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”.

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Felicia Adjö” (Goodbye, Felicia) & Marie Fredriksson – “Felicia Adjö”.

Hi guys! 🙂

I’m feeling a bit in a crush limbo right now. I have a gut feeling that my crush on Gwilym is fading slightly and it’s worrying me that there’s no one on the horizon that could become my dominant crush. Is this the end of crushes for me? Was my aunt seriously right that this is something all people grow out of, or am I getting more depressed or something? I can’t imagine not having a crush, it’s like driving a car that has no fuel, I’m getting a bit panicky. It’s either that I need to save my crush on Gwilym or I need someone new very very soon.

In the meantime, I’ve been looking back on all my delightful crushes lately. Reading all my elaborate diary entries about them and laughing my brain out – not that it was so funny but for some reason reading all that made me laugh, despite they’re still all my crushes, just faded more or less. – And I thought I’d share something from one of my crushes on my blog as well. So why not Cornelis? Also, because I find it really interesting to listen to people’s covers and interpretations of his songs, whether good or bad, just out of curiosity, it will be both the original version of a song by Cornelis Vreeswijk, and a cover by Marie Fredriksson. Yes, Marie Fredriksson from Roxette. She’s had a rich solo career as well, I guess mostly in Swedish. I am not a big fan of her at all, but she did this song in an interesting way, in her own style, and I used to like Roxette as a very, very little child. This was one of the first symptoms of my developing Swedish obsession, I just didn’t know many things Swedish apart from Roxette and Astrid Lindgren and I liked one song by them very very much, but generally Roxette and Marie Fredriksson are not my style, not anymore.

The song I want to share with you is called “Felicia Adjö”, and I guess is one of more popular songs of Vreeswijk. Felicia is a recurring character in his songs and poems, there is one whole album “Felicias Svenska Suite” in which Felicia is present in pretty much every song I guess. I wonder if she was based on someone in real life, like some of his other characters were but we’ll probably never know. The title translates as “Goodbye, Felicia”, but it has nothing to do with the “bye, Felicia” expression haha. The song is some 30 years older than the movie. Though I know that Vreeswijk’s Felicia was an inspiration for some Swedish writers, I guess there is a crime novel called “Felicia Försvann” (Felicia Disappeared) which is the beginning of this song.

And the song is about the fact that Felicia disappeared “As the bird from its nest. As the ice when the spring comes. As love when it’s hurt. As luck with no return”. She is dead like all of us will be some day, and with her, his last hope died, whoever the lyrical subject is.

The song had been re-recorded multiple times plus he played it live very often, but the first recording comes from the album called “Tio Vackra Visor Och Personliga Persson”, and I will share this one with you as is is the original. If I remember correctly, the album was recorded around the time when Cornelis played in the film “Svarta Palmkronor” (Black Palm Trees) in Brazil, and spent quite some time in South America, so this album is very much influenced by Brazilian music which you can hear in this song as well.

Marie Fredriksson recorded this song – as well as three others written by Vreeswijk – for the tribute album “Den Flygande Holländaren” (The Flying Dutchman).

So, there you have it, here is Felicia.

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:

Song of the day – Pugh Rogefeldt – Grimasch om morgonen.

Hi! 🙂

Today I share with you another version of this fabulous song – “Grimasch Om Morgonen” – written and originally performed by Cornelis Vreeswijk. This is a cover made by Swedish singer Pugh Rogefeldt.

Song of the day – Sofia Karlsson – Grimasch Om Morgonen.

Hi! 🙂

A month or so ago I shared with you this song in its original version, performed by Cornelis Vreeswijk, my previous musical crush whose poetry I would love to translate into Polish sometime in future, it is my very big dream. Also I’ve made an attempt to translate that song into English, which you can see here

. But today I wantd to share with you this song in another stunning performance. Anything by SOfia Karlsson is stunning, but since I love Vreeswijk’s music and poetry so much, this is my favourite song I’ve heard by her. Hope you’ll like it too, She’s so expressive.