Delyth Jenkins & Angharad Jenkins – “Can y Bachgen Main/Ebenezer” (Song of the Slender Lad/Ebenezer).

Hey people! 🙂

For today I decided to share with you a set of pieces from this great Welsh mother-daughter, harp-fiddle duo, also collectively known as DNA. I like their arrangement of these tunes very much, I like their arrangements in general. The first one is called “Can Y Bachgen Main”, also known simply as “Y Bachgen Main”, and it does originally have lyrics. It’s about a boy who is walking in the forest when he hears two women talking with each other. As it happens, they turn out to be his lover and her mother arguing. The mother tries to persuade the girl that she should find herself a wealthy husband and that she’s going to find her the right match, but she disagrees and says she’s happy with the boy with whom she is. She emphasises that even if she would be offered all the riches in the world she’d stick to him anyway. That really pisses the mummy, who says she’ll have to sleep on a bed of torns if she doesn’t change her mind. Then we can assume that the girl eventually did what she wanted, as we hear that the girl who sleeps in the lad’s arms is happy, but then in the next verse he goes off to sea, and we don’t even know why. Perhaps he couldn’t deal with the mother-in-law.

The second tune, “Ebenezer” is a hymn, it’s alternate name being Ton-y-Botel (Tune From the Bottle), which I think is a very funny name for a hymn, but it is called so for a very simple reason, namely that it is said to have been found in a bottle along the Welsh coast. It was composed by Thomas John Williams.

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Somliga Går med Trasiga Skor” (Some People Walk in Tattered Shoes”.

Hiya people! 🙂

So as you may know, I’ve recently managed to translate a couple of songs by one of my faza people, Cornelis Vreeswijk, from Swedish, and I’m quite satisfied with the results, and I thought I should try translating this one, as it has fairly easy lyrics and also is one of his more popular and recognisable songs in Sweden, I guess only the one about Cecilia Lind whichh I also shared years ago is more popular. It comes from one of his earlier albums – “Tio Vackra Visor och Personliga Persson” (Ten Beautiful Songs and Personal Persson) from 1968. Even though, being a Christian myself, I don’t agree with a fair bit of stuff he sings about in this song, at the same time I think I do understand why someone would have this kind of perspective on things and even though I don’t agree with some things here, I feel similar about not getting attached to life too much, which is why I like it. Interestingly, the shoes problem seems to be very persistent and intergenerational, because Jack Vreeswijk (Cornelis’ son) also has an original song called “Mina Gamla Skor” (My Old Shoes). 😀

 

Some people walk in tattered shoes

Say why is it so?

God father who lives in heaven

Maybe wants to have it this way

God father who lives in heaven

Closes his eyes and sleeps sweetly

Who cares about a pair of tattered shoes

When one is tired and old?

Who cares about how the days go?

They wander as they want

Citizen, in one hundred years

You will no longer exist.

Then someone else will take your chair

You won’t know about it

You’ll feel neither rain nor sun

Down in your dark grave.

Who cares about how the nights pass_

I couldn’t care less

As long as I can keep my face

Hidden in my darling’s hair.

I am a shady character

Not enough for much

Death stands lurking behind the corner

He takes me when he wants.

Some people walk in tattered shoes

Until they stop walking

The devil who lives in hell

Gets a good laugh then

Jack Hawitt – “Better Days”.

Hey guys! 🙂

Last year, when I was on a hunt for a new faza subject and getting to know music by different people named Jack, one of the people I became familiar with was Jack Hawitt, and I shared a song called Dark Hotel sung by him and the Norwegian singer Nyaki on here. Even though of course he didn’t end up becoming my faza subject, as he is “too normal” for me, I do like a lot of his music and I ended up really liking his new song released last month, so I’m sharing it with you.

Askjell, Iris, Aurora – “Sofia”.

Hi people! 🙂

Today I have for you a newly released piece. I saw it on Spotify right when it came out, while I was on a camper trip with my family two weeks ago, and I really fell in love with it immediately. It’s so soothing. I sent it to our Sofi who says she now always listens to it before sleep because she likes it too. 🙂

Lucy Lagoon – “Juicy”.

Hey guys! 🙂

About a month ago, I shared with you

a song from Morgan Elwy’s solo album,

and mentioned in that post about him also having been part of a Manchester-based band called Lucy Lagoon and that I’d like to share something from them with you in future. And that day has come now.

Lucy Lagoon is a four-piece band made up of four guys studying in Manchester, three of them at the BIMM (British and Irish Modern Music) Institute, and Morgan studying physics at Manchester uni. I was interested in this band since, as you probably know by now if you’re a regular here, my current

faza

peep is Jacob Elwy, Morgan’s brother, and when I have a faza on someone I’m also definitely interested in any music or other creative endeavours that their family members might be making.

And I ended up liking Lucy Lagoon pretty much instantly when I heard their music. They’re an indie band but their music is influenced by a lot of different genres, from reggae to rock to jazz to blues to funk. I just like how the result of this combination sounds.

The members have all quite diverse backgrounds, being from different parts of the UK or outside of it. There’s Morgan Elwy (bass, percussion, vocals) who as you probably know is from north Wales, Joss Barry (guitars and keys) is from Essex, Zak Walker (vocals and guitars) is from Nottinghamshire and Yuri Lindegger (drums and percussion) is from Switzerland, where the band has also toured.

Now that Morgan has graduated from uni and no longer lives in Manchester, he has left the band and I don’t know if someone has replaced him or not, I wonder actually whether this is just something they’re doing only as part of their student life or whether they want to continue with this afterwards as well, it doesn’t seem like they have a huge outreach beyond the local area, and they’ve only released one EP in 2018. Here’s one song from this EP:

Laura Silberberg – “Theme du Lac des Sygnes” (Theme of Swan Lake).

Hey guys! 🙂

Today I thought we’d listen to something classical, or should we say romantic. The piece I want to show you today comes from harpist Laura Silberberg, who does mostly or perhaps even exclusively relaxing music. I’m not extremely familiar with her, I only started listening to her a bit last year. This piece is her interpretation of the famous theme composed by Pyotr Tchaikovsky for the ballet Swan Lake, or Lac des Cygnes in French. This theme will always remind me of a Swan Lake musical box I used to have as a child, which had small looking glasses on each side and a surface in the middle which was supposed to be a lake, with two figurines moving on it. I had a time in my life when I loved sophisticated figurines and collected them so I really liked this.

Lynn Saoirse – “The Princess Royal/Miss MacDermott”.

Hi people! 🙂

Today, let’s listen to another composition by the Irish harper Turlough O’Carolan, played by Lynn Saoirse. I recently shared one that was dedicated to Mrs. MacDermott, and I wrote there that the MacDermott family was very significant in O’Carolan’s life, as they were his patrons with whom he had a really good relationship. Even though there is a / in the title of this piece, which is common with Irish sets, this is only one piece, but simply known under two names. This is because the MacDermot Roe family also used the title of princes of Coolavin, and so naturally the daughter of a Prince of Coolavin was Princess of Coolavin. This is one of the most well-known compositions by O’Carolan.

Suvi Teräsniska ft. Arttu Wiskari – “Sininen Uni” (Blue Dream) & Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Den Blåa Drömmen” (The Blue Dream”.

Hey guys! 🙂

Let’s listen to yet another, beautiful and cute lullaby today. It was written by a Finn of many talents – Tapio Rautavaara (1915-1979) – who was a successful athlete (javelin thrower and archer) and then (also successful) singer and actor. Some of his songs, from what I know, were quite big hits at the time of his career. While I don’t really feel them musically all that much as they just don’t stand out to me I guess and are totally not my thing, I like the lyrics of some of them, which are often humourous, sometimes a bit ironical and often have a fair bit of wisdom in them, in which they remind me of Cornelis Vreeswijk. Their political views were also very similar from what I know. It is not surprising then, with that similarity, that Cornelis Vreeswijk actually did an album consisting of Rautavaara’s songs that he – Vreeswijk – translated to Swedish. The album is called “En Spjutkastares Visor” (Songs of a Javelin Thrower) and was released in 1980. Among these songs is “Sininen Uni” in Finnish, or “Den Blåa Drömmen” in the Swedish translation, or Blue Dream in English – a lovely lullaby about the Sandman, or Nukkumatti in Finnish, or John Blund in Swedish (blund means close your eyes and is the imperative form of the verb blunda).

Sandman is one of my most favourite folklore characters, next to Jack Frost, selkies, changelings and some others, because I love sleep and dreams and I just really like the concept of the Sandman, so I instantly fell in love with this lullaby when I heard it for the first time and understood well enough (in Vreeswijk’s version).

Thanks to Spotify, a couple months ago I also came across a cover version in Finnish sung by Suvi Teräsniska and Arttu Wiskari, which speaks to me more than the original. And I thought that, because Finnish is just as beautiful a language in my opinion as Swedish, and because it’s interesting to hear how the song sounds in its original language, I would share this Finnish version too, and also I just plain like it, unlike the original.

I don’t speak Finnish (yet), so I don’t understand any of the Finnish lyrics, but I tried my best at translating the Swedish translation into English for you. I got Google to translate the Finnish one for me out of curiosity and it doesn’t seem like there are any huge differences between the two language versions, perhaps except for that, according to Google, the Finnish Nukkumatti “devours ice cream” whereas John Blund is better and gives you a sleepy cookie.

 

Every evening when the lamp goes out

And the night is about to come

The Sandman knocks on the door

So quietly and so carefully.

He tiptoes in through the door

In his sleepy shoes

And sits down nicely by the bed

In the room where you live.

He has such a sleepy cap.

It is full of sleepy sand.

He gives you a sleepy cookie

With his sleepy little hand.

His car is blue, can you see it_

It’s going to drive away soon.

Vroom, vroom, says the car

In me you can ride.

Now he puts up the umbrella

And puts on his cap.

What does he carry under his arm_

Well, a dream book which is blue.

And the car drives to the dream land

With a sleepy speed

Vroom, vroom, says the car.

Now I guess we’ll fall asleep very soon.

And there you see the golden trees

That grow in the forest of dreams.

And the dream blue bird.

Well, I guess you know him.

Crawl now down under the bird’s wings

And sleep well and fine.

Hear the bird sing a song:

La la la la la la la.

   Suvi Teräsniska ft. Arttu Wiskari:

Cornelis Vreeswijk:

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Vaggvisa” (Lullaby) & Sarah Riedel ft. Nikolai Dunger – “Vaggvisa”.

Hey people! 🙂

So today I thought we’d listen to a lullaby. I love love listening to lullabies, and not just for sleep. They are very comforting and often have either a fair bit of folklore in them or hide something interesting in between the lines about the times when they were sung/written, kind of like this one although in this one I guess it’s not even hidden very deeply at all but rather straightforward.

This lullaby was written by Cornelis Vreeswijk (one of my faza people, if you don’t know yet) for his son, Jack, and recorded on his debut album in 1964, so exactly the year when Jack was born. It reminds me of very old Polish lullabies, which often go something like this in a nutshell: sleep, my little baby, while you have the time for such luxuries, and while you sleep, grow very big and strong and grow very quickly, so you can start working right away, preferably tomorrow, and help your poor old mother or father because that’s how life works and once you’re big and strong you’ll only get to sleep after you die. I suppose it may not be just a Polish phenomenon but simply something I happened to notice with Polish lullabies specifically.

This lullaby is kind of similar to that pattern, and, given that Cornelis had a lot of knowledge of European folklore and various motives in it and used them a lot, I wonder if he knew about that lullabies actually used to be very much like that in the past and whether this similarity was intended. Here, little Jack, who can’t have more than half a year, is already being made aware of how life generally sucks and is all about making money, so he should take his time to sleep now when he has it. I’m not sure how good a strategy that seriously is to convincing your child to sleep, I’d be afraid I’m going to raise a neurotic and a ruminator who won’t sleep at night because of thinking about all the shitty stuff that is awaiting him in the future, but perhaps that’s just me as I’m a neurotic ruminator myself.

Whether this similarity to old lullabies was or was not intended, surely his main inspiration behind it, just like a lot of his other music, were his strongly socialist views, which shows clearly and I guess especially when you know about his leanings in this direction, but also, since it’s a lullaby, here I feel it isn’t as much in-your-face with the socialism as some of his other songs are. I – being anything but socialist – really love it, which I can’t say about all of his works because I simply do not agree with a lot of stuff in them. Whether you are a socialist or not, I guess most of us agree that adulting is shitty and the idea of being a carefree baby who can sleep the time away, be taken care of, have everything he wants and be free (because for Cornelis, from what we can assume from his other lullaby, one is only free when one is asleep) is more appealing, at least to us escapists for sure.

I also really love this song musically. Vreeswijk, while highly regarded in Sweden for his lyricism, language skills, expression and guitar style, is not considered the greatest composer and I totally agree, usually those of his songs who were composed by other people sound better. Yet there are some absolutely mind-blowing exceptions (I’m thinking “Grimasch om Morgonen” for example, which I’ve shared on my blog before) and “Vaggvisa” is one of them, at least to me. It’s just a simple tune and there’s just Cornelis and the guitar, but there’s something very grand about it.

For comparison, I also want to share with you a cover version from the album Cornelis vs Riedel, where there are Cornelis’ poems in Georg Riedel’s jazz arrangements, sung by his daughter Sarah Riedel and Nikolai Dunger, and a few of his already published songs but with new melodies composed by Riedel. Even though I’m not a huge fan of jazz, I really love this album because there’s just so much real feeling in it, so much care put into it and it’s very friendly for a jazz layman like myself. Their version does not have the same lyrics as the one Cornelis originally wrote for Jack, but they are from the film Rännstensungar (Guttersnipes), where Cornelis played Johan Fahlen and sang this lullaby in this shortened and more neutral, less personalised version to Ninni – the main character. – One day I may also share this song sung by Jack himself.

Below is my attempt at translating the lyrics (the original ones), very literally of course, just to give you an idea what this is about. I’ve always found that metaphor here about working hard as the cat very amusing, ’cause since which time do cats work hard. 😀 I don’t think this is a legit Swedish idiom, never heard of it, and I doubt it especially that it’s “the cat”, so it looks like he means some specific cat. I wonder why is that, perhaps just for the sake of rhyming? As for the factory thing in the lyrics, among quite a few things that Cornelis did before becoming a singer and poet, he did work in a factory for a while.

 

  Sleep now, my little prince

When I turn the light off

Father is going to his machine

Mother shall guard the house

Sleep now, prince, you who can

Father he goes to the factory

Working hard like the cat

All night long.

The moon shines yellow and full

Up on the sky

Life is a money game

Nobody gets away

Complaining doesn’t help, comrade

Banners and placards

You can’t eat

The prince should know it.

Relax now, little prince

You have plenty of time

Use it when there is a chance

Then there will be hurry

Then there will be trouble and battle

For piece work and overtime

Don’t worry for now

Just take it easy.

Sleep now, my little prince

When I turn the light of

Father is going to his machine

Mother shall guard the house

Here at mother’s you are fine

Mother has everything you want to have

For I can promise it

Now the prince shall sleep

   Cornelis Vreeswijk:

Sarah Riedel ft. Nikolai Dunger:

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Hanes y Sesiwn yng Nghymru” (The Tale of the Session in Wales).

And for today, I chose a song from my other faza peep, Gwilym Bowen Rhys, from his album Detholiad O Hen Faledi I (A Selection of Welsh Ballads I). This is the first song on it, and one of a few quite hilarious ones on this album. It was written by the satirical poet and pamphleteer John Jones (1766-1821) better known under his bardic name Jac Glan-y-Gors, called so after his birth place, Glanygors in Denbighshire, and set to a traditional melody. It refers to the situation that happened in Wales after the Welsh act of union, when English became the official language of the country, but most people only spoke Welsh. The song takes place in 18th century when the linguistic situation is still the same. It tells the story of a rural Welsh court where people can’t really communicate effectively due to that barier, which the judge finds quite frustrating, and the whole thing is really comical.

Song of the day (22nd June) – Jacob Elwy ft. Rhydian Meilir – “Brenhines Aberdaron” (Queen of Aberdaron).

Time for a song from Jacob Elwy, who, as you probably know if you’ve been here for a while, is my current faza peep! 🙂 This song is actually a very interesting poem, written by RS Thomas, a Welsh anglican priest, and first performed by Rhydian Meilir, with whom Jacob has collaborated a fair bit so far and who has wrote lyrics for many of his solo songs. In Jacob’s version, we can still hear Rhydian Meilir in the chorus.

Aberdaron is a village on the Llyn Peninsula in Gwynedd, Wales, apparently a very beautiful one. And who is the queen of Aberdaron? Her name was Cissie Morris, but she was known as Auntie Sis in her local community and the congregation and chapel she attended. She died in February 2015 at the age of 88. From what I can understand from the song and what I have read, her life sounds very difficult. She was married to John Morris who was head teacher of the local school, and who died in 1977 trying to save one of his pupils – David Alun – who was caught by a rising tide. Neither of them survived. She also lost his son and grandson in some cruel way, but despite that she was very kind. Sadly, I don’t understand the entire song, even the written lyrics, so I wasn’t able to translate it.

Song of the day (21st June) – Eimear Quinn – “The Voice” & Celtic Woman – “The Voice”.

I couldn’t decide on just one version, as I really like both, so you can compare the two. This song was the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1996 for Ireland, and was composed and written by Brendan Graham who already wrote some other song for Eurovision a few years earlier. Prior to taking part in Eurovision, Eimear Quinn was one of the members and soloists of the amazing choral ensemble Anuna.

Celtic Woman first released this song in 2007, with Lisa Kelly as the vocalist, and now this is one of the songs they perform quite frequently.

While, like I said I like both versions, I slightly gravitate towards the latter. Not sure why, perhaps just because that’s the one I heard first and I have a strong sentiment for Celtic Woman and Lisa Kelly as well.

Eimear Quinn:

Celtic Woman:

Song of the day (20th June) – Birdy – “People, Help The People”.

I thought this is kind of strange that I never shared anything on here from this great British singer before, despite I really like her music and have had for years. This is probably one of her more popular songs, if not the most popular one, and one of my absolute favourites by hers.

Song of the day (19th June) – Danú – “Molly Na gCuach Ní Chuilleanáin” (Molly Cullinane of the Ringlets).

And here’s yet another song by Danú that I want to share with you, my most favourite one of theirs. I fell in love with it the very first time I heard it, even though I had no idea what it was about. I love Muireann nic Amhlaoibh’s expressivity. I’ve found the translation of the lyrics on Song of the Isles, the website of David Wood.

I won’t go drinking anymore

I will not taste a drop of beer ever

Since I lost my little young girl

Who used to put money in my pockets

I miss her, I miss her

I miss her since she went away

I miss her in every way

Molly Cullinane of the ringlets.

I will build a house on the heights

And I will have four spotted milk cows

And I will allow nobody near them

Except for lovely fair Molly Cullinane.

If I were on my deathbed

And the people saying I would not recover

I would never make my will

Until fair Molly Cullinane would come.

One day I was in the wood

I caught a glimpse of a pretty girl

She would make a corpse live

Or turn an old man into a young fellow.

Song of the day (18th June) – Danú – “County Down”.

Danú is an Irish Celtic music band whose music I really like. In 2004, they won the Best Traditional Group award at BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (for the second time, making them the only group who has ever won that award more than once). That same year, this song I want to share with you now, County Down, won in the Best Song category as well. This song was originally written and performed by Tommy Sands, whose other song – There Were Roses – is also on my blog in the interpretation of Cara Dillon. – Sands himself, by the way, is from County Down. The group’s vocalist at the time – Muireann nic Amhlaoibh – is also a solo singer and takes part in some other music projects. I first heard about her because of her collabs with the Scottish singer Julie Fowlis whom I really really love. Muireann nic Amhlaoibh also is a known radio and TV personality in Ireland, from what I’ve heard, and has appeared in BBC Alba (Scottish TV).

Danú is the name of an ancient Irish triple goddess, also known as Dana, Anu, Ana etc. or simply as the Great Mother of Ireland, being the mother of the Irish gods (called Tuatha Dé Danann (people of Danu)). She is a goddess of things like fertility, prosperity, the land, water, knowledge and wisdom.

Song of the day (17th June) – Nadia Birkenstock – “Carolan’s Farewell To Music”.

Hi to all you lovely people after a bit of a break! 🙂

I was on a trip to Masuria with my family, hence there were no posts from me for a while. Among all the amazing harpists I love whose music I’ve introduced to you on here, never before have I shared anything from Nadia Birkenstock, so now is the time. Nadia Birkenstock is a Celtic harpist as well as singer from Germany, but known in Celtic music circles around the world. I’ve been aware of her music for many years but only recently started listening to her music a lot more. She learned to play harp at a young age but received formal training later in the US, from, among others, the American Celtic harpist Kim Robertson, whose one piece I’ve shared on this blog as well. She plays a lot of traditional Celtic music but also composes her own material.

This particular tune is a traditional one. Last year I have already shared with you a tune called

Farewell To Music by Celia Briar,

and said how I think it’s very depressing and wondered why such title. Then months later I decided to broaden my knowledge about Turlough O’Carolan a bit. I always found him very interesting but decided I really want to get to know him a bit better than just the basics. What I learned has interested me further and now I’m looking for some books about his life and also music. Over that period of time, I finally learned why such a depressing title of Celia Briar’s tune, as it is the name of the last composition of O’Carolan, that he played shortly before his death. He could feel that his life was about to end, and thus decided to go to the home one of his patrons, the one with whom he had a very close relationship – Mrs. McDermott Roe – and played this song while there. That was where he later died, surrounded by friends.

Gwenan Gibbard – “Lliw Gwyn Rhosyn Yr Haf” (White Colour Of A Summer Rose).

Today, I want to share with you another version of a traditional song that I previously shared with you on here, this time a more acoustic one from the harpist Gwenan Gibbard. I think this is the first tune by her that I’m sharing where she’s also singing. For more background information about this song, you can click the link below, where I shared the

version by the band Pendevig,

with one of my faza peeps – Gwilym Bowen Rhys – and Bethan Rhiannon as vocalists.

While obviously I really like both versions or otherwise I wouldn’t be sharing them here, I think I lean more towards the Pendevig one, as, in my opinion, it shows its spirit better, and also, well, fazas are fazas, Gwilym rules! But the big pluses of Gwenan Gibbard’s interpretation are that it’s more traditional, and, of course, features the harp.