiful English ballad. Well, this performance is English, but the song is actually known in many European countries, like a lot of folk ballads. I’ve heard different versions, both in terms of plot, melody and language. From English, to Scots, to Hungarian… But I think I am right to assume that it originated in the British Isles. Sometimes it’s known as “Cruel Sister”, but Emily Portman’s version is called “Two Sisters”. It’s a murder ballad – somehow I’ve posted a lot of those, well, I guess they must be really good. –

So, as I said, Emily Portman is English, and the song comes from her album titled “Glamoury”, which was made in cooperation with a harpist Rachel Newton (I haven’t heard her own music but from this album I think she must be a great harpist and I really like her harp play) and another singer – Lucy Farrell – I like that, since it’s said in the song that after the younger sister’s death, a harp was made of her breast bone by a minstrel, this song, in Emily’s version, actually contains harp. A lot of harp. The whole album contains quite a lot of harp, though I can be never satiated. Here goes, I hope you like it.

Question of the day (3rd April).

Hey people! ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you like to buy physical copies of CDs or download the digital version? Or do you only download the singles? (or do you just listen to the radio or something?)

My answer:

As I wrote in my answer to an earlier question of the day, I don’t have a CD player right now and I don’t listen to CD’s anymore. I have two main ways of listening to music these days. First I use streaming services – for me it’s Spotify because I find it the most accessible, most of all I like that they have an accessible desktop app, and it’s Swedish, haha. – I have a bit of a love-hate attitude and relationship with Spotify and streaming services in general. I love them because they offer a comfortable, easy and relatively cheap (or even free if you like even lower sound quality and enjoy the ads) access to loads of music and if you need it, and have a lot of devices, you can listen to it pretty much anywhere you are, and stuff like family subscription plans are helpful, in our house three people have Spotify and it’s handy to be on a family plan. Also I really like that you can discover a lot of other music which is very handy as well if you are picky and won’t fall in love with every other song playing on the radio. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I hate it for the low sound quality, even though I understand that it’s not possible to be higher since millions of people are listening to music at the same time and Spotify doesn’t want to be sluggish. I hate it because, in practice, it only supports those artists and music labels who are already famous and popular. I mean, I’ve discovered a lot of great, barely known, niche artists from niche genres thanks to Spotify and I’m very happy about it, the list includes my last faza/music crush Gwilym Bowen Rhys and a lot of other great people, but from the moment you open Spotify and look through their browse tab, their own ready-made playlists, features like those regional filters for specific countries that they have or however they call them, you’ll be flooded by loads of mainstream music that you’d have easy access too otherwise as well and that you most likely already know either by name or have heard their songs, or both, or if yoou haven’t heard of them they’ll soon go viral anyway and every radio station will be playing them, or if that miraculously will not happen for this or that reason, they still make very easily digestible music and very much in line with what is currently most popular thanks to the media. And, okay, there is some good mainstream music out there, there are artists who are famous for a reason and are really talented, but it’s sad that artists who are lesser known, also those who do not want to go viral or whose music simply isn’t fit for that despite being really great and good quality, or who are independent and self-producing or something, and who could potentially make much more money on the music and be noticed by more people, are so little promoted by streamers and it’s all intentional and purposeful action, despite that with the possibilities that those streamers have, they could really transform the music industry, the way people listen to music, make people more conscious, more selective, and show them some good music, promote it so that those who don’t know much more beyond the charts and what has been popular throughout the last couple of years/decades can find something more that they would like but don’t know that they would like, because they don’t know it exists and where/how to look for it, and what they would actually be into. Of course if you are interested and determined and want to, you’ll find such underappreciated artists on Spotify and great music that they do not feature on their own playlists, but you really have to be interested yourself and most people just want to listen to something, are not interested in digging too much and have no time for that which is absolutely understandable, so they’d have to get it shoved in their faces to be able to notice that there is also other music and that it exists. It’s a shame that so many people just listen to what is forced into their ears by radio stations or other such and that those “trend setters” decide for them what they are supposed to like, instead of that people could actually choose what to listen to on their own, and decide on their own what is their favourite kind of music. It feels like brainwashing to me and makes me think that one can’t really be a self-aware person when they don’t know what music they truly like, but just takes what’s lying nearest to them. I don’t blame the individuals for that though because that’s how things have been for ages and we are used to listening to music this way. I also hate that those less popular artists aren’t paid enough as a result, I mean not as much as they would be paid if someone bought their album, and I feel it’s not fair whatsoever, but as my Mum rightly says the words justice and fair only exist in the dictionary. ๐Ÿ˜€ Not to mention that some independent artists are not on Spotify whatsoever despite making lots of great music, for various reasons.

The cons are quite heavy, and I guess there are more of them, but anyway, as I said, Spotify is my main way of listening to music despite that, and probably will be for a while yet, because it’s very accessible and easy, and sometimes the easy option is the only practically possible one. And I listen to a lot of music on Spotify these days, or mostly nights actually. Spotify is my main base for discovering new music and being up to date with my most favourite artists that I want to be up to date with, and music from Spotify serves me as a background noise when doing stuff on the computer during the day, unless I happen to be listening to the radio but I’ll write about that later. I also listen to music from YouTube sometimes but that’s not very often, only when there’s something I like that’s not on Spotify, usually something that I happened to discover years ago back when I was using Last.fm as my main source of discoveries and taste-shaping so to say.

As I said though, it really bothers me what Spotify is doing to the lesser known artists, for example those singing in extincting languages. My other way of listening to music is on my PlexTalk Linio Pocket. PlexTalk is a specialised device for the blind which is small, and thus portable, fitting into a pocket, as you can guess, and it can read books – audiobooks, texts – play podcasts, radio from Internet, play any audiofiles in most formats, so music as well, it can also work as a recorder and has a couple other features like a calendar, alarm, etc. It uses SD memory cards so all my actual music that I have for myself is on SD cards. If I like and respect an artist and their music particularly much, I’ll buy their album, or if I don’t like a whole album I’ll buy some single songs in a digital format. It also is very handy to have this kind of music collection because I take my PlexTalk everywhere with me so I can have my own, bought music there with me regardless of whether there is Internet connectioon or not, I can listen to my PlexTalk in my bed, in the car, etc. I can play the music from some other device if I don’t want to listen to it from PlexTalk’s small speaker or headphones but for example my computer speakers which have much better quality. And I know that I’ll always have this music and not just as long as the artist will be willing to cooperate with Spotify. Well except for things like if I lose or break a card or format it by accident, haha.

Also I do listen to the radio, but that’s rarely for the music. I was hugely into radio as a kid, I mean more like in theory, what it’s like to work in there, changes in specific radio stations over time, lots of such details, that was very interesting to me, and I still do find it interesting but not to such a geeky degree, and I listen much less to the radio right now. First of all I hardly listen to Polish radio stations now, if I do, it is because some programme really interests me. Or because it is playing in the background – in the kitchen, in the bathroom, even in the loo (we have a radio in the loo which turns on and off with the lights and it scares some people or at least surprises them very much when they visit for the first time and go to the loo), I like to switch it on if I’m alone somewhere if I don’t have my Plextalk with me there so that my sensory/silence anxiety is more manageable. – My school friend used to laugh at me that I am such a snob that I only listen to mainstream music and get a chance to catch up with what’s popular and form my opinion when I’m sitting on the toilet, lol, but that’s not the case. Well, not always. ๐Ÿ˜€ Otherwise, if I listen to the radio, it’s usually some public radio from another country, or in any case a radiostation where they talk a lot so it can boost my language skills. Like today I’m listening to Sveriges Radio p4 Stockholm all day. They do play a lot of music, very normal music, but I mostly just care about the language. Sometimes I like to make radio discoveries though from foreign radio stations. It was very hard for me, for example, to find Welsh language music on Spotify at the beginning of my Welsh language journey. I mean, there are playlists made by people which were helpful but when I wanted to go beyond that and see what’s more, I found it difficult, especially that Spotify’s algorithms picked up very late on my Welsh language mania and I couldn’t count on them that they would give me some further recommendations. BBC Radio Cymru was extremely helpful in that, as was Cymru FM, the latter plays almost exclusively music, with barely any talking ever in between, almost exclusively in Welsh (with some occasional, almost like accidental, Cornish or Breton songs) in a variety of genres but mostly pop, rock, folk and alternative/indie stuff, I’d say. Also I love learning about how different are music trends in different countries, no matter if I’m gonna like them or not, I like to see for example what Swedish songs are currently popular in Sweden, or even English ones that are either by Swedish artists or simply didn’t make their way to Poland to such a degree for some reason. I actually end up liking a lot of foreign pop or hits or stuff, lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Finnish pop in the radio stations. So I’m not such a big snob, after all. I myself don’t think I am at all, because seriously I do like a lot of “normal” stuff, but even Zofijka thinks I’m snobbish.

So, that’s about it, for me. How about you? ๐Ÿ™‚