Today, I have for you a very interesting song by Cornelis Vreeswijk. I’ve always found it very interesting and have wondered what it’s trying to convey. I mean of course birds are partly a metaphor and partly a comparison for humans and various constraints of their existence, but some things here seem to have different layers of meaning and I don’t know if I get it all right. The lyrics to this song were written by Cornelis, but I’m sure that anyone who has some more interest in his music would pick up that the same could not be true about this interesting tune, and they’d be right, because it was composed by the jazz musician Björn J:son Lindh, who also plays piano here. The song comes from one of my favourite albums as a whole by Cornelis, Poem, Ballader och Lite Blues (Poems, Ballads and a Bit of Blues). One line in this song has quite an unusual grammatical structure, which I find kind of confusing so I translated it in two ways because I’m just not sure which one makes more sense, and perhaps neither is very good.
Birds who are old have their own forest Birds who are sick do not sing anything Birds who are in love do not buy a ring Birds never sit at a bird pub The souls of the birds never know about birds [/The birds never know about the birds’ souls]
Birds who are dead have no grave The one who was a bird was not seen And she who got wings immediately flew away Birds that can remember are a rare species No one can fly on their own when they want The birds’ grandfather eats raw eggs Birds that are sad grow beards Grandpa’s parrot is damn smart He has always been unlucky in love No bird understands what he desires But something’s not quite right somewhere Birds who can fly, I sure love you But I will never fly again
Last month, I shared with you Visa om ett Rosenblad by Cornelis Vreeswijk. Today I thought we could listen to another version of it, sung by Cornelis’ son Jack. If I had to say which version I like more I’d have a really hard time because I find them both really beautiful and gripping, each in its own way. I wrote the translation and shared some thoughts about the song in the post with the original version.
Today I really want to share with you an original song by Jack Vreeswijk, from his album Underbart (Wonderful). It has a bit of an emo vibe, which you can find out for yourselves, as Bibielz were able to translate it. Bibielz couldn’t, however, find the complete lyrics anywhere, so had to just do it by ear. As you might or might not recall, it wasn’t the first time I’ve translated Jack by ear, and it wasn’t particularly difficult this time either. . The only fragment I found a little unclear was the line that I translated as “you are marked by grief”, although I’m not sure that’s what he’s actually singing, because what I hear is actually “You are marked over grief”, which, as far as I know, doesn’t really sound natural in Swedish and I haven’t found any other examples of the word “over” being used in this way in Swedish, so either I’m completely misunderstanding it, or just this one word, or it’s some phrase or construction I’m unfamiliar with. I’m sharing Jack’s live performance of this song rather than the album version.
Today I’d like to share with you a lovely, kind of bittersweet and very jazzy song from Cornelis Vreeswijk. The melody to this song was actually composed by Georg Riedel, who is a Czech-born Swedish jazz musician and who, after Cornelis’ death, released an album called Cornelis vs Riedel, with his arrangements of Cornelis’ poems, sung by his daughter Sarah and Nikolai Dunger, several of which I’ve shared on here in the past.
I like this song for quite a few different reasons, but I think mostly because, while it sounds like a very clear allegory of the oh so commonly occurring and depicted, classic theme in romantic relationships where a man manipulates a woman just to hurt her and eventually leave, over the years, as I’ve been listening to this song again and again, I have realised that it also works as an allegory for many other less obvious things, or has not so obvious mini allegories within it, though no idea if it was a conscious/deliberate thing on Cornelis’ part. Perhaps it’s just one of those things in which everyone sees something a little different, or the same individual sees something a little different in it with each listen. And then I’m pretty sure that, on a more personal level for Cornelis, Ann-Katrin Rosenblad (a character who frequently appears in his songs and poems), or her real-life counterpart(s) must also be present somewhere here, it must be about a “rosenblad” for a reason. Regardless, I like how sensitively all of these allegories are handled here. I also do really like it musically, even though regular people on here know that I am generally not overly big on jazz. The translation below is Bibielz. Bibielz had no particular issues writing it, because the original lyrics are quite easy and uncomplicated language-wise, so it should be more or less alright.
Once upon a time, there was a little rose petal
And the rose on which she grew was red
Then one day she fell off because the rose was dead
Then an icy wind passed by, then she was happy
Because the wind was a cheerful and fiery guy
Who was on his way from south to north
He blew her ear full of beautiful words
Come, sweetheart, said the wind, come
Then she got dizzy
She couldn’t resist what he said
She gave him everything he asked for
He brought her with him to a big rich city
Here will the two of us live, he said.
And she said yes
But the wind was an unfaithful specimen
Who only wanted to tumble around in the sky
He blew her away from himself, she fell down into the mud
Today, I’d like to share with you a song from a very interesting Swedish group that I recently discovered. RO.T (Rebecka O’Nils Trio) set Swedish-language poetry from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries to music. They are influenced by classical and folk music. Apart from Rebecka O’Nils who composes melodies for the poems that the group performs, the other two thirds of the trio are Jenny Klefbom, who arranges harmonies for the songs, and William Bülow O’Nils who arranges them for guitar.
This particular song comes from their debut album, which focuses entirely on the poetry of Harriet Löwenhjelm. Löwenhjelm was born in the latter half of the 19th century. She was artistically inclined from an early age and, originally, she wrote her poems as a way to complement her drawings and paintings. Some of her poems are very well-known in Sweden from what I’ve read. Sadly, she lived only until her early thirties, as she had contracted tuberculosis, and spent her last months in a sanatorium in Småland.
I like the poem itself, as it definitely speaks to my angsty nature, but RO.T’s interpretation makes it even more beautiful and full of meaning.
The (possibly slightly inept, and literal, not poetic) translation below is written by Bibielz.
On the second day of Christmas, I want to share with you another Christmas song that I have no clue why I never remembered to share it on previous Christmases on here, because I’ve liked it for years. Except unlike yesterday’s and Christmas Eve’s songs, this one is not a carol, not even a traditional song, though sung by a folk singer. I truly love this song as such, and Sofia’s beautiful vocal is always a pleasure to listen to as well. She is accompanied by Martin Hederos on the piano, and I decided to share a live version. The translation below is written by Bibiels. In case someone is curious/confused about the falleri fallera fallerej thing and what it means, it’s just, what do they call it? Non-lexical vocables? lol, well, anyway, each language has some of their own, and a fair amount of Scandinavian and apparently German music as well has “falleri fallera” in it. I actually tried to find out if it still might mean something more that I was not aware of but it doesn’t seem to be the case. And here it fits because it’s about the falling snow so it is similar to the word falling (faller). Ironically, here it is rain that is falling right now and has been falling for a few hours. 😀
I’m writing a Christmas card to you now
I hope you are feeling better
That the snow is falling coolly over your worries
That you have found home
I am writing with pen on paper
Just like I did before
The cold snow is falling at my window
Against cobblestone and at the door
It’s falling white, fallera, falleri
We have a thousand memories left, falleri fallera
And we fell with the snow and the night that time
And I will never forget you, fallerej
I am writing a Christmas card to you now
And I send you a thousand little angels
Who shall watch over the children’s beds
And stroke your worry to rest
I am writing without ink and without pen
On lines that no one has seen
There are thousands of cards that were never sent
This is one of those
It’s falling white, fallera, falleri
We have a thousand memories left, falleri, fallera
And we fell with the snow and the night that time
And I will never forget you, fallerej
It’s falling white, fallera, falleri
We have a thousand memories left, falleri, fallera
Today I want to share with you a little song from one of Cornelis Vreeswijk’s earlier albums – Tio Vackra Visor och Personliga Persson (Ten Beautiful Songs and Personal Persson) – which isn’t necessarily my favourite song of his (that HAS to be Grimasch om Morgonen) or probably isn’t even in the top 3 of my favourite songs of his, yet I have a little bit of a sentiment for this song, because it’s kind of cute, but also because when I first came across it I thought it was “Bisbis Visa”, and I went by Bisbis before it further evolved into Bibiel/Bibielle. 😀 But it’s obviously not “Bisbis Visa”, ‘cause even Bisbis’ Dad was merely a foetus when this album came out lol. Instead, it is Bibi Andersson’s visa, in whose case it stands for Berit Elisabet).
This whole album of Cornelis is strongly inspired by the first time he spent in Brazil and Brazilian music and culture, because around that time (1968) he was playing in the film Black Palm Trees set in that country. Bibi Andersson was there too as she played one of the main roles – a Finnish girl called Elin Papilla – so they probably got to hang out a fair bit. – As it happens, I’ve read that she did lose her bracelet, so the story’s actually real. 😀 I am sharing Cornelis’ own version, but also that of his son Jack, as I like both a lot. The translation below is Bibiel’s. One line I had a mini problem with was the one with the “blue gaze”, because I don’t recall ever actually seeing anyone using the word “gaze” like this in English, to basically mean eyes, so I’m not sure if it works or sounds odd, but the original Swedish word does literally mean “gaze”, and we also use this word like that in Polish, and putting “eyes” in there felt kind of simplistic.
I have a bracelet which is yours It is of plastic and it is white Now I just wanted to ask you Shall I keep it or not? I have a bracelet which I have hidden It is your bracelet which you have forgotten And where I live I guess you know Come here and look in case you want Come here and look one beautiful day Because you are beautiful and I am weak Well I am weak, for your gaze is blue Come here and take your bracelet then I have a bracelet which is yours It is of plastic and it is white Now I just wanted to ask you Shall I keep it or not?
Today I thought I would share with you a song by Jack Vreeswijk. A lot of music that Jack has released are covers of his Dad – Cornelis Vreeswijk’s – songs, or his musical arrangements of his poems that were not released as songs by Cornelis himself. But aside from that, we should not forget that Jack composes and writes his very own, original material, of which I’ve actually already shared some on here and today’s song is another one written by Jack himself.
I was able to translate this one, however it’s a bit different this time because I did it completely by ear, since the lyrics don’t seem to be available anywhere. I usually avoid translating by ear because there’s even more of a potential for mistakes when you’re already translating between two languages that aren’t your native, but here it’s a rather simple song vocabulary-wise and I already understood it almost whole before attempting to do this translation. There is only one verse where there is one word that I either don’t hear right or can’t figure out what it means ‘cause what I seem to be hearing doesn’t make sense, so I had to omit it. Still, like I said I’m not a Swedish native speaker so there could be more issues with it that I’m not aware of or something. Inn case anyone’s curious, I guess this isn’t about Jack’s personal experiences. as far as I’m aware, he does not have any siblings, unless perhaps half- or step-siblings or something, and his father and mother didn’t live together for all that long. From what I know, Jack grew up in a district of Stockholm called Hökarängen, and it was quite recently that I came across an interview with him where he said that it was a nice place, very green and where people knew each other, so kind of like a village. Now he also lives somewhere that feels rather rural from what I understood.
Here lived I My father and my mother And my beautiful sister And my little brother And here I want to rest And why I do not know Don’t want to die in a city Where no one knows me It is so wonderful It is so beautiful It is so quiet So warm and nice It is so wonderful It is so beautiful And it is so quiet So warm and nice It hurts to go I see well-known things It hurts to remember So I don’t remember anything And everything I once was Ends in this little village Where everything [?…] And the moon was new It is so wonderful It is so beautiful It is so quiet So warm and nice It is so wonderful It is so beautiful It is so quiet So warm and nice
Yeah, I decided that, given the fact that it was Cornelis’ death anniversary on Saturday, I want to share yet another song by him, but this time it’s his original song and vastly different from the lullaby I shared yesterday, as it’s quite rough and filled with intense yucky feelings. It always reminds me of Gustav Fröding’s poem Ett Gammalt Bergtroll (An Old Mountain Troll) which Cornelis also interpreted since I’d say it kind of deals with the same thing.
This song is featured in the soundtrack to Amir Chamdin’s 2010 movie Cornelis, with Hans-Erik Dyvik Husby aka Hank von Helvete as the main character, where Cornelis plays it live and says that this is just a song about some random guy, that this is by no means an autobiographic song because his parents, unlike the lyrical subject’s in this song, were respectable people. And indeed, I remember him saying in one interview that his childhood was “idyllic” for the most part, and if we look at these lyrics literally, then a lot of things here certainly are not true about Cornelis. But I guess it doesn’t require a particularly deep analysis if you know a bit about him, to come to the conclusion that it could still relate to him and how he saw himself in a more metaphorical way. It seems to be pretty widely known in Sweden that he struggled a lot with stuff like confidence, self-esteem and all that, also substance misuse obviously and had a rather stormy life in many ways. Plus I suppose it might also be more or less influenced by his socialist worldview. It comes from his second album Ballader ooh Grimascher (Ballads and… well Grimasches, I guess? Some people translate grimasch as grimace but grimace is grimas in Swedish as far as I’m aware, and I’ve never come across the word grimasch outside of Cornelis’ music).
The translation below is Bibiel’s, and I honestly had some vocabulary dilemmas here (the perks of translating between two non-native languages), because it has so many weird slangy words that I had totally no idea what they should be best translated as into English, because I had a more or less vague understanding of what they’re supposed to mean in Swedish, but didn’t know their exact definition, even the slusk in the title. Looking around the Internet, I found quite a few different translations of this word into English, which have some things in common yet are quite different from one another: slop, someone who’s clumsy, lout/bastard, brute, hulk, prone, someone sleazy etc. I doubt that slusk’s meaning is so wide. So eventually I looked it up in my dictionary, which says that slusk means “sloven”. Which makes sense, but I’m not sure if sloven and slusk, despite sharing the same meaning, also have the same vibe and conotations. I guess sloven is pretty dated in English and not really slangy, whereas I’m pretty sure that slusk is very slangy and more or less on the vulgar side. So it’s possible that some of the words in this translation might not be the most fortunate in this slangy context even if their meaning is similar as the original.
I am a sloven, I am a swine I like it rough, but you are fine You drink wine for the sake of pleasure But I like wine ‘cause then I get drunk People like me should be put in cages, shouldn’t they? You like nice stuff, but I like shit Your life is safe, mine to and fro You drive around in those sporty cars With those little ladies with the silly profiles Imagine being able to sleep until late in the day, fuck me! I am filthy, anything but hygiene What have you done, you who are so clean? You are refined and sophisticated I am ruined and degenerated What if we were to switch one day, you and I! I am a sloven, born in a kitchen sink Father, he was alky, mother was a whore My father obviously died in the gutter But your dad took a bullet to the temple The reason was of course unrequited amour towards your mother I am slovenly, you are a fop I am an asshole, of course you’re right But when you are dead I still will be standing And writing an epitaph to be carved into the stone Death with no cause, life with no reason, with no soul
Yesterday was the 35th anniversary of Cornelis Vreeswijk’s death, so I thought I’d share another song by him with y’all. It is a Scandinavian lullaby, whose origin I believe traces back to Norway, but which has become popularised in Sweden in 1920’s by Evert Taube, whose mother sang it to him. Evert Taube was a Swedish musician and author who is still very well-known today and I guess has a bit of a similar reputation to Vreeswijk, of a troubadour who has contributed a whole lot to the Swedish ballad/visa tradition in the 20th century. He also had a very strong influence on Cornelis’ music and Cornelis recorded several albums with his own interpretations of Taube’s songs. This one comes from his 1969 album titled Cornelis Sjunger Taube (Cornelis Sings Taube). A lot of Taube’s music is influenced by the time he spent as a sailor in South America, (as it happens, Cornelis was also a sailor before starting his career, though in his case I believe he was persuaded into it by his father) ) as many of his songs have strongly South American themes or relate to the sea etc. So it makes sense that this lullaby which is full of sea references would appeal to him. The translation below comes to you directly from Bibielz. In case someone’s really curious what byssal lull means, I guess it holds just as much meaning as luli luli and other similar words that are common for lullabies in all kinds of languages.
Byssan lull, boil the kettle full There are three wanderers on the road Byssan lull, boil the kettle full There are three wanderers on the road One, oh so lame The other, oh so blind The third says nothing at all Byssan lull, boil the kettle full There are three stars wandering on the sky Byssan lull, boil the kettle full There are three stars wandering on the sky One is oh so white The other is so red The third, it is the yellow moon Byssan lull, boil the kettle full There are three winds blowing on the seas Byssan lull, boil the kettle full There are three winds blowing on the seas On the great ocean On the little Skagerack And far, far away in the Gulf of Bothnia Byssan lull, boil the kettle full There are three ships sailing on the wave Byssan lull, boil the kettle full There are three ships sailing on the wave The first is a bark The second is a brigg The third has such broken sails Byssan lull, boil the kettle full The sea chest has three figures Byssan lull, boil the kettle full The sea chest has three figures The first is our faith The second is our hope The third is the red love
Today I’d like to share with you a song by Cornelis Vreeswijk which always gives me very mixed feelings whenever I listen to it. Not that it’s the only one song by him that I feel rather ambivalent about. On one hand it’s so depressive that it’s beautiful and gripping and I love it, but on the other it’s also so depressive that it feels absolutely endlessly dark and hopeless, and when I look at it from my perspective, which is one of a dysthymic and generally glitchy-brained individual but far more importantly of a Christian, it makes me feel properly sad for all the people who have died, are dying and will die without realising or acknowledging one thing that actually matters about our earthly lives, namely where they lead, especially for those who think there’s just nothing. The thought of such emptiness and nothingness afterwards can be comforting, and I used to wish that it could be the case, because living for eternity even if I’d be happy (whatever happy even meant for me then) felt like it would only be a wearying, never-ending chore. But now I know it’s not like that and something is a lot better than nothing, and if we have souls then it doesn’t make sense that they would just die together with bodies. And it makes me sad that, very often, such people have no one who will pray for them after they die, like among their family or friends and such so even if they do get to purgatory they’ll have to spend ages there. But it also makes me feel grateful and very appreciative and happy that I was raised Christian, and that I can pray for such souls after they die and realise their situation but can no longer help themselves in any way, I really like doing that and trying to be somewhat helpful for people this way, and I can pray for people like that who are still alive for their souls to be moved.
The last verse in this song says «Put spruce twigs by my grave», and when I was going to Sweden with my family a couple years ago on holidays, I decided to take it very literally. While we do have a lot of trees around our backyard, there’s no spruce, but my grandad has several spruces so I took some twigs from one of them with me to Stockholm, bought some beautiful flowers while there and left all of them at Cornelis’ grave. We also wanted to bring a candle like the ones we light in Poland on graves but I was not sure if it’s a thing in Sweden so we didn’t, although it turned out that it is a thing. We also went around that cemetery and prayed for everyone whose grave we saw. I just did that to kind of say: «I’m Bibiel and I’m here and I listen very carefully and I really care, even though I’m Polish and no one else in my country (other than Jacek from Helsinki who’s also dead now) seems to know who you are, and even though we think very differently about almost all the important things, and even though I’m a rightist, and even though I’m gen Z so you died before I was even born». 😀 Cuz like why not? I really liked being able to go there and do that.
There are quite a few songs by Cornelis that feel quite depressive, but I think this one is the most. I guess it’s because it’s very rare for him not to include at least a little bit of humour or irony in his songs, so even if they deal with very difficult topics, there’s a bit of a distance. This one, meanwhile, is deadly serious. The lyrical subject – Fredrik Åkare – is obviously well-known to people who are acquainted with Vreeswijk’s songs and poems, since he’s one of the recurring characters, most well-known from «Balladen om Herr Fredrik Åkare och den Söta Fröken Cecilia Lind» (The Ballad About Mr. Fredrik Åkare and the Sweet Miss Cecilia Lind), which is extremely popular in Sweden and was the first song by Cornelis that I heard. Fredrik Åkare is said to be based on Cornelis’ younger sister’s husband, but often he also seems to be like Vreeswijk’s alter ego or something similar and I think it makes all the sense to assume that here he’s more like the latter.
I remember this song struck me as beautiful but also weird when I heard it for the first few times (I mean what’s the deal with all them spruce twigs and all that?) and I was really curious how all those bits I didn’t feel like I really understood should be interpreted. While I am still not sure of everything, the Swedish Internet holds surprisingly many essays or however things like that should be called in English, all about Cornelis and his works, so I was able to learn more about this song from some of them. As it turns out, there used to be a tradition in Sweden where, on the day of a funeral, people would sprinkle spruce twigs all the way from the dead person’s house to the church. Also I guess that isn’t the case with English, but in Sweden, the person who leads and oversees a funeral was/is literally called a marshal. During a funeral he held some sort of staff decorated with flowers, hence the staff in the lyrics. I was wondering whether I should try to translate the marshals as something that would make more sense in English regarding a funeral but in the end left it as is, since I do literal translations here after all so I guess it should be consistent.
Sprinkle spruce twigs on my bed and let me be born naked. My mother was not awake and I was not afraid. At the bottom of the bitter shafts live those who fear power. If the cold gets too severe put spruce twigs in my bed. Sprinkle twigs on my writing desk And take a gulp of the ink. Come to me under the covers, share my loneliness Now we are the same age. Come, let the visor fall. Come, light a little flame. Sprinkle spruce twigs on us. Sprinkle spruce twigs by my gate, Hang the key on the hook. Who asked you to borrow the book? Return it! Quickly! You restorer of peace with sound and Russian firecrackers, you snow that fell last year Put spruce twigs on my chair. Put spruce twigs by my grave. Let no priests be heard. Do what has to be done. Marshals, break my staff. So it falls in the end though three shovels on my coffin lid. Now I must leave. Put spruce twigs by my grave.
For yesterday’s overdue song of the day, I chose this piano lullaby which I think is really beautiful, and also particularly sleepifying, which you sure can’t say about every single lullaby. I also think that generally the whole album from which this composition comes from – Nattresan (The Night Journey – is worth giving it a try if you’re into sleep-friendly music. Henrik Lindstrand is a pianist and composer from Gothenburg in Sweden, though as far as I know he is currently based in Copenhagen. He has also composed some film scores.
Yesterday we had a song about the fragility of life, and today’s song is also existential-themed, as it talks about death. The original version of this song, as most people will probably know, was recorded by Art Garfunkel In the 70’s, with the lyrics written by Mike Batt. I don’t really have any special feelings for this song as such (not even the fact that Declan Galbraith, one of my faza people, has covered it as well) but Sophie’s version is nice. I’ve introduced Sophie Zelmani to y’all a bit earlier this year, so if you read that post you know how I find her quite special, because even though her music never gives me any thrills or strong emotions or isn’t somehow breathtakingly beautiful, her voice is exceptionally soothing and calming to my brain, and I like her modest gentleness very much, and I like to listen to her when I’m having a migraine. So that’s why I thought she deserves more than just one of her songs being featured on here.
Today I have for you a Swedish song about star gazing. It was written by Swedish author and poet Levi Rickson who wrote under the pen name of Jeremias i Tröstlösa, and set to a tune composed by Gustav Wennerberg. Many contemporary artists have performed this song but the only version I actually like is Jack Vreeswijk’s. Although I have very little to no idea about stars as I’m blind, I do think that night is a very particular time, and sometimes it really is good not to sleep it through when you can. I find it very interesting how I, but also people in general, somehow seem to think in a bit of a different way at night, and feel a lot more creative, think more deeply and feel sort of more open to everything, like if I read something or listen to music it tends to impact me a lot more, and sometimes I get cool ideas. Below is Bibiel’s translation of this song. Actually, the original was apparently written in närkingska (I don’t know what it’s called in English if anything) which is a dialect used in Närke in Sweden, but there’s also a standard Swedish version and that’s the one that Jack sings.
One should not sleep when the night falls
For then the stars shine high in the blue sky
It is so quiet and peaceful
It would be wrong to sleep
I walk my paths over plains and through woods
And the stars they follow me so I have company
They say they are a thousand miles and even more away from us
Yet they burn with a steady glow
Yet they blaze like flames
Like silver and crystals
Now their sparks are falling
And an occasional one keeps flickering when it has burnt out
So when she falls, it’s like a streak of smoke in the end
One can never dream so finely and wonderfully
Like the night itself appears then when stars are shining clearly
It is as if it could be heard
Like a silver game that moves
One should not sleep when the night falls
One should look at the stars, and one should be two
Fairly recently, I shared with y’all a song by Cornelis Vreeswijk called Turistens Klagan and explained in that post how it originally was released in Norway on a double album called Felicias Svenska Suite (Felicia’s Swedish Suite) and why it wasn’t released in Sweden and all that. Well, so today I thought I’d share another song from that album. Felicias Svenska Suite was a concept album, built around the theme of Felicia – a character in the novel Varulven (The Werewolf) by Danish-born Norwegian writer Axel Sandemose – and the song I want to share with you today is about her very directly.
From what I hear, many people in Sweden have a problem with this song. It definitely makes sense in a way, because, well, when I first heard it, it made me bristle up a bit too because it just sounded like a fancier way of saying: “Just shut up and have sex with me). Add to that the fact that Cornelis generally does have a bit of a reputation for being all the appalling things like chauvinist and mysoginist (which I personally think is definitely justified, even though some examples on basis of which he’s been most frequently accused of being those things aren’t really valid examples of those specific attitudes in my opinion) and the bristle factor increases.
But, I’ve known this song for years now and I don’t really see it like that anymore. After all, I do think that, in a healthy relationship, there should be place (and yes, time to be used) for both of these things – talking with/listening to each other as well as sex and physical intimacy. The two, I’d imagine (since the regular people on here know that I have zilch personal experience so I can just imagine) don’t necessarily go very well together, at the same time. So that’s really how I see it now. After all, it doesn’t really sound like the lyrical subject is trying to force Felicia to do anything, just encouraging, albeit very strongly. It actually seems to me that, in a way, he even enjoys her endless chatting, or at least tolerates it leniently, like people tend to grow to tolerate, and then become accustomed to or even fond of, their other half’s shortcomings. I do agree that there IS a hint of slight but very annoying condescension in it, and I believe he doesn’t even listen to her since we don’t learn what she was talking about so incessantly, but let’s just hope that Felicia is similarly magnanimous as her lover appears to be towards her and can be similarly lenient on those flaws of his and doesn’t take it too personally. 😛 Also I’d think that Felicia generally wants it too, just is a bit apprehensive, perhaps even fearful since he tells her not to be afraid and some people do talk a lot when they’re anxious, perhaps she feels the need to explain or discuss some things beforehand and once she says everything she had to say, she gives into it as well. So while it has the potential to make one feel a bit uneasy, I don’t think we can assume that the lyrical subject’s relation to Felicia is abusive or something, just because it kinda sounds like it could be and because Cornelis’ relationships with women irl often went wrong, because there are no real signs of it in this particular piece.
Below is Bibiel’s translation which is probably a bit wrong in a few places. I don’t know exactly what’s the deal with the “dizzy brothers” or who they are lol, but in some other version of this song he sings “thirsty brothers” so I assume this must be some sort of allusion to a song by Povel Ramel called “Törstigaste Bröder” (Thirsty Brothers) which Cornelis had covered as well and which is apparently some sort of parody or something of Fredman’s Epistle 83 by Carl Michael Bellman (Bellman was a famous Swedish 18th century poet and composer by whom Cornelis was very much inspired) which has a crazy ong title that features some three lost brothers, but I’m too ignorant about Bellman to figure this out and what it’s supposed to mean and I’m not even sure if my little theory is true at all.
Felicia talks and talks And love hates All time that is used wrongly That is lying there, dead and stiff All the while Felicia is talking in sixteenth notes.
Felicia, come to my bed now And do not be dressed now Give me your copper mouth I’ll drink it like a well Felicia, do not be afraid now in our moment.
Your sun sets in the south For dizzy brothers Who want what they cannot.
Felicia, see your man And know that he is still glowing Where he was burning before.
Felicia talks too much, The lovely thing Now she’s talking continuously.
But if you kiss her right She gives in to the pressure and makes love Till she is satisfied
The song that I picked for yesterday but didn’t get to share is Cornelis Vreeswijk’s translation of the American blues and folk musician Tim Hardin’s song If I Were a Carpenter. As you might know, Cornelis translated a lot of foreign language songs into Swedish or was inspired by them. This one deals with romantic insecurity, as, just like in Tim Hardin’s song, the lyrical subject asks the woman he loves if she would still love him or marry him if his life circumstances were different. I find it interesting that while Tim Hardin mostly talks about being poor and working in professions that are associated with poverty, COrnelis takes it a step, or a few, further, and brings police interrogation into the picture. I’m not sure withholding a suspected criminal’s location from the police has much to do with love and could kinda border on toxic potentially, but oh well, what do I know about life anyway? 😀
This Swedish version has also been covered a couple times, including by Marie Fredriksson of Roxette, and Jack Vreeswijk, and since I like the latter I’m sharing it as well. I think the studio version is slightly better than the live one below, but the live one seems to be the only one on YouTube. Also the lady at the beginning of that video says that the song is written by Jack, which it obviously sn’t. He performs it together with Hjalmar Leissner here.
Below is Bibiel’s translation of the translation.
If I were unemployed, and you were wealthy Would you like to have me then, do you think I would be any good later? If I were wanted, would you give me a chance then If the police would question you, would you say where I was then? Say if you still have love, say it if you dare Can you give me an honest answer, I am just asking If I were freer, what answer would I get then If you had a baby, would I be the father then? If I have a double bed, with sheets of silk Do you want to marry me then, and sleep in it? If I were unemployed, and you were wealthy Would you like to have me then, do you think I would be any good later? Would you like to have me then, do you think I would be any good later?
Today I have an interesting tune from Sweden for you all. As its title says, it’s a bridal march from Älvdalen – a locality in Dalarna in central Sweden. – What’s so interesting about this song is the language that it’s sung in, because no, it’s not Swedish. This song is written in Elvdalian, a little language spoken in the area of Älvdalen, which from what I’ve heard is recognised as a dialect of Swedish, yet I, as a Swedish learner, can barely understand a word of this song, and the little bits I think I do understand I’m not even sure if they mean what I think they do, and I’ve heard Swedes say that they can understand Norwegian better than Elvdalian. Sadly it is not recognised officially as a minority language of Sweden, so it’s not protected as well as it could be, and so it’s in danger of death. It’s a peculiar little language ‘cause to me it doesn’t really sound much like Swedish. Some of the sounds remind me a lot more of Icelandic, and it’s kind of odd that it uses w where Swedish uses v, so it also sounds a little like English. Plus it’s curiously nasal and even has the letter ą in its alphabet like Polish.
Systerpolskan is a folk female group, consisting of folk artists from Uppland and Dalarna. It was established by Benny Andersson together with some group members, including Lena Willemark who I think is the most well-known out of these ladies. Benny Andersson is also their producer. Their name literally means the sister polska, but, unlike what Polish people are often inclined to think when they see the word polska in relation to Swedish folk, it has nothing to do with Poland. 😀 Polska is just a type of Swedish dance, which could have possibly been brought there from Poland.
The tune to this song is traditional, and the lyrics are written by Severin Solders.
I feel like I haven’t shared anything from Cornelis in a while so thought I would today, especially that earlier this month (on 8 August more exactly) was his birthday, but sharing his songs usually means I have to translate them if I only can, well lol I don’t have to but I think it’s best to listen to them knowing what you’re listening to, and earlier this month I didn’t really feel like trying to translate anything more complicated cus sensory anxiety. I was actually quite sure that I must’ve shared this song in the past because it’s such a classic in Sweden (and I believe even Norway to an extent), but clearly I haven’t so it’s as good a time as any to introduce you people to this one finally.
In 1978, Cornelis released a double concept album called Felicias Svenska Suite (Felicia’s Swedish Suite), which focused largely on Felicia – a Roman character from the book Varulven (The Werewolf) by Danish-born Norwegian writer Axel Sandemose. Weirdly enough (at least for my little brain) no Swedish record label wanted to release it, if I understand correctly it was because of the connection to that book. I wonder was it a case of Scandinavian sibling rivalry and that Swedes didn’t want to release something that was based on a Norwegian book or is that book somehow anti-Swedish (I’ve always wanted to read it just out of sheer curiosity but I’ve never got to find an electronic copy in any language so I’ve no real clue what it’s about other than Felicia and that she has an affair while being married to another guy) or was there something more complicated going on? Anyways, as a result, he ended up releasing it in Norway. However, this very song I’m bringing you today ended up becoming very popular in Sweden, so eventually, two years later, one Swedish label did decide to release the second half of this double album, titled Turistens Klagan. Something about Varulven must have really put them off though because the songs from the first half were only released in Sweden in the 2000’s, so like almost twenty years after Cornelis’ death.
The song is narrated by a tourist vacationing in Oslo (near Karl Johan’s Street as you’ll find out from the lyrics) who’s quite depressed and tired, I’ve seen interpretations that he’s suicidal, but I guess “quitting” doesn’t necessarily have to mean as much as wanting to die, though it’s certainly possible. What pulls him out of his blues is hearing children singing outside.
Honestly, this is one of quite a few songs by Cornelis that I feel quite ambivalent about. Usually when I do, is because I love them musically or for some other small yet important aspects, but can’t agree with his point of view, since our views on such grave things like politics, for example, differ almost as greatly as they possibly can, which makes it feel a real irony in a way that I ended up developing a faza on him. 😀 But, this song is one of those with which it’s the opposite for me. I like the lyrics, but I just totally don’t care for it musically. It’s just so meh it’s a shame. I’m not sure it’s the right ENglish word to capture exactly what I mean, but I’d say it’s tacky. The melody is sure catchy but doesn’t really grab your attention, and these kids in there are pretty annoying. 😀 Oh yeah, and I think I’ve said on here already that I’m not a fan of the accordion in general, except perhaps for a few odd pieces by Maria Kalaniemi or Kimmo Pohjonen. So yeah, musically this song isn’t quite as frisson-inducing as some others from this album, and I know I’m not alone in feeling this way about this song. But perhaps this arrangement is also part of why it ended up being so popular, I feel that a lot of Scandinavian music that was popular and at the same time kind of bordering on folky was a bit kitschy like that, in fact I suppose this was the trend in most of Europe. Some sources like the Swedish Wikipedia credit Franz von Suppé as the additional composer, so this tune must be “stolen” from him, but I don’t know from which piece though I’ve been mildly curious, but not enough to ever go hunting.
The translation below is by Bibielz, and it’s very likely that there are some weird errors in there, but not so much because I didn’t know what something meant or how to put it in English, rather, because I’ve always had a problem understanding what’s the second verse really about, I mean it seems highly metaphorical to me or else I must be ignorant or something. So I just translated it literally except for a couple odd words, as I didn’t know how to do it better. I’ve always been really curious what that verse is about, and thought now that I’d do a translation for you guys, perhaps my mind will open and I’ll figure it out somehow, but I haven’t. I was the best in my class at poem analysis, but overall I don’t think I’m all that good at it at all, my classmates just happened to be even worse. I found a forum thread where people discussed interpretations of just one of the lines in that verse, (about rubbing your skin with nettles so you’ll get warm) and everyone had a different idea. Someone said it could mean something like don’t complain about small things, like, just rub your skin with nettles if you’re cold so you’ll get warm and stop whining. But I don’t think it could be the case because, well duh, it’s a lament, he IS kind of complaining, even if he finds the presence of children to be hopeful, so that would be kind of illogical. Someone else said that it could be about solutions to problems that aren’t necessarily the best ones out there, but that still kind of solve the problem, like there are sure more effective and pleasant ways to warm yourself up than rubbing your skin with nettles but this will also work, for lack of anything better. This is an interesting option but I’m not sure I see how it fits into the whole of this song. And then others yet say it’s just supposed to be comical. Which I think is true, it is likely meant to be comical/humourous in a way, but I doubt it’s the main or only purpose of this verse, because the rest of this song isn’t really comical so my best bet is that the comism is supposed to emphasise something else more important here. And still, we have all those other lines in this verse. What’s the deal with language slipping because the snow is wet though it’s cold? And what’s skiing got to do with that? And, probably the biggest question here, why are fake (or literally “crooked”) nettles and people who sell them so very bad? I wish we could know…
Some children are singing on Karl Johan They sound strong and nice as only children can I myself am under lock and key in my hotel An evening behind the barricade, an ordinary evening Over my head hovers a jet black vulture In the room next to mine a crazy lady is singing And I am tired and doubtful but their song is happy If there will be no kids, I’ll quit. My lady, that language slips in some cases [is?] Because of the snow that is wet though it is cold Big deal, skiing has charm as well Rub your skin with nettles, so you’ll get warm But it should be nettles from the bayside And no fake nettles from the brink of ruin Deliver us from those who sell them As well as these happy children out there. When there are no children, everything is over So what’s the point of standing out? Certainly there has been chaos throughout history But as long as there are children, there is hope.
I’ve shared on here at least one song about Stockholm already, and today I thought I’d share another one, because it’s a cool city and there are a lot of cool songs about it. This one comes from a singer who, as far as I’m aware is not from Stockholm herself, but from Malmö in Sweden, or perhaps that’s just where she’s based now. As a name nerd, I was kind of intrigued by her name – Effy – because Effy is usually a nickname of Euphemia/Eufemia, and I’m a huge fan of this name, so I wondered if she could be an Eufemia, which would be super neat especially that I don’t think it’s a very common name in Sweden at all, I guess it just isn’t common anywhere. 😀 But, interestingly, her full name is Fanny Maria Hilma Malmborg Simonsson. Yes, Fanny is a common name in Sweden and it does not have any vulgar connotations there. It was one of her non-Swedish friends who started calling her Effy, and over time she started identifying with it and decided to use it as her stage name. Very rightly so, I think, given that she spends a lot of time in the UK from what I read and wants to go beyond just Swedish music scene, because at least from what I’ve noticed, a lot of people in the Anglosphere have a hard time understanding that something that means something bad or weird or funny in English could coincidentally be a perfectly acceptable, normal, even common name in another language, or perhaps not so much understanding but getting over it. I think Effy is a cute name. Anyways, going back to the song, I’ve come across it relatively recently and I liked it, as I did other Effy’s songs, so I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on her musical activity.
I thought that for today I’d like to share with you a really cool, cat-themed song. I don’t think we’d ever had a cat-themed song on here before, even though we had several songs that were either about or by various Mishas. I absolutely love this song for its lyrics, because it’s very relatable and it shows very well what an amazing thing it is to just be able to lay down next to a cat, daydream about everything and feel it purr and feel safe and cosy, lots better even than being someone super successful and having a breathtakingly adventurous life.
This song comes from Alexander’s album called Visa vid Vindens Ängar (A Song at the Wind’s Meadows), from which I have previously shared the title song and which is a collection of songs written by Swedish singer and poet Paul Matson. I have also shared several other songs by Alexander Rybak before and by looking at them you can see that he’s a very versatile singer and finds himself well in a lot of different genres and stylistics together with his violin, which is something I personally really like in musicians. Oh yeah and he’s been Sofi’s crush on and off for years. He is of Belarussian descent, but his parents emigrated to Norway shortly after his birth, so Norwegian is his native language and his Swedish on this album does sound quite Norwegian which is cool. Below is the translation of this song made by Bibielz. I’ll just add that there’s a Swedish idiom in the last verse which literally translates to “if you take the devil onto your boat, you will have to row him ashore”. The English equivalent is apparently “if you dance with the devil, you have to pay the piper”, but I thought translating it literally made more sense here because otherwise it would be rather clunky to phrase.
I wish I was a Tarzan Who floats on a liana, Who fights tigers and lions In the jungle all day I wish I were a a he-man A Top secret agent Who gets to taste the hardest blows Who got to know the prettiest girls But a cat is lying on my pillow He is lying and purring on his back I am keeping a hand on his tummy It is warming, I feel safe And the kitty he is svinging and twisting His big fluffy tail I am thinking how sad it would be If we both did not exist right now I wanted to be Casa Nova Who could do anything in sex Ten, twelve women a night Without the slightest complex A guy for the porn agencies To invest a sum in It would be many millions in the bank book it would be written But a cat is lying on my pillow, He is lying and purring on his back I am keeping a hand on his tummy It is warming, I feel safe And the kitty he is svinging and twisting His big fluffy tail I am thinking how sad it would be If we both did not exist right now I am sitting alone here and humming and write a song sometimes. It is this devil in my boat That I am able to row ashore But a cat is lying on my pillow He is lying and purring on his back I am keeping a hand on his tummy It is warming, I feel safe And the kitty he is svinging and twisting His big fluffy tail I am thinking how sad it would be If we both did not exist right now