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

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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?! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ ) 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 – “Storms In Africa”.

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The song I’d like to show you today, actually has two parts, which is why this song is also known as Storms in Africa pt. 1. This first part is in Irish Gaelic, and the second one is in English. The inspiration for it has come from Nicky Ryan – Enya’s manager and producer – who came up with the title. He got inspired with the arpeggiator in the Juno 60 synth which Enya uses for a lot of her music and which is one of her favourites. They were playing around with it and he told Enya to compose something that would use this arpeggiator sound. And the lyrics of course come from Roma Ryan. Here’s the translation:

 

How far is it fromโ€ฆ

How far is it fromโ€ฆ

Walk through the storms.

Go through the storms.

How far is it from

the start of the storm?

How far is it from

the beginning to the end?

Take heart!

Walk through the storms.

Take heart

going through the storms!

A great journey.

Come through the storms.

A long Journey.

Look through the storms.

Katinka Band – “Du rejser” (You Are Travelling).

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Katinka Band is a Danish group founded by the singer Katinka Bjerregaard. I’ve been vaguely familiar with their music for a while, but had been listening to some Danish music recently and came across them again and decided to familiarise myself a bit better. I have to say I really like Katinka’s music. This song feels so powerful and emotional to me, so I decided to share this one with you today, however it’s possible that I’ll share some more of her music in the future, who knows. I’m not sure I translated the title correctly, because while I do know that resa and reise both mean (to) travel in Swedish and Norwegian respectively, and I am fairly sure that rejse means the same thing in Danish as well, Google also claims that rejse in Danish may mean leave, and in the

translation of the lyrics that I’ve found herethe title has been translated as You’re Leaving. So, as someone with no idea about Danish other than what I can understand via Swedish and some random bits of vocab that my brain has accumulated somehow, I should have probably humbly accepted that I am wrong, but for me the travel meaning seems more adequate in the context of the lyrics as a whole. Here’s the translation:

ย ย  It’s not the colour which has changed
It’s all the light you’re always hiding
You’ve parked your silence here with me
But I can’t see where the road ends
It’s tough being purposeless
When you always carry your baggage around
But you’ve wandered here for a thousand years
Can’t you just come back to me?
Do you hear that you’re supposed to be here?
Do you hear that I can’t be alone anymore?
Took the train, I just let it happen
What do you hope to find?
My face is hard to see
When everything is passing by so quickly
Do you still sail on corrugated cardboard?
Living in castles without air?
Or did you get warm at
One of your countless hotels?
Do you hear that you’re supposed to be here?
Do you hear that I can’t be alone anymore?
At every station, entirely without knowing anyone
Why don’t you come home?
‘Cause I can see that it’s not you
But me who’s getting blind
Do you hear that you’re supposed to be here?
Do you hear that I can’t be alone anymore?

Enya – “If I Could Be Where You Are”.

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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.

Kati Ran ft. Heilung – “Flamme” (Flame).

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Today I have a song for you from a very interesting, international music project, which is fairly new to me. Heilung are three people (Kai Uwe Faust from Germany, Christopher Juul from Norway and Maria Franz from Denmark, whom I was also familiar with from her other band Euzen and collaboration with Valravn/Virelai). Their name means healing in German and they make experimental Nordic folk music, using a lot of interesting instruments from the Old Norse period, as well as singing in multiple languages, like German, English, Norwegian, but also Old Norse or Old English. There’s plenty of references to Germanic and Old Norse mythology. Since it’s very much pagan folk, they didn’t make it to the list of my favourite Nordic folk artists, as I am Christian, but I think their music is very interesting simply because of their approach to it and how involved they are in this and in recreating this music as accurately as possible, it’s clear that they definitely know what they’re doing. This project surely has lots of character and I always like it. Kati Ran, in turn, is a Dutch solo singer who also makes Old Norse music. The second part of her stage name comes from the Norse goddess Ran – a personification of the sea, wife of the jรถtunn Agir who also personifies the sea, and mother of nine daughters who all personify waves. –

This song is sung in Norwegian, and below is a translation that I’ve found. In the lyrics mention Norns, who are the Norse deities of destiny, much like the Greek Moirai or the Roman Parcae. One verse is not in Norwegian and, to me, it appears to be Old Norse, but I could be wrong, perhaps it’s Icelandic or something.

 

Sing to my heart

Come onto the ground

The weave is my faith

When the Norns cry

Sing to my heart

Like a flame

Light up the threads

Burns down lovers

Sing to me

Closer than strings

Weave your way to me

Spread your wings

The creation wins

Skin on skin

Because when we meet

Fires burn

Madr hverr lifir at munom sinom

Sing to my heart

Come onto the ground

Sian James – “Cysga Di Fy Mhlentyn Tlws” (Sleep My Pretty Child).

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Since it’s already early evening here, I thought I’d share a lullaby with you, and I picked this beautiful Welsh one performed by Celtic harpist and singer Sian James, whose music I’ve already shared on my blog before. Here is the lyrics translation that I’ve found:

 

Sleep you now, my pretty child,

Sleep you now, my pretty child,

Sleep until the morning,

Sleep until the morning.

The door is closed, and safely locked,

Lullaby, my pretty child,

Sleep until the morning,

Sleep until the morning.

All the birds are sleeping too,

Lullaby, my little one,

Sleep until the morning,

Sleep until the morning.

The wooden horse is by your side,

Lullaby, oh darling mine,

Sleep until the morning,

Sleep until the morning.

Tiny Ruins – “Bird in the Thyme”.

Today I decided to share this very new to me artist. Tiny Ruins is the stage name of British-born (Bristol), Kiwi-bred singer Holly Fullbrook, but over time it has evolved into a fully formed band. This song is the only one by her I know so far, I heard it last week for the first time, but because I like it a lot and it makes me think I could like her music overall a lot, I keep wanting to have a proper listen to more of her music but still haven’t gotten to it. I think I will today, finally. I really like this song musically for its minimalism and I like the subtle word play in the lyrics.

Song of the day (27th July) – Y Trwbz – “Tic Toc”.

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We haven’t listened to anything from Y Trwbz in a while, so let’s do it today. This song was released in 2015, when Mared Williams was with the band as the vocalist. Sadly, I don’t really have much of a clear idea what the song is about, so can’t share that with you, but still I think it’s great musically.

Billy Lockett ft. Violet Skies – “Talk”.

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Last year I shared two songs from Billy Lockett, who was probably the closest of all the potential would-be’s to become my faza peep (but I’m so happy it didn’t happen, in the end, even though I really do like him quite a bit ๐Ÿ˜€ ). Recently I heard this song a few times on different BBC radio stations, and I thought I’d share it with you. Violet Skies is also a singer known to me whom I like, plus she’s Welsh!

Auri – “Night 13”.

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Today, I have a song from Finland for you. Auri is the after hours project of Tuomas Holopainen (most well-known as the leader of Nightwish), his wife Johanna Kurkela, who is a prominent folk singer and violinist in her homeland, with as it seems quite wide musical interests, and another Nightwish member and uilleann pipes player – Troy Donockley. – The three had plans to collaborate on something more folky and as they say they knew they had to do it at some point, but as they all had quite busy lives, the chance only happened in 2018. Their sound could be described as prog folk, or folk metal. Both the band’s name and a lot of motives in their music are inspired by The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss (where a female character is called Auri).

I used to listen to Nightwish years ago, and a lot of other symphonic/Gothic metal like that, now I no longer do, initially because my views on life and all sorts of things have changed and I considered it no longer congruent with my current beliefs and values system to listen to stuff like Nightwish, and then I guess I just naturally sort of grew out of that phase. But while I’m not like very hugely into Auri, I really appreciate their sound and I’ve liked and followed Johanna Kurkela for years.

This is one of their songs that I really wonder what it might be about, I’ve had countless ideas, haha. I guess though most likely it’s inspired by something I simply have no clue about (perhaps The Kingkiller Chronicle as well which I’ve never read). Anyway, it is an interesting song.

2002 – “Cariad” (Love).

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So yesterday I wrote about how this group’s music very often sounds kind of sensorily creepy to me, but the song by them that I’m going to share with you today sounds anything but creepy. What drew my attention to it is that it’s quite obviously inspired by the Welsh language, and as it seems especially the Welsh concept of cwtch. This enigmatically looking word, as you’ll figure out from the song, is pronounced cootch, and if we wanted to say what it means in English, we’d say a hug or a cuddle, except it’s something more than that. The situation here is very similar as with the Welsh word hiraeth, which is usually translated as longing, but the real feeling behind it is a lot more difficult to convey through English. If I understand it correctly, cwtch is a particularly safe, yet unreserved and containing type of hug, one you really invest yourself in. The cosy feeling behind it is kind of similar to the Danish hygge concept. But also, cwtch is a word that is particularly tied to the Welsh identity. I may well be wrong about it, and if I am and if there are any Welsh people that are gonna read it feel free to correct me (I don’t even live in Wales, after all), but I have a strong impression that while it’s both Welsh speakers and English-speaking Welsh people who use this word, it seems to be more frequently used by the latter, as a way of connecting with the language as part of their national identity even though they don’t speak it fluently or in daily life. I tend to hear it a lot more often when someone is speaking English, especially people from South Wales, so I have a feeling it’s more like a Wenglish word, especially that it actually comes from the Middle English word couche, meaning a resting or hiding place. The “tch” cluster is also not common in Welsh. Yet, somehow the cwtch is almost like a symbol of being Welsh, an essence of Welshness, and also one of the Welsh words that people from outside of Wales are most familiar with, if they’re familiar with any Welsh words. I guess only popty ping, meaning microwave, is more famous, except it doesn’t seem to really be in use, because the actual Welsh word for microwave is meicrodon. ๐Ÿ˜€ Kind of like with this village in Anglesey called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, which everyone calls just Llanfairpwllgwyngyll or simply Llanfair PG, and the sesquipedalian official name, from what I understand, is only used for the sake of tourists.

Anyway, as a Welsh learner, I thought it was really cool that this American band embraced even just these two Welsh words, cariad (love, sweetheart) and cwtch, because this is such a small, plus endangered language, so I figure it’s always somehow heartening with languages like that when someone knows even a word. I also really like the angelic vocals of Sarah Copus in this piece.

2002 – “Lady of the Moon”.

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Overall, I can’t say I have a lot of love for this band. They’re way too new age-y for me, that’s the first thing, and also while some of their songs are really nice, quite an astounding amount of them just doesn’t agree with my brain, so to say, in a sensory way. They often sound properly sensorily creepy to me. And, actually, this song is no exception. Everything about it – the melody, the harmonies, the different single sounds in it and it overall – it just sounds kind of creepy even though I know I’m probably the only one and that generally it’s supposed to sound relaxing. But, unlike most of their other music, despite I still feel this way about how it sounds, after having known it for many years, somehow I also do like it and can appreciate its beauty. Sometimes that is the case that even when something sounds sensorily scary to me at the same time it’s still very beautiful and appealing on some level. In the past, the creeped out feeling was the main thing I felt when listening to this, but now it’s the appreciation for it that wins.

2002 are wife and husband Pamela and Randy Copus, and their daughter Sarah. They live in Texas and, as I said, they make new age music, that could also be classified as neoclassical. There is yet another song of them that I like (I only like two, and that other one is not creepy at all) and I think I’ll share that one tomorrow.

Trollguten – “Skogen” (The Forest).

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For today I thought I’d share with you one of my recent discoveries when it comes to Norwegian music, which I’ve found very interesting. Even though I don’t speak or learn Norwegian as such, only Swedish, I do seem to feel some kind of affinity with Norwegian music, and a lot of that music happens to be somewhere on the electronic music spectrum. This also is the case with this artist.

Trollguten (which means the troll boy in English) is Norwegian producer and singer-songwriter Kristoffer Bjรถrntvedt (or maybe it’s with the Norwegian รธ, I’m not sure as I’ve seen both spellings), who has also made music under quite a few other aliases, playing around with different kinds of electronic music, from electro pop to what they call russ music in Norway which is like a dance subgenre I guess we could say, often with easy-cheesy, cringey or downright obscene lyrics, particularly associated with russefeiring, or russ celebration, that is when high school pupils (russ) are in their last semester of school and celebrate the fact that they’re finishing high school and are now adults so they can drink and apparently often do a lot during that time, but from what I understand it’s also just generally party music, regardless whether you’re a russ or not.

I’m not going to mention all the different names/alter egos/whatchamacallit he’s known as, because with at least one of them (the one that’s most successful and under which he makes the aforementioned russ music) he’s anonymous and doesn’t want people to know who he is. Actually, I wonder if it isn’t a bit of a Pulcinella’s secret because, while I myself happened to come across his less well-known music projects first (which is very fortunate because otherwise I’d probably not be encouraged to delve deeper), there seem to be a lot of people in the interwebs who know only this russ music activity of his, and are wondering who he is, and it doesn’t require any special detective skills to figure that out, there’s even a thread about him on what seems to be a pretty popular Swedish forum. Still, I believe privacy is a crucially important thing so I’m not gonna reveal the secret. ๐Ÿ˜€ I suppose if any young Norwegian/Swedish folks, will be reading this, they’ll guess whom I’m talking about anyway. Also if I wrote the sort of lyrics he does under that particular pseudonym I think I’d also much prefer to stay anonymous, hahah, although for him it’s apparently not this that’s the reason.

Anyways, the first project of his that I’ve heard of, about a month ago, and that also took off quite well in his country as it seems, was Travelle, and I liked it a lot immediately. It’s maybe not what I’d typically listen to, even when it comes to electronic music, but something about it really spoke to me, and also I really like when people are raw and real with their music like that, expressive but without being overly exalted. And then I learned about his other musical activity, and even though definitely not all of his music spoke to me, I really liked his versatility, I always like that in people, whether it’s in music or whatever other area. And I like it when people who do music solo do everything themselves, as then you can get quite a consistent picture of the mind behind it. Another thing that I always appreciate in musicians that he also is is that he’s really prolific. Sadly, the project he’s most prolific in is that russ one, and he hasn’t done anything as Trollguten in ages, and nothing new as Travelle in couple years either, but I suppose he invests himself most in the russ stuff because it’s simply what people want the most, and so it pays off the most, as he hasn’t got quite as much attention with all the other stuff as with that.

And then I also happened to learn that not only does he make music in Norwegian, Swedish and English, but he also apparently loves languages and can speak German and Spanish. Somehow I would never have thought that this could be the case. Moreover, he tends to speak in quite a peculiar mix of Swedish, Norwegian and English from what I’ve noticed. Mixing languages is fun! And I think it must be all the more fun when you live in a country where people can actually understand you when you do so. ๐Ÿ˜€ I wish I could do that, but everyone around me is monoglot and they’d think I’ve gone even more crazy than ever. On the other hand, I always used to mix up languages spontaneously and involuntarily when I still used to drink alcohol, so maybe it has this sort of effect on him as well.

I think I might share some of his Travelle music in the future as well, but since Trollguten was an earlier thing and it’s also really really good, I thought we’d listen to this first. He’s originally from near Stavanger in the southwest of Norway, although is currently based in Oslo, and as Trollguten, he sang his lyrics in the Stavanger dialect.

I’m not good at understanding Norwegian by ear, and even looking at the lyrics I don’t get everything so wouldn’t be able to translate it for you, but from what I gather, he/the lyrical subject’s on some trip in the forest with a girl, that would have been nice, except she’s being in a quarrelsome mood or something like that, and wants to leave him, so he’s trying to convince her how bad an idea it is, because they’re deep in the forest and because she’s afraid of the dark, and allergic to birch, on top of that.

Alan Stivell – “Plijadur Ha Displijadur”.

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Today I chose to share with you this short, solo harp piece played by the Breton Celtic harpist Alan Stivell, which I think is a traditional tune. I only know that it originates from Brittany, but since I can’t speak Breton, I don’t even know what its title means, and don’t know anything else about it. Still, it sounds really nice to me.

Enya – “Boadicea”.

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This song of Enya’s is one of my most favourites and one of her first songs that I grew to like. I always found it very soothing with all the humming, even though in fact its inspiration is anything but soothing. Boadicea, as you may or may not know, also spelled as Boudicca, was a Celtic queen of the Iceni tribe located in what’s currently known as East Anglia, who led a revolt against Ancient Romans. Despite the meaning of her name (“victorious) she was eventually defeated, but didn’t want to accept being humiliated by her enemies, so she decided to poison herself instead. This track was sampled an infinite amount of times by different artists, including once without her prior permission, so it sounds familiar to many people, even those who aren’t really into Enya as such.

Mared – “Over Again”.

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Today I decided that we’d listen to a really stunning piece from Mared Williams, also known just as Mared. This is definitely one of my most favourite of her songs. It deals with the topic of moving away from where you grew up and used to live, but coming back there and trying to keep in touch with friends. Mared is originally from Llannefydd in north Wales, although as far as I know she now lives at least some of the time in London. She is also the vocalist in the Welsh rock group Y Trwbz, as has been one of my faza people – Jacob Elwy. – She’s also in a relationship with Morgan Elwy, Jacob’s brother, with whom she sometimes collaborates also outside of Y Trwbz. This song was produced by the Drwm recording studio, and people like Osian Huw Williams from the well-known on the Welsh-language scene band Candelas, or Branwen Haf Williams from Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog were involved in the recording.

Nansi Richards – “Nes Atat Ti” (Nearer To Thee).

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Today, let’s listen to the rendition of this Christian hymn played by the Welsh harpist Nansi Richards, otherwise known as Telynores Maldwyn. Its original, English title is “Nearer, My God, to Thee” and was written by Sarah F. Adams, with the melody composed by Lowell Mason. I found it interesting when I first heard this piece played by Nansi Richards that not only do I know it, as a hymn with this melody is also known in Polish Catholic church (don’t know how about the Catholic church in other countries) but even under more or less the same title as the Welsh version. I was later quite surprised to learn that the author of the lyrics, Sarah F. Adams, was actually a Unitarian, and while when I had a look to compare the English and Polish lyrics they’re quite different and the Polish ones are only loosely based on the original theme, it’s interesting that this hymn made its way here.

Hep Stars – “Sagan om Lilla Sofi” (The Story of Little Sofi).

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This Swedish song is over 50 years old but it’s brand new to me. And I like collecting cool songs with a Sofi/Sofia/Sofie/Sophia/Sophie in them, so it sparked my interest right away when I heard it. I’ve often mentioned on here that I always listen to some music quietly at night, or if not music from Spotify then some radio in one of my favourite languages. And last night I was listening to the Swedish public station P4, and that’s where I heard this song, in the middle of the night. Funnily enough, my Sofi was here too. It’s been freakishly hot here, and also unbearably humid, and Sofi has like a double room. There’s just a normal, big room that she uses during the day, and then there’s a hole in the wall where there is another room and she sleeps there, it’s like a little cave or something, the ceiling is very low there and there’s only a very small window. And as it’s a very small and tight space, it heats up very quickly. Sofi used to sleep in her main room and used that little one for playing video games or other stuff like that, but then she decided that she wants to make the little room into a bedroom, only she didn’t predict how hellish it would get in the summer. And so Sofi couldn’t sleep last night and came to me at about 2 AM, asking if she could sleep here, because I have AC in here.

She had to make herself a makeshift bed on the floor as it would be quite unbearable for both of us to sleep together in my bed, and as she was making it, this song played on the radio. ๐Ÿ˜€ I wouldn’t even pay much attention to it because it was just playing very softly in the background, but Sofi heard it and was laughing because it sounded funny to her and was asking why do I listen to such weird, antiquated-sounding stuff. ๐Ÿ˜€ So then I listened more closely and agreed that something about it sounds funny, and I turned the volume up a little bit, and then I realised that it’s about a “lilla Sofi”, so we were both laughing that they’re spying on us. Even though it was funny and even though I usually don’t feel older Swedish music really, I made sure to memorise a bit of lyrics and decided to check it out properly today and I really quite like it. It’s a really sad song though, while at the same time I still think it’s funny.

I’m not perfectly sure if it’s Sofi or Sofie in the title, as I’ve seen both, but Sofi seems to occur more frequently.

The song was written by Benny Andersson (from ABBA, except ABBA wasn’t a thing yet for a couple years) and Lars Berghagen, and released in 1968.

Here’s my literal English translation of it:

 

Little Sofi, she shines like a sun,

Makes a wreath of meadow flowers and violets,

The sky is shining nicely blue as she slowly goes home,

Sits down by her gate,

Holds the wreath against her cheek

Then a song is heard, then a cloud of dust is seen,

A little soldier is marching along the road,

He has striped trousers and he has a big rifle,

He is marching so pluckily,

A little, big soldier

Little Sofi, she shouts โ€Hello to you!

My name is Sofi, come here and play with meโ€

But then the soldier replies

โ€No, I have to hurry up

I am going far away

The whole world is on fireโ€

โ€žMay I join you, I promise to be nice

Weโ€™ll surely be back here by the eveningโ€

But then he answers her

โ€žIt will be far for you to go

Stay here my little friend

For I will come soon again

Day turns to night, and months to years

And little Sofi, she waits every spring

But the wind that is drawing toward north

Can give the answer but has no words

Never comes back again

So she is still waiting for sure