Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Felicia Pratar (För Mycket)” (Felicia Talks (Too Much)).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Fairly recently, I shared with y’all a song by Cornelis Vreeswijk called Turistens Klagan and explained in that post how it originally was released in Norway on a double album called Felicias Svenska Suite (Felicia’s Swedish Suite) and why it wasn’t released in Sweden and all that. Well, so today I thought I’d share another song from that album. Felicias Svenska Suite was a concept album, built around the theme of Felicia – a character in the novel Varulven (The Werewolf) by Danish-born Norwegian writer Axel Sandemose – and the song I want to share with you today is about her very directly. 

   From what I hear, many people in Sweden have a problem with this song. It definitely makes sense in a way, because, well, when I first heard it, it made me bristle up a bit too because it just sounded like a fancier way of saying: “Just shut up and have sex with me). Add to that the fact that Cornelis generally does have a bit of a reputation for being all the appalling things like chauvinist and mysoginist (which I personally think is definitely justified, even though some examples on basis of which he’s been most frequently accused of being those things aren’t really valid examples of those specific attitudes in my opinion) and the bristle factor increases. 

   But, I’ve known this song for years now and I don’t really see it like that anymore. After all, I do think that, in a healthy relationship, there should be place (and yes, time to be used) for both of these things – talking with/listening to each other as well as sex and physical intimacy. The two, I’d imagine (since the regular people on here know that I have zilch personal experience so I can just imagine) don’t necessarily go very well together, at the same time. So that’s really how I see it now. After all, it doesn’t really sound like the lyrical subject is trying to force Felicia to do anything, just encouraging, albeit very strongly. It actually seems to me that, in a way, he even enjoys her endless chatting, or at least tolerates it leniently, like people tend to grow to tolerate, and then become accustomed to or even fond of, their other half’s shortcomings. I do agree that there IS a hint of slight but very annoying condescension in it, and I believe he doesn’t even listen to her since we don’t learn what she was talking about so incessantly, but let’s just hope that Felicia is similarly magnanimous as her lover appears to be towards her and can be similarly lenient on those flaws of his and doesn’t take it too personally. 😛 Also I’d think that Felicia generally wants it too, just is a bit apprehensive, perhaps even fearful since he tells her not to be afraid and some people do talk a lot when they’re anxious, perhaps she feels the need to explain or discuss some things beforehand and once she says everything she had to say, she gives into it as well. So while it has the potential to make one feel a bit uneasy, I don’t think we can assume that the lyrical subject’s relation to Felicia is abusive or something, just because it kinda sounds like it could be and because Cornelis’ relationships with women irl often went wrong, because there are no real signs of it in this particular piece. 

   Below is Bibiel’s translation which is probably a bit wrong in a few places. I don’t know exactly what’s the deal with the “dizzy brothers” or who they are lol, but in some other version of this song he sings “thirsty brothers” so I assume this must be some sort of allusion to a song by Povel Ramel called “Törstigaste Bröder” (Thirsty Brothers) which Cornelis had covered as well and which is apparently some sort of parody or something of Fredman’s Epistle 83 by Carl Michael Bellman (Bellman was a famous Swedish 18th century poet and composer by whom Cornelis was very much inspired) which has a crazy ong title that features some three lost brothers, but I’m too ignorant about Bellman to figure this out and what it’s supposed to mean and I’m not even sure if my little theory is true at all. 

   

Felicia talks and talks
And love hates
All time that is used wrongly
That is lying there, dead and stiff
All the while Felicia is talking in sixteenth notes.

Felicia, come to my bed now
And do not be dressed now
Give me your copper mouth
I’ll drink it like a well
Felicia, do not be afraid now in our moment.

Your sun sets in the south
For dizzy brothers
Who want what they cannot.

Felicia, see your man
And know that he is still glowing
Where he was burning before.

Felicia talks too much,
The lovely thing
Now she’s talking continuously.

But if you kiss her right
She gives in to the pressure and makes love
Till she is satisfied

Song of the day (7th September) – Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Hopeloos Blues” (Hopeless Blues).

   For yesterday, I planned to share with you this song by Cornelis that I really like. Or actually, I planned to share with y’all the Swedish version of it mostly because that’s what I know better and actually understand the lyrics and also like slightly more (not that I have anything against the Dutch version, it’s really good too), and then perhaps share the Dutch one as well more for comparison or something, but, surprise, surprise… the Swedish version doesn’t seem to be available to stream anywhere! :O I was totally unaware of this before I started preparing for this post, as I usually don’t listen to Cornelis online, because I have his discography and a lot of live recordings and just all kinds of stuff I could get anywhere on an SD card, and I was a bit shocked, because it’s from a fairly popular album of his – “Poem, Ballader och Lite BLues” (Poems, Ballads and a bit of Blues) – which is one of my favourite albums of his, by the way. The album technically exists on Spotify, but only some tracks are actually playable so they’re either deleted or have location restrictions perhaps, and there’s nothing on YouTube. Even good ol’ Songwhip didn’t seem to find anything, all it found was either covers of this song, or wasn’t available despite SongWhip was showing a link to it. So quite interesting. And I guess it wouldn’t really be okay if I just shared a link to my own audio file with it even if I took it down after some time. 

   But yeah, we still have the Dutch version! I’ve shared very little of Cornelis music in his native language, and he’s apparently a lot less known in the Netherlands than he is in Sweden, so that’s a good opportunity to share something Dutch by him. 

   As I said I really like this song because it’s so freakishly relatable. I think anyone who has depression, especiallly of the very long-term, chronic, lingering or constantly recurring variety that sticks to your brain like thick, crusty mucus (ewww Bibiel!), whether it’s dysthymia like for me or major depression or bipolar or anything like that, will be able to relate to it, and I guess particularly so if anhedonia is in the picture for someone as well, since this hopeless blues basically steals from you anything that has any kind of meaning or that you like. Another way in which it’s relatable for me is also that hopeless blues’ parasitic relationship with Cornelis/the lyrical subject reminds me in a lot of ways of my sleep paralysis and sensory anxiety “friend” whom I call “Ian”  on here, who is not a blues as such but also follows me everywhere and doesn’t  let me forget about himself for too long and can spoil anything fun. 

   Before I realised that there’s no Swedish version available that I could share with you, I already did a translation of it into English, and I don’t like my brainergy to go to waste so even though I’m not sharing the song in Swedish with you, I’ll still share the translation of it. The Dutch version isn’t very different from what I know, just some details are different that don’t really change the whole point. 

   

Hopeless blues
Has moved to where I live
He is lying under the bed, chewing on my shoes

It was late at night
I came from somewhere
It was late at night
I came from somewhere
And when I turned the light on
There was hopeless blues sitting in the corner
Hopeless blues
You are a parasite
Hopeless blues
You are a parasite
What are you doing here?
Why did you came here?

Every morning when I wake up
Hopeless blues lies in my kitchen
Every morning when I wake up
Hopeless blues lies in my kitchen
He drinks up my coffee
Nicks my last cig

He borrows my clothes
And he borrows my guitar as well
He borrows my clothes
And he borrows my guitar as well
He scares away all the ladies
Who come here and visit

My home is a desert
My life a parody
My home is a desert
My life a parody
I have been saddled with hopeless blues
I will never be free
Please, Ms. Therapist
I can’t take it anymore
Please, Ms. Therapist
I can’t take it anymore
May I ask hopeless blues
To move in with you?

Song of the day (3rd September) – Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Om Jag Vore Arbetslös” (If I were Unemployed) & Jack Vreeswijk “Om Jag Vore Arbetslös”.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   The song that I picked for yesterday but didn’t get to share is Cornelis Vreeswijk’s translation of the American blues and folk musician Tim Hardin’s song If I Were a Carpenter. As you might know, Cornelis translated a lot of foreign language songs into Swedish or was inspired by them. This one deals with romantic insecurity, as, just like in Tim Hardin’s song, the lyrical subject asks the woman he loves if she would still love him or marry him if his life circumstances were different. I find it interesting that while Tim Hardin mostly talks about being poor and working in professions that are associated with poverty, COrnelis takes it a step, or a few, further, and brings police interrogation into the picture. I’m not sure withholding a suspected criminal’s location from the police has much to do with love and could kinda border on toxic potentially, but oh well, what do I know about life anyway? 😀 

   This Swedish version has also been covered a couple times, including by Marie Fredriksson of Roxette, and Jack Vreeswijk, and since I like the latter I’m sharing it as well. I think the studio version is slightly better than the live one below, but the live one seems to be the only one on YouTube. Also the lady at the beginning of that video says that the song is written by Jack, which it obviously sn’t. He performs it together with Hjalmar Leissner here. 

   Below is Bibiel’s translation of the translation. 

 

   If I were unemployed, and you were wealthy
Would you like to have me then, do you think I would be any good later?
If I were wanted, would you give me a chance then
If the police would question you, would you say where I was then?
Say if you still have love, say it if you dare
Can you give me an honest answer, I am just asking
If I were freer, what answer would I get then
If you had a baby, would I be the father then?
If I have a double bed, with sheets of silk
Do you want to marry me then, and sleep in it?
If I were unemployed, and you were wealthy
Would you like to have me then, do you think I would be any good later?
Would you like to have me then, do you think I would be any good later?

 

 Cornelis Vreeswijk: 

   Jack Vreeswijk:

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Turistens Klagan” (Tourist’s Lament).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   I feel like I haven’t shared anything from Cornelis in a while so thought I would today, especially that earlier this month (on 8 August more exactly) was his birthday, but sharing his songs usually means I have to translate them if I only can, well lol I don’t have to but I think it’s best to listen to them knowing what you’re listening to, and earlier this month I didn’t really feel like trying to translate anything more complicated cus sensory anxiety. I was actually quite sure that I must’ve shared this song in the past because it’s such a classic in Sweden (and I believe even Norway to an extent), but clearly I haven’t so it’s as good a time as any to introduce you people to this one finally. 

   In 1978, Cornelis released a double concept album called Felicias Svenska Suite (Felicia’s Swedish Suite), which focused largely on Felicia – a Roman character from the book Varulven (The Werewolf) by Danish-born Norwegian writer Axel Sandemose. Weirdly enough (at least for my little brain) no Swedish record label wanted to release it, if I understand correctly it was because of the connection to that book. I wonder was it a case of Scandinavian sibling rivalry and that Swedes didn’t want to release something that was based on a Norwegian book or is that book somehow anti-Swedish (I’ve always wanted to read it just out of sheer curiosity but I’ve never got to find an electronic copy in any language so I’ve no real clue what it’s about other than Felicia and that she has an affair while being married to another guy) or was there something more complicated going on? Anyways, as a result, he ended up releasing it in Norway. However, this very song I’m bringing you today ended up becoming very popular in Sweden, so eventually, two years later, one Swedish label did decide to release the second half of this double album, titled Turistens Klagan. Something about Varulven must have really put them off though because the songs from the first half were only released in Sweden in the 2000’s, so like almost twenty years after Cornelis’ death. 

   The song is narrated by a tourist vacationing in Oslo (near Karl Johan’s Street as you’ll find out from the lyrics) who’s quite depressed and tired, I’ve seen interpretations that he’s suicidal, but I guess “quitting” doesn’t necessarily have to mean as much as wanting to die, though it’s certainly possible. What pulls him out of his blues is hearing children singing outside. 

   Honestly, this is one of quite a few songs by Cornelis that I feel quite ambivalent about. Usually when I do, is because I love them musically or for some other small yet important aspects, but can’t agree with his point of view, since our views on such grave things like politics, for example, differ almost as greatly as they possibly can, which makes it feel a real irony in a way that I ended up developing a faza on him. 😀 But, this song is one of those with which it’s the opposite for me. I like the lyrics, but I just totally don’t care for it musically. It’s just so meh it’s a shame. I’m not sure it’s the right ENglish word to capture exactly what I mean, but I’d say it’s tacky. The melody is sure catchy but doesn’t really grab your attention, and these kids in there are pretty annoying. 😀 Oh yeah, and I think I’ve said on here already that I’m not a fan of the accordion in general, except perhaps for a few odd pieces by Maria Kalaniemi or Kimmo Pohjonen. So yeah, musically this song isn’t quite as frisson-inducing as some others from this album, and I know I’m not alone in feeling this way about this song. But perhaps this arrangement is also part of why it ended up being so popular, I feel that a lot of Scandinavian music that was popular and at the same time kind of bordering on folky was a bit kitschy like that, in fact I suppose this was the trend in most of Europe. Some sources like the Swedish Wikipedia credit Franz von Suppé as the additional composer, so this tune must be “stolen” from him, but I don’t know from which piece though I’ve been mildly curious, but not enough to ever go hunting. 

   The translation below is by Bibielz, and it’s very likely that there are some weird errors in there, but not so much because I didn’t know what something meant or how to put it in English, rather, because I’ve always had a problem understanding what’s the second verse really about, I mean it seems highly metaphorical to me or else I must be ignorant or something. So I just  translated it literally except for a couple odd words, as I didn’t know how to do it better. I’ve always been really curious what that verse is about, and thought now that I’d do a translation for you guys, perhaps my mind will open and I’ll figure it out somehow, but I haven’t. I was the best in my class at poem analysis, but overall I don’t think I’m all that good at it at all, my classmates just happened to be even worse. I found a forum thread where people discussed interpretations of just one of the lines in that verse, (about rubbing your skin with nettles so you’ll get warm) and everyone had a different idea. Someone said it could mean something like don’t complain about small things, like, just rub your skin with nettles if you’re cold so you’ll get warm and stop whining. But I don’t think it could be the case because, well duh, it’s a lament, he IS kind of complaining, even if he finds the presence of children to be hopeful, so that would be kind of illogical. Someone else said that it could be about solutions to problems that aren’t necessarily the best ones out there, but that still kind of solve the problem, like there are sure more effective and pleasant ways to warm yourself up than rubbing your skin with nettles but this will also work, for lack of anything better. This is an interesting option but I’m not sure I see how it fits into the whole of this song. And then others yet say it’s just supposed to be comical. Which I think is true, it is likely meant to be comical/humourous in a way, but I doubt it’s the main or only purpose of this verse, because the rest of this song isn’t really comical so my best bet is that the comism is supposed to emphasise something else more important here. And still, we have all those other lines in this verse. What’s the deal with language slipping because the snow is wet though it’s cold? And what’s skiing got to do with that? And, probably the biggest question here, why are fake (or literally “crooked”) nettles and people who sell them so very bad? I wish we could know… 

    Some children are singing on Karl Johan
They sound strong and nice as only children can
I myself am under lock and key in my hotel
An evening behind the barricade, an ordinary evening
Over my head hovers a jet black vulture
In the room next to mine a crazy lady is singing
And I am tired and doubtful but their song is happy
If there will be no kids, I’ll quit. 
My lady, that language slips in some cases
[is?] Because of the snow that is wet though it is cold
Big deal, skiing has charm as well
Rub your skin with nettles, so you’ll get warm
But it should be nettles from the bayside
And no fake nettles from the brink of ruin
Deliver us from those who sell them
As well as these happy children out there. 
When there are no children, everything is over
So what’s the point of standing out?
Certainly there has been chaos throughout history
But as long as there are children, there is hope. 

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Visa Till dig” (A Song for You).

   Hey all you people! 🙂 

   Yeah I know I shared a song by Cornelis only two days ago, but that one was sung by Sarah Riedel and this one is sung by himself, whereas it was written by someone else, so it’s a different category. 

   This song, just like the one called Babyland which I shared earlier this month, was written by Jan Ero Olsen from the Norwegian duo Tobben og Ero. I didn’t write a translation of this one, because there are some bits that I’m just not sure how to translate literally. But I can tell you that in this song, the lyrical subject is wondering what the “you” from the title is doing now in her life, and whether she’s perhaps in another relationship and what it might be like, and reflecting a little on his own relationship with her. 

Sarah Riedel – “En Visa till Linnea När Hon inte Ville Vakna hos Mig” (A Song for Linnea When She Didn’t Want to Wake up at Mine).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Would you believe that I had a dream about COrnelis Vreeswijk last night?! :O This used to be a fairly regular occurrence back when he was my dominant faza peep, and this very normal for me to have dreams about my faza peeps while my faza on them is the dominant one, but my faza on Cornelis faded in 2017 and I still occasionally have dreams featuring him, or even have random minor faza peaks on him, usually for no apparent reason – just because. – This is quite nice, and doesn’t really happen with my other faza peeps, well, I do still get peaks on Gwilym Bowen Rhys, but that’s simply because he’s the most active of my faza people and keeps releasing something on a regular basis. 

   It was a long, super cool and hilarious dream, if slightly surreal and awkward at times, and I liked it very much, the more that I had it soon after a sleep paralysis session so it had some healing effect on my brain battered by “Ian”and I was able to wake up in a pretty good state, with only a vague memory of the sleep paralysis part, and I was not very impressed when Misha finally woke me up. 

   Anyway, I’m talking about this because I decided that, for this reason, it would be a good idea to share some song by Cornelis in our song of the day series. And so that’s what I’m doing. 

   This song comes from the album called Cornelis vs Riedel, and contains fifteen songs which (aside from one) were never released by him or even set to music. The music was composed by jazz musician Georg Riedel, and the songs are sung by his daughter Sarah and Nicolai Dunger. I’ve actually already shared at least three pieces from this album on here, because I really love pretty much everything about it, which may seem weird given that I’m not very much of a jazz person, but this album is still very accessible as a whole even if you’re not, with so much (but not too much, which can sometimes be a very delicate balance) expressivity and the minimalistic arrangements. 

   This song is for Linnea, who is a recurring person in Cornelis’ various songs and poems, like This one that I shared earlier this year. It is possible that this Linnea has to do with his second wife – the actress Birgitta Gunvor Linnea “Bim” Warne. – I find this song very interesting because listening to pretty much all the Linnea songs that Cornelis has released himself, I guess one can easily get an idea that their relationship was all happy and really fulfilling for both, but this song shows it from a bit of a different angle. 

   Bibiels decided to try and translate it into English for y’all, although Bibiels can’t say that it’s as good as Bibiels would like it to be, but Bibiels trust that it’s not too bad either. 

  The thing I really wish for,
For which my heart is burning,
And what I never ask for,
You do not realise.
The thing I really want,
All while the forest is greening.
Sometimes gone during the day,
I come when you have fallen asleep,
Wake what has gone numb,
And which I love tenderly.
Do you think you have dreamt?
No! But you are being deceived!
You wake up and you see me,
See me wanting for nothing,
But when you refuse to wake up,
Or you hear nothing –
Know that I would rather die,
Than I would ever ask you.
The words of love are short,
Are you talking or panting?
Whenever your clock chimes,
I listen to your voice.
The roe deer in your chest,
Laughs and is gone.
You whom my heart longs for,
You whom my heart yearns for
You unto whom is my desire,
Do you promise me and swear,
To listen to my request?
All while the sea is greening. 

Song of the day (1st June) – Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Babyland”.

   Thought I’d share with you a song from Cornelis Vreeswijk, ‘cause I haven’t shared anything by him in a while or so it feels. I think this one is very interesting lyrically. It comes from his album Mannen som Älskade Träd (The Man Who Loved Trees) which was recorded in Tromsø in Norway two years before Cornelis’ death. In this song’s credits it says that it was written by Vreeswijk as well as Jan Ero Olsen, who is a Norwegian musician known from the duo Tobben og Ero. Indeed, if you know Cornelis’ music a bit, you can notice that it doesn’t sound very “Cornelisk” as Swedes would say, where its melody is concerned, but I’d always thought that, well, obviously the lyrics must be Cornelis’, ‘cause there’s ANn-Kat(a)rin Rosenblad in here, a very frequently recurring character in Vreeswijk’s songs and poems. But, a couple days ago, I was reading Youtube comments for this song, and lots of people are saying that it was Ero who wrote the lyrics as well. I’m just not sure if he wrote them particularly for Cornelis, or was it his own song initially that then was  adapted by Cornelis like he did with many songs of many musicians, or something like that. I’m more inclined to think the former though, because I haven’t been able to find anything that would look like the potential original. 

   Below are the lyrics translated by Bibiel: 

   The ring is closed and in the middle of the ring
I am riding away towards Babyland
The horse is made of the purest gold
The Manege is sprinkled with silver sand
The anxiety is behind my back in the evening
Somebody has set the ring on fire
The silver glitters so wildly from the river
Bringing Me Back to Svealand
Hey, I’ve gotten a bit off track
Help me so that I can find the peace again
Outside a cold violin is playing
Close the window, Ann-Katarin
Ann-Katarin, feel the winds calm down 
The fire from the ring feels good and warm
I think you are the silver that I most long for 
Let me hide in your bosom
Hey, I’ve gotten a bit off track
Help me so that I can find the peace again
Outside a cold violin is playing
Close the window, Ann-Katarin

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Luffaren Och Katten” (The Traveller and the Cat_.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

    have a quirky little song from Finland for you today. It was originally sung by a very famous Finnish 50’s singer Tapio Rautavaara (who also happened to be a  successful Olympic athlete, mainly a javelin thrower) and for whom it was his first huge hit as far as I know. This song was written for him by Reino Helismaa. In 1980, Cornelis Vreeswijk – one of my faza peeps as I’m sure all of the regular readers know – released an album called En Spjutkastares Visor (Songs of a Javelin Thrower), with Swedish translations of Rautavaara’s songs. I’ve already shared in the past one song from that album of his, called Den Blåa Drömmen in Swedish, or Sininen Uni in Finnish, or The Blue Dream in English, which is a very cute lullaby all about Sandman. This one isn’t quite so cute, despite the fact that it involves a cat. I’ve read somewhere that Helismaa was inspired to write this song by some sort of a book where there was a story telling about how a poor man’s happiness is an illusion. While I never like generalisations like that, I think what this song shows well is that human autosuggestion knows no boundaries, especially in a crisis situation like this when one is freezing. Also Tapio Rautavaara himself said that the black cat here symbolises death. Whenever I listen to this I just feel relieved that the traveller didn’t actually try to light up a proper fire in there, ‘cause what would happen to the poor cat! 😱 

   In the post where I shared that Blue Dream song, I also shared a Finnish version, sung not by Rautavaara but a more modern one sung by Suvi Teresniska and Arttu Viskari. I love the Finnish language and Finnish music, and I realise that there’s a large disproportion of how much Swedish music there is on my blog compared to Finnish, but Rautavaara himself is way beyond my comfort zone, I don’t really do fifties’ music, so I actually sat down and listened to like a dozen of different versions of this song in Finnish (it’s called Reissumies ja Kissa in the original) to hopefully find one that would catch my attention. But I found none that would actually speak to me and about which I’d feel that I like it enough to want to make people aware of its existence. So just Vreeswijk’s version it is. 

   I’ve managed to make an English translation of this translation, which is definitely not free of errors. The word that I decided to translate as traveller in English is “luffare” in Swedish and “reissumies” in Finnish. As far as I’m aware, luffare is more like a tramp kind of traveller rather than just any traveller, but I guess reissumies is more general, so it made more sense to translate it as just traveller rather than tramp. If you have some idea about Swedish and/or Finnish and think that tramp, or perhaps something yet different, woould be a better word to describe this guy in English, lemme know. There’s an expression in this song (har man sett på maken” which had always puzzled me and I could never understand it. Finally though, today I learned that it literally means something like “Have you seen the like”, so it’s just like an expression of disbelief or surprise. I didn’t know how to best put it in English so it wouldn’t sound clumsy or unaesthetical yet still be somewhat accurate. Wiktionary says that it could be translated as “golly”, but “golly” alone didn’t seem to convey the level of emotions I believe he must’ve had so I decided on “golly, have you seen anything like this” which I guess does convey it but I’m not sure if it sounds natural in English. Oh, and then there was the obscure word kosa, which took me ages to figure out what it means, and it turns out it’s some rarely used or perhaps even archaic word for road. I translated it simply as way, but perhaps there’s a word that could be just as accurate yet fit better in English with the obscure/archaic or perhaps somewhat sophisticated feel that the word kosa seems to have in Swedish. I’ve also found a translation of the Finnish version, which as far as I, as a (yet) non-Finnish speaker can tell is also not free from  errors, but I guess it still can give us an idea how different these two versions are so if you’re curious the link is here, and below is Bibiel’s translation of the Swedish version. 

   

A traveller goes whistling on the road to somewhere
And it is dark and it is night
Our Lord, no one else, knows his destination
And with himself he has a black cat
And of course the traveller is cheerful but he feels cold
He longs to a fireplace in a Quiet corner of the home
A traveller goes whistling on the road to somewhere
And it is dark and it is night

But look there in the forest, with the door half ajar
A cabin where no one lives
A refuge for the night as if sent from heaven
And the traveller’s gratitude is huge
So he whistles at the cat, but the cat he disappeared
And the traveller is freezing so he’s just as happy
For cats have nine lives, after all, and will probably be fine
All in the cold, black forest
But golly, have you seen anything like this, there’s glow in the stove
He sits down very close to it
If I’ll blow on the fire, it will be extinguished
This will have to be enough
He warms his hands, he thinks everything is well [?]
And Pleasant thoughts fill his soul
He falls asleep and he wakes up and he is freezing like a dog
In the bleak morning hours
In the ashes has the cat spent his night
There was never any glow in this stove
What was glowing in the dark was the eye of a cat
But the fire was cold and dead
But the traveller is just as happy, brooding would make him listless
He Whistles a song and goes with his cat
Our Lord and no one else knows where his way goes
A traveller is out walking

Song of the day (15th February) – Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Hajar’u De Dá Jack? (Do you get this then, Jack?)

   Hey guys! 🙂 

   Although I didn’t celebrate it on here like I did in some previous years, the fact is that, on January 25, Jack Vreeswijk had his 58th birthday (time is most definitely flying, as, at least according to my dyscalculic brain, it means that I’ve had a faza on Cornelis Vreeswijk for eight years now, because when it all started out Jack was 50). And so I decided that I would share a song by Jack, or something that Cornelis wrote for Jack, this month, even though some time has already passed since his birthday. 

   Cornelis had written several songs for Jack, one of them – “Vaggvisa” – I’ve already shared in the past. The song about Jack that I want to share with you now is a lot more cheerful than “Vaggvisa” and also has an interesting message in it. 

   For a long time, I didn’t even quite know what the title of this song means because it looks weird, and that’s because it’s quite slangy. In Swedish, as I guess in most languages, people reduce quite a lot of sounds while speaking. And so when we ask a question, let’s say “How are you?” For example, which is “Hur mår du?” In Swedish, in speech the “d” in “du” will change into a retroflex consonant when it occurs after “r”, and then many people reduce it even further so that it sounds more like “Hur mårru?” Or even “Hur mår’u?” I’ve been aware of this for a long time, but I didn’t know it’s a thing in writing (well, I guess it’s normally not, but in this case it is 😀 ). Additionally, I didn’t know what the verb “att haja” as in “hajar’u” means (now I know it’s a colloquial word for to understand). And then the word “de”, in standard, written Swedish, it means “they” and would be pronounced as “dom” but in more casual writing, “de” can also be a shortened, phonetic way of spelling the word “det” which means “it” or “this”. But all this slanginess was quite confusing for me for a long time and I just didn’t know how to translate it. Now I theoretically know, but still I suppose it could have been translated better into English than I did, but I had no better ideas, plus, with neither English or Swedish being my native language, the only thing I aim to do is making a literal translation so that you can get an idea of what a song is about, rather than a poetic one. Generally while I think I understand these lyrics well in their entirety, putting that into English was quite difficult. 

   I really like this song. As you’ll find out from the translation below, it is about little Jack’s first, unconventional artistic endeavours. One can wonder whether Jack is so extremely imaginative, or perhaps colour-blind, but he doesn’t care what others think of his creations and keeps on painting, which his dad strongly encourages and tells him to do what he wants and not care about criticism. I really like that! I think so many parents would be something like: “Oh no, Jack! Trees aren’t black, you should redo this!” Or even discourage him from painting altogether, possibly undermining his self-esteem and confidence in general, not just in regards to painting and creative expression. Maybe in his brainworld trees are black, and why not? I guess nowadays this kind of experimental art is quite trendy, or that’s what I’ve once been told, though I’m no visual arts expert so what do I know. 😀 I wonder if Jack still paints, and if he still uses “wrong” colours. 🙂 Here’s the translation: 

  And the black trees and the sun that is blue
The sea is blue as well
And the people are ugly and beautiful and yellow
On the picture that you are making
Nothing that disturbs
Do you get this then, Jack? Can you understand?
One has to paint like this
And dad is working and mum has gone out
The TV is soon over
And mum she is strict she, she puts you to bed she
But the picture that you have
It must be finished first, after all
Do you get this then, Jack? Do you fathom this?
For I would like to see this
You, the art criticism is boring and dull
It is the last to understand you
And then some say that the colour, it is wrong
So don’t care about it
You know what you know
Do you get this then, Jack? Do you get them?
They are nothing to care about
Do you get this then, Jack? What you want to have
Might be good
Just so you are happy, it doesn’t matter what
the picture looks like
Don’t care about criticism
Do you get this then, Jack? Do what you want
That’s how it is

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Till Linnea Via Leonard Cohen” (For Linnea Via Leonard Cohen).

Hey people! 🙂

Today I thought that I’d share with you one of the songs that Cornelis Vreeswijk wrote to a woman called Linnea. All these Linnea songs are more or less erotically charged, and I always liked to think that this Linnea is at least based on his second wife – the actress Bim Warne – whose actual name was Birgitta Gunvor Linnea, and because I’ve always got the impression that, despite all the usual relationship storminess that was pretty much the norm in his life, his relationship with Bim was best out of his three wives. Besides, the album “Linneas Fina Visor” (Linnea’s Fine Songs) on which most if not all (can’t remember exactly) of the Linnea songs were released, came out when they were still a couple. And I still don’t know whether that is actually the case, but years later I read something that implied quite strongly that it’s possible. Especially that he based a lot of his characters on real life people. There’s also another version of this song called Till Gunnel. Honestly though, I’ve always been intrigued by what’s Leonard Cohen got to do with this, and I can only assume that, since Vreeswijk borrowed a lot of songs or melodies or motives etc. from other artists who wrote and/or sang in other languages, that includes “Nancy” by Cohen, so perhaps in some way it’s also the case with this one, perhaps it’s based on some song that was originally Leonard Cohen’s or something like that. But because I don’t really have much of an idea about Leonard Cohen’s music, I’ve no idea if this is true.

I thought I wouldn’t be able to write a translation for this, but I did it, and it wasn’t even all that difficult, though I did have several issues witt it. There’s one line that I absolutely cannot make out what it’s supposed to mean so I had no better option than to leave it out. In some places I feel like my English wording is a little off but I had no better ideas. Then there is the line that I translated as “Of my mother’s only son” but have a problem with the “of” because there’s actually the Swedish word “på” used in the original, which is typically translated as on, but it doesn’t really make sense to me. I of course know that prepositions work very differently from one language to another, but even in Swedish I feel like the word “av”, which would literally translate as “of” to English, would make much more sense here. So either my Swedish is a lot less advanced than I think (not that I think it’s actually, properly Advanced, but you don’t have to be extremely advanced to understand prepositions in a language I believe 😀 ), or I don’t understand the sense of this line, or perhaps “på” can be used instead of “av” in some more poetic contexts like here.

Another line I had ann issue with was about the pen that floats, where I left out a word because I had no idea what to do with it. The original word is “värdig” and it literally means worthy. Can a pen be worthy? Perhaps it’s supposed to mean something like that that it’s dear to him in a way, or deserving of appreciation, because it’s the pen with which he writes songs for Linnea and no other pen would suit this? That’s what came to my mind, but I doubt that it’s actually true. Perhaps in this case “värdig” is meant to be an adverb, but then it should be “värdigt”. You can have adverbs that look like their adjective counterparts in Norwegian, but I don’t think I’ve seen it in Swedish (well, unless an adjective ends with a “t” but that’s irrelevant here). So what is most likely imo is that the word “värdig” must have a wider scope than what I’m aware of.

Here’s the translation:

 

Linnea, what do you want to hear?

I forget it every time

I have something in my ear

That maybe can become a song

It quivers in the guitar

It asks for a beautiful grasp

Now I open the case

And kiss your lower lip

Sit still and quiet, Linnea

Here comes a beautiful verse

(…)

Chases me here and there

A crumhorn and two timbals

Disappear far away

The guitar shivers in the arms

Of [?] my mother’s only son

An Eskimo opens a window

Then the whole room becomes cool

Out flow seductive vapours

That rhyme was ingenious

You know I can keep the heat

I guess you know that I know it

I am as hot as Saturn, at least

And strong as a magnet

Now this song is soon over

You notice it already yourself

My pen floats forward (…)

Like the timber in some river

Sit still and quiet and wait

Remain in your picture frame

Because when I am done writing, Linnea

The pen is as good as lame [?]

Now all the stars become matt

And stiffen like tinfoil

On the deserts dry and flat

Watering holes spring up

Darkness gives way to the night

And it is not day yet

Linnea, here is your song

Linnea, and here am I

Jack Vreeswijk – “Cornelis”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today I’m sharing with you something from Jack Vreeswijk, but quite different from most of his music. For those newbies here who have very little idea who Jack (and Cornelis) Vreeswijk is, I’ll very briefly explain that Jack is the son of Cornelis, and Cornelis Vreeswijk was a singer, songwriter and poet, currently very famous in Sweden, despite actually being Dutch as he emigrated to Sweden as a child. Jack is also a great musician, writing his own music and covering his dad’s.

In 2010, Amir Chamdin made a film about Cornelis Vreeswijk’s life, which was the first ever film in Swedish that I watched (totally wasn’t easy especially without any audiodescription at all but I ended up watching it many many times so in the end it was a success 😀 ). Since the film is all about a musician, there’s a lot of music in it. And the original soundtrack has been written by Jack. I felt a whole lot of sadness when watching this film, and still when I listen to this soundtrack, I always have the same feelings. So this is the main theme from this film.

Jack Vreeswijk – “Cornelis”.

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:

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Epistel 71 “Till Ulla i Fönstret på Fiskartorpet, Middagstiden, en Sommardag”” (Epistle 71 “To Ulla in the Window in Fiskartorpet, at Lunchtime, one Summer’s Day”).

Hey people! 🙂

I’ve shared quite a few songs by Cornelis Vreeswijk on this blog so far, but I believe I’ve never shared any of his interpretations of poems written by Carl Michael Bellman, a Swedish 18th century poet and musician whose works are still popular in Scandinavia. From what I know, part of why he is still well-known in his home country is thanks to Vreeswijk, who sort of gave a new life to some of his works, in particular Fredmans Epistlar (Fredman’s Epistles) which are poems set to, I believe mostly traditional, tunes.

Perhaps the reason why I so far haven’t shared any of those Vreeswijk interpretations of Bellman is that I don’t really find those Bellman’s poems hugely relatable. I mean, I absolutely love this old language, and I like how he portrays Stockholm from so many different sides in those poems and that it all feels still very alive and human and full of humour despite being ages old, but I just can’t say it speaks to me on any deeper level, unlike some of Cornelis’ own music. I remember my first encounters with those epistles and being all indignant and like, gosh, the guy must have had some proper drinking obsession. 😀 Everything there revolves more or less around drinking (alternatively copulating and the like) in various contexts. Of course, when you have a closer look, it’s not the only thing these epistles are supposed to be about, but still, it’s the dominating theme, and as a non-, or hardly-ever-drinker, I just don’t feel it. Perhaps more importantly, I’m not a Swede… well okay, neither was Cornelis, but practically he almost was as he lived in Sweden since the age of 12. Oddly enough, while Bellman isn’t really well-known outside of his home country and if you asked some random Polish folks if they know who he was I doubt anyone would have a clue, Fredman’s Epistles were actually translated into Polish, by Leonard Neuger, and I was even able to get hold of this translation when I was having a major faza on Vreeswijk, and when you have a major faza on someone you want to know as much as possible about the individual and he had quite a strong interest in Bellman so I wanted to read them just out of curiosity and in Swedish that wouldn’t be possible with all that archaic language. Except, I didn’t even end up reading the entire collection in Polish either. I really like reading books written in archaic or obsolete language in Polish but this one felt extremely clunky, often I felt like I couldn’t even quite follow what I was reading. 😀 Maybe I’m less competent in my own language than I think, but it didn’t make me like Bellman anymore. Still, it’s funny how there’s all that fancy, archaic, sophisticated and sublime language, while the themes are what they are, I like disonances like that.

Apart from all the drinking, a very characteristic element of Fredman’s Epistles is a woman called Ulla Winblad (she’s a lot like Ann-Katarin Rosenblad in Vreeswijk’s songs and poems), and she seems to be some kind of a nymph or other deity or something like that but at the same time something like a prostitute, anyway the narrator – Fredman – definitely has a huge crush on her to put it colloquially and simplistically.

This epistle has also to do with Ulla, and while of course there are a few mentions of wine here, it’s pretty low-key and it’s a pastoral so it has a very idyllic feel to it. The melody, apparently, was in case of this epistle written by Bellman himself. A shorter title under which this epistle is known is Ulla, Min Ulla (Ulla, My Ulla) or Ulla, Min Ulla, Säj Får Jag Dig Bjuda (Ulla, My Ulla, Say, May I Thee Offer) and the long name under which it functions on Vreeswijk’s album is the subtitle.

And as we can figure out from this subtitle, what we have here is a scene where Fredman basically sings a serenade to Ulla, sitting on a horse outside her window at lunchtime on a summer’s day in a place north of Stockholm called Fiskartorpet which is some sort of a recreational area. He’s thirsty and apparently also sleepy and invites Ulla to come out to him and eat and promises her all sorts of food. While sitting and eating together, they admire and relish the view of the place, and Fredman asks Ulla “Isn’t it heavenly?”, and she meekly agrees.

This poem, as many others, was inspired by Bellman’s friendship with a wealthy and quite interesting lady called Helena Quiding, who had her summer house called Heleneberg, where she frequently invited him as well as a circle of some other friends, and this house still exists in Fiskartorpet.

I really really like Cornelis’ skillful and delicate interpretation of this piece. He recorded it on his 1971 album with Bellman interpretations called Spring mot Ulla, Spring! (Run to Ulla, Run!).

I guess there have been several English translations of Fredman’s Epistles, but a more recent one was written by Eva Toller, and it’s her translation that I’m including in this piece. She has her own website and you can find it

here.

 

Ulla, my Ulla, pray, can I offer you

strawberries so red, in a mixture of milk and wine?

Or, fresh from the fish-chest, a jumping carp,

or, from the well, a tureen of water?

The doors are opened by the wandering winds,

flowers and spruce-twigs give fragrance;

the drizzling skies herald the sunshine, as you can see.

Ain’t this heavenly, this Fisher Cottage, say?

“Heavenly to behold!”

Here, the proud tree trunks, lining up,

with their leaves so fresh?

Here, the tranquil bay outlined? “Oh, yes!”

(And) there, far away between the ditches, tilled fields,!

Ain’t they divine, these meadows?

“Heavenly, divine!”

Your health, and good day to you in your window, my lovely!

Harken to the bells, (audible) from the city.

And behold how the blowing road dust hides the greenery

between barouches and coaches in the courtyard.

(Please) reach out from the window, where you see me,

so sleepy in my saddle, mon cousine,

(give me) first a biscuit, and then a jug of red wine!

Ain’t this heavenly…

Now the stallion is taken to his stable-box, my Ulla,

whinnying, stampeding at a canter.

Yet in the door to the stable, its eyes are glancing

proudly at the window, up to where you are.

You set all Nature afire in flames

with the warm splendour of your eyes.

Cheers! down by the gate, in the warm rye(?),

cheers! here’s to you!

Ain’t this heavenly…

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

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:

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Min Polare Per” (My Buddy Per).

Hey people! 🙂

Today I have for you another song from Cornelis Vreeswijk, ’cause why not? The original version even comes from the same album as the song I shared with you yesterday (that is, his debut album from 1964), but I decided to share with you a live version.

I’ve introduced you before to some recurring figures in Cornelis Vreeswijk’s music and poems like Ann-Katrin Rosenblad or Fredrik Åkare, but so far I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned Polaren Per, who is like Cornelis Vreeswijk’s buddy or pal. Like the other two characters, he’s also supposedly based on a real-life person, namely Pär Hägg. And he features in quite a few Cornelis’ songs. This is the first one that was ever released.

This time round, I haven’t managed to translate it because I don’t even fully understand some pieces in it, especially the first verse. It’s about Polaren Per’s mysterious disappearance. He used to live with his girlfriend but something happened between them (this is the part I don’t understand fully, I believe she cheated on him but I’m not quite sure) that he couldn’t get over it, so he moved out and no one knows where he is. So, obviously, his friend is very concerned, and asks people if they’ve seen him, and looks for him himself all around Stockholm. He’s also worried about his – Per’s, of course – mother, who will miss her only son, and the fact that Per owes him fifty bucks. He has multiple theories as for what could be going on with Per and where he might be, like he may be at sea, drinking his problems away or may have moved into a cheap hotel, or maybe he’s just sitting in a pub, in which case there’s nothing to worry about at all. Luckily though, he must have been found, since there are so many other songs about Polaren Per that were released later on.

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Visa I Vinden” (Song In The Wind).

Hiya people! 🙂

Today, I have a beautiful Cornelis Vreeswijk song for you (or Swedes would say a Cornelisk song, Cornelisk is an adjective and I like it because it shows how he really is a huge and recognisable part of Swedish culture. I think this is one of my favourites. We could say nowadays that it is so beautifully emo. 😀

It is a very sad and beautiful love song, and if we’re talking Cornelis and love songs, of course we’re also talking Ann-Katrin Rosenblad, to whom he most often dedicates his love songs, and other of his songs often mention her too. If you’re not yet in the know, Ann-Kat(a)rin Rosenblad was his fictional muse, based on the real life one – Ann-Christin Wennerström. – This comes from his debut album – “Ballader Och Oförskämdheter” (Ballads And Rudenesses/Impertinencies) from 1964.

I even managed to translate the lyrics (go Bibielle!!! I guess it’s my fourth Swedish-English translation if I’m counting right) and they surely do tell you what the song is about, but I wonder if it’s just me who feels that the English lyrics are way clunkier than Swedish. Perhaps it’s because it can’t be otherwise, or maybe I could do it better, I don’t know. If you speak Swedish and read this, lemme know.

Also, honestly, ever since I’ve first listened to this song (which was like… 2016 I guess?) and then understood its lyrics fully, I’ve never really figured out what’s the deal with the “sieve” in the lyrics (see translation below). I thought maybe this word has more meanings in Swedish or it’s some idiom or something, but when I was translating this today I couldn’t find anything like that. So I still don’t know. Maybe it means that she was so selective in love or didn’t retain her emotions for long, meaning that she easily fell out of love, or something? I found out that sieve can symbolise virginity, because of a vestal in ancient Rome who proved her virginity by carrying water in a sieve and not spilling any of it. Cornelis read a whole lot and we could say that he was quite nerdy, and there are mythological references in some of his poems and songs. But here it doesn’t seem very likely to be the case. Yeah, I was the best in my class at poem analyses but have always felt like I’m not very good at it actually. 😀

 

I’m singing a song in the wind,

And hope the wind will bring

This song to my beautiful one’s cheek,

And sprinkle it in her ear,

And move her heart.

I have been to many countries,

And not been to many more.

I guess I could stop going,

If you ask me to do so.

And lovingly look at me.

But wish me luck on the journey,

When I now pull away from you.

And the reason, Ann-Katrin, is this:

I cannot stay,

Where I do not have your love.

I’m singing a song in the wind,

I’m singing a song in a storm.

My heart is like a granite,

My heart has lost its shape,

And my pain is enormous.

But listen to my march under the moon,

It swings in steady minor.

It does not fit on the gramophone,

It’s about you, you troll,

That your heart is a sieve.

Question of the day.

Do you do anything artistic/creative?

My answer:

I consider myself quite a creative person, but not necessarily artistic at the same time. I do write a lot, but these days it’s mostly non-fiction – either journalling or blogging. – I still write some short stories, mostly in Polish, and occasionally in English, and when they’re in English I usually post them on here as well if I think they are reasonably good, but I wrote a lot more of that kind of stuff when I was a teenager. Still, if we consider that only things that have some kind of audience cann be called art, most of my short stories from that time were no art because I would usually delete them shortly after writing or rip them into pieces and throw into the bin because I didn’t want to realise after a week or a year that what I wrote and originally really enjoyed writing it and thought it was good, is in fact super cringey. 😀 People would often be very surprised when I mentioned to them that I was writing something, and they’d be all like: “Show me! Show me!” and then learn that I deleted it right away. 😀

I also still have that whole Jack Hamilton novel which I’ve been writing since like fourth grade in primary school, but now it’s less about writing and more about just having a continuous connection with Jack who has been my great friend for years and I just owe him a lot, and besides it’s always felt more like he wrote it himself – I’d have some idea how to develop something but in the end it would go totally differently because, well, I guess he just had completely different ideas on how he wants to live his life than I did, and because it’s his life, and he’s quite a stubborn character, I didn’t have a say about that. 😀 – But it was more interesting this way.

I have two other novel ideas lying and collecting dust (well not really, they’re on my Braille-Sense so dust isn’t a problem) which are mostly just drafts even if quite detailed and well-developed ones. One of them I don’t think I’ll ever come back to writing seriously, because we originally started writing it with Jacek from Helsinki, then Jacek passed away and after a long time I picked it up again and wrote some more, but eventually realised that it doesn’t make sense without Jacek, who made up all the conlangs (constructed languages) that people in various worlds of this book spoke in, he came up with the idea first. It was no longer as much fun either. The other novel idea I am planning on developing and publishing under a pen name if ever I find myself in a more difficult financial situation, although I honestly have no idea how “publishable” it would be and if I could seriously make any money from something like this.

Also, I still try to translate some poems of Cornelis Vreeswijk into Polish whenever my creative juices are overflowing, which I’ve started doing when I was 17 and originally had a very idealistic dream of publishing them. Now I’m not so sure I would ever do that, even though part of me would still love to do it. There are many reasons for why not. The most important one is probably simply that I haven’t translated many poems in their entirety so far, and it’s even less when you don’t count the ones that I think still could be improved and I think I will be improving them over time. It’s always so that when I start to translate something, have some idea how it could be done, I get stuck at some point and I have a fair few translations that I think are really pretty good but there are either gaps or they aren’t finished because I don’t know how to translate something in a way that flows right or find some other problem along the way that I don’t know how to solve. Also I still feel incredibly self-conscious about the whole thing, if I’m honest. Another problem is something I had doubts about ever since I’ve started doing this – how well these poems could actually be received here. – Whether it wouldn’t be a bit as if, like I often say, I were trying to plant bananas in Poland, or something like that. A lot of his poems and lyrics are very Swedish and I can see some real Scandinavophiles being happy about such a translation, but not really beyond this niche. And lastly, over time, as I’ve been getting to know Cornelis better, and also forming my own views and beliefs, I’ve figured that, as much as I like him and a lot of his music and a lot of his writing, as much as I feel a lot of some kind of soul kinship or what you may call it with him, and find a lot of what he wrote relatable, we also do not agree at all about A WHOLE LOT of things. A lot of what he wrote is more or less political, and his views on most sociopolitical things are vastly different than mine, I am more than sure that I wouldn’t want to be associated with this and make an impression that I support his way of thinking, and I think that impression would be very strong to people. It would be as if I kind of betrayed myself or something. Of course, I could just translate the ones that do not touch on topics about which I strongly disagree with him, which is what I do, but as his views were quite naturally a strong part of him and his style, I feel like that wouldn’t be fully fair and wouldn’t give people a full picture. Which makes you wonder whether I’m seriously the right person to do this, as I originallyy thought and was told by some. Still, I can just translate his poems and lyrics for myself, and develop both my Swedish and general writing skills, especially that it’s quite a demanding kind of writing, to be able to reproduce someone’s writing style and what they have to say in another language, especially if you’re neither a poet nor a songwriter yourself. But I pretend I can do it. 😀

Something that I do that you could perhaps call some form of art ’cause it’s creative and it has an audience, is storytelling. Since Sofi was little, I’ve been making up stories for her about a creature called Jim. Jim is a so called Jimosaurus, which I don’t even know myself what exactly it means, other than he’s most definitely not a human, despite he looks exactly like one, and that being a Jimosaurus makes him immortal, and always looking very young (he always looks the same age as Sofi so you could say that his appearance is aging with her). Another difference that it makes is that, while he can eat normal, human food and really enjoys it, it is not life-sustaining for him. What is, is helping people, or any other living beings. He lives in a forest in Australia and is its king. His best friends and helpers are Zofijka the Bee – who is very practical, down-to-earth, chatty and sociable, a bit rough sometimes but very caring, and she’s something like a healer or a doctor, so Jim often takes her on his helping escapades – and a bear (I know there are no bears in Australia but Sofi doesn’t care either way, and I feel like it’s not a proper bedtime story if there are no bears, as I loved bears when I was a little child) who is very clumsy, makes an impression as if he’s always asleep or confused about where he is and what he’s doing, and wherever he is, something must go wrong, because he’s so forgetful and scatterbrained, but he has a heart of gold, and is a good listener if he isn’t too sleepy. Because he’s Jim’s best friend, Jim usually chooses him to replace him as the king whenever he goes to help someone, which is quite often. The Bear doesn’t like it but he likes Jim so he always agrees.

Jim has a little cottage in the forest, and whenever he’s feeling hungry, he takes his leather wings and his magical torch and sits on top of his roof, dangling his legs, and looks around the whole world to see who needs help most. When he finds someone, he puts on his leather wings, calls Zofijka if she’s needed and the Bear to let him know that he’s the king now, and anyone else who may be useful, and flies speedily to wherever his help is needed, and helps, always effectively.

Sometimes he helps people, sometimes animals or plants, sometimes it’s people Sofi knows or some random people, and sometimes they end up being friends and Jim takes them to the forest with himself, especially if the help they need is a change of surroundings because they live with mean people or something. Sometimes he helps with really trivial things that anyone could help with, while other times they’re proper miraculous interventions. Most of the time though he helps children all over the world in all sorts of situations, from a very difficult homework to dealing with life after a child’s mum was diagnosed with cancer.

Sofi really likes Jim and always when she has a problem she says she’d like if he could see her and come and wants him to be real. Who wouldn’t. I always tell her these stories before sleep – well not as in every time she goes to sleep but whenever I tell them to her, it’s at bedtime. – I really like them as well. My friend once said I could actually write them for more people and I thought it could be cool, but Sofi really hated the idea because it’s her personal Jim and I totally get that.

So yeah, that’s as artistic as it gets with me. 😀 I used to do music a lot at school but, as I’ve said many times, it was quite stressful and not all that fullfilling so in the end I decided I feel better as a listener than performer, although I do appreciate having that experience as I believe it makes me a slightly better listener/judge than I could be otherwise. A lot of people remember me from my early childhood when I was singing a lot, also in competitions and such, and I was considered to sing well (I don’t know, as far as I am concerned, when I listen to some old recordings of myself that my parents have I don’t think I sang any better than most children at my age then but okay), feel disappointed that I no longer do it (part of why I don’t is because that was the only thing some people seemed to like me for 😀 ), and when they say so I say that I simply switched to a different kind of music, which is languages. Because I do think that language is a form of music and that some musical skills are helpful with picking up honetics, although people have divided opinions on that and it’s not difficult to find very good singers who are crap at other languages than their native. 😀 So if you consider language learning an art, well, then I’m most definitely very artistic! The only audience for my singing these days though is Misha, who seems to like being sung to.

How about you? 🙂

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Droskblues” & Jack Vreeswijk – “Efter Midnatt” (After Midnight).

Hey people! 🙂

Maybe it’s not the best time to share a song like this – talking about all the crazy stuff that is going on after midnight in what we could call the margins of society – (it’s not even 10 AM here when I’m writing this) but I figured it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things since people are in different timezones and maybe you’re going to read this and listen to this song in the future, after midnight.

When I first heard this song sung by Cornelis Vreeswijk (who is, as you may already know, one of my faza people),

at the age of 17, and was able to roughly understand what it was about, I found it a bit creepy, but not in a somehow deterrent way, more like an interestingly creepy way. I also just like the bluesy sound of it.

Cornelis is quite known for having translated a lot of songs from other languages, mostly American though, and this one is no exception. It’s relatively recently that I learned that it’s not really his original song. It can be difficult to figure out sometimes if you don’t know the original version, because most often, his translations are quite loose and more like variations onn a theme rather than proper covers of the songs just in a different language. This particular song was originally written and performed by J.J. Cale and is known as After Midnight.

I feel that Vreeswijk’s version, even though it’s not written in first person like Cale’s, is more to-the-point and in-your-face. I can understand most of the lyrics (although I don’t even know what what the drosk- in Droskblues means) but there are a few lines which I don’t really know how to translate, so I figured that, to give you some  idea of what it’s about, I’ll share the original, English lyrics. What they differ in is that, like I said, Cornelis’ version is more graphic, and all sorts of people like directors, pimps, organisers and entrepreneurs, nymphomaniacs, drug addicts, are mentioned specifically. The ladies start their season, basically, all the yucky stuff that you don’t see during the day comes out. It has generally richer lyrics than the original, but well, Vreeswijk was also a poet, after all.

Additionally, I decided I’ll also share with you another version of this song, called “Efter Midnatt” and performed by Jack Vreeswijk – Cornelis’ son. – I like Jack a lot, but in this case I like his version a lot less than Cornelis’. I don’t dislike it, or I wouldn’t share it on here, but it’s not very interesting musically, oh, and my least favourite instrument is saxophone and it’s quite prominent in here. Besides, when I first heard his version, it literally made me laugh because I think his melody totally doesn’t match the lyrics. I often don’t mind and even really like songs which have dark, sad, depressing, scary etc. lyrics and a very upbeat melody when it’s clearly on purpose and kind of a way of being sarcastic or something, but here, I don’t think it’s on purpose at all.

So here are the J.J. Cale lyrics:

 

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

After midnight, we’re gonna chug-a-lug and shout

We’re gonna stimulate some action

We’re gonna get some satisfaction

We’re gonna find out what it is all about

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down (after midnight, after midnight)

After midnight, we’re gonna shake your tambourine (after midnight, after midnight)

After midnight, it’s all gonna be peaches and cream (after midnight, after midnight)

We’re gonna cause talk and suspicion

We’re gonna give an exhibition

We’re gonna find out what it is all about (what it is all about) (what it is all about)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down (we’re gonna let it all hang down)

(We’re gonna let it all hang down)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

After midnight, we’re gonna shake your tambourine

(We’re gonna shake your tambourine) (we’re gonna shake your tambourine)

After midnight, it’s all gonna be peaches and cream

(We’re gonna shake your tambourine) (we’re gonna shake your tambourine)

We’re gonna cause talk and suspicion

We’re gonna give an exhibition

We’re gonna find out what it is all about (what it is all about, what it is all about)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down (after midnight, after midnight)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

(We’re gonna let it all hang down) we’re gonna let it all hang down)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

(We’re gonna let it all hang down) (we’re gonna let it all hang down)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

(We’re gonna let it all hang down) (we’re gonna let it all hang down)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

(We’re gonna let it all hang down) (we’re gonna let it all hang down)

Cornelis Vreeswijk’s version:

Jack Vreeswijk’s version:

It’s not on YouTube, but here are other streaming platforms where you can find it:

Jack Vreeswijk – “Efter Midnatt”.