Llio Rhydderch – “Ffarwell i Gymru” (Farewell to Wales).

Hiya people! 🙂

For today, I’d like to share with you a piece from the Welsh triple harpist whose name you’re probably very familiar with from my blog already. This hiraethful (or hiraethus in the actual Welsh language; if you don’t know what hiraeth is, you can read

this Wikipedia article

although it’s very far from exhaustive, but is always something to start with) piece is definitely one of my favourites by her, though of course nothing can beat

Gwenllian.

Sian James – “Cariad Cyntaf” (First Love).

Hey guys! 🙂

Like yesterday, today I thought we could listen to another Welsh traditional song, also played on the harp, but this one has lyrics. This is a fairly popular love song from a male perspective and has been sung by a lot of folk musicians, the version I myself was first acquainted with was from the band 9Bach, whose music I’ve also shared on here in the past. I guess the most well-known contemporary version of this song has been sung by Bryn Terfel though. The translated lyrics are below, andI’ve taken them from

here.

There is beauty only second to Eden

In your warm bosom, fair maiden.

Dear loved one, bright and happy;

Beautiful star, hear this lovesick one.

Promise your love to me tonight,

We’ll make vows before we leave

To engage, come what may.

Place your trust, and say you’ll come.

Bright happy one,

Love of my breast

Fairest that I ever loved

I will take you as a partner.

In your eyes I have truth

That shines like stars

Of Grace and virtue;

To see you is to rejoice.

Nansi Richards – “Wyres Megan” (Megan’s Granddaughter).

Hi guys! 🙂

For today I chose to share with you another traditional Welsh tune played by the amazing late Welsh triple harpist and Celtic harpist Nansi Richards (aka Telynores Maldwyn). This is a lovely little waltz, which apparently is particularly often played on fiddle though I know no other recordings of it than this one. There’s also another tune that seems to have some association to this one though I never heard it before, it’s “Merch Megan” (Megan’s Daughter). That makes me wonder if there’s a tune dedicated to Megan herself and what Megan that was, though the latter would probably be difficult to find out, unless folk music experts and nerds bigger than myself know it and it’s just me who does not.

Sara Parkman – “Fält” (Fields).

For today, I’m sharing with you a song from a very interesting Swedish contemporary folk singer, who is inspired by a lot of Scandinavian traditional folk acts that I love too, like Garmarna or Lena Villemark. As for Sara Parkman’s music itself, some of it I really like, some of it I’m totally neutral about, and some of it I dislike. But she’s a very interesting artist nonetheless who draws inspiration from and is influenced by a lot of different music, from things like the above mentioned Garmarna to st. Hildegard von Bingen. She is from the north of Sweden and collaborates with a lot of artists, not only folky ones. I find this particular song of hers very powerful. I found a good translation of it

here.

The days bellow, promise, and lie,

Cry and blink, blink and stop.

A thought at the end, made from ember.

I practise at night, the sky swells,

the sea is in me, the roads grow.

It is like you say: we still exist.

Come if you want to.

Come if you want to.

Come if you want to, to me.

Come if you want to.

Come if you want to.

Come to me, now.

Lichens that burn, firs that protect,

the sky in the moss, Sweden darkens.

The forests grow where I stand,

feelings that grind, outwardly.

Song of the day (22nd October) – Travelle – “Diving”.

Hey people! 🙂

Let’s listen to another song from the Norwegian singer, songwriter and producer Travelle. Last month I shared his song called

Sweden,

and earlier also two of his songs that he released under the name of Trollguten –

Pell Deg Ut

and

Skogen.

Since I found Travelle very interesting when I discovered his music, I’ve analysed it a fair bit as I always do with interesting artists, and it struck me a bit how the lyrics to this song feel so different in a way compared to most of his other Travelle songs. I wouldn’t be able to say exactly why or put my finger on it but these particular lyrics just have a bit of a different style and look like someone else might have written them. I’d say these lyrics are kind of more sophisticated, for lack of a better word. And then later on I learned that this is actually the case indeed, because the lyrics to this song have been written not by Travelle himself, but by Grammy-winning songwriter who has apparently worked with a lot of famous and successful artist – Paul E. Phamous. – That makes sense, and makes me proud of my analytical skills. 😀 Travelle has described the song as “simple and shy”, and it clearly is both of these things indeed. I really like it.

Floraleda Sacchi – “Temple of Sound”.

Hiya people! 🙂

Today I’d like to share with you another piece from Floraleda Sacchi, from her 2017 album Dark Light, from which I’ve already shared some tracks before. This album showcases in such a creative way how the harp is not just an instrument for classical or folk music, but electronic music too. This piece has been composed by Italian innovative pianist, merging both classical and electronic music, Roberto Cacciapaglia. I really love this piece and the title feels so adequate to the way it sounds!

Sanna Nielsen – “Inte Ok” (Not OK).

Hi guys! 🙂

Today, let’s listen to some Swedish pop. Inte OK is Sanna Nielsen’s 2017 single, written together with David Lindgren Zacharias and Olle Nyman. Sanna is a very popular singer in Sweden, known particularly for her multiple entrances into Melodifestivalen (the Swedish Eurovision preselections and the most watched programme on the Swedish TV). I don’t really follow Mello very diligently nor am I a huge fan of Sanna overall but from what I know she’s always ended up with a good result in there, yet it took her a total of seven attempts to actually win and thus represent Sweden at Eurovision 2014, with the song Undo. She’s also known from some other Swedish TV shows.

Sanna must have started singing at a really early age, because already when she was 7, she took part in all sorts of talent competitions. She had her first huge hit “Till en Fågel” (To a Bird), when she was 11, which still makes her the youngest artist whose song has made it to #1 on Svensktoppen (the Swedish weekly record chart aired at Sveriges Radio).

So, as you can see, she’s been quite successful from the very beginning. This, however, came at a high price as it seems, because this was exactly the reason why she was bullied at school by the other students, who would tell her quite diminishing things to make sure she didn’t feel any better than the rest of them just because she’s a good and successful singer. I can totally imagine this being possible anywhere just out of plain jealousy or something but I guess particularly in a country like Sweden, where

Jantelagen

is a thing.

And this song is about that time in her life, and the way she felt.

I’ve found a pretty good translation

here.

Your words burn and hurt

You look at me running home, in tears

I remember I wished you wouldn’t see me at all

I keep my eyes shut and vanish, until I dare

No, it’s not okay for me

I need to exist, to be exactly the way I want

No, it’s not okay for me

I feel my heart, when it dies, it cries, but no one hears

All you wanted was to see me frail

But you didn’t know who I was

I am stronger

No, it’s not okay for me

Reading burning, plaguing words

Hidden behind the screens, in tears

Please, start looking at us the way we are

We shall start living because we dare

No, it’s not okay for me

I need to exist, to be exactly the way I want

No, it’s not okay for me

I feel my heart, when it dies, it cries, but no one hears

All you wanted was to see me frail

But you didn’t know who I was

I am stronger

No, it’s not okay for me

You wanted to see me frail, but I’ve grown stronger

You wanted to see me frail, but I’ve grown stronger

No, it’s not okay for me

I need to exist, to be exactly the way I want

No, it’s not okay for me

I feel my heart, when it dies, it cries, but no one hears

All you wanted was to see me frail

But you didn’t know who I was

I am stronger

No, it’s not okay for me

You wanted to see me frail, but I’ve grown stronger

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Helena”.

Hey people! 🙂

Something I heard earlier today reminded me of this song and it made me wonder whether I’ve shared it on here. I was quite sure I must have, because I really like this song in Vreeswijk’s interpretation, but, a bit oddly I suppose, that turns out not to be the case so I’m sharing it today.

This song was written by Lars Forssell, one of the artists by whom Cornelis was quite strongly inspired, a very versatile writer, and member of the Swedish Academy, who clearly, like Vreeswijk himself, must have had at least some socialist inclinations, which I base solely on the songs he wrote that were interpreted by Cornelis as I’m not really familiar with Forssell’s other works. Cornelis recorded a whole album, called “Visor, Svarta och Röda” (Songs, Black and Red) with interpretations of songs written by Forssell.

This song, however, is not exactly Forssell’s original work, because it’s a translation or should we say an adaptation, of a song written and recorded by American musician Tucker Zimmerman called “She’s an Easy Rider”.

It’s kind of weird that I like this song, actually. It’s nothing exciting musically, it feels super hippie, it’s a lot of things that I’m just not, or that I don’t really necessarily look out for in music. While I think I understand people who feel the way Helena does, that freedom is basically not having roots and wandering more or less aimlessly through life without too many possessions or connections to bring you down, I’m more inclined to think that freedom is something a lot more internal, and that actually, some sense of having roots can be helpful in feeling more free, at least in my experience. I get it that there’s no one, “true” way of experiencing freedom, and Helena’s way must have been quite appealing to Cornelis from all that I know about him, but mine is vastly different, so it’s not like I find this song hugely resonating or anything. Yet I do like it.

And I think the sole reason is how evocative it is. Seriously, looking at the English original, it feels like it must have been the Swedish version that came first, because it’s so much more detailed, and gives us a much more sophisticated idea of this girl, well, she even has a name, which gives me a lot to work with as a name nerd. Listening to this, I can easily imagine this Helena girl and what she’s like. And I was mightily surprised when I learned that this is not originally a Swedish song and that it’s so much poorer in the original. The bonus point is due to the fact that Helena has been my all-time favourite name. I initially felt that it sort of clashed with the heroine’s kinda rebel personality, because that’s not at all the default image I get for the name Helena, which I perceive as very refined and girly and subtle, but I think that’s what makes it all the more interesting and kind of multi-dimensional, suggesting that either there might be more to her than meets the eye, meaning that there might be some other layer of her personality that is more like a Helena that she just doesn’t show the world, or that just like she’s generally a very unconventional person, she might also be a very unconventional Helena, different from most of her fellow namesakes.

And then we have a translation of a translation, because Cornelis not only recorded it in Swedish, but also decided to translate it to Dutch.

I can’t speak Dutch as of yet, and haven’t been able to find a good translation of the Dutch version, but based on some words that I think I understand via English or Swedish or because I know them, and because after all it’s a translation, I doubt it differs in any very substantial way from the Swedish version.

I was able to translate the Swedish one though, which should give you an idea of what it’s about.

 

Can you hear her out there in the distance

disappearing?

She is so free, Helena

And not imprisoned here like us

And not bound here like us

She is so free, Helena

All she has is the motor cycle

And an open road

She is so free, Helena

And the wind learns her song

And falls into her song

How free you are, Helena

She is not bothered by guardians

Or good advice

Because she’s free, Helena

And her rite is her destination

And her road is her destination

She is so free, Helena

No roads are short

On her journey with no destination

Free ofmoney, free of us and geography of the map

She is so free, Helena

And not imprisoned here like us

And not bound here like us

Can you hear here out there in the distance

Disappearing?

Yes, she is free, Helena

And not bound here like us

And not imprisoned here like us

How free she is, Helena

Swedish:

Dutch:

Lynn Saoirse – “Carolan’s Dream”.

Hey guys! 🙂

Today I have for you yet another piece composed by Turlough O’Carolan played by the Irish Celtic harpist Lynn Saoirse, and at the same time yet another rendition of “Carolan’s Farewell to Music” on this blog. You might wonder why I’m talking about “Carolan’s Farewell to Music” when the song title that’s in the post title is “Carolan’s Dream”. The explanation is as simple as could be – this song is known under these two titles. – Actually more than two titles, as originally it was called “Molly McAlpin”. I was wondering for a long time how come “Carolan’s Dream” and “Farewell to Music” are essentially the same tune. A while ago I finally did some research and it turns out that the “Carolan’s Farewell to Music” name seems to be incorrect, but still in use nevertheless. Also, it’s apparently not O’Carolann himself who wrote the tune, but William Connellan. O’Carolan really liked it though and might have modified it. I’ve read that he is claimed to have said that he’d like it much more if he composed “Molly McAlpin” alone than all the other tunes he did compose himself. That would make the story of him composing “Farewell to Music” on his deathbed, that I mentioned when sharing

Nadia Birkenstock’s interpretation of this piece,

not true. Perhaps he just played it before his death and people assumed it was original? Another version of it that I’ve shared on here is by

Celia Briar.

Sandra Lyng ft. Morgan Sulele – “Ta Me Dit” (Take Me There).

Hiya people! 🙂

For a bit of change, today let’s listen to some very normal, Norwegian pop. I heard this song for the first time some week ago and it seems to be quite sticky because it stuck to my brain for quite some time afterwards, and I think it’s cool so why not share it. Both Sandra Lyng and Morgan Sulele are very successful, and quite recogniseable in Norway as it seems, singers. Sandra’s fame started when she took part in the Norwegian Idol in 2004, she also lived in Los Angeles for a while during her career and collaborated with American artists. I have already featured one song by Morgan Sulele called “Noora” some three years ago.

Since as you may know I’ve been kinda sorta learning Norwegian lately, I decided to try and translate the lyrics. It turned out to be a bit challenging, but not too challenging, and interesting, because while Morgan appears to be from somewhere around Oslo, Sandra’s dialect is one that I haven’t had much exposure to before. She is from a town called Mosjoen, in the Vefsn municipality, and although I’m still not very well-oriented in the Norwegian geography and am learning things, basing on some bits from her dialect it must be somewhere in the north. I have had contact with nordnorsk (northern Norwegian) but mostly from like Finnmark or thereabouts, and some features of Sandra’s dialect were quite new to me. I found the verbs particularly puzzling ’cause when they’re in present tense sometimes they look more like infinitives to me, or something yet different, and sometimes they do look like what I’d consider proper Scandinavian verbs in present tense. 😀 I wonder if it’s the dialect thing or the music thing, like how sometimes things don’t necessarily have to be grammatically correct in songs. Then there’s the word “me”, which struck me immediately since it’s in the title, I’d always thought northerners pronounce this as ma. Yet she pronounces it mostly as me, and then once or twice I think I heard it as ma. That just confirms my initial belief that Norwegian is freakishly inconsistent. 😀 It’s interesting because I’ve heard quite a few ways to pronounce this word (which in standard Norwegian is spelled meg and pronounced MY) but I don’t think I’ve heard “me” before. Norwegian is so fascinating in its diversity. Anyways, I found another

English translation

which, while kind of clunky itself, helped me to clarify the thing with verbs so that I could make my own translation, which I hope isn’t too bad though since I’ve only been learning Norwegian for a few months there could be some huge mistakes that I don’t even realise.

 

Dark night

Hunting for dreams

Dry, cold

No one is speaking now

Tomorrow will come, but it isn’t coming now

Thinking she will escape again, but no place to go

For no one can take the hope from her

Take me there

Where the sun always shines

Take me there

Where the love wins

Take me there

To a place where there is no shadow

Take me there

Take me there

He doesn’t dare go

Though the day is over now

Because he knows that mother is home and he knows that she is crying now

And if he comes home too late again

A fully deserved punishment is waiting

So now he must go home because the day is over now

Take me there

Where the sun always shines

Take me there

Where the love wins

Take me there

To a place where there is no shadow

Take me there

Take me there

When it’s raining, can you take me with you

To another place where everything is good

When it’s raining, can you take me with you

To another place where everything is good

Take me there

Where the sun always shines

Take me there

Where the love wins

Take me there

To a place where there is no shadow

Take me there

Take me there

Delyth & Angharad Jenkins – “Pantyfedwen”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today I’d like to share with you a Welsh Christian hymn, a Presbyterian one, more exactly, praising Christ. It’s a very recent one really because it has only been written in 1960’s, by a Welsh minister as well as a bard, William Rhys Nicholas. The name of the hymn comes from a farm in today’s Ceredigion, in which the hymn was sung for the first time. This is an instrumental version played by the mother and daughter duo whose music I’ve frequently shared on here before – Delyth and Angharad Jenkins, also known as D&A or DNA. – In this piece, however, Delyth, who is primarily known for being a Celtic harpist, plays the piano, as you’ll be able to hear.

Delyth & Angharad Jenkins – “Pantyfedwen”.

Carol Thompson – “She Moves Through the Fair”.

Hiya people! 🙂

For today I chose to share with you an instrumental, harp arrangement of an extremely popular and frequently performed Irish traditional folk song. It’s typically known as “She Moved Through the Fair”, but several versions, including this one by Carol Thompson, are called “She Moves Through the Fair” and I’ve also heard several versions of this song from a female perspective. Putting it shortly, this is a song about a man who loses his fiancee, whom he loves very much. She initially tells him that “It will not be long, love, ’til our wedding day” but then unfortunately doesn’t keep her word. The only other time he sees her afterwards is in a dream, where he finds out that she’s died and she visits him as a ghost and repeats the same words, so it seems like she’s waiting for him so that they can be together in the afterlife. Ever since I first heard this song (and I think the first time I heard it it was either sung by Anuna or Celtic Woman) I felt really intrigued by its melody and I still really love it, it doesn’t really feel very typical of Irish music. I also really like Carol Thompson’s way of playing it, it gives it a yet different feel. Carol Thompson is from America, of Anglo-Welsh-Irish descent, and plays the Celtic harp.

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Moel Rhiwen/Cam Deiniolen/Morgawr”.

Hey people! 🙂

Haven’t shared anything from Gwilym Bowen Rhys in a while. This set of three pieces comes from his amazing debut album “O Groth y Ddaear” (From the Earth’s Womb). They’re the only instrumental pieces on this album. “Moel Rhiwen” and “Cam Deiniolen” are Gwilym’s own compositions, both are dedicated to specific places in Gwynedd in North Wales where he is from. Moel Rhiwen is a summit in Snowdonia, whereas Deiniolen is a village in Gwynedd. I must admit though that I’m not really sure what Cam Deiniolen as such means, I know that cam means step in Welsh, or apparently also things like stage, or footpring, but I have no idea what it means in this specific context. Then the third piece – Morgawr – comes from the late Welsh piper and composer Simon Owen. – I’ve heard several other versions and arrangements of this tune but, probably not very surprisingly if you know me, I like Gwilym’s most. Morgawr is a creature in the Cornish folklore, a giant sea serpent. As on the rest of the album, we can also hear the harp of Gwen Mairi Yorke (whose music I have also shared a few times on here) and the fiddle of Patrick Rimes from the band Calan, who both frequently collaborate with Gwilym not only on his albums.

Question of the day.

Since it’s my parents’ civil wedding anniversary today, and only today they realised that it must have been a Friday 13th, my question for you is the following:

What’s the most inappropriate song to play at a wedding?

My answer:

I haven’t been to very many weddings at all, but a lot of the ones that I have been to, or that I’ve heard of, have featured a song that I think is incredibly cringeworthy to play at this very time. I don’t know if my parents had it too at their wedding, but if so, then it could seriously be seen as a double jinx. It’s a bit like a tradition to play this at weddings, as if people had no idea what it’s really about but just think it’s some rather sentimental, for many people beautiful, song about a wedding from the bride’s perspective. For the longest time I thought I was the only human being in Poland who noticed this or felt amused and/or bothered in even the slightest way by the dichotomy, and that everyone else only cares that this song is only ABOUT a wedding, and not necessarily perfect FOR a wedding, but some years ago I learned that my Mum feels this way too so perhaps there are even more of us outsiders who sometimes pay attention to lyrics. It’s really quite silly though how people can’t even understand the lyrics in their own language. 😀

The song I’m talking about is a Polish ’70s pop ballad called “Windą do Nieba” (A Lift to Heaven) by 2 Plus 1.

Like I said, it’s written from the perspective of a bride who is writing her “last” love letter to a guy she’s actually in love with, on her wedding day where she’s supposed to marry another man. The guy she’s actually in love with is presumably an actor, because she says she saw him “once” “in technicolour”. She explicitly states that she doesn’t love the guy she’s about to marry, and that it’s the actor guy who plays the main role in her life, “but a girl cannot walk through the world completely alone”. And then in the chorus she describes how they’re already bringing her a wedding dress and a veil and all sorts of stuff that can give us some idea what this wedding actually looks like, and she concludes that they will carry her in a lift to heaven. I guess it’s this chorus that plays on people’s imagination and maybe it’s the only thing people pay attention to, and it makes an impression like it’s quite a grand wedding in a way I guess, so maybe that’s why people are so eager to play or perform it at weddings. Alternatively they don’t know what technicolour is so they get confused, but like I said, she says it clearly that she doesn’t love the one she’s marrying so I don’t think this knowledge is necessary, I don’t really have any idea about technicolour either other than it’s something with the cinema.

It’s quite hilarious, but also a bit jarring and grating and like I said also rather silly, and if I was superstitious I’d probably feel really concerned about couples who made a choice to have it played at their weddings. 😀 And personally I also just find this song in general rather cringey and kind of pathetic in a way.

What’s such a song in your opinion? 🙂

Mared – “Dos i Ffwrdd” (Go Away).

Hey people! 🙂

Today I’d like to share with you another song from the very talented and versatile Welsh singer Mared Williams, a fair few of whose songs I’ve already shared on here, either solo or with her as the vocalist for the band Y Trwbz. This song comes from her debut album Y Drefn (The Order) which I really love, because it shows so well how she seems to feel perfectly comfortable in all kinds of genres. While my favourite from that album is probably Gwydr Glas which I’ve already shared before, from less folky pieces, I think this one wins for me.

Órla Fallon – “Galway Bay”.

Hey guys! 🙂

The song I want to share with you today comes from Órla Fallon’s 2020 album called Lore. Órla is known in the Irish and Celtic music world not only for her solo career, but also for being a former Celtic Woman member, and Celtic Woman have also recorded this same song, with Chloe Agnew as the vocalist if I remember correcttly, I might share that one at some point in the future as well. This is an Irish emigrant song, apparently very popular among Irish emigrants in America and certainly covered by a lot of artists. The lyrics have been written by Dr Arthur Colahan, and the song, with slightly changed lyrics, was popularised by Bing Crosby.

Catrin Finch ft. Seckou Keita – “Yama Ba”.

Hey people! 🙂

I’ve shared with you a few pieces played by Catrin Finch already, but I think only one that she played with collaboration with Seckou Keita. They have been working together for quite a couple years now, so I thought I’d share something else, from their album called Soar. Catrin Finch, as you may remember, is a Welsh harpist, whereas Seckou Keita is a Senegalese kora player. I’d never heard what kora sounds like before I first heard their music together, and I really like the way these instruments sound together and complement each other.

Rachel Newton – “Don’t Go Out Tonight My Darling”.

For today, I’d like to share with you yet another song from the Scottish harpist and singer Rachel Newton. It is included in the Roud Ballads index, and apparently can be traced back to Arkansas. As it’s easy to figure out from the song, it’s about a woman who is in a relationship with an alcoholic, and it’s quite heart-wrenching.

Song of the day (9th October) Maire Brennan – “Against The Wind”.

Hey people! 🙂

Since I had a yucky migraine yesterday, I’m only sharing yesterday’s song of the day today. I chose it to be a song from Maire Brennan’s first solo album, which is a real fight song. Apparently its original video has something to do with helping children, which is in line with Maire’s passion for helping them. I like the vibe of this piece

Rachel Newton – “The Maid of Neidpath”.

Hiya people! 🙂

A beautiful Scottish piece I have for you today! It’s actually a poem by sir Walter Scott, but played on the harp and sung by Rachel Newton. It tells the story of Jean Douglas – daughter of William Douglas – who lived in Neidpath castle in the 18th century. She fell in love with a man who, although he was of noble birth, was considered not a proper match for Jean, so, in an attempt to make his daughter forget about her love, her father sent him away. That totally destroyed poor Jean, who fell very ill as a result, and was only able to watch out the window for when her lover would come back. Eventually he did, but she was so poorly and sick-looking that he didn’t even recognise her and rode past the castle. That ultimately broke the girl’s heart and she died. Her memory still seems to be alive in that area because she’s still believed to haunt the castle.