Song of the day (14th August) – Loreena MCKennitt – “The Lady Of Shalott”.

This song from Loreena MCKennit, as you can probably guess, tells the story of Elaine of Astolat, from the Arthurian legend. Well, moreover, it’s the musical adaptation of the whole poem “The Lady Of Shalott” by Alfred Tennyson. That’s how I’ve first heard this poem – sung by Loreena MCKennitt. – And thanks to this song, I’ve become interested in Arthurian legends, as part of my fascination with everything Celtic. Until then, I didn’t really know much about Arthurian legends. But now I find them very interesting. And this one is my favourite. So here is this long song. I really love the way she adapted this poem and made a lovely piece of music out of it.

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Song of the day (12th August) – Loreena MCKennitt – “Annachie Gordon”.

Hi hi hi lovely people! πŸ™‚

It feels like I haven’t written anything in quite a while again, so let’s first catch up on some music, as I haven’t posted any music for a particularly long time.

I’d like to show you a few songs of one of my very first favourite Celtic music singers – Loreena MCKennitt. – Alongside Enya, Aine Minogue and a few others, she was keeping me sane during a time that was particularly difficult emotionally in my life, and she was one of the first artists associated with Celtic but also generally folk music that I’ve started to listen to a lot, and one of the first harpists whose music I’ve heard. I really like her dramatic soprano, my friend Jacek from Helsinki loved her and he used to say her voice is chil inducing, it indeed is very very expressive. I love the wide range of inspirations Loreena uses in her music, she’s not only into Celtic music but also oriental music, she has adapted various poems or pieces of literary work into pieces of music or has written her own music inspired by literature, legends, myths, historical/legendary figures etc. It’s like her each album has a bit of a theme that is going on throughout the album. I like how self-sufficient she is. Apart from being a singer, songwriter, composer and harpist, she has also her own record label – Quinlan Road – and also plays a few other instruments other than harp, she’s her own manager and seems to like running the show just on her own. And I like her harp play so very much. She’s one of the better Celtic harpists out there in my opinion.

Loreena MCKennitt is from Canada, she has Irish and Scottish roots (and her father’s name was JACK! that explains everything, doesn’t it? πŸ˜‰ ) and she currently lives in Ontario.

The song I want to show you in this post is a ballad called “Annachie Gordon”. If I remember well, this is one of the balads in the collection of Child’s Ballads, and it is English. I like many contemporary versions of this piece but Loreena’s is the best, because of her vocals and because of the magnificent harp! It was also the first version of this song I’ve heard, and I immediately fell in love with it. The plot of the ballad is quite, um, cliche, and now as I’m older than when I discovered “Annachie Gordon” it’s hard for me to listen to it without my sarcastic brain commenting and criticising the storyline (I basically think looking at it from these days perspective, the heroine, Jeannie, makes an impression of someone quite manipulative, I understand her pain when she was faced with having to live being married to a man she didn’t love instead of her beloved Annachie, but the scene where she falls on her knees before her father and dies looks, well, yeah, manipulative, you start to wonder if she’s going to suddenly rise up as soon as everyone leaves her alone and run away with Annachie as far from lord Sulton and her family as possible. πŸ˜€ I know, I know, I’m crazy and overanalysing). I also think life would be so easy if we really could just switch off and die when life throws sh*t at us as in the case of Jeannie and Annachie. But well, it is a ballad. And still, it is a beautiful one. I remember being absolutely fascinated by it, and for some reason because of it I really loved the name Annachie, which, you must admit, is a very unusual name, I’ve never heard in any other context or on anyone other than Annachie Gordon. I’ve even named a character in one of my short stories Annachie after him. Though now my tastes have changed and I think it lacks masculinity and looks like a fancy elaboration of Anna in the style of Annalee or Annamae, but of the more kreativ kind. πŸ˜€ Well, I guess it was apparently recreated from some old feminine name actually. Anyway, here’s the song. Hope you’ll enjoy it too. πŸ™‚

Share Your World.

It’s been centuries since I last participated in

Share Your World

at Melanie’s. I guess the last time was around… Christmas? That’s what I can remember, which is a shame because I used to participate in SYW pretty regularly and it’s fun. The questions this week are really cool so here goes, and if you’d like to participate too head over to her blog. πŸ™‚

 

  1. Was the last thing you read digital or print? – Digital, pretty much anything I read is digital, because I am blind, and Braille books are quite pricey, clunky, and limited in terms of availability of what you can choose from.
  2. Are you more an extrovert or introvert? – Introvert all the way! Introverts rule! Yay for introverts! 😊 But actually, I read some of the fellow participants’ posts already earlier this week and quite a couple people stated that they are more extroverted on the Internet, and so am I, though it also depends on the circumstances and where on the Internet, the Internet itself doesn’t make me extroverted haha.
  3. How is your life different from what you imagined as a younger person? – Hard to say, because as a child and teen I didn’t have a stable view of what I’d like to be or could be. As a very little child I wanted to be a singer, musician and dancer, and I didn’t want to have children “Because when women don’t want to have children they don’t have to have them, and when they want, they can” (that’s what I said in a film about my nursery where they asked me whom I’d like to be and my family laugh at it on every possible occasion). Indeed, I never really wanted to have children, and still don’t want, even if I wanted it seems pretty unlikely for multiple reasons. But as I grew older I never wanted to do anything with music professionally. I wanted to be a psychologist, writer, sound engineer, translator, quack (like my grandad sort of :D) and lots of other things. But when I was a very little girl, five-year-old or a little bit older, I once had a weird kind of dream…? I don’t know if it was a dream, an imagining, just a thought, or whatever, but I was lying in bed so I think it could be a dream, it was just one small scene but very clear to me. I saw myself in it as an adult, standing in the middle of a huge kitchen, as if I was about to prepare a meal or something, and there were kids all around me, a lot of children, mostly toddlers, all clinging to me. But what I remember the best from that little scene was some weird sense of despair, or helplessness that I felt. I felt lost and confused and like I don’t know what to do in this adult world. What am I supposed to do with these children? What am I expected to do? And it was so clear and powerful that since then, whenever I heard the word “adult”, I had that weird vision coming up, and in a way I still do. I don’t have a huge kitchen, or children, I don’t even make meals for myself, and my life right now feels pretty stable, yet sometimes I do feel like that adult me from my dream, which probably reveals my immaturity or something, but I don’t claim I am a mature person, I don’t claim that I’m immature either, I guess I just don’t know. πŸ˜€ Anyway, other than that weird dream thing, I don’t think my life resembles what I thought it could be like when I was a child.
  4. Do you think about dying?Β Β  Does death scare you?Β  Why or why not? – As a person with mental illness, I’ve experienced suicidal thoughts so yes, I do think about dying, sometimes more often, sometimes less. I’m happy to say that nowadays, I rarely have active suicidal thoughts and ideations, but I do have passive ones a lot of the time. Also I am a Christian, so when you’re a religious/spiritual person I believe you have to think about that sometimes. My own death doesn’t scare me, although I’m a little bit anxious of what it will be like afterwards, what world we’ll end up in, if any. I’m also not scared of death as a concept, like my sis Zofijka is for example. SHe’s scared of dead people, murders and such. Of course it’s difficult and can make anyone uneasy, but I normally don’t feel scared by that without any context. What I’m really really scared of about death is those whom I love dying. Particularly my Mum and Misha. Some say my attachment to Misha is unhealthy because of that, and because of how attached I am to him even though he is a pet, but I really don’t know how I could cope with Misha’s death. If I had to, I probably would, life is like that, but I’ve never been attached to anyone in such a way as I am to Misha.

Additional Gratitude Bonus Question:Β  Who has been the kindest to you in your life? – The kindest? Like throughout my whole life? My Mum I think. Dunno where I’d be without her, but I’ve written about that many times before.

Karolina Czarnecka – “Hera, Koka, Hasz, LSD” (Heroine, Cocaine, Hash, LSD).

Hey hey people. πŸ™‚

Why do I post such weird stuff on here?… I’m very curious if someone will be wondering, even seeing the title… I actually wouldn’t be overly surprised. πŸ˜€

This is a Polish song, as you can probably guess, haven’t shared anything in Polish with you for ages, well as I wrote a few times before I don’t really listen to that very much Polish music nowadays and if I do, the lyrics play very important part and without them it’s often just a piece of weird music so there’s no point in sharing it with you.

Karolina Czarnecka has become somewhat famous in 2014 when she sang this particular song I’m going to share with you, on one of the Polish music festivals. It is an interpretation of a song made by The Tiger Lilies “Heroine And Cocaine”. The festival was rather marginal but quite surprisingly the song became popular on Youtube and then actually nationwide, and at the same time became hugely controversial. I know people who were saying that it is absolute trash and how can such a controversial song, PROMOTING DRUGS (!!! 😱 ) and encouraging to share them, be so fussed about and even still exist on Youtube, that it is odd and just inappropriate and obscene. I thought so too, for quite a long time.

About a year ago, after the boom has washed away, I stumbled on a then newest album of Karolina Czarnecka, very accidentally, and I felt some sort of liking to her rather characteristic, original, versatile style, her strong voice, slightly odd lyrics and music that seemed to just somewhat click with my brain, as a blend of electronica, folk, and lots of stuff in between.

So it made me wonder, what’s up with this “Hera, Koka…” thing, maybe it’s some misunderstanding, maybe the point of it is different? And after I really listened to it carefully, I came to the conclusion that the point of this song is entirely different! THe opposite actually. It is said that the character in the song – Jimmy – has died because of drugs, and his friends did too! – Now it makes much more sense and was a lesson for me to not judge a book by its cover because all the others do so, but rather analyse it more closely.

Recently I also listened to the original song by The Tiger Lilies, and there it is even clearer that poor Jimmy has died, I can’t remember the exact lyrics but there was a mention that he went to heaven. In Karolina’s interpretation there is a mention of “paradise”, which could be understood differently, that he simply got so very high, and seems like most people understand it this way. I know this song can feel very dubious and challenging, and it certainly is provoking, but rather to increased use of our brains, than drugs. After all, there had to be some reason behind it when God equipped us with such powerful devices, so let’s use them and try to think independently, don’t you think so? πŸ˜‰ I like how ironic and sarcastic it is, rather than saying straight forward: “DRUGS ARE EVIL!!!”. Well I guess I’ve gotten used to such irony or even a little obscenity, having a crush on Vreeswijk. However, I still felt somewhat cautious when the thought came to my mind that maybe I’d share this little piece of music with you. Is it really what I think it is? So of course I did some research and I managed to find an interview with Karolina Czarnecka on Youtube, where she is asked what was her message behind her interpretation of this song, and whether she was aware of the reaction of people to it. She said that yes she was, and that her message was just the opposite and clear to find in the lyrics, that drugs cause death. Don’t know whether there is a point in linking to that interview as it is in Polish and the vast majority of my blog readers aren’t Polish, and I’m too lazy haha, if you’re Polish it’s rather easy to find but if you really can’t and are curious I can include it later on for some further reference, just let me know. πŸ™‚

I am also not including THe Tiger Lilies’ version, because Karolina’s version is not a direct translation of it, and because I just much prefer the Polish version. First because in my opinion it’s much more interesting musically, much more creative and the lyrics are sort of more imaginative and detailed too, with more character, hence probably being more provocative.

I don’t feel competent enough to translate the Polish lyricsΒ  to English, and if you happen to know The Tiger Lilies’ original song you know the basic sense, I’ll say that the song tells the story of Jimmy, a good, shy kid, going to school as he was supposed to, to whom the drug dealer sold three fixes of drugs and gave him one for free. At school, the “wise” headmaster got cross with him and told him not to be selfish and share it all fairly with all the students. And then as I’ve already mentioned, Jimmy, together with his friends ended up in paradise, where “all saints started to drug with him”.

OK, so here it is. πŸ™‚ I’m curious of your impressions. πŸ™‚

Janice – “Answer”.

Hi guys. πŸ™‚

The song I have for you today is from Swedish singer Janice Kamya Kavander, known simply as Janice. She’s becoming very popular in Sweden, and there is something powerful in her voice. I am generally not like a big fan of very soul-like sounding voices, except for Amy Winehouse and maybe a couple other people, but I do like Janice and her expressiveness. And I must say this particular song really moved me when I heard it.

It is about, or to, Janice’s dad, who died five years ago. For me, when I first heard her, she sounded rather mature, as her voice is so strong and expressive, but turns out she’s only 24, so she was 19 when her dad died. That’s very early and no wonder it affected her even more than it would affect someone later on in life. And this song is so full of expression, I think it’s hard to not feel even just a little bit moved. There are lots of versions on Youtube, but I like it particularly in the acoustic version, which is only on Spotify, so, again, I have to only give you the link to Spotify.

Fflur Dafydd – Rachel Myra.

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

yesterday’s song was perfectly matched with the time and the weather we have here, but today’s one is more wintery, though I don’t think it should matter that much.

It’s a beautiful song written and composed by Fflur Dafydd in Welsh. Fflur Dafydd is a very versatile artist, she’s not only a singer/songwriter, but she has also written a few books, and I guess also some poems.

She wrote this song for her grandmother – Rachel Myra. By the way, I think Rachel Myra is a very interesting and vintage name combo. There is a line in this song “Rachel Myra, Ei henw’n gynnes yn y gaeaf” (Rachel Myra, your name so warm in the winter) and it kinda speaks to me because this name sounds so homely (I mean homely homey, comfy perhaps), kinda warm, like I usually have different sensory associations with words and names too and when I first saw the title of this song I thought that it smells like ginger, or like ginger tea with lemon and honey or something… so I was a bit shocked when I finally was good enough at Welsh to roughly figure out that this song has quite a wintery feel and then that there is this verse in it. πŸ˜€ That’s another reason to my theory that names do have some universal code, or something like this. Rachel itself, or Myra on its own, don’t give such a strong feel, althugh they’re also warm names on their own.

I really like this song, it’s melody is beautiful and it’s beautiful overall.

The translation that is in the video was apparently by Fflur Dafydd herself.

Catrin Finch – Lisa LΓ’n (Fair Lisa).

Hi! πŸ™‚

Another tune from Catrin Finch I want to share with you. It’s just so stunningly beautiful. Not so long ago, I showed you the same song performed by the band Alaw and my current music crush, Gwilym Bowen Rhys. That one was a song, not an instrumental, so if you haven’t seen it before, you can check out, as well as the lyrics

here

Catrin Finch’s version is a harp solo arrangement of this traditional Welsh love song and it’s very creative and beautiful and relaxing and just so sooo beautiful it makes my brain melting and falling to pieces almost as much as Gwilym’s version.

Here it is: