Rachel Hair Trio – “My Darling Fair One”.

Hey people! 🙂

Last month I already shared with you one tune, or actually a set of tunes, by this Scottish Celtic harpist – Rachel Hair – which she played together with the multi-instrumentalist Ron Jappy. – Rachel Hair is a very active, prolific and versatile artist who does all sorts of things with the harp and also has her own record label called March Hair Records. Among the things she does is she’s also a part of a trio, simply known as Rachel Hair Trio, and this song that I’m sharing today with you comes from their album Tri, released by the aforementioned label. I don’t know who else is in this trio and haven’t been able to find out, but the song is a traditional one and I really like this minimalistic arrangement.

Clannad – “The Last Rose of Summer”.

Hi hi people! 🙂

Since summer has just passed, I thought this would be a very appropriate song to share at this particular time of year. There are several versions that I like, but, at least for today, I chose Clannad. Perhaps some time later on I’ll also share others that I like.

The Last Rose of Summer is a poem written by the Irish poet Thomas Moore while he stayed in Jenkinstown Castle in Kilkenny, where he was said to be inspired by a flower of rosa old blush. It has later been set to a traditional Irish tune called a Young Man’s Dream in English and has been interpreted gazillions of times as it seems, classically and folkily.

This poem starkly reminds me of my little Misha and how he often is concerned about leaves being lonely, like when they fall from trees and one leaf is blown away from the other leaves or is blown on to the heap with leaves from other trees that it doesn’t know and doesn’t feel well with, or when all leaves have fallen except one who is still on the tree and is alone and cold. I think he has even written about that on here at least once back when he did regularly. This song has a very similar feel to that imo. I’m not sure if Misha has had similar thoughts about flowers during transitions between seasons, but he definitely has an affinity with them too and likes to nibble on them and smell themm.

Travelle – “Sweden”.

Hiya people! 🙂

In the last couple months, I've shared with you a few songs from the Norwegian singer, songwriter and producer Trollguten. I've also mentioned that he's also been more or less known under several other aliases, one of them being Travelle and that I'd like to share with you some music that he's made under this name as well because I actually like it even though I don't really often listen to stuff like this in general. So I figured I'd finally share something by Travelle today. He achieved some popularity  (apparently to some degree in the US) with his debut single Nobody Else in 2016 and since then had been quite prolific until like 2018, but as we haven't heard from him as Travelle since that year I suppose in the end he must have decided that he'd rather focus more on his more cheesy, russ music activity, as he's become popular as russ musician under a different name around the same time,  and his russ stuff is way more popular with his fellow Scandinavians as it seems which is rather sad imo, I'm always saddened to see talented folks wasting their skills. 

Like with his early activity as Trollguten, I like his Travelle music because it feels very genuine. I really like music where you can actually get the idea of the mind and the person behind it and that's what I feel is the case here. And despite, or actually perhaps because of, his lyrics often seeming quite personal and even quite a bit raw sometimes, I guess they still have a lot of potential for being relatable for people and some are even for me. They draw one's attention and they sound very direct and candid. 
The song by him that I want to share today is all about Sweden, so it's little wonder that it drew my attention. 😀 More exactly, it's about shopping in Sweden, from a Norwegian perspective. You may or may not know that life is generally quite pricey in Norway, particularly, as far as I’m aware, stuff like groceries, not to mention alcohol which is heavily taxed. As a result, a lot of Norwegians travel to Sweden to get groceries and all sorts of drugs fand stuff used for gradual, hedonistic self-destruction of human beings, om booze to snuss (the Scandi snuff) to chocolate at cheaper prices. The phenomenon is widely known as Harrytur (Harry trip) in Norway. Every nation has such names that are very strongly linked to some stereotype, like Karen is in the US these days. That's the case with Harry in Norway. So the Norwegian Harry is I believe typically  a middle-aged guy, although I suppose age doesn't really play much of a role here, what's more important is that he's rather unsophisticated and, among other things perceived as unclassy that he does, drives grocery shopping to Sweden. It can also be used as an adjective so you could say that Norwegians shopping in Sweden are very Harry. The female equivalent is apparently Doris, and obviously as a name nerd when I first learned about these Norwegian stereotypes some years ago I was curious why Harry and Doris. Turns out that, just like I believe was the case in Sweden, in 1920’s, Norwegian lower-class parents would give their kids English names, which distinguished them from their upper-class peers whose parents preferred to stick with all the classic slike Ole and Sven. So the upper-class kids called the lower-class kids Harry, kind of collectively I guess. 

When I first heard this song it seriously made me laugh, I like how graphic it is that you can actually imagine the whole thing vividly and I like its humorous feel.

Enya – “Dark Sky Island”.

And after sharing a song by Maire Brennan for yesterday, for today I chose a song from her younger sister’s most recent album, the opening title track from it. Dark Sky Island takes its title and inspiration from Sark, one of the Channel Islands, which was designated the first dark sky island in the world and where its entire small population has an interesting way of living, adjusted to the sky, for example cars are not allowed there. Enya’s lyricist, Roma Ryan, clearly has a keen interest in all things relating to astronomy, so it’s no wonder that it has become a huge source of inspiration for her, and for Enya as well.

Song of the day (20th September) – The Chieftains ft. Maire Brennan – “Lullaby for the Dead”.

Hey people! 🙂

I thought I’d share this beautiful, very sad, Irish lullaby with you. I like a lot of lullabies and I love how Irish Celtic folk music is so full of lullabies. This one is soulfully sung by, probably well-known by now to the readers of this blog, Maire/Moya Brennan from Clannad, Enya’s sister, who is accompanied by the very popular Celtic music band from Dublin – The Chieftains – who were formed in the 60’s during the Celtic music revival in Ireland and often collaborate with other well-known Irish folk musicians.

Saara – “Superpowers”.

Hi people! 🙂
Today I have for you a song from a very interesting, Finnish (or actually half-Finnish, half-Swedish) singer and YouTube personality. Saara, born Sara Maria Forsberg, previously also known as Smo(u(kahontas, grew up travelling a lot, due to both her parents being Baptist missionaries. That’s why her English is so good. Since I love Finnish, I know well what it sounds like and I know what Finns sound in English and I would never have guessed that she’s Finnish based on her accent. Currently she is based in LA.
I’ve known this song in its acoustic version for a long time and have always liked it a lot. But since lately I’ve shared a lot of acoustic versions of songs, and here I like the standard, electronic version just as much, that’s the one I’m sharing.

Maire Brennan – “Big Rock”.

Hiya people! 🙂

For today I chose to share with you a Christian song from Maire Brennan. A lot of her lyrics feature more or less strong Christian themes, because she herself is, if I remember correctly, a devout Evangelical Christian. This song’s chorus is in Irish Gaelic, and as you can find out on

this great website,

they translate to:

 

Christ, cover me

Christ, guard me

Christ, keep me

Christ the King

|Christ, deliver me

Christ, guide me

Christ, teach me

Christ the King

Ruben – “Walls”.

Hiya people! 🙂

The song I want to share with you today is a debut single from a Norwegian singer Ruben. He debuted with it in 2018 and since then has become quite successful, and I must say I like a lot of his music. I’m sure this song can be very relatable for a lot of people. It sure is for me, even though I’m not a boy, as I also suppress things a lot. I usually prefer to let the steam out when I’m alone rather than have someone else see my walls falling, but it’s definitely good to have someone who can help and understand you in such a situation and will be there for you when you need it. I’m sharing the stripped version as I like it way more.

Roxen ft. Alexander Rybak – “Wonderland”.

Hiya people! 🙂

The singer whose song I’m sharing with you today is from a country that has never been represented on my blog musically so far. And of course I’m not talking about Alexander Rybak, who’s born in Belarus and bred in Norway and whose violin you can hear here, as I’ve shared his rendition of the Norwegian children’s song “Dyrene i Afrika” together with Superbarna a while back. It’s Roxen, who is from Romania, and as far as I’ve heard is a recognised artist in her home country by now, despite her young age and a relatively short career so far. She seems to be identified with the deep house genre, although I don’t know any other of her music besides this one song which I learned about through Sofi. More internationally, she might be known for her Eurovision participation this year, where she sang Amnesia but I guess it failed quite early on.

Like I said, I first heard Sofi play this song, because for many years Sofi has been a great fan of Alexander Rybak, crushing on him on and off. Since I personally quite appreciate his music and musical versatility as well, it was myself who introduced his music to her when she was merely a toddler or thereabouts. And she keeps loyally following him and his career, and she seems to have taken a liking for this song when it was released last year and listened to it a lot.

When I first heard it in her room I had a weird feeling and thought that if Sofi knew what it was about she wouldn’t listen to it for sure. So I made sure she knew, but she still does listen to it to this day because I guess in the end she still doesn’t understand the original lyrics so even if she theoretically knows what they’re about it doesn’t really affect her. It’s a real disonance to have someone like Sofi listen to a song like this.

I have grown to kind of like it myself, hence I’m sharing, but I still think it feels extremely depressing, which is even more accentuated by the upbeat melody and the kind of dancehall sound, and it feels so desperately escapist. Since addiction has been a pretty hot topic in my family lately, I feel all the more affected by it when I listen to it these days.

Question of the day.

What is your favourite word in the English vocabulary?

My answer:

I honestly wouldn’t be able to pick just one, in any language that I like. There are too many words I like and I like them in different ways, so it’s kinda like asking a child who she loves more, mummy or daddy. But I did decide to pick one word, just for the sake of this post.

When talking about favourite words, people often focus on the really sophisticated, long ones, or the particularly weird or funny slang words that they like, or some swear words that they find particularly useful, expressive and/or versatile. But people rarely talk about the really mundane, common words that are used on a daily basis. Perhaps they’re less thought about because they’re so rare, or perhaps no one likes them? So I decided to talk about one really mundane, simple English word that I LOVE very much, and perhaps part of why I love it so much is this simplicity. This word is sleep. No language out of those I know has a better word for the thing! The word sleep just says it all and encompasses everything about what sleep is. And it sounds so insanely cute. I like saying it. It’s so calm, peaceful and fluffy, like a sleeping baby, better even, like a sleeping kitten. In a tactile way, it feels really nice too. It’s also round and… not quite fluffy, because it’s made of something hard, metal I think, but it’s small and cute. And gustatorily it tastes like walnuts. The Polish word for sleep – sen –
feels insanely bland and flat in comparison. Plus at the same time it also means dream, not like a daydream but specifically the dream you get while you’re asleep, so it’s also not very logical because they’re too different things even if they occur together. If I’m Polish and it’s illogical to me, I guess it must be all the more illogical for non-native speakers. 😀 So mostly when I see the word sen without any context, I think dream, not sleep. It’s also cheesy, because synaesthetically it feels and tastes like cheese, perhaps because cheese is ser so it’s just one letter’s difference. And it’s not even good quality cheese in this case, it tastes kind of artificial. The Polish verb for to sleep is spać, and it’s also very boring, even more so actually, but I’m a big fan of some of its conjugations. Like the imperative form of this verb is śpij (SHPEEY) and that sounds so much better. Or you can ask someone “Śpisz?” (SHPEESh) (Are you asleep?). I wish the infinitive form was śpić, not spać, it would sound more like what it actually means. The Swedish sömn is way too heavy for a healthy kind of sleep, like you’re sleeping on particularly strong sleeping pills or something, or like you’re drunk and when you finally wake up, whenever that might be, you’ll be mightily hungover. Much like I always end up on Hydroxyzine. 😀 And the Welsh cwsg (COOSK) is really nice but too light in turn and just not enough personality (which is rare with Welsh words but here it’s just how it is), so like sleeping with no dreams and waking up at every smallest rustle. Sleep is just right. It’s the kind of healthy, peaceful sleep from which you wake up rested, happy and refreshed, and looking forward to when you can go to sleep again, but not because you’re sleepy or have nothing better to do, it’s just a nice state to be in.

What’s yours? 🙂

Maire Brennan – “Where We Once Met”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today I thought I’ll share with you something else from this Irish singer, I think this is a really nice piece. I like all the harp in it, and, as a gem stone lover and collector, all the gem stone references. 🙂 The word samhradh, which appears in this song regularly, means summer in Irish.

Roosberg – “The Author”.

Hi hi people! 🙂

Today’s song is from Finland. The people behind are a duo, for whom, from what I know, this is their first song on which they collaborated together, both in terms of writing and producing it. They are Jori Sjöroos and Christel Sundberg, the latter more commonly known as Chisu. While I don’t know anything about Jori Sjöroos, I’ve been familiar with Chisu’s music before and she’s quite successful in her home country. This song was written for the 2019 Finnish-British TV series The Moomin Valley. Never watched it, but I absolutely love Moomins, and I think this song is really cool, hence I’m sharing! 🙂

Rika – “Out Of Order”.

Hey people! 🙂

We had quite a dark and eerie song in this series yesterday, so let’s listen to something lighter today, and a lot more universal-sounding, but also from England. Rika is a British singer of extremely diverse heritage who seems to have gotten a lot of attention from music critics in her home country, and in particular some love from BBC Radio 1. Rika lives in London, however her father is Indian, and her mother is Serbian, from Hungary, I believe, and I’ve read about her saying that both Indian and Serbian music are dear to her heart and that she is influenced by them both.

Richard and Linda Thompson – “Did She Jump or Was She Pushed?”

Hiya people! 🙂

A very interesting song I have for you today. I got first fascinated and hooked on British folk rock I guess some time in 2015 and it was around then that I first became familiar with this couple’s music, both what they have recorded together and separately. My favourite British folk rock artist from the 70’s is unquestionably Sandy Denny (who almost managed to become one of my major faza people but even though it didn’t happen due to Vreeswijk still standing strong in the dominant faza position I still love her music very much) and thus all of the bands that she was a member of. One of those bands and probably one with which she’s most strongly associated was Fairport Convention, through which I’ve also become acquainted with Richard Thompson’s music, as he was one of the founders of the band, as well as the lead guitarist and songwriter for it. I think he’s a really good lyricist and there are a fair few songs by him that I like mostly because of interesting or otherwise captivating lyrics.

This is one of the very first songs by them as a duo that I’ve ever heard, thanks to Last.fm where I’d made my first British folk rock discoveries, and aside from appreciating Linda’s vocals and the arrangement in general, I got intrigued immediately by the lyrics and every time I listened to these lyrics afterwards I kept wondering, did she jump, or was she pushed? 😀 I don’t like crime novels, detective fiction books, I don’t even read a lot of mystery, I think a lot of it is horribly overrated and just not my thing, but I like lyrics which are like stories. Then later on I was wondering whether “she” was someone specific so I did a bit of research, and no, she’s not, I don’t think so, although in one interview Richard Thompson said that, after writing this, he realised that

“it could be about Sandy Denny”,

or some other people he knew. He didn’t say specifically that it IS, and I doubt he had a clear intention of writing a song about her specifically, also I haven’t heard of her death ever being suspected to be a murder, but, thinking about it in general, the similarity is a bit eerie. Sandy Denny had a lot of mental health issues, a lot of it sounds like she could be bipolar, and one way in which she regularly self-harmed, or, as some people say, tried to get attention, was by throwing herself down from stairs, which was supposed to be something like a party trick. She also abused alcohol and drugs so she experienced a lot of accidental falls due to that as well. One time she hit her head on concrete when falling down a staircase during holidays in Cornwall. She had a lot of headaches afterwards and was prescribed a painkiller which can potentially be fatal in combination with alcohol. In April 1978, she stayed at her friend’s house alone, and was eventually found unconscious at the foot of the stairs. She went into a coma due to brain haemorrhage and died in hospital a few days later. So upon discovering this connection, albeit so dark and eerie, between this song and Sandy, I grew to appreciate it even more.

This song comes from the couple’s last collaborative album before their breakup – “Shoot Out The Lights” – and is the only song on the album and I guess also the only or one of very few songs of the duo to which the lyrics weren’t written solely by Richard but co-written with his then-wife.

Rhys Lewis – “No Right To Love You”.

Hi people! 🙂

Yesterday we had a female pop singer Rhys from Sweden/US, and today we’re having a song from a male pop singer from the UK with the same first name. Actually when I first came across his music somewhere on Spotify I thought he must be Welsh, because Rhys is originally a Welsh name and very common there, and Lewis is also a very common Welsh surname, but it doesn’t seem like he has any connection to Wales, he is from England. I am not familiar with all of his music or don’t listen to him regularly, but I like this plus a few more songs of his, and this one seems to be popular with some Polish radio station so I guess his music must be quite well-known at least here in Europe.

Rhys – “Maybe I Will Learn”.

For today, I chose to share with you something from this young, Swedish-American singer. Rhys has an American father and a Swedish mother, she grew up in Portland in Oregon, and later on she moved to Sweden with her family, where she discovered her passion for all things art – theatre, music and dance. Now she is a well-known singer-songwriter in Sweden, collaborating a lot with the Swedish producer Jörgen Elofsson, who apparently has also produced people like Britney Spears, and other famous Swedish musicians like Felix Sandman, whose song “Lovisa” I think I might’ve shared on here in the past. Many of Rhys’ songs (I guess including this one) have become very popular in Sweden. I like most of her songs, and I think she’s pretty good, and it’s a pity she’s not more recogniseable outside of Sweden, or maybe she is but I don’t know, because I think her music definitely has the potential to do very well also abroad and be liked by lots of people.

Rachael McShane & The Cartographers – “The Molecatcher”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today I have for you also a folk song, but an English one this time around. This cheeky tune is included in the Roud folk song index and has been known to folk song collectors all over Britain for a long time, but I’ve read that it’s been particularly popular in Essex, and Tawney Common where the lyrics sung by Rachael McShane are set is somewhere there. Rachael McShane herself is also well-known on the British folk music scene as a former member of the group Bellow Head.

Question of the day.

What did your school teach you that turned out to be a complete lie?

My answer:

That you absolutely HAVE to pronounce the -ing endings in English with the standard English ng sound, or the velar nasal consonant linguistically speaking, as opposed to the way most Polish people with little practice in English pronunciation/accents tend to do.

When I was in my later years of primary and then early secondary, we had an English teacher who was generally quite demanding and also nitpicky in some respects and seemed to genuinely like creating the sort of image of a very stern and not particularly connected to her students teacher. Understandably, a lot of people who didn’t do very well at English were very stressed of having lessons with her, and even many who did well at English were still stressed. I did well at English for my class’ standards and didn’t like neither her nor English as a subject at all and found it extremely boring most of the time, yet I didn’t find it very stressful for some reason, guess because I generally didn’t overly care about grades. She had a habit of choosing a few people at the beginning of the lesson whom she would question from the previous material, and people usually dreaded it very much. One of the things she was particularly nitpicky for some reason were the -ings. Which would be absolutely okay with me as an accent freak (although I definitely didn’t have a normal English accent back then yet) if not the fact that it was very hypocritical, because she herself said them wrong half the time and lots of people noticed it and were annoyed about it, and generally looking back from my current perspective she didn’t seem to have the best accent. Neither did most of her students, thanks to this method, including, like I mentioned, myself. It was frustrating because, as is always the case in schools, there were children who learned slower than others, and still lacked some vocabulary or didn’t understand some grammar and she would also overwhelm them with such tiny details. Or on the other hand there were quite a lot of people who were good at English, especially in writing, but were shy when speaking because of stuff like this.

Years later I was learning English by myself, having a lot of fun with it, and immersing myself in a lot of different accents, discovering a lot of dialects, especially British ones, and their weird vocab etc. and trying to imitate all these accents and dialects and stuff and learn to tell one from another. And I grew quite fond of northern England accents, though frankly I love all of the British accents, when people ask me which one I love most I always say the one I’m currently hearing, because I can never decide. Yet I do prefer the northern ones slightly because they’re less ever-present and I like the rusticality I guess. 😀 And I started to notice that people from like York or Sheffield, I guess also some people in Manchester and Liverpool areas, would say their -ings “wrong”. The first couple times I figured I must have misheard it or something, you don’t say -ing like that, after all, but then I found it stated somewhere explicitly that people in the north of England do pronounce ing with the g. It IS different than the way Polish people typically do, because it’s still softer and more nasal, but still, it reminded me of that teacher and it made me laugh. I’m too used to saying my -ings “right” at this point, but I sometimes say it the northern way when I feel like it.

I personally pay A LOT of attention to things like accent in a language, because it’s freakishly interesting for me as someone whose native language has developed to be very universal across the country, and because at this point I can’t not pay the attention. But generally I agree with most of language teachers and mentors and learners and what not that accent isn’t the primary thing to be paid attention to when teaching/learning a language. Pronunciation and language melody and being understandable to natives as much as possible – yes – but purely accent not necessarily. I guess it seriously can affect the self-esteem and create a lot of mental blocks for people, who not only have to focus on a load of grammar rules (usually dryly memorised by heart because some people just like tormenting others and/or themselves like that), but also on the mini details like the -ings, and then when they actually get to talk to someone in their target language they can’t because they’re scared that the other person will laugh at them or kill them because they said one word wrong. Not to mention when we’re talking children. And especially when the teacher herself can’t show how to say something properly, so that people maybe don’t even realise how it should sound actually. From what I know, a lot of people, not just me, are a bit puzzled why foreign language classes aren’t taught in the target language altogether. I think that would make it way easier for students to learn to pronounce these -ings. As it is, a single individual hardly gets to say more than a handful of example sentences they’ve learnt from the textbook, and the majority of the lesson, all the real teacher-students interaction, happens in Polish, in most schools anyway. When people don’t talk or listen, but instead fill in the gaps in the book and memorise useless crap, how can they learn the fun stuff like accents, or whatever really? And, most of all, I wonder why it’s not solely native speakers who teach their native languages. They do have a different perspective than someone who’s just learning this language, for sure, and may not understand some mistakes they make due to their first language’s structure, but overall I think the upsides outweigh the downsides here. And then there are also some people who just don’t hear mini differences like that in a foreign language, like our Sofi.

How about your school? 🙂

Song of the day (4th August) – Child of Mind – “Hillingdon Hill”.

Hey people! 🙂

I decided to share with you another song from Declan Galbraith, a.k.a. Child Of Mind. By the way, I see a lot of people coming to me from Google with search phrases like “Declan Galbraith 2021” or even “Declan Galbraith death (people, how can you even Google such a thing?! 😱 ) and that makes me wonder more and more often as I see this what’s actually going on with him now and will he be doing anything more with this Child Of Mind project. Because no, even though he’s one of my

faza peeps,

I have no idea what he’s doing now, haha. I heard that there were some problems with his record label, making it impossible for him to release new music, but don’t know if it’s still an ongoing situation. He’s been in the music field for most of his life though, including childhood, of course, so perhaps he just needs a break or maybe decided to leave it altogether, which would be very sad, but understandable, because why not try something else.

Anyways, back to the actual topic of this post, I think this is one of my favourites song from his Child of Mind era, not counting Strange World which is definitely my most favourite one of all. Hillingdon Hill, as you may or may not know, is a place in the UK, I believe in London or nearby.

 

Enya – “If I Could Be Where You Are”.

Hey people! 🙂

Apparently, this is one of Enya’s favourite songs from her album Amarantine. I think this is also one of her saddest songs ever. Which may be part of why it’s so beautiful and why it is also one of my favourites. I think it captures very well the feeling when you love and care about someone but don’t even know where they are, which must be an awful feeling to experience.