Simon Smiles ft. Emelie Tängemark – “Hiding”.

Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I have an electronic song for you which I’ve known thanks to Spotify for a couple years now and I still really like it. It’s the result of collaboration between the Swedish musician Simon Smiles, and the vocalist Emelie Tängemark. 

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Till Linnea Via Leonard Cohen” (For Linnea Via Leonard Cohen).

Hey people! 🙂

Today I thought that I’d share with you one of the songs that Cornelis Vreeswijk wrote to a woman called Linnea. All these Linnea songs are more or less erotically charged, and I always liked to think that this Linnea is at least based on his second wife – the actress Bim Warne – whose actual name was Birgitta Gunvor Linnea, and because I’ve always got the impression that, despite all the usual relationship storminess that was pretty much the norm in his life, his relationship with Bim was best out of his three wives. Besides, the album “Linneas Fina Visor” (Linnea’s Fine Songs) on which most if not all (can’t remember exactly) of the Linnea songs were released, came out when they were still a couple. And I still don’t know whether that is actually the case, but years later I read something that implied quite strongly that it’s possible. Especially that he based a lot of his characters on real life people. There’s also another version of this song called Till Gunnel. Honestly though, I’ve always been intrigued by what’s Leonard Cohen got to do with this, and I can only assume that, since Vreeswijk borrowed a lot of songs or melodies or motives etc. from other artists who wrote and/or sang in other languages, that includes “Nancy” by Cohen, so perhaps in some way it’s also the case with this one, perhaps it’s based on some song that was originally Leonard Cohen’s or something like that. But because I don’t really have much of an idea about Leonard Cohen’s music, I’ve no idea if this is true.

I thought I wouldn’t be able to write a translation for this, but I did it, and it wasn’t even all that difficult, though I did have several issues witt it. There’s one line that I absolutely cannot make out what it’s supposed to mean so I had no better option than to leave it out. In some places I feel like my English wording is a little off but I had no better ideas. Then there is the line that I translated as “Of my mother’s only son” but have a problem with the “of” because there’s actually the Swedish word “på” used in the original, which is typically translated as on, but it doesn’t really make sense to me. I of course know that prepositions work very differently from one language to another, but even in Swedish I feel like the word “av”, which would literally translate as “of” to English, would make much more sense here. So either my Swedish is a lot less advanced than I think (not that I think it’s actually, properly Advanced, but you don’t have to be extremely advanced to understand prepositions in a language I believe 😀 ), or I don’t understand the sense of this line, or perhaps “på” can be used instead of “av” in some more poetic contexts like here.

Another line I had ann issue with was about the pen that floats, where I left out a word because I had no idea what to do with it. The original word is “värdig” and it literally means worthy. Can a pen be worthy? Perhaps it’s supposed to mean something like that that it’s dear to him in a way, or deserving of appreciation, because it’s the pen with which he writes songs for Linnea and no other pen would suit this? That’s what came to my mind, but I doubt that it’s actually true. Perhaps in this case “värdig” is meant to be an adverb, but then it should be “värdigt”. You can have adverbs that look like their adjective counterparts in Norwegian, but I don’t think I’ve seen it in Swedish (well, unless an adjective ends with a “t” but that’s irrelevant here). So what is most likely imo is that the word “värdig” must have a wider scope than what I’m aware of.

Here’s the translation:

 

Linnea, what do you want to hear?

I forget it every time

I have something in my ear

That maybe can become a song

It quivers in the guitar

It asks for a beautiful grasp

Now I open the case

And kiss your lower lip

Sit still and quiet, Linnea

Here comes a beautiful verse

(…)

Chases me here and there

A crumhorn and two timbals

Disappear far away

The guitar shivers in the arms

Of [?] my mother’s only son

An Eskimo opens a window

Then the whole room becomes cool

Out flow seductive vapours

That rhyme was ingenious

You know I can keep the heat

I guess you know that I know it

I am as hot as Saturn, at least

And strong as a magnet

Now this song is soon over

You notice it already yourself

My pen floats forward (…)

Like the timber in some river

Sit still and quiet and wait

Remain in your picture frame

Because when I am done writing, Linnea

The pen is as good as lame [?]

Now all the stars become matt

And stiffen like tinfoil

On the deserts dry and flat

Watering holes spring up

Darkness gives way to the night

And it is not day yet

Linnea, here is your song

Linnea, and here am I

Song of the day (6th January) – Silver “Jag Drömmer” (I Dream).

Hey people! 🙂

I thought I’d share this nice, kind of idealistic-sounding, Swedish song with you. Silver are Ellen Vingren and Jenny Wahlström, who are also parts of other music projects, at least Ellen is for sure, I’m not 100% sure about Jenny. They’re also both Christian and perform Christian music as well. The lyrics to this are really easy so I was able to translate them for you:

 

I dream about loving myself

I dream about being genuine and for real

I dream about daring to feel

About being artistically sharp and free

And that the feeling survives the storm

That silver turns out to be gold

It looks like it could be so

But it feels difficult to reach just yet

Maybe I dream too little

I dream that the sail will be hoisted

That the last word in this has not yet been said

And that the ship survives the storm

That silver turns out to be gold

It looks like it could be so

But it feels difficult to reach just yet

Maybe I dream too little

You know what, you know what, you, I hear them everywhere

The tones that they stole we’ll get back thousandfold

You know what, you know what, you, I hear them everywhere

We shall get everything back

Those who lost themselves but have been found

Silver turns out to be gold

The ship survives the storm

Silver turns out to be gold

Shirin – “Together We Are Weak”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today, I’d like to introduce you to the music of a great young singer songwriter who lives in Sweden, and who was born in Berlin to Lebanese parents. Her name is Shirin El-Hage, though she’s better known simply as Shirin. Shirin had a rather difficult childhood, having to move around a lot, and experiencing her parents divorce, but instead of screaming, or some more destructive ways of coping and releasing her emotions, she’d sing, and that’s how she decided that she wants to be a singer. In 2017, she performed in the final of Melodifestivalen (Swedish annual song competition during which a song representing the country in Eurovision is selected) covering Frans’ song If I Were Sorry. Out of all her music, the song I wanted to share with you is my favourite, and this is Shirin’s debut single. I like it much more in this stripped down version though.

ViVii – “Savant”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today I have a song for you that I’ve been really loving for the last month or so and listening to a lot. ViVii are Swedish couple Emil and Caroline Jonsson, who make beautiful dreampop. This song of theirs is particularly dreamy in my opinion, even a bit hazy I guess we could say, and I like that in it, I like things like this. I like the sort of landscape it creates and I really like Caroline’s vocals on this track.

Selma & Gustaf ft. The Unmarried Queen – “Where We Once Belonged”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today, I’d like to introduce to you a great Swedish duo to whose music I’ve been listening for about a year and I really like them. Selma & Gustaf consists of Selma Edenståhl and Gustaf Johnsson. The Unmarried Queen is someone they frequently collaborate with, but I don’t know anything at all about them. I think this is one of my favourite songs by them though it would be difficult to pick one that I like THE most.

Jack Vreeswijk – “Tjuvjägaren” (The Poacher).

Recently, I shared with you a theme piece from Amir Chamdin’s 2010 film “Cornelis” about Cornelis Vreeswijk, which was composed by Cornelis’ son, Jack. Today I want to show you that this film was not the only close encounter Jack had with the world of film during his music career. There is a Swedish historical film from 2016, directed by John Tornblad, it’s called Tjuvjägaren which means the poacher in English, and the poacher is the main character of this film, however IMDB claims that this production is known in English under the name Lars and the Baron – Lars is the name of the poacher. – The theme song to this film was written by its director, as well as cinematographer Andreas Olsson, and is sung by none other than Jack Vreeswijk! I have to admit that I’ve never watched the film, despite I’ve wanted to because it sounds rather interesting, but somehow it never happened, mostly because with all my practical issues around film watching it feels like a huge undertaking and I’m not sure my motivation is equally huge. 😀 But ever since I’ve heard this song for the first time, I really really like it, and I think Jack vocals fit it so well.

Jack Vreeswijk – “Cornelis”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today I’m sharing with you something from Jack Vreeswijk, but quite different from most of his music. For those newbies here who have very little idea who Jack (and Cornelis) Vreeswijk is, I’ll very briefly explain that Jack is the son of Cornelis, and Cornelis Vreeswijk was a singer, songwriter and poet, currently very famous in Sweden, despite actually being Dutch as he emigrated to Sweden as a child. Jack is also a great musician, writing his own music and covering his dad’s.

In 2010, Amir Chamdin made a film about Cornelis Vreeswijk’s life, which was the first ever film in Swedish that I watched (totally wasn’t easy especially without any audiodescription at all but I ended up watching it many many times so in the end it was a success 😀 ). Since the film is all about a musician, there’s a lot of music in it. And the original soundtrack has been written by Jack. I felt a whole lot of sadness when watching this film, and still when I listen to this soundtrack, I always have the same feelings. So this is the main theme from this film.

Jack Vreeswijk – “Cornelis”.

Say Lou Lou – “Everything We Touch”.

Hiya people! 🙂

Today I’d like to share some synthpop with you, for a change. Say Lou Lou (previously also known under the name Saint Lou Lou) are Swedish and Australian twins Miranda and Elektra Kilbey. Their parents are Steve Kilbey, the vocalist in the Australian alternative rock band The Church, and Karin Jansson from the Swedish new wave band Pink Champagne. The twins have gotten a lot of good reviews and their music is clearly well-liked by a lot of people. I have started listening to their music a couple months ago and there’s something in it that really appeals to me. This is a single from their 2015 album Lucid Dreaming.

Sarah Klang – “Creamy Blue”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today, let’s listen to some Swedish pop. This artist is in her late twenties and has only debuted some three years ago but has already released three full-length albums and established herself on the Swedish music scene, and to some extent in Europe in general. She’s also a Grammis-winner (Grammis is the Swedish Grammy) and has many other successes under her belt.  She herself describes her music as pop with country and Americana influences. I’m not big on country, but this vibe in her music doesn’t bother me at all and it gives it a characteristic quality. I also like her deep and emotive voice a lot and a bit sad and blue feel of a lot of her music. The song by Sarah Klang that I want to share with you is the title track of her second album. I don’t know exactly what it is that instantly captured my attention when I first heard it on the Swedish radio the year it was released, but it definitely did and I really like this song a lot.

Sara Parkman – “Fält” (Fields).

For today, I’m sharing with you a song from a very interesting Swedish contemporary folk singer, who is inspired by a lot of Scandinavian traditional folk acts that I love too, like Garmarna or Lena Villemark. As for Sara Parkman’s music itself, some of it I really like, some of it I’m totally neutral about, and some of it I dislike. But she’s a very interesting artist nonetheless who draws inspiration from and is influenced by a lot of different music, from things like the above mentioned Garmarna to st. Hildegard von Bingen. She is from the north of Sweden and collaborates with a lot of artists, not only folky ones. I find this particular song of hers very powerful. I found a good translation of it

here.

The days bellow, promise, and lie,

Cry and blink, blink and stop.

A thought at the end, made from ember.

I practise at night, the sky swells,

the sea is in me, the roads grow.

It is like you say: we still exist.

Come if you want to.

Come if you want to.

Come if you want to, to me.

Come if you want to.

Come if you want to.

Come to me, now.

Lichens that burn, firs that protect,

the sky in the moss, Sweden darkens.

The forests grow where I stand,

feelings that grind, outwardly.

Sanna Nielsen – “Inte Ok” (Not OK).

Hi guys! 🙂

Today, let’s listen to some Swedish pop. Inte OK is Sanna Nielsen’s 2017 single, written together with David Lindgren Zacharias and Olle Nyman. Sanna is a very popular singer in Sweden, known particularly for her multiple entrances into Melodifestivalen (the Swedish Eurovision preselections and the most watched programme on the Swedish TV). I don’t really follow Mello very diligently nor am I a huge fan of Sanna overall but from what I know she’s always ended up with a good result in there, yet it took her a total of seven attempts to actually win and thus represent Sweden at Eurovision 2014, with the song Undo. She’s also known from some other Swedish TV shows.

Sanna must have started singing at a really early age, because already when she was 7, she took part in all sorts of talent competitions. She had her first huge hit “Till en Fågel” (To a Bird), when she was 11, which still makes her the youngest artist whose song has made it to #1 on Svensktoppen (the Swedish weekly record chart aired at Sveriges Radio).

So, as you can see, she’s been quite successful from the very beginning. This, however, came at a high price as it seems, because this was exactly the reason why she was bullied at school by the other students, who would tell her quite diminishing things to make sure she didn’t feel any better than the rest of them just because she’s a good and successful singer. I can totally imagine this being possible anywhere just out of plain jealousy or something but I guess particularly in a country like Sweden, where

Jantelagen

is a thing.

And this song is about that time in her life, and the way she felt.

I’ve found a pretty good translation

here.

Your words burn and hurt

You look at me running home, in tears

I remember I wished you wouldn’t see me at all

I keep my eyes shut and vanish, until I dare

No, it’s not okay for me

I need to exist, to be exactly the way I want

No, it’s not okay for me

I feel my heart, when it dies, it cries, but no one hears

All you wanted was to see me frail

But you didn’t know who I was

I am stronger

No, it’s not okay for me

Reading burning, plaguing words

Hidden behind the screens, in tears

Please, start looking at us the way we are

We shall start living because we dare

No, it’s not okay for me

I need to exist, to be exactly the way I want

No, it’s not okay for me

I feel my heart, when it dies, it cries, but no one hears

All you wanted was to see me frail

But you didn’t know who I was

I am stronger

No, it’s not okay for me

You wanted to see me frail, but I’ve grown stronger

You wanted to see me frail, but I’ve grown stronger

No, it’s not okay for me

I need to exist, to be exactly the way I want

No, it’s not okay for me

I feel my heart, when it dies, it cries, but no one hears

All you wanted was to see me frail

But you didn’t know who I was

I am stronger

No, it’s not okay for me

You wanted to see me frail, but I’ve grown stronger

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Helena”.

Hey people! 🙂

Something I heard earlier today reminded me of this song and it made me wonder whether I’ve shared it on here. I was quite sure I must have, because I really like this song in Vreeswijk’s interpretation, but, a bit oddly I suppose, that turns out not to be the case so I’m sharing it today.

This song was written by Lars Forssell, one of the artists by whom Cornelis was quite strongly inspired, a very versatile writer, and member of the Swedish Academy, who clearly, like Vreeswijk himself, must have had at least some socialist inclinations, which I base solely on the songs he wrote that were interpreted by Cornelis as I’m not really familiar with Forssell’s other works. Cornelis recorded a whole album, called “Visor, Svarta och Röda” (Songs, Black and Red) with interpretations of songs written by Forssell.

This song, however, is not exactly Forssell’s original work, because it’s a translation or should we say an adaptation, of a song written and recorded by American musician Tucker Zimmerman called “She’s an Easy Rider”.

It’s kind of weird that I like this song, actually. It’s nothing exciting musically, it feels super hippie, it’s a lot of things that I’m just not, or that I don’t really necessarily look out for in music. While I think I understand people who feel the way Helena does, that freedom is basically not having roots and wandering more or less aimlessly through life without too many possessions or connections to bring you down, I’m more inclined to think that freedom is something a lot more internal, and that actually, some sense of having roots can be helpful in feeling more free, at least in my experience. I get it that there’s no one, “true” way of experiencing freedom, and Helena’s way must have been quite appealing to Cornelis from all that I know about him, but mine is vastly different, so it’s not like I find this song hugely resonating or anything. Yet I do like it.

And I think the sole reason is how evocative it is. Seriously, looking at the English original, it feels like it must have been the Swedish version that came first, because it’s so much more detailed, and gives us a much more sophisticated idea of this girl, well, she even has a name, which gives me a lot to work with as a name nerd. Listening to this, I can easily imagine this Helena girl and what she’s like. And I was mightily surprised when I learned that this is not originally a Swedish song and that it’s so much poorer in the original. The bonus point is due to the fact that Helena has been my all-time favourite name. I initially felt that it sort of clashed with the heroine’s kinda rebel personality, because that’s not at all the default image I get for the name Helena, which I perceive as very refined and girly and subtle, but I think that’s what makes it all the more interesting and kind of multi-dimensional, suggesting that either there might be more to her than meets the eye, meaning that there might be some other layer of her personality that is more like a Helena that she just doesn’t show the world, or that just like she’s generally a very unconventional person, she might also be a very unconventional Helena, different from most of her fellow namesakes.

And then we have a translation of a translation, because Cornelis not only recorded it in Swedish, but also decided to translate it to Dutch.

I can’t speak Dutch as of yet, and haven’t been able to find a good translation of the Dutch version, but based on some words that I think I understand via English or Swedish or because I know them, and because after all it’s a translation, I doubt it differs in any very substantial way from the Swedish version.

I was able to translate the Swedish one though, which should give you an idea of what it’s about.

 

Can you hear her out there in the distance

disappearing?

She is so free, Helena

And not imprisoned here like us

And not bound here like us

She is so free, Helena

All she has is the motor cycle

And an open road

She is so free, Helena

And the wind learns her song

And falls into her song

How free you are, Helena

She is not bothered by guardians

Or good advice

Because she’s free, Helena

And her rite is her destination

And her road is her destination

She is so free, Helena

No roads are short

On her journey with no destination

Free ofmoney, free of us and geography of the map

She is so free, Helena

And not imprisoned here like us

And not bound here like us

Can you hear here out there in the distance

Disappearing?

Yes, she is free, Helena

And not bound here like us

And not imprisoned here like us

How free she is, Helena

Swedish:

Dutch:

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Epistel 71 “Till Ulla i Fönstret på Fiskartorpet, Middagstiden, en Sommardag”” (Epistle 71 “To Ulla in the Window in Fiskartorpet, at Lunchtime, one Summer’s Day”).

Hey people! 🙂

I’ve shared quite a few songs by Cornelis Vreeswijk on this blog so far, but I believe I’ve never shared any of his interpretations of poems written by Carl Michael Bellman, a Swedish 18th century poet and musician whose works are still popular in Scandinavia. From what I know, part of why he is still well-known in his home country is thanks to Vreeswijk, who sort of gave a new life to some of his works, in particular Fredmans Epistlar (Fredman’s Epistles) which are poems set to, I believe mostly traditional, tunes.

Perhaps the reason why I so far haven’t shared any of those Vreeswijk interpretations of Bellman is that I don’t really find those Bellman’s poems hugely relatable. I mean, I absolutely love this old language, and I like how he portrays Stockholm from so many different sides in those poems and that it all feels still very alive and human and full of humour despite being ages old, but I just can’t say it speaks to me on any deeper level, unlike some of Cornelis’ own music. I remember my first encounters with those epistles and being all indignant and like, gosh, the guy must have had some proper drinking obsession. 😀 Everything there revolves more or less around drinking (alternatively copulating and the like) in various contexts. Of course, when you have a closer look, it’s not the only thing these epistles are supposed to be about, but still, it’s the dominating theme, and as a non-, or hardly-ever-drinker, I just don’t feel it. Perhaps more importantly, I’m not a Swede… well okay, neither was Cornelis, but practically he almost was as he lived in Sweden since the age of 12. Oddly enough, while Bellman isn’t really well-known outside of his home country and if you asked some random Polish folks if they know who he was I doubt anyone would have a clue, Fredman’s Epistles were actually translated into Polish, by Leonard Neuger, and I was even able to get hold of this translation when I was having a major faza on Vreeswijk, and when you have a major faza on someone you want to know as much as possible about the individual and he had quite a strong interest in Bellman so I wanted to read them just out of curiosity and in Swedish that wouldn’t be possible with all that archaic language. Except, I didn’t even end up reading the entire collection in Polish either. I really like reading books written in archaic or obsolete language in Polish but this one felt extremely clunky, often I felt like I couldn’t even quite follow what I was reading. 😀 Maybe I’m less competent in my own language than I think, but it didn’t make me like Bellman anymore. Still, it’s funny how there’s all that fancy, archaic, sophisticated and sublime language, while the themes are what they are, I like disonances like that.

Apart from all the drinking, a very characteristic element of Fredman’s Epistles is a woman called Ulla Winblad (she’s a lot like Ann-Katarin Rosenblad in Vreeswijk’s songs and poems), and she seems to be some kind of a nymph or other deity or something like that but at the same time something like a prostitute, anyway the narrator – Fredman – definitely has a huge crush on her to put it colloquially and simplistically.

This epistle has also to do with Ulla, and while of course there are a few mentions of wine here, it’s pretty low-key and it’s a pastoral so it has a very idyllic feel to it. The melody, apparently, was in case of this epistle written by Bellman himself. A shorter title under which this epistle is known is Ulla, Min Ulla (Ulla, My Ulla) or Ulla, Min Ulla, Säj Får Jag Dig Bjuda (Ulla, My Ulla, Say, May I Thee Offer) and the long name under which it functions on Vreeswijk’s album is the subtitle.

And as we can figure out from this subtitle, what we have here is a scene where Fredman basically sings a serenade to Ulla, sitting on a horse outside her window at lunchtime on a summer’s day in a place north of Stockholm called Fiskartorpet which is some sort of a recreational area. He’s thirsty and apparently also sleepy and invites Ulla to come out to him and eat and promises her all sorts of food. While sitting and eating together, they admire and relish the view of the place, and Fredman asks Ulla “Isn’t it heavenly?”, and she meekly agrees.

This poem, as many others, was inspired by Bellman’s friendship with a wealthy and quite interesting lady called Helena Quiding, who had her summer house called Heleneberg, where she frequently invited him as well as a circle of some other friends, and this house still exists in Fiskartorpet.

I really really like Cornelis’ skillful and delicate interpretation of this piece. He recorded it on his 1971 album with Bellman interpretations called Spring mot Ulla, Spring! (Run to Ulla, Run!).

I guess there have been several English translations of Fredman’s Epistles, but a more recent one was written by Eva Toller, and it’s her translation that I’m including in this piece. She has her own website and you can find it

here.

 

Ulla, my Ulla, pray, can I offer you

strawberries so red, in a mixture of milk and wine?

Or, fresh from the fish-chest, a jumping carp,

or, from the well, a tureen of water?

The doors are opened by the wandering winds,

flowers and spruce-twigs give fragrance;

the drizzling skies herald the sunshine, as you can see.

Ain’t this heavenly, this Fisher Cottage, say?

“Heavenly to behold!”

Here, the proud tree trunks, lining up,

with their leaves so fresh?

Here, the tranquil bay outlined? “Oh, yes!”

(And) there, far away between the ditches, tilled fields,!

Ain’t they divine, these meadows?

“Heavenly, divine!”

Your health, and good day to you in your window, my lovely!

Harken to the bells, (audible) from the city.

And behold how the blowing road dust hides the greenery

between barouches and coaches in the courtyard.

(Please) reach out from the window, where you see me,

so sleepy in my saddle, mon cousine,

(give me) first a biscuit, and then a jug of red wine!

Ain’t this heavenly…

Now the stallion is taken to his stable-box, my Ulla,

whinnying, stampeding at a canter.

Yet in the door to the stable, its eyes are glancing

proudly at the window, up to where you are.

You set all Nature afire in flames

with the warm splendour of your eyes.

Cheers! down by the gate, in the warm rye(?),

cheers! here’s to you!

Ain’t this heavenly…

CajsaStina Åkerström – “Är Det Så Här Det Känns Att Komma Hem?” (Is This What it Feels Like to Come Home?).

Hey guys! 🙂

Today I’m sharing with you the second, and the last, song from this Swedish pop singer that I like. Just like with the one I shared yesterday, I don’t really know why I do, because as I said overall her music isn’t very much my thing. Perhaps it’s because of the time when I first came across it, and that due to this I have some nice associations with it. It also has quite interesting lyrics, which I was even able to translate for you. There probably are some things wrong with this translation or things that perhaps could have been phrased better or that I haven’t understood myself for what exactly they’re supposed to mean, but as I always say these translations are only to give you a reasonably good idea of what the song is about and in my opinion this one is good enough to do just this. There is one word in it that I absolutely wasn’t able to figure out what it might be called in English, the Swedish word is sly and I thinkit’s some kind of either lower vegetation layer or an individual shrub.

 

Led lights from a window

through layers of haze

A smell of freshly baked rye bread

traces of solicitude and life

Summer-bleached sheets

In a nice, freshly made bed

Is this what it feels like

To come home

Years and miles of longing

Have brought me to your door

I inhale this freedom

That lifts guilt off the back

The song is playing on the radio

With a beloved, known chorus

Is this what it feels like

to come home_

Days come go

The despair lasts for years

In mould that died the spring is blooming

A sigh for every step

I was ready to give up

But then you came

Like a long awaited, beloved friend

Is this what it feels like

To come home

The air after thunderstorm

Like starting over from scratch

The mask I once wore

Has now played its role

With you a circle has closed

Now that time becomes too long ago

Is this what it feels like

To come home

Days come go

The despair lasts for years

In mould that died the spring is blooming

A sigh for every step

I was ready to give up

But then you came

Like a long awaited, beloved friend

Is this what it feels like

To come home

Remains of a closed down track

With fireweed and sly

A deserted building plot, a thicket of nettles

Once the world was new

What caused the hope to escape

Led lights from a window

through layers of haze

A smell of freshly baked rye bread

traces of solicitude and life

Summer-bleached sheets

In a nice, freshly made bed

Is this what it feels like

To come home

Days come go

The despair lasts for years

In mould that died the spring is blooming

A sigh for every step

I was ready to give up

But then you came

Like a long awaited, beloved friend

Is this what it feels like

To come home

Like a long awaited, beloved friend

Is this what it feels like

To come home

CajsaStina Åkerström – “När” (When).

Hey people! 🙂

Today’s song of the day is from a Swedish singer with whose music I’ve been familiar for quite a few years. If I remember correctly, it was around the time she took part in Swedish Eurovision preselections Melodifestivalen when I was starting to take deeper interest in Swedish popular music, and was relying on Last.fm for music discovery, and as a result Last.fm often recommended her music to me since I believe she was particularly popular at that moment or something. I don’t really love her music, but there are a few songs by her that I like, like this one. I don’t know why, as they’re not really very much my style, but I just do.

CajsaStina Åkerström is a well-known artist in her home country. She also sounds quite versatile because not only is she a singer, but has a degree in archaeology and since I believe quite recently has gotten some attention as a painter. She is the daughter of the famous Swedish vissångare (visa is a typical Swedish/Scandinavian folk song) Fred Åkerström, who was particularly known for interpreting the works of the 18th-century Swedish poet Carl Michael Bellman, which is why I always think that she should have been called Cajsa Lisa rather than CajsaStina, because there’s a poem by Carl Michael Bellman called Glimmande Nymf (Gleaming Nymph) where the nymph’s name is Cajsa Lisa. Lol yeah, my inner name nerd/baby namer never sleeps. 😀

Fred Åkerström collaborated a fair bit with Cornelis Vreeswijk (one of my faza peeps) especially at the beginning of Vreeswijk’s career and helped to promote his music. I’ve never really felt Åkerström or his music quite as much as I do Vreeswijk despite all the similarities between them.

CajsaStina wrote her autobiography, which I haven’t read, but even looking at it’s title – “Du och Jag, Farsan” (You and Me, Daddy) we can assume that a lot of place in there has been dedicated to her relationship with her father. Later on she also toured together with Jack Vreeswijk – son of Cornelis. – These two definitely must have had very similar childhood experiences – having had larger-than-life, talented or even ingenious (certainly the case with Vreeswijk, don’t know enough about Åkerström to say that) fathers, who both struggled with addictions, were both quite obsessed about Bellman and other such people, and, from what I gather, were really cool fathers when they were around but more often they were not present or at least not in a secure way. – Both CajsaStina and Jack also lost their fathers in their twenties so that’s really early.

The song of her that I want to share with you comes from her album Vreden och Stormen (The Anger and the Storm). I really wanted to translate it for you but the results were rather meh, so I’ll just tell you what it’s about. The way I see it it’s about how the time of the lyrical subject’s life is passing, and she still doesn’t feel like she’s truly living the life she wants and like she doesn’t know who she exactly is or is playing some role that’s not really her, it’s about not having some deeper meaning, or truth, to her existence, and I guess it all feeling quite empty and she expects and longs for something more from her life than what she has.

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.

Gjallarhorn – “Herr Olof” (Master Olof) & Nordman – “Herr Olof Och Havsfrun” (Master Olof And The Mermaid).

Hiya people! 🙂

So recently I’ve shared the music of quite a few Nordic folk artists with you, and I thought we’d stay in this Nordic folk climate for a while yet. The song I want to share with you is one of the first Swedish folk songs that I’ve heard of. Herr Olof (or master/sir Olof in English, Gjallarhorn translate it as master so we’ll stick to it here) is a young knight, who one day decided to visit the court or homestead of a mermaid. She greets him very happily, stating that she’s awaited him for fifteen years, and then proceeds to ask him all sorts of nosy questions – where he was born, where his family live, where are his fields and meadows etc. etc. but most importantly “Where do you have your fiancee, with whom you want to live and die?” Herr Olof has one answer to all these questions, that he has all these things and people at the king’s court. Then the mermaid finally lets him in and gives him “the clearest wine” to drink, after which herr Olof actually changes his mind and decides that all he has is now at the mermaid’s court, and that she is the one with whom he wants to live and die.

Usually, if I share two or more versions of the same song with you in one post, it’s because I can’t decide which one I like more. It’s not the case here though. I’m very partial to Gjallarhorn’s version, because I love Gjallarhorn in general, but I also do like Nordman’s version because this is the first version of this song that I’ve ever heard and I thought it would be interesting for people to compare perhaps. This is also one of very few songs by Nordman that I actually like, because their way of mixing folk and pop together just doesn’t speak to me. Of course I’ve nothing against mixing folk and pop, I often love it, but I simply don’t like the way they specifically do it with most of their music, it feels a bit cheesy.

When it comes to Gjallarhorn, it is thanks to them that I developed an interest in Finland Swedish, or at least the amazingly cute accent that Finns have when speaking Swedish. The band’s members are all Swedish-speaking Finns, but I didn’t know it when I first came across the music, so I was very amazed hearing the vocalist’s accent, and then I figured out why she sounds the way she does and that she’s Finnish, I decided to have a deeper look at finlandssvenska and totally sank. It’s just such a cute accent! The name Gjallarhorn means hollering horn in Old Norse, and refers to the horn belonging to Heimdal – the watchman of the Norse gods – who, according to the Norse people’s beliefs, was to blow this horn during Ragnarok, so loud that the whole world would hear it.

Gjallarhorn – “Herr Olof”:

Nordman: “Herr Olof Och Havsfrun”:

Myrkur – “Två Konungabarn” (Two Children of the Kings).

Hey people! 🙂

For today, I decided to share with you a beautiful Swedish folk song, performed by a Danish artist. Myrkur means darkness in Icelandic and is a project of Amalie Bruun, who is into everything from black metal to folk, often with very strong pagan connections, which is why I don’t really listen to her particularly much but I appreciate her and her music for how invested she is into it. She can play several traditional instruments like nyckelharpa or lyre. And this is my favourite song of hers. The translation of the lyrics is below, I’ve taken it from

here,

although I’m not perfectly sure that everything in it is correct and some bits seem a bit weird compared with the original, but perhaps it wasn’t meant to be a literal translation so I didn’t change anything.

 

There were two noble children of the kings

Who exchanged their vows

And the one who will break it

Will live in great unrest

There was an old witch

Who overheard them talking

“I want to destroy their love

If I may live that day”

And the duke got ready and sailed

And the billow hit him in his chest

But when he was sinking

The light in the lantern ceased burning

The young maiden asked her father

“Near the little green river

Am I allowed to go for a walk

Near the little green river?”

“It’s enough I give a permission to go for a walk

Near the little green river

Wake up your younger brother

He can well go with you”

“What will my brother do there?

He doesn’t understand much

He shoots all little birds

That go along his way”

And the young maiden went for a walk

Near the little green river

And there she saw a fisherman

Who was fishing on his boat.

“Good day, good day to you fisherman

Good day to your boat

Have you seen a nobleman

Floating on the blue waves?”

“His socks were made of silk,

His shoes were with golden buckles

And I would never thought

That I’ll see a corpse smiling”

And the young maiden took the rings off her hand

And golden chain off her neck

And gave them to the little fisherman

Who lead the boats forward

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

Hiya people! 🙂

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. 😀 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. 😀 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 ”Hello to you!

My name is Sofi, come here and play with me”

But then the soldier replies

No, I have to hurry up

I am going far away

The whole world is on fire”

May I join you, I promise to be nice

We’ll surely be back here by the evening”

But then he answers her

It 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