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.

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”.

 

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Balladen Om Fredrik Åkare”.

Hey people! 🙂

Thought that I’d share another song by Cornelis Vreeswijk with you today, one from his debut album from 1964. It is called, as you can figure out from the title, “Balladen Om Fredrik Åkare” and it should not be confused with one I shared before and that is very popular in Sweden – “Balladen Om Herr Fredrik Åkare Och Den Söta Fröken Cecilia Lind”, that one was later.

From what I’ve read, this Fredrik Åkare guy (whose name could also be translated to English as Fredrik Rider), is based on a real life person, that is Cornelis’ brother-in-law, husband of his younger sister Ida. Somewhere else though I’ve read that he was something like Vreeswijk’s alter ego, so I am a bit confused, but I guess it could simply be so that Fredrik Åkare played slightly different roles in different songs, depending what he was needed for, and he could as well have been some sort of a blend of these two people, anyway he is one of those characters (like Ann-Kat(a)rin Rosenblad, that I wrote about a little before 

who appear quite regularly in his various lyrics and poems.

This song has always had such a depressive and resigned feel to me. I don’t feel like writing a translation and I don’t want to botch it, so I thought I’ll just tell you what it is about, which is strongly from my point of view, the way I understand and feel this piece.

The lyrical subject – I think we cann assume that here it’s the author – meets Fredrik Åkare somewhere out in Stockholm – as Cornelis once said at one of his later concerts, this was in January, on a cold, early morning. – They meet, presumably after not seeing each other after quite a long time, and just have a friendly catchup, although it is mostly Fredrik talking and pouring his brains out, because it turns out that a lot has changed in his life since they’d last seen each other. He’s been wandering aimlessly, not really sure of anything in his life as it seems. When the lyrical subject asks him about his wife, he says that, indeed, he had a wife, but he has divorced her. He also says that she has taken everything they/he had, so he’s pretty much left with nothing, but he doesn’t give a fuck, as he says. So he’s just kind of living without any purpose or anything, walking around Stockholm like that, seemingly unsure about anything in his life, whether future or past, kind of oblivious to whatever is going to happen and letting things go however they will in a bit of an apathetic manner I’d say, or as he says himself – “like in a trance”. – But what is most important to him is that now – after a lot of emotional upheaval and sorrow – he is free.

I must say I don’t really get this understanding of freedom – being left with nothing, even without a family you used to have, and it especially doesn’t speak to me because he doesn’t really seem all that happy with this arrangement, and life still sucks for him, but I suppose it was just the next best thing, in his opinion. This frantic looking for freedom is quite characteristic of a lot of Cornelis’ lyrics or poems and it always makes me sad when I think of it because it doesn’t seem like he ever found it during his life. But then, does anyone? It’s probably just that some people lack it even more and so feel it a lot more keenly, dealing with all sorts of addictions and other things like that. Cornelis himself was married to three women over the course of his life and divorced all of them, but this bit about Fredrik Åkare’s divorce can’t be inspired by his personal experiences because if I remember correctly he married his first wife, Ingalill Rehnberg, the same year that his debut album came out, and he was with Ingalill for four years. Not that it wasn’t a difficult relationship from the start, from what I know.

So yeah, a depressing piece really, or so it is to me.

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Saskia” – & Pernilla Andersson – “Saskia”.

Hey people! 🙂

So as you may remember I shared with you yesterday a song from Swedish pop singer Pernilla Andersson, and I said that I might share one more soon, that is her cover of a song originally written and sung by Cornelis Vreeswijk. And so that’s what I decided to do today.

This song is what made me fall in love with the name Saskia so much that if I ever considered having kids, Saskia would be a very serious candidate for a girl. I’d never really come across that name a lot before hearing this.

The song comes from one of Cornelis Vreeswijk’s earlier albums – “Tio Vackra Visor Och Personliga Persson” (Ten Beautiful Songs And Personal Persson). There is a recording of his live performance at an Örebro jazz club called Powerhouse, which was released as an album after his death, where he says that this song was inspired by a real life Saskia he once met in his “green youth”, on the way back home to his wife with whom he was at the time (Ingalill Rehnberg I think based on the timing), he would often stop at some sort of other beer place I don’t really know, to have a few beers with his “good friends and other condemned individuals”. And one time when he was there, there was a girl called Saskia who was working there, and she apparently asked him what was Rembrandt’s wife’s name, so he said that she was called Saskia van Rijn, and then he had free beer for the rest of his stay there. How magnanimously of her… I don’t know though if what they were doing after her work according to the song is also based on facts or not really. His second wife, Bim Linnea Warne, said once that, while he was awfully jealous which is quite well-known, he was very faithful himself, although, as much as I like Cornelis, I can’t help but feel a little doubtful about that. 😀

I love Cornelis’ original version, but Pernilla Andersson also does a really great job. Her song doesn’t have the last couple of verses though.

According to the lyrics, Saskia is cross-eyed, and that’s why she is a subject of ridicule for everyone, which I’ve always found a little surprising because, perhaps I’m totally wrong at all that but I guess strabismus (I suppose that’s how it’s called in English?) isn’t an uncommon thing, it’s also not like a very disabling condition or making one somehow grossly unattractive even if it’s commonly seen as not very beautiful, so while I get that someone could be bullied due to something like this, would that really raise so much attention? In the 60’s? As I said though, I may have no clue, since I’m blind myself and don’t know how much things like that can affect one’s view of a person, it’s just something that I’ve found kind of interesting and strange.

Below is the translation of the song, I wrote it myself but I used

this one

to help myself.

  Saskia has a name with a ring to it

She works at a pub

Pours beer for the guys

The guys think she is good

The guys think

She is good

Then there is nothing more to it

Saskia, she is crosseyed, you see

Although her gaze is clear and bright

It raises ridicule in everyone

It raises ridicule

In everyone

She is quiet and unnoticeable

Her uniform is starched

But she was beautiful, and when she smiled

In a way that made you gasp

In a way that

Made you gasp

I let my eyes explore her

And it was actually worth the effort

The more they saw, the more they found

She was purely incredibly brilliant

She was purel

Incredibly brilliant

After I had strengthened myself with a beer

I said “Miss, have you noticed?

Has it not struck you yet

That I have been observing you?

That I have been

Observing you”

She said “Sir, it is true

The reason is unknown to me”

Then I mustered up the courage and said

“When are you free, Saskia?

When are you free, Saskia?”

We watched a romantic movie

Then we drank coffee at a café

I followed her to her house

A light was burning in our hearts

A light was burning

In our hearts

Saskia had a sleeping alcove

And she was beautiful when she slept

And we were awake more than enough

Then her alarm clock went off

Then her alarm

Clock went off

Saskia is a name that has a ring to it

She works at a pub

Her eyes are crossed, wherever she looks

But she is beautiful when she smiles

Yes, she is beautiful

When she smiles

Vederkast – “Balladen Om Herr Fredrik Åkare Och Den Söta Fröken Cecilia Lind” (The Ballad About Mr. Fredrik Åkare And The Sweet Miss Cecilia Lind).

Hey people! 🙂

While I find that it’s always best to listen to my

fazas’

music in the original, when it comes to Cornelis Vreeswijk, I think he can be proud of very often having had people cover his music very well! I do like some covers of his songs almost as much as his original versions. And this is one of such cases.

I stumbled upon this version of the ballad about Fredrik Åkare and Cecilia Lind when my faza on Cornelis was quite well-developed already, and I instantly loved it. I like how in this rocky, gloomy version, it takes on an almost entirely different feel, yet is no less true and authentic than the original version. And also I just plain like how it sounds.

Here you can find

my post with the original song and the translated lyrics,

and here is

my post with Cornelis’ Dutch version. 

The YouTube version is just a teaser or something, so below is the link to Spotify, and if you don’t use Spotify, there’s also a link to Songwhip where you can choose the streaming service that you use.

Vederkast – “Balladen Om Herr Fredrik Åkare Och Den Söta Fröken Cecilia Lind”.

 

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Tomtebloss” (Sparkler).

Hey people! 🙂

I thought that today I’d share with you this lyrical piece by Cornelis Vreeswijk. I like it a lot because, well, Cornelis being one of my faza subjects, I’ve been very interested in him as an individual, and this song tells us a whole lot about what his love life and relationships generally looked like. I once found a Swedish programme called “Cornelis Och Kärleken” (Cornelis and Love) where a few people analysed in quite an interesting way some of his lyrics that are about love and women – since a lot of his lyrics and poems talk about various women – and how they illustrated the way his relationships looked like. Having had lived a stormy life overall, it was no less stormy and intense with love, because while on one hand he was seeking love and closeness quite desperately, he had some extreme difficulty with forming and maintaining relationships and whenever there was indeed a possibility of having a closer, deeper relationship with someone, he would basically run away almost in panic immediately. It’s flamin’ difficult having fears which conflict with your basic needs. He was also pathologically jealous – largely due to abusing alcohol and all sorts of drugs and other things, many of which can do such things to your brain – so it also wasn’t easy for the other side to be with him for sure.

And in this song, it really shows, in a both lyrical and raw way. Its lyrics weren’t awfully difficult to translate so I tried my best to do it although there may be some errors in here.

  My beloved is like a sparkler,

like a sparkler easily ignited.

She burns so hot when she catches fire,

my beloved is like a sparkler,

like a sparkler easily ignited.

Red-hot like a kiln are my sweetheart’s embers,

but no fire is eternal.

Cold it is for the charcoal burner when his kiln dies out,

my sweethearts embers are so red, so red,

but no fire is eternal.

My beloved is like a race,

a race where neither of us can win.

Where no one catches the other,

my sweethearts lovemaking is like a race,

a race where neither of us can win.

Yes, love is like a sparkler,

like a sparkler easily ignited.

It burns red when it reaches us.

My soul – i am like a sparkler,

and no fire is eternal.

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Cecilia Lind”.

Hey people! 🙂

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that I have been sharing some music about this Cecilia Lind girl, also by Cornelis Vreeswijk. And I have, only that time it was in Swedish, and this time, it will be in Dutch. If I know a few versions of a song in different languages, especially if it’s by the same artist or I like both of them almost equally, or even if there are two different interpretations of the same song in one language that I like equally, I like to share them both together. But I guess I must have forgotten to include the other version of this song in the post I made years ago.

Swedish “Balladen Om Herr Fredrik Åkare Och Den Söta Fröken Cecilia Lind” (The Ballad About Fredrik Åkare and The Sweet Miss Cecilia Lind) is a classic, has been covered by many artists, and it seems like pretty much every Swede knows it. In The Netherlands – not quite so. – But generally, despite Cornelis Vreeswijk was Dutch, he seems quite a lot less popular in his home country than in Sweden where he created most of his songs and poems and lived a large part of his life.

I don’t know how different the Dutch version is from the Swedish, I only have a very foggy idea of the Dutch language so far and most of what I understand of it is via my vocab from other Germanic languages, as it has a lot of common ground in terms of vocabulary both with English and with Swedish. I am sure the overall context is the same, and that some minor details have been changed, but overall I don’t really know how much they differ from each other. Given that Cornelis had written both version, and he appears to often be rather lax with translations because they were supposed to be more poetic and musical rather than literal, there could be a lot of small and maybe some not so small differences.

You can see my post about the Swedish version with the English translation of the Swedish lyrics

here.

I don’t have a translation of the Dutch version though, but at least from the post above you can get the idea of what the song is about, if you haven’t read it before. .

I will share the link to this song on Spotify, because I’m not sure it is on YouTube at all, and below the Spotify link there will be a link to Songwhip where you can find this song on some other streaming services in case you don’t use Spotify, there is also a link to YouTube but the version in the YouTube link is actually in Swedish, so I guess there must be some mishap with tags or whatever.

Cornelis Vreeswijk – Cecilia Lind

Song of the day (12th November) – Cornelis Vreeswijk ft. Made In Sweden – “Ett Gammalt Bergtroll” (An Old Mountain Troll) & Sofia Karlsson – “Ett Gammalt Bergtroll”.

Hi people! 🙂

So I’m quite behind with this series, which is quite a pity, because on 12 November was one of my main fazas – Cornelis Vreeswijk’s – death anniversary. It’s been 37 years since he passed away!… As I always say, way too many! And I originally wanted to commemorate him exactly on that day but oh well… at least I can do it now.

I’ve been feeling kinda crappy lately so I chose a poem which, deep down, between the lines – but it’s quite easily readable – is also about feeling shitty with and about yourself, which generally is very different from how I am experiencing it yet at the same time very similar because essentially it’s all about having an overactive and spiteful self-critic and hating yourself as a result, just the ways this hatred manifests are different between different people I think.

The author of the poem, however, is not Cornelis, although as you may remember from my blog he himself was also a poet in addition to being a singer. This poem was written by an early 20th century Swedish poet Gustav Fröding, who is really loved in Sweden, although, just like Vreeswijk he was also quite controversial in his time and if I remember correctly even had an episode where he faced a trial for obscenity because of one poem he wrote. Also, again just like Vreeswijk, he had a life-long problem with alcohol as well as intimate relationships with women. Interestingly, in my Dad’s dictionary, a troll means someone who drinks heavily and chronically. Fröding spent a large part of his life in all sorts of mental health institutions though it’s not clear what diagnosis he had exactly, it sounds like some sort of psychotic disorder and depression, the latter ran in his family. More exactly it was his mother who suffered from it when he was a child, and as a result wasn’t able to parent him properly and so he had a rather difficult childhood. Years ago when I was learning a lot about Fröding and reading his poems simply because I knew Vreeswijk appreciated him and they appeared to have so freaking much in common (and if you’ve got any idea about fazas you know that for someone who has a faza anything even remotely related to their faza object is interesting and worth digging into), I’ve come across an opinion that this early separation from his mother was the main factor contributing to his later problems with relationships and pretty much all the other emotional and mental health related difficulties that he was experiencing, including the self-hatred thing that we’re focusing on since that’s what the poem focuses on.

Cornelis Vreeswijk, as you may know since I’ve written about that a few times earlier when writing about him in more detail, also struggled with similar emotional issues (though he did not have any official mental health diagnosis as far as I am aware, though he did suffer from extreme paranoia and stuff). He had terrible problems with intimacy and closeness and often wrote about craving it, and had relationships with many women in his life, but when things started to get more deep, it scared him, or something else made the relationship impossible to be stable for longer and things were constantly stormy and messy from what you can observe when having a closer look at his life. He was always very shy though it may be hard to believe just when hearing him live a few times, I had a problem with that anyway because he is so eloquent and has a sort of jovial, kinda boisterous air about him. But when you observe things for longer, listen to many more live recordings, read some more and listen to some interviews like I did, it does show a lot, plus obviously it is there in his poems and lyrics. It often amazes me how he could mask it so well but from what I understand he saw his outside personality as some sort of a role he was supposed to play in life, or something. Must have been so freakishly exhausting, would surely be for me anyway haha. And of course there’s that whole self-loathing and self-destruction thing which is just so sad. I remember when watching the 2010 Amir Hamdin’s film “Cornelis” (which was a real struggle since I didn’t really have any audiodescription or anything and with my less than perfect Swedish skills didn’t always understand everything fully but still I think I understood a lot on that first watching, I did have English subtitles to help myself with though when need be but back then my Swedish was actually better than my English) that was what affected me the most when I saw the level of his self-destructivity, perhaps because, while I am not an addict in the classical understanding of this word, I struggle with other self-destructive behaviours like self-harm and can deeply relate to what it’s like feeling awful about yourself, so I guess it must have struck a chord or something.    So it seems quite natural that Cornelis would feel some affinity with Fröding as they shared so much, and I am actually a bit surprised that he didn’t interpret more of his poems because apparently a lot of Swedish singers did that.

He released his interpretation of it, with a very jazzy/bluesy feel on his 1970 album “Poem, Ballader Och Lite Blues” (Poems, Ballads And A Bit Of Blues). It’s not as very prone to setting to music as many other Frödings poems are, so probably for that reason, rather than an actual song, it’s more like sing-speak, which is something Vreeswijk used a lot in his music and I think it often makes it more expressive than just singing and is very characteristic of his style.

But a couple years ago, quite some time later after I acquainted myself with Cornelis’ discography, I came across his live performance of this song on YouTube, in collaboration with a 70’s jazzrock band Made In Sweden. I like the album version a lot and it’s not much different at all, despite the instrumentalists are different, but I slightly prefer the rocky live version rather than the jazzy album version as it just speaks to me more, so that is why I chose to share the live one with you.

For contrast, there is another artist from Sweden called Sofia Karlsson whom I absolutely love (I shared her cover of Vreeswijk’s Grimasch Om Morgonen in the very beginnings of this blog), who also interpreted this poem in 2009, but in such a starkly different way! While Cornelis’ version is so raw and jaggy, intense and frenzied, raving and just so very directly conveying the feeling of this poem, Sofia’s version, while no less expressive, is so much subtler, sophisticated and I’d say more from an observer’s point of view, if you get what I mean. For some people it might make it more bearable. 😀 I love both!

In Cornelis’ live version, he makes a brief introduction just like on the album and says that: “Gustav Fröding was a hip poet. He tried to drown his sorrows. But they could swim”. I think it’s such an interesting and Vreeswijkish way to put it lol. Below is a (free, not literal) translation of this poem, so that you know what it’s all about. I took it from

here.

It’s a pity though that most of you probably can’t understand the Swedish version and there are so many cool words that I’ve never heard anywhere else, my favourite is klumpkloss, which in the translation below is interpreted as “object of fright”, I’m not exactly sure how to translate it to English but I suppose it would be something like a lump. I find this word really funny but sadly never had an occasion to use it in a real conversation, I don’t even know if people actually use it. 😀

 

The evening draws on apace now

The night will be dark and drear;

I ought to go up to my place now,

But ’tis pleasanter far down here.

Mid the peaks where the storm is yelling

‘Tis lonely and empty and cold;

But ’tis merry where people are dwelling,

In the beautiful dale’s green fold.

And I think that when I was last here

A princess wondrously fair,

Soft gold on her head, went past here;

She’d make a sweet morsel, I swear!

The rest fled, for none dared linger,

But they turned when far off to cry,

While each of them pointed a finger:

“What a great, nasty troll! oh, fie!”

But the princess, friendly and mild-eyed,

Gazed up at me, object of fright,

Though I must have looked evil and wild-eyed,

And all fair things from us take flight.

Next time I will kiss her and hold her,

Though ugly of mouth am I,

And cradle and lull on my shoulder,

Saying: “Bye, little sweet-snout, bye!”

And into a sack I’ll get her,

And take her home with me straight,

And then at Yule I will eat her

Served up on a fine gold plate.

But hum, a-hum! I am mighty dumb,–

Who’d look at me then so kindly?

I’m a silly dullard–a-hum, a-hum!

To think the thing out so blindly.

Let the Christian child go in peace, then;

As for us, we’re but trolls, are we.

She’d make such a savory mess, then,

It is hard to let her be.

But such things too easily move us,

When we’re lonely and wicked and dumb,

Some teaching would surely improve us.

Well, I’ll go home to sleep-a-hum!!

Jack Vreeswijk – “Lilla Regn” (Little Rain) and Georg Riedel & Sarah Riedel – “Lilla Regn”.

Hi people! 🙂

Today, I will share with you another poem-song written by Cornelis Vreeswijk. With this one, I am sure it was written by him and as it seems originally was intended as a poem and not as a song as it didn’t seem to have a melody. The interesting thing about this poem which later became a song though, that I want to show you, is what came out of that it didn’t have a melody in the first place. Namely now people who cover Vreeswijk have all the freedom in the world to create their own, and here we have almost two different songs, very different in style yet with the same (only slightly varying) lyrics.

The poem – maybe a little surprisingly for someone who would know about Cornelis and roughly about what kinds of things he wrote – is not political, not a protest, not about people/society, not about love, not about Ann-Katrin Rosenblad (his muse) and not even about drinking. It’s, as you can guess from the title, about rain. Little rain. He addresses it in a way that makes you think this rain is a child. It’s a gentle encouragement for it to fall. “Of course the Earth is heavy and cold, but rain anyway”. And when it finally has fallen, the birds are hesitantly starting to sing more and more.

I think it’s very nice, and the two totally different musical versions take two totally differing looks at it.

Jack’s version comes from the same album from which is his last song that I shared with you – “Till Den Det Vederbör” – also written by Cornelis. Jack composed the music to it (or so I assume it was Jack) and it feels very deep but also minimalistic.

And then there’s another version of it composed by Georg Riedel, who is a Swedish jazz musician, and sung by his very talented and sensitive daughter Sarah on their album Cornelis vs Riedel. I’ve already shared a song from this album much earlier that was also sung by Sarah – “Se Här Dansar Fredrik Åkare”. – This is a very carefully made, heartfelt and refined album and both Sarah Riedel and Nikolai Dunger (who is another singer on this album) do a great job, in my opinion, of conveying the feel of each of these songs, as if they really took a lot of time to truly feel them and could relate to them personally. It is a very jazzy album as both Georg and Sarah Riedel are jazz people, which is normally something that would discourage me more or less as I usually don’t have a strong connection with jazz music, but here it doesn’t bother me at all and is great since Cornelis himself also drew from and was inspired by jazz among other genres, and it was his more jazzy songs that convinced me that jazz doesn’t always have to be awful and incomprehensive.

And so I seriously don’t know which version I like more. I wonder which one would be Cornelis’ favourite. And how about you guys? Do you like one of these more than the other?

 

Jack Vreeswijk – “Till Den Det Vederbör” (To The Concerned).

I’ve decided to share this song with you quite spontaneously, as I didn’t have any other ideas planned. And I have sort of mixed feelings about it because I feel I didn’t research it quite as well as I should, or perhaps there’s just not enough info on this. Usually if I post a song for you guys – and especially if it’s in another language – I try to put it in a context so even if, as it often happens, there is no translation, and I am unable to provide it myself, you can have a basic idea of what it’s about and what was the background of it. Here, I know very, very little.

I was listening to Jack Vreeswijk a while back, as I hadn’t in a long time and wanted to refresh some of his music for myself. And when listening to this song and trying to understand its lyrics (which I always prefer to do when having them written especially if I’m not sure of something and that was the case here) I learned that this was written by Cornelis Vreeswijk (which is actually no surprise when you look at them more closely) and Jack Vreeswijk. In case someone feels confused, Jack is the son of Cornelis. I’ve written a lot about Cornelis Vreeswijk on my blog before as he’s been one of my major fazas but to sum up quickly, he was a Swedish singer, songwriter, poet, guitarist and actor born in Netherlands, he passed away in 1987 (way too early) but his son, Jack, is still alive and also sings as well as composes music, often drawing from his father’s huge legacy and covering his songs not too badly at all (only when you compare him with Cornelis he just… ahem… lacks that charisma a little bit, so this is a clear example why we should not compare people to each other and why following your parent’s career isn’t always the best choice if you do not want to be compared. But don’t get me wrong, I do like Jack. A lot. I just see a lot that people compare him, and I do too, and I’ve heard how on his concerts people are far more enthusiastic about hearing his covers of his dad’s music rather than his own songs. Although maybe it’s just how I interpret or maybe it’s just me who would feel awful about myself and my music if I were in his shoes). I wonder whether this piece was originally a poem to which Jack composed music later on (it does musically sound more Jack-esque) or a poem late enough that Cornelis could somehow write it in collaboration with Jack (I’ve never heard about them ever having such collaborations but who knows, right?…) or a song that was unpublished or somehow very obscure or something. And if it was a poem, was it actually published in any of Cornelis’ poetry books or not? I can’t find any info or hint anywhere about it in another context than it being a song by Jack, but thenn I don’t have Cornelis’ poetry books as such so it’s possible it is there somewhere.

Moreover, I don’t really know the context of the lyrics. I can understand them quite well – although because neither Swedish nor English is my native language I don’t think it would be a good idea if I tried translating something I don’t have much of an idea what it’s more broadly about, also there are some single words I am not sure what they mean in here – and I couldn’t find a translation either.

But I just found this song interesting because the lyrics made me think, they’re intriguing, murky, weird and haunting. I’m not sure I like them as such but I don’t necessarily always love Cornelis’ lyrics, I doon’t have to agree with them and I often don’t, I don’t have to relate, there’s just something else that is not about plain liking. And I’m always excited to see something new from Cornelis (see how some people are so prolific that even after their death it feels like their creativity is a whole endless well), though I’d like to have more of an understanding of it, perhaps I will over time. Also I feel like I haven’t shared anything by Jack in a very, very long time. So basically these are the reasons why I decided to share with you guys a song about which I know next to nothing, and perhaps you’ll like something about it too. 🙂

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Een Paleis Van Zand” (A Palace Of Sand).

Hi guys! 🙂

Today is the 32nd anniversary of one of my musical crushes – Cornelis Vreeswijk’s – death. I wasn’t even alive yet when he died, yet, in some respect, of all my music crushes I feel the closest to him, despite he is no longer my dominant crush since a couple of years. I just think our brains have a lot in common, despite you really wouldn’t think so at a first glance. 😀

I have no idea if I’ve ever posted any of his Dutch language music, but if not, the time has come today. As you may know from my earlier posts on him, he was Dutch but spent most of his life in Sweden, and most of his songs and poems are written in Swedish. But there are some Dutch ones too, and not only the translations of his Swedish works. The song I want to show you exists only in Dutch and is beautiful! Well, at least that’s my feeling. I don’t speak Dutch yet, although I am planning to and hoping for it very much, and I know lyrics are usually much more important, and the more so more interesting, in his music than the actual music, they never leave a neutral impression on me when I understand them, I always either love them or hate them (the latter is usually about the political and often the more strongly socially themed ones). This song I only understand in pieces, from what I know from Dutch, and from what sounds similar to English and Swedish. But I’m sure it must be really beautiful and it sounds so. So I hope you enjoy it too.

 

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Ann-Katrin, Farväl” (Farewell, Ann-Katrin) & Marie Fredriksson – “Ann-Katrin, Farväl”.

Hi guys! 🙂

So why not have a listen to another song by Cornelis Vreeswijk, plus a cover by Marie Fredriksson?

Again, we have a female character here, which comes up even more often in Vreeswijk’s songs and poems. The character of Ann-Kat(a)rin Rosenblad is based on his muse and friend who was Ann-Christin Wennerström. And, the portrayal of her that we get from all the songs with her in them is quite interesting and ambiguous. I like Ann-Katrin a lot and hearing this song always makes me sad. First, because it comes from Cornelis’ very last album, (Till Fatumeh – Rapport Från De Osaligas Ängder”) which was recorded about a month or so before his premature death (he died from liver cancer at 50). Secondly, because the song indicates that Ann-Katrin was a drug addict, amphetamine more exactly as in the case of Vreeswijk, though he was taking loads of other stuff as well. The lyrics have a kind of raw but at the same time rather elusive feel and I really regret that I’m not good enough in neither Swedish nor English to write an adequate English translation for you without risking a major linguistic catastrophe and a great prophanity, the more that there are none available online. The only thing that bugs me is the music style of it. Like, seriously, the lyrics on that last album are really captivating, you don’t have to agree with what he wrote and I most often don’t but his lyrics always have that captivating quality, but the musical arrangement of this album is mostly screwed. He maybe wasnät the greatest composer, but was such a great blues singer, and even managed to convince me to appreciate jazz a tiny little bit, and he was great at incorporating folk themes and motives in his music. And that last album is very much like classic 80’s pop, and this track is a great representation of it. I don’t like that at all and it clashes with the lyrics and generally with Cornelis’ actual musical style unbelievably! That turn to pop was motivated by that, after some years of relative fame, he had become forgotten and the way I understand it from what Iäve read he wanted to get the attention of people by doing something more… ahem, timely, or whatever, especially he wanted to attract younger people. It didn’t work, that is, he did get a lot of fame and largely from young people in Sweden after his death but not because those last two pop-ish albums did that, it was thanks to the Roskilde Festival where he played shortly before his death and, well, it looks like for artists it’s a common situation that they only get appreciated after they die. Perhaps that was better for him.

I like the expression of Marie Fredriksson’s interpretation of this song. I think in case of music, like, generally the arrangement, it’s her who wins here! But she’d never write as good lyrics as Vreeswijk did, haha. Marie Fredriksson’s cover again comes from the tribute album “Den Flyggande Holländaren”.

Sarah Riedel – Se Här Dansar Fredrik Åkare (Look Fredrik Åkare Is Dancing Here).

Hi. 🙂

Do you know, lovely people, what a nice holiday we have today? Ha! You surely don’t know. Unless you’re Swedish, or a freak like me, or maybe if you’re Dutch, or maybe, maybe if you’re from any Scandinavian country other than Sweden, perhaps you may know too. So I’m here to enlighten you!

Today, 8th August, is my previous crush’s – Cornelis Vreeswijk – birthday. But because as you probably already know, when I move on from one music crush to the next, I don’t leave the previous one, it only sort of fades, being dominated by a new crush, therefore technically you can say I’m still somewhat crushing on him. And, if by any chance you, my reader, are Swedish, I know it may be slightly or not so slightly weird to you, the more that he’s passed away quite a while before I was born, but… what can I do about it? Assuming that I’d really want to do something with it, but honestly I don’t.

So yeah, Cornelis would be 81 if he’d still be between us. I  hope he’s having a great birthday wherever he is now…

You’d think that if it’s his birthday, and I happen to be so fascinated by his music and poetry that I even want to try to translate it to Polish, then I should choose a song of the day by him, but I decided to do it a bit differently this time.

You see, despite Vreeswijk was Dutch, he’s been actually more known in Sweden than Netherlands, because he and his family emigrated there when he was 12. And he seems to be very liked there. Or anyway, very famous. I guess he’s to controversial to be very liked, people there seem to either love him or hate him.

And if you’re a famous musician, especially if you’ve left this mundane world, you can expect many other, famous and not famous, and maybe even infamous, musicians to be inspired by your music in any way. And so is also with Cornelis.

There are a lot of Swedish artists covering his songs, or who are inspired with his style, making tribute songs, or trying to caricature his style or something.

A few years ago, when I started to explore Spotify, I also started to explore all kinds of covers of his songs, beautiful and cringy ones, and I’ve found a few that are still my huge favourites.

Including an album, called “Cornelis vs. Riedel”. It’s pretty jazzy, I’m not very big on jazz, but because of Vreeswijk I’ve got a very tiny little bit more liking and understanding of it, as it’s one of the genres he liked to incorporate in his music.

“Cornelis Vs. Riedel” is a compillation of Cornelis’s poems, with melodies composed by a Swedish jaz musician of Czechoslovakian descent – Georg Riedel, and sung by Sarah Riedel – Georg Riedel’s daughter – and Nikolai Dunger. With a few exceptions, these poems have never been sung by Cornelis, and the two ones that have been got completely new melodies from Riedel. With all his genius and versatility, I don’t think Vreeswijk had a particular talent for composing, so I found this very interesting.

And oh what I particularly love about this album is the expressivity, and all the emotions. I just love the vocalists for how they feel these lyrics, how they really involve in what they are singing about.

The song I want to show you is called “Se Här Dansar Fredrik Åkare”, very roughly translated Look Here Fredrik Åkare Is Dancing. Now who is this guy, Fredrik Åkare?

I must tell you, I wondered about it for quite a while since I got to know Cornelis’ music. He is often mentioned in his songs. I guess we need to just look at him as a fictional or half-fictional character, one of a few that we can meet in Cornelis’s songs and poems. However people say that his real life equivalent was Nisse Gustafsson – one of his sisters’ friend or boyfriend, or something like this. – Though I’ve also heard that Cornelis himself might be Fredrik Åkare, and I pretty much lean to it because it just looks like it could be him. Even in this song, for me it seems to be just about Cornelis.

Do you remember the song I once shared with you, also by Cornelis – “Balladen Om Herr Fredrik Åkare Och Den Söta Fröken Cecilia Lind” (The Ballad About MR Fredrik Åkare And The Sweet Miss Cecilia Lind)?

I look at this song I’m sharing with you today, as a sort of continuation to that one. Because in that song, as you might remember I wrote, there is a sort of party, people are dancing in the barn in the village, he – is meeting the nearly 17-year-old girl, much younger than himself, called Cecilia Lind, they fall in love with each other, are dancing together, people are indignant because it’s a shame that two people with such a difference in their age are dancing and lookk as they’re very cllose to each other, they say Cecilia’s too young for him. He accompanies her t her house and kisses her on their way home, and the story doesn’t have any speciffic or definite ending.

And then we have this song. We know that  the full moon is shining (why is there so much full moon in Vreeswijk’s lyrics? :O Swedes love sun, he seems to be much more inclined to the moon), just like at that rural party or whatever it was and however such things are called in English, and Fredrik is dancing on empty streets (so it’s the night time, right?) and we also get to know he’s dancing aimlessly and not going anywhere in particular. He is also tipsy and is hurting emotionally, or so I understand from the lyrics, though I’m not sure if that’s exact.

From  the second verse we also know he’s singing – about the stars, and about Cecilia Lind, and about all that he wants to forget and drown in a bottle of wine – pretty classic theme as for Vreeswijk.

Then the third verse is from the author’s perspective, saying that he has made a little song because then it’s easier to dance [when you have the music]. And that this song is about that you’ll never get what you want the most. And what you’ll get instead, you will be always disappointed with.

Reminds me strongly about Cornelis’ life, his struggles, and about what I know about his relationships with other people.

When I first heard this song, I actually cried – and as I told you a few times before it’s not that easy nowadays to move me this strongly, but I was very moved, also Sarah’s vocals themselves are very moving.

But what else spoke to me, was that in some more metaphorical way I felt like it’s also about me. I’ve told you before that paradoxically I feel like in some aspects my personality is pretty similar to Cornelis’, and that’s maybe why I like him and understand his music, and why it often speaks to me (excluding all the left-wing extremist ones, but even those are often quite true in a way 😀 ). I can’t find any other explanation, because objectively he’s not what I would call “my style”. OMG that’s all so weird! 😀

OK, so maybe, finally, after all that chit chat, time for the song? I guess so, I wrote way too much, but I wanted to give you some context, it’s stupid to listen to the song without its context if it’s deeper, and since there’s no language barrier here for me, if I can give you that context, then why not. Let me know what you think about it and how do you perceive it.

Unfortunately I’m forced to get the song from Spotify, I could’ve sworn I saw it like a year ago on Youtube, but now I can’t find it, so I don’t have much choice here.

Music Monday Blog Party at the Bee’s.

So today Bee over at The Bee Writes

is making a blog party and encouraging us to celebrate our life and work, as well as the life and work of those musicians we love and who passed away too quickly.

I’ve had a busy day today, doing some preparations to my finals and having two hours long lesson with my maths tutor which brain drained me completely or so I felt, but I did carve out some time to celebrate my life.

I had two cups of strong black coffee (primarily to get rid of an awful headache I was having and raise my blood pressure, but also just because I love coffee so so much) and I’ve also had a brownie. Yummmm. Then I was listening to some music, about which I’ll write more in the next paragraphs. Then I had a quick shower, but although it had to be quick I was singing in the shower all the time, not the music I was listening to before though, but some Sandy Dennyäs songs. As I said before I felt pretty much brain drained in the morning, but now I feel really cheered up and relaxed, and I agree with Bee that we do need to celebrate our lives, and that we – as people, but particularly in my opinion, we as people struggling with all kinds of mental illnesses, should think about celebrating more often – we think so often about how we hate our lives so that I feel like we often just forget to think about how much is there to celebrate.

Now on to the musicians. I was wondering and wondering and wondering who to choose for this post. There are so many musicians I love, and so many of great musicians have passed away too early, too young. It’s always striking and shocking when it happens. To name a few of those whom I love, respect and listen to very often – Amy Winehouse, Sandy Denny, John Lennon or, very recently, Dolores Oriordan, they all could live much longer than they did. But finally I realised that my choice should be clear and obvious. Cornelis Vreeswijk.

Cornelis Vreeswijk lived 1937-1987, definitely too short. He’s been my previous music crush. When I say previous, I definitely don’t mean I no longer have a crush on him. When I get a music crush, it lasts long, and even if someone new appears, they aren’t replaced, just kind of suppressed by this newer crush, but still there, still alive in my brain. And when I say crush, I don’t mean what most people would probably mean by saying they have a crush on someone, or not only this. My crushes, besides being my crushes, are my deep fascinations, my inspirations, my motivators, and, as someone put it in a raw and beautiful way, my “antidote for pain” of any kind. And much much more.

Cornelis was Dutch, but he emigrated to Sweden at the age of 12 with his family, because of the war, and most of his artistic work was in Swedish and in Sweden. He was a singer, songwriter and guitarist, sometimes a composer too, but also a poet and, occasionally, an actor. He was my big inspiration ever since I heard his music for the first time and got to know him more. It was so impressive for me when I read how quickly he learned Swedish and became fluent in it, I wanted it for myself too, so started to see him a bit like my rival, in a positive sense, which, as I see it now, has really helped me to become good and confident at Swedish quickly. Well he had it easier, because Dutch is a Germanic language like Swedish and he lived in Sweden, and he was younger than me, and thatäs why Iäm the more proud of my results, being only once in Stockholm and having so many people complimenting me on my accent and how natural my Swedish seems to be. 😀 Well I don’t think it’s natural, but maybe Swedish people aren’t used to talk to foreigners that are as fluent as me. Also very early on in the development of my crush, I started to see how much in common he must have with me. Seemingly it could be even the opposite, he was a rebel, a drunkard, an extreme socialist – while I am a definite rightist, – famous for his countless sexual affairs and three very stormy marriages and other stuff of this kind, just you wouldn’t think we could have shared anything. But, as I was learning Swedish and learning about him, I was discovering there is a lot of things we share, from pretty small, odd coincidences like both our dads are professional drivers and both of us were constantly moving places as children 😀 to how we perceive the world, to how our personalities are like. I read about how much he didn’t feel safe anywhere, how, being so rebellious and controversial on the outside, inside he was very shy and struggled with incredibly low self-esteem and was very vulnerable and doubting his own possibilities all the time. He was constantly craving for a relationship with someone and for love, but when he finally was close to starting and building it, he was runing away desperately and in fear of closeness and intimacy. That all, and lots of other things, just sound so familiar, he, he, he. Maybe he also had AVPD? Thinking now… Well from some things I’d rather assume BPD, but I guess it’s not my thing to diagnose people, especially people that I didn’t know and that died years ago. 😀 Didn’t actually think about him having any PD’s before. But well anyway, I love his a bit cynical and untoward, perverse or pawky sense of humour, don’t really know how it’s exactly called in English. 😀 I love how he always noticed funny or weird details about people and situations and could read between the lines and describe it all in an interesting way. I love his approach to hard situations, complaining about them, but laughing them off at the same time. I love how he was able to play with the language.

And it all just inspired me so much that one night a crazy idea popped in in my head. Why not to translate his poems and song lyrics into Polish? That felt really crazy, but I loved the idea. And you know what? So far, I managed to translate 6 of his songs. These aren’t very good translations, but they are decent imo and still they rhyme and their verses are as long as original, so, I guess I did a good job. 😀 I haven’t translated anything in months now, I just get stuck somewhere anytime I try to translate something fully and can’t get out in any way, but I have a whole folder of drafts and unfinished pseudotranslations.

I can’t say I like/agree/relate to all of his lyrics. His views on most things were completely different than mine, so even if I like some of his political songs, I usually don’t agree with them or just don’t know what they’re really about since I’m not very familiar with Swedish politics in 70’s-80’s. But still I think he deserves to be known more widely, even if it wasn’t directly his goal. ANother thing is that I’m worried that it might be like planting bananas in Lapland – you know, he just won’t be understood here by other people than “Swedophiles – and man I’ve had countless dreams about how I translated a ton of his poems and published them and it was a massive failure, but, I guess I won’t know how it’ll be if I won’t try. So I hope I’ll manage to do it some day and that I won’t bungle it.

So I’ve already told you that he was drinking and having many relationship issues, he was married three times, was in prison, had economic issues, was smoking all the time and addicted to drugs and sedatives and other “comforters”, as my Mum calls them, he had also chronically issues in other kinds of relationships, not only romantic. He quitted drinking and smoking and all in 1985 when he was diagnosed with diabetes, but it didn’t help that much. Soon after it he was also diagnosed with liver cancer which destroyed him completely and so he died in 1987 (before I was even born! THAT’S SO UNFAIR!!! 😥 ), being lonely and in a very bad economic situation, having a bunch of dedicated fans, but generally being condemned by Swedish very politically correct society, though soon they discovered him and now they love him and he’s very famous there, so famous that I heard people in Netherlands telling he’s a Swede, although he doesn’t even have Swedish citizenship as far as I know.

So I’ve been listening to Cornelis’ music for the whole evening and now I have a great trouble deciding what to show you…

Well OK, I guess I already know, after another 15 minutes.

The song I want to show you is the first song by Vreeswijk I’ve ever heard, my Swedish teacher showed it to me and I was immediately lost, though I didn’t realise it back then yet. It has stuck in my head and even though I then had to have a long long break from learning Swedish, for years, I still remembered this song and its almost whole lyrics and after I rediscovered it, my full blown crush started and helped me indirectly to start with Swedish again. It is probably his most popular song. It’s called “Balladen Om Herr Fredrik Åkare Och Den Söta Fröken Cecilia Lind” (The ballad about Mr. Fredrik Åkare (Åkare means actually a driver) and the sweet maiden Cecilia Lind). This is something I’m working on translating for a ridiculously long time but it’s terribly hard mainly because we don’t have enough words ending in -ind in Polish, that would rhyme with the heroine’s last name, and we generally have too few one-syllable words, I love Polish, but that sucks sooo much.

Below are the English lyrics I found on the Internet, this is a literal translation:

From Öckerö barn (on a farm) sounds of accordion and base are heard and the full moon’s shining as if it was made of glass.
There Fredrik Åkare dances cheek to cheek
with little miss Cecilia Lind
She dances with closed eyes near (to him)
She follows in the dance right where he wants.
He leads and she follows light as a breeze,
but tell (me) why is Cecilia Lind blushing?
Say, was it because of what Fredrik Åkare said:
“You smell so good and you dance so well.
Your waist is thin and your bosom is round
You’re so beautiful, Cecilia Lind
But the dance ended and where could they go?
They lived so close to each other anyway
Finally they ended up at Cecilias gate
Now I want to be kissed, said Cecilia Lind
[You should] Know shame, Frederik Åkare, be ashamed old man!
Cecilia Lind is only a child
Pure as a flower, shy as a doe
I will soon turn 17, said Cecilia Lind
And the stars wander and the hours pass
And Fredrik is old, but the moon is new
Yes, Fredrik is old, but love is blind
Oh, kiss me again, said Cecilia Lind

And here’s the song: