For today, I decided on another piece from Lavinia Meijer, but this time it’s her original composition. It comes from her album titled Are You Still Somewhere? Which contains a lot of her original works, but also some of other composers, including Saman by Ólafur Arnalds which I shared earlier this month in her interpretation.
Earlier this month, I shared Lavinia Meijer’s two other pieces, including her rendition of Ólafur Arnalds’ Saman. But I thought that today I’d like to share yet another rendition of Arnalds’ music played by Lavinia on the harp, as I really like the way it sounds on the harp.
For today, I decided to share with you the first of Erik Satie’s Gnossiennes played by the Korean-Dutch harpist Lavinia Meijer. I’ve already shared this same Gnossienne in the past, in the interpretation of Floraleda Sacchi, and in that post I shared more about Gnossiennes in general.
Fulfilling my recent promise, today’s song of the day is a modern piece played by Korean-Dutch harpist Lavinia Meijer. This piece has originally been composed by Icelandic musician Ólafur Arnalds and ever since I heard the original, it really spoke to me in a weird way. I can’t say what exactly I find so captivating about this piece. It sounds simple enough at a first glance, or should I say listen, but there’s something weirdly intriguing about it to me. In reviews people describe it as calming and things like that, which it of course is, as I guess most if not all Arnalds’ compositions are in one sense or another, but it’s not its calming properties that jump at me right away when I’m listening to it, it’s something a lot more subtle, and I guess that’s why it is so difficult to describe. I remember thinking that someone should do it on the harp and, well, some time later I discovered Lavinia Meijer’s interpretation which I really like.
Since Ólafur Arnalds is Icelandic, I always assumed without much thinking that the title of this piece must be an Icelandic word and suspected it must mean something like “together”, because it sounded similar to equivalent words in other Scandinavian languages that I know. I always thought that a bit underwhelming and disappointing a title for such an unusual piece. Some of you may know that I have a sort of weird aversion since childhood to words like this: “together”, “common”, “community”, etc. Apparently that’s what happens when two people who each have a strong sense of their own identity and individuality send their kid to a boarding school hehehe. But when I was preparing to write this post, I wanted to make sure that my semi-educated guess was correct and find out whether “saman” really means “together” in Icelandic. Turns out it does, but I also found an article claiming that “saman” also means “calm/solace” in Arabic, and that this is what the title of this composition is apparently supposed to mean. That still sounds rather vague compared to the vibe I get from this piece, but at least it’s nicer than “together”, imho. Since I like the original very much as well, I think that at some point in the future I may feature it too, but for now, here’s Lavinia Meijer’s version:
Today’s piece comes from harpist Lavinia Meijer’s brand new EP called Spring. I have never shared anything by Lavinia Meijer before, but I love the way she plays her instrument and how versatile she is. Aside from this piece that I’m sharing today, I am also planning to share a more contemporary composition played by her very soon. Lavinia is a classical harpist who was born in South Korea, but grew up in the Netherlands, as her adoptive parents are Dutch. This new EP, Spring, was released at the beginning of April, and consists of two baroque compositions as well as two contemporary ones. For today, I chose to feature one of the baroque compositions, the one that opens this EP – Ground by Henry Purcell.
I have already shared on here a piece called Jupiter on here, played by Inge Frimout-Hei. Today, I want to share with you another composition from the same celestial-themed album, Planetary Impressions, this time all about Venus. I think it’s really evocative.
I have already shared with you one piece from Inge Frimout-hei very interesting album Phases of the Moon, and I thought that today we could listen to another piece from it, this time, as its title says, about the waning crescent moon.
Today, let’s listen to a Dutch song by Cornelis Vreeswijk. Those of you who are familiar with Cornelis or just have been regulars on here will know that Cornelis songs and poems in Swedish, but he was born in the Netherlands and released a few albums in his birth country as well.
This song is kind of similar to the Swedish Grimasch om Morgonen (my favourite song by Cornelis), as it has the same melody as Grimasch and the lyrics of both share some common themes, nonetheless I guess it wasn’t meant to be just a Dutch version of Grimasch because some aspects of it are totally different. In Grimasch om Morgonen, there’s Ann-Kat(a)rin Rosenblad who is a recurring character in Cornelis’ songs. The Dutch equivalent of Ann-Katrin is Marjolijn/Marjolein (I’ve honestly no idea which spelling is the right one as both are legit forms of this name in Dutch and I’ve seen both used in reference to this particular lady). As you guys know, I don’t speak Dutch (yet), but the translation for this song was kindly written for me by Hans Heemsbergen.
The last time I shared with you something from this Dutch harpist, it was a piece called Jupiter from her album Planetary Impressions. Today it’s a piece from a different album, but also a celestial-themed one, inspired by phases of the moon.
For yesterday, I planned to share with you this song by Cornelis that I really like. Or actually, I planned to share with y’all the Swedish version of it mostly because that’s what I know better and actually understand the lyrics and also like slightly more (not that I have anything against the Dutch version, it’s really good too), and then perhaps share the Dutch one as well more for comparison or something, but, surprise, surprise… the Swedish version doesn’t seem to be available to stream anywhere! :O I was totally unaware of this before I started preparing for this post, as I usually don’t listen to Cornelis online, because I have his discography and a lot of live recordings and just all kinds of stuff I could get anywhere on an SD card, and I was a bit shocked, because it’s from a fairly popular album of his – “Poem, Ballader och Lite BLues” (Poems, Ballads and a bit of Blues) – which is one of my favourite albums of his, by the way. The album technically exists on Spotify, but only some tracks are actually playable so they’re either deleted or have location restrictions perhaps, and there’s nothing on YouTube. Even good ol’ Songwhip didn’t seem to find anything, all it found was either covers of this song, or wasn’t available despite SongWhip was showing a link to it. So quite interesting. And I guess it wouldn’t really be okay if I just shared a link to my own audio file with it even if I took it down after some time.
But yeah, we still have the Dutch version! I’ve shared very little of Cornelis music in his native language, and he’s apparently a lot less known in the Netherlands than he is in Sweden, so that’s a good opportunity to share something Dutch by him.
As I said I really like this song because it’s so freakishly relatable. I think anyone who has depression, especiallly of the very long-term, chronic, lingering or constantly recurring variety that sticks to your brain like thick, crusty mucus (ewww Bibiel!), whether it’s dysthymia like for me or major depression or bipolar or anything like that, will be able to relate to it, and I guess particularly so if anhedonia is in the picture for someone as well, since this hopeless blues basically steals from you anything that has any kind of meaning or that you like. Another way in which it’s relatable for me is also that hopeless blues’ parasitic relationship with Cornelis/the lyrical subject reminds me in a lot of ways of my sleep paralysis and sensory anxiety “friend” whom I call “Ian” on here, who is not a blues as such but also follows me everywhere and doesn’t let me forget about himself for too long and can spoil anything fun.
Before I realised that there’s no Swedish version available that I could share with you, I already did a translation of it into English, and I don’t like my brainergy to go to waste so even though I’m not sharing the song in Swedish with you, I’ll still share the translation of it. The Dutch version isn’t very different from what I know, just some details are different that don’t really change the whole point.
Hopeless blues Has moved to where I live He is lying under the bed, chewing on my shoes
It was late at night I came from somewhere It was late at night I came from somewhere And when I turned the light on There was hopeless blues sitting in the corner Hopeless blues You are a parasite Hopeless blues You are a parasite What are you doing here? Why did you came here?
Every morning when I wake up Hopeless blues lies in my kitchen Every morning when I wake up Hopeless blues lies in my kitchen He drinks up my coffee Nicks my last cig
He borrows my clothes And he borrows my guitar as well He borrows my clothes And he borrows my guitar as well He scares away all the ladies Who come here and visit
My home is a desert My life a parody My home is a desert My life a parody I have been saddled with hopeless blues I will never be free Please, Ms. Therapist I can’t take it anymore Please, Ms. Therapist I can’t take it anymore May I ask hopeless blues To move in with you?
Edited to add:
Hiya, T’is Bibiel from the future chiming in. 🙂 In addition to the Swedish translation shared above, now I also have a translation of the Dutch version for you, which was kindly written for me by Hans Heemsbergen.
Hopeless blues, lives where I live these days
Hopeless blues, lives where I live these days
He’s in my smoking chair and he’s playing on my gramophone
I was out one night, it was getting late my luck was gone
I was out one night, it was getting late my luck was gone
And when I finally got home, hopeless blues was sitting in a corner
Hopeless blues, you’re a parasite
Hopeless blues, you’re a parasite
What are you doing here because I really don’t need you
Every morning when I wake up he is sitting next to my bed
Every morning when I wake up he is sitting next to my bed
He drinks my coffee and he steals my last cigarette
Today I have for you a piece played by Dutch harpist Inge Frimout-Hei which I really like. It always makes me think of Misha – as does anything that has to do with Jupiter really – because Misha’s dad was called Jupiter and that’s why, among all kinds of different names that Sofi and I have for him, we also sometimes call him alien, not just because he’s so weird and unearthly beautiful, but also because he’s literally of Jupiter. 😀 This piece comes from Inge’s album called Planetary Impressions which was released last year.
For today, I want to share with you a song from a band that I really discovered and that I really love, although at this point, Rosemary & Garlic is just Anne van den Hoogen alone as far as I’m aware. She is a Dutch singer who, is quite versatile as it seems, because aside from creating the melancholic indie folk of Rosemary & Garlic, she can also be heard as vocalist of the shoegaze band Habitants. I like Rosemary & Garlic overall, but this is unquestionably my favourite song, I like its floating, dreamy, a little otherworldly vibe very much.
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.
For today I decided to share with you a pop song in Dutch. I believe this singer is quite well-known in her home country, although I don’t have much of an idea about her really, nor do I have much of an idea as for what Dutch-language music is popular in the Netherlands as I don’t follow it consistently enough. I do know though that her father – André Hazes – was a famous singer in another genre. This is the first song by Roxeanne Hazes that I’ve heard, and I think it’s cool enough to share it on here, especially given that, despite Dutch is among my favourite languages, I’ve so far shared very little Dutch-language music, and know very little of it that I’d truly like, compared with most other of my favourite languages. Sadly I wasn’t able to find a reliable English translation anywhere.
Today I have for you just a short but beautiful harp piece from a harpist whose music I’ve never shared before on here yet. I believe she’s from the Netherlands. It comes from the album called Mont-Saint-Michel which seems to be entirely inspired by this place.
I’ve shared a lot of folk and Celtic music with you lately, so today, for a change, let’s listen to this young Dutch singer. Pleun (or Pleun Bierbooms) was the winner of the 7th season of The Voice of Holland. I do think she is really good. This is her cover of Sam Smith’s “Writings On The Wall”, which, in its original version, was featured in The Spectre – a James Bond film. – I think I like her version more.
After I shared a song by Nona with you yesterday, I thought I’d share another one – my most favourite from her – today as well. This was her first song that I ever heard and I instantly liked it a lot, not just because she reminds me of Amy Winehouse so much.
Last year I guess around April or May, I had a time in my music discovering adventures when I was really determined to find some Dutch music that I’d love, whether in Dutch or in English. Because Dutch is one of my favourite languages, as you may or may not know, and with my favourite languages, I just want to know about music in their countries, and previously I knew really very little Dutch music that would speak to me – very little Dutch music at all in fact. – I knew some Gothic/symphonic metal bands that I’d been listening to in my Gothic stage and occasionally still do, and then there’s of course Cornelis Vreeswijk who mostly wrote in Swedish, and some folk metal bands like Heidevolk and things like this. Oh yeah and I used to be slightly into trance in my preteens/early teens so I liked Armin van Buuren. Other than that – nothing from the Netherlands. – And, like I said, last spring I decided to change it, and came across some Dutch musicians that I really did end up liking, and shared some of their music on here.
But, I forgot to share one artist who stood out for me for one particular reason. She sounds just so much like Amy Winehouse, it’s crazy! I’m not a huge soul fan to be honest, but I loved loved loved Amy Winehouse sooo much, so it was an interesting experience for me to hear Nona – because that’s how this Dutch artist is called – for the first time. I like a lot of her music, but decided to share this piece of her that you can hear below.
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
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.