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.

Question of the day.

What was the last book you read? Did you enjoy it?

My answer:

Village School by Miss Read. I’d been wanting for the longest time to read something from this author, particularly Miss Clare Remembers and No Holly For Miss Quinn, which are two books in her Fairacre series which inspired Enya (one of my faza people) to compose two pieces of music with the same names. Just listening to those songs I always thought that if they have book equivalents, they must be great, and reading their synopses made me think they were right up my alley, but there was no Polish translation, or at least I couldn’t find any, and it’s fairly recently, some two years ago I guess, that I’ve seriously started reading English-language books of all sorts more regularly and casually, that is not solely for learning the language and new vocabulary. GoodReads must have also figured that it would be right up my alley, because recently I’ve found the first book from this series (the aforementioned Village School) in my recommendations on there, and since now I have access to different places where I can get English books and I read them regularly, I figured I really need to give this series a go now. It took me some time to get into it properly, but I really did enjoy this book and I felt really at home in it by the time I finished. It was really sweet and charming and I absolutely loved her way of describing characters, I love authors whose characters I can actually imagine and who seem life-like, her way of describing things in general is amazing, and I liked her sense of humour.

At more or less the same time I happened to learn that a guy I used to follow quite regularly some years ago, who teaches Swedish online and is a Swede himself and generally seems quite crazy about languages, has written a handbook for Swedish learners, called A Lagom Guide To Swedish. I figured I could really use some good Swedish offline resource that I wouldn’t need to scan or anything, so I bought the ebook right away. And while it’s a handbook, so generally not something you’d just read like from cover to cover, that was precisely what I ended up doing, in just a few sittings. 😀 I was quite curious how much of the things in this book I would have already known, so I started just skimming through it, but then got positively surprised that I actually know SO much of the stuff he covered in it, and even more surprised and happy whenever I came across something I didn’t know or realise, that I just didn’t want to put it aside. It really boosted my self-esteem in terms of Swedish, because ever since my English has leapt so much forward, I’ve been feeling less confident about my Swedish than I was before, even despite I managed with it quite well in Stockholm and I can get along with people just fine, I always have an impression that my Swedish, compared with my English, feels kind of clunky and it’s not as easy for me to express everything in it as it is in English, even though there was a time when my Swedish was waay better than my English. So I’m really glad I came across that book, even for this one reason. And it’ll definitely still be useful in different situations.

How about you? 🙂

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

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Somliga Går med Trasiga Skor” (Some People Walk in Tattered Shoes”.

Hiya people! 🙂

So as you may know, I’ve recently managed to translate a couple of songs by one of my faza people, Cornelis Vreeswijk, from Swedish, and I’m quite satisfied with the results, and I thought I should try translating this one, as it has fairly easy lyrics and also is one of his more popular and recognisable songs in Sweden, I guess only the one about Cecilia Lind whichh I also shared years ago is more popular. It comes from one of his earlier albums – “Tio Vackra Visor och Personliga Persson” (Ten Beautiful Songs and Personal Persson) from 1968. Even though, being a Christian myself, I don’t agree with a fair bit of stuff he sings about in this song, at the same time I think I do understand why someone would have this kind of perspective on things and even though I don’t agree with some things here, I feel similar about not getting attached to life too much, which is why I like it. Interestingly, the shoes problem seems to be very persistent and intergenerational, because Jack Vreeswijk (Cornelis’ son) also has an original song called “Mina Gamla Skor” (My Old Shoes). 😀

 

Some people walk in tattered shoes

Say why is it so?

God father who lives in heaven

Maybe wants to have it this way

God father who lives in heaven

Closes his eyes and sleeps sweetly

Who cares about a pair of tattered shoes

When one is tired and old?

Who cares about how the days go?

They wander as they want

Citizen, in one hundred years

You will no longer exist.

Then someone else will take your chair

You won’t know about it

You’ll feel neither rain nor sun

Down in your dark grave.

Who cares about how the nights pass_

I couldn’t care less

As long as I can keep my face

Hidden in my darling’s hair.

I am a shady character

Not enough for much

Death stands lurking behind the corner

He takes me when he wants.

Some people walk in tattered shoes

Until they stop walking

The devil who lives in hell

Gets a good laugh then

Suvi Teräsniska ft. Arttu Wiskari – “Sininen Uni” (Blue Dream) & Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Den Blåa Drömmen” (The Blue Dream”.

Hey guys! 🙂

Let’s listen to yet another, beautiful and cute lullaby today. It was written by a Finn of many talents – Tapio Rautavaara (1915-1979) – who was a successful athlete (javelin thrower and archer) and then (also successful) singer and actor. Some of his songs, from what I know, were quite big hits at the time of his career. While I don’t really feel them musically all that much as they just don’t stand out to me I guess and are totally not my thing, I like the lyrics of some of them, which are often humourous, sometimes a bit ironical and often have a fair bit of wisdom in them, in which they remind me of Cornelis Vreeswijk. Their political views were also very similar from what I know. It is not surprising then, with that similarity, that Cornelis Vreeswijk actually did an album consisting of Rautavaara’s songs that he – Vreeswijk – translated to Swedish. The album is called “En Spjutkastares Visor” (Songs of a Javelin Thrower) and was released in 1980. Among these songs is “Sininen Uni” in Finnish, or “Den Blåa Drömmen” in the Swedish translation, or Blue Dream in English – a lovely lullaby about the Sandman, or Nukkumatti in Finnish, or John Blund in Swedish (blund means close your eyes and is the imperative form of the verb blunda).

Sandman is one of my most favourite folklore characters, next to Jack Frost, selkies, changelings and some others, because I love sleep and dreams and I just really like the concept of the Sandman, so I instantly fell in love with this lullaby when I heard it for the first time and understood well enough (in Vreeswijk’s version).

Thanks to Spotify, a couple months ago I also came across a cover version in Finnish sung by Suvi Teräsniska and Arttu Wiskari, which speaks to me more than the original. And I thought that, because Finnish is just as beautiful a language in my opinion as Swedish, and because it’s interesting to hear how the song sounds in its original language, I would share this Finnish version too, and also I just plain like it, unlike the original.

I don’t speak Finnish (yet), so I don’t understand any of the Finnish lyrics, but I tried my best at translating the Swedish translation into English for you. I got Google to translate the Finnish one for me out of curiosity and it doesn’t seem like there are any huge differences between the two language versions, perhaps except for that, according to Google, the Finnish Nukkumatti “devours ice cream” whereas John Blund is better and gives you a sleepy cookie.

 

Every evening when the lamp goes out

And the night is about to come

The Sandman knocks on the door

So quietly and so carefully.

He tiptoes in through the door

In his sleepy shoes

And sits down nicely by the bed

In the room where you live.

He has such a sleepy cap.

It is full of sleepy sand.

He gives you a sleepy cookie

With his sleepy little hand.

His car is blue, can you see it_

It’s going to drive away soon.

Vroom, vroom, says the car

In me you can ride.

Now he puts up the umbrella

And puts on his cap.

What does he carry under his arm_

Well, a dream book which is blue.

And the car drives to the dream land

With a sleepy speed

Vroom, vroom, says the car.

Now I guess we’ll fall asleep very soon.

And there you see the golden trees

That grow in the forest of dreams.

And the dream blue bird.

Well, I guess you know him.

Crawl now down under the bird’s wings

And sleep well and fine.

Hear the bird sing a song:

La la la la la la la.

   Suvi Teräsniska ft. Arttu Wiskari:

Cornelis Vreeswijk:

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Vaggvisa” (Lullaby) & Sarah Riedel ft. Nikolai Dunger – “Vaggvisa”.

Hey people! 🙂

So today I thought we’d listen to a lullaby. I love love listening to lullabies, and not just for sleep. They are very comforting and often have either a fair bit of folklore in them or hide something interesting in between the lines about the times when they were sung/written, kind of like this one although in this one I guess it’s not even hidden very deeply at all but rather straightforward.

This lullaby was written by Cornelis Vreeswijk (one of my faza people, if you don’t know yet) for his son, Jack, and recorded on his debut album in 1964, so exactly the year when Jack was born. It reminds me of very old Polish lullabies, which often go something like this in a nutshell: sleep, my little baby, while you have the time for such luxuries, and while you sleep, grow very big and strong and grow very quickly, so you can start working right away, preferably tomorrow, and help your poor old mother or father because that’s how life works and once you’re big and strong you’ll only get to sleep after you die. I suppose it may not be just a Polish phenomenon but simply something I happened to notice with Polish lullabies specifically.

This lullaby is kind of similar to that pattern, and, given that Cornelis had a lot of knowledge of European folklore and various motives in it and used them a lot, I wonder if he knew about that lullabies actually used to be very much like that in the past and whether this similarity was intended. Here, little Jack, who can’t have more than half a year, is already being made aware of how life generally sucks and is all about making money, so he should take his time to sleep now when he has it. I’m not sure how good a strategy that seriously is to convincing your child to sleep, I’d be afraid I’m going to raise a neurotic and a ruminator who won’t sleep at night because of thinking about all the shitty stuff that is awaiting him in the future, but perhaps that’s just me as I’m a neurotic ruminator myself.

Whether this similarity to old lullabies was or was not intended, surely his main inspiration behind it, just like a lot of his other music, were his strongly socialist views, which shows clearly and I guess especially when you know about his leanings in this direction, but also, since it’s a lullaby, here I feel it isn’t as much in-your-face with the socialism as some of his other songs are. I – being anything but socialist – really love it, which I can’t say about all of his works because I simply do not agree with a lot of stuff in them. Whether you are a socialist or not, I guess most of us agree that adulting is shitty and the idea of being a carefree baby who can sleep the time away, be taken care of, have everything he wants and be free (because for Cornelis, from what we can assume from his other lullaby, one is only free when one is asleep) is more appealing, at least to us escapists for sure.

I also really love this song musically. Vreeswijk, while highly regarded in Sweden for his lyricism, language skills, expression and guitar style, is not considered the greatest composer and I totally agree, usually those of his songs who were composed by other people sound better. Yet there are some absolutely mind-blowing exceptions (I’m thinking “Grimasch om Morgonen” for example, which I’ve shared on my blog before) and “Vaggvisa” is one of them, at least to me. It’s just a simple tune and there’s just Cornelis and the guitar, but there’s something very grand about it.

For comparison, I also want to share with you a cover version from the album Cornelis vs Riedel, where there are Cornelis’ poems in Georg Riedel’s jazz arrangements, sung by his daughter Sarah Riedel and Nikolai Dunger, and a few of his already published songs but with new melodies composed by Riedel. Even though I’m not a huge fan of jazz, I really love this album because there’s just so much real feeling in it, so much care put into it and it’s very friendly for a jazz layman like myself. Their version does not have the same lyrics as the one Cornelis originally wrote for Jack, but they are from the film Rännstensungar (Guttersnipes), where Cornelis played Johan Fahlen and sang this lullaby in this shortened and more neutral, less personalised version to Ninni – the main character. – One day I may also share this song sung by Jack himself.

Below is my attempt at translating the lyrics (the original ones), very literally of course, just to give you an idea what this is about. I’ve always found that metaphor here about working hard as the cat very amusing, ’cause since which time do cats work hard. 😀 I don’t think this is a legit Swedish idiom, never heard of it, and I doubt it especially that it’s “the cat”, so it looks like he means some specific cat. I wonder why is that, perhaps just for the sake of rhyming? As for the factory thing in the lyrics, among quite a few things that Cornelis did before becoming a singer and poet, he did work in a factory for a while.

 

  Sleep now, my little prince

When I turn the light off

Father is going to his machine

Mother shall guard the house

Sleep now, prince, you who can

Father he goes to the factory

Working hard like the cat

All night long.

The moon shines yellow and full

Up on the sky

Life is a money game

Nobody gets away

Complaining doesn’t help, comrade

Banners and placards

You can’t eat

The prince should know it.

Relax now, little prince

You have plenty of time

Use it when there is a chance

Then there will be hurry

Then there will be trouble and battle

For piece work and overtime

Don’t worry for now

Just take it easy.

Sleep now, my little prince

When I turn the light of

Father is going to his machine

Mother shall guard the house

Here at mother’s you are fine

Mother has everything you want to have

For I can promise it

Now the prince shall sleep

   Cornelis Vreeswijk:

Sarah Riedel ft. Nikolai Dunger:

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Min Polare Per” (My Buddy Per).

Hey people! 🙂

Today I have for you another song from Cornelis Vreeswijk, ’cause why not? The original version even comes from the same album as the song I shared with you yesterday (that is, his debut album from 1964), but I decided to share with you a live version.

I’ve introduced you before to some recurring figures in Cornelis Vreeswijk’s music and poems like Ann-Katrin Rosenblad or Fredrik Åkare, but so far I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned Polaren Per, who is like Cornelis Vreeswijk’s buddy or pal. Like the other two characters, he’s also supposedly based on a real-life person, namely Pär Hägg. And he features in quite a few Cornelis’ songs. This is the first one that was ever released.

This time round, I haven’t managed to translate it because I don’t even fully understand some pieces in it, especially the first verse. It’s about Polaren Per’s mysterious disappearance. He used to live with his girlfriend but something happened between them (this is the part I don’t understand fully, I believe she cheated on him but I’m not quite sure) that he couldn’t get over it, so he moved out and no one knows where he is. So, obviously, his friend is very concerned, and asks people if they’ve seen him, and looks for him himself all around Stockholm. He’s also worried about his – Per’s, of course – mother, who will miss her only son, and the fact that Per owes him fifty bucks. He has multiple theories as for what could be going on with Per and where he might be, like he may be at sea, drinking his problems away or may have moved into a cheap hotel, or maybe he’s just sitting in a pub, in which case there’s nothing to worry about at all. Luckily though, he must have been found, since there are so many other songs about Polaren Per that were released later on.

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Visa I Vinden” (Song In The Wind).

Hiya people! 🙂

Today, I have a beautiful Cornelis Vreeswijk song for you (or Swedes would say a Cornelisk song, Cornelisk is an adjective and I like it because it shows how he really is a huge and recognisable part of Swedish culture. I think this is one of my favourites. We could say nowadays that it is so beautifully emo. 😀

It is a very sad and beautiful love song, and if we’re talking Cornelis and love songs, of course we’re also talking Ann-Katrin Rosenblad, to whom he most often dedicates his love songs, and other of his songs often mention her too. If you’re not yet in the know, Ann-Kat(a)rin Rosenblad was his fictional muse, based on the real life one – Ann-Christin Wennerström. – This comes from his debut album – “Ballader Och Oförskämdheter” (Ballads And Rudenesses/Impertinencies) from 1964.

I even managed to translate the lyrics (go Bibielle!!! I guess it’s my fourth Swedish-English translation if I’m counting right) and they surely do tell you what the song is about, but I wonder if it’s just me who feels that the English lyrics are way clunkier than Swedish. Perhaps it’s because it can’t be otherwise, or maybe I could do it better, I don’t know. If you speak Swedish and read this, lemme know.

Also, honestly, ever since I’ve first listened to this song (which was like… 2016 I guess?) and then understood its lyrics fully, I’ve never really figured out what’s the deal with the “sieve” in the lyrics (see translation below). I thought maybe this word has more meanings in Swedish or it’s some idiom or something, but when I was translating this today I couldn’t find anything like that. So I still don’t know. Maybe it means that she was so selective in love or didn’t retain her emotions for long, meaning that she easily fell out of love, or something? I found out that sieve can symbolise virginity, because of a vestal in ancient Rome who proved her virginity by carrying water in a sieve and not spilling any of it. Cornelis read a whole lot and we could say that he was quite nerdy, and there are mythological references in some of his poems and songs. But here it doesn’t seem very likely to be the case. Yeah, I was the best in my class at poem analyses but have always felt like I’m not very good at it actually. 😀

 

I’m singing a song in the wind,

And hope the wind will bring

This song to my beautiful one’s cheek,

And sprinkle it in her ear,

And move her heart.

I have been to many countries,

And not been to many more.

I guess I could stop going,

If you ask me to do so.

And lovingly look at me.

But wish me luck on the journey,

When I now pull away from you.

And the reason, Ann-Katrin, is this:

I cannot stay,

Where I do not have your love.

I’m singing a song in the wind,

I’m singing a song in a storm.

My heart is like a granite,

My heart has lost its shape,

And my pain is enormous.

But listen to my march under the moon,

It swings in steady minor.

It does not fit on the gramophone,

It’s about you, you troll,

That your heart is a sieve.

Renaida – “Ett Andetag I Taget” (One Breath At A Time).

Hiya people! 🙂

Today I have a very beautiful and sad Swedish song for you which captivated me from the very first time I heard it. The singer – Renaida Braun – was actually bornn in Tanzania, before her parents emigrated to Sweden. She took part in the Swedish TV competition Idol, and also in Melodifestivalen (Melodifestivalen, commonly known as Mello, which is the biggest and most popular Swedish TV show and whose winner goes on to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest the same year). I really like how emotive and strong her voice is and I absolutely love this song.

The lyrics are really simple, so I managed to translate them with no problem, yay!

 

I feel the pulse in my blood

My heart beats again

I stop for a while

Can I smile again?

It was nothing I understood

I only wanted to go home

The thought of losing me

Before the dawn

When the sky falls to the ground

And all the trees are burning in the park

The birds fall to the ground

And all the words disappear

When the sky falls to the ground

And all the trees are burning in the park

The birds fall to the ground

And all the words disappear

I lose my breath in a dream

A kiss from nowhere

Everything falls apart inside

Can’t see again

When a memory arises

As if the fairytale never existed

The truth shall be revealed

Before the dawn

When the sky falls to the ground

And all the trees are burning in the park

The birds fall to the ground

And all the words disappear

One breath at a time

I take one breath at a time

One breath at a time

I take one breath

When the sky falls to the ground

And all the trees are burning in the park

The birds fall to the ground

And all the words disappear

Rebecka Enholm – “Bara Få Va Mig Själv” (Just Get To Be Myself).

Hey people! 🙂

Some time ago on my blog, I shared with you some music from a famous Iranian-Swedish pop singer – Laleh. – One of her songs that I like and shared with you was “Bara Få Va Mig Själv” and I thought that now I’d also share with you this cover by a very young singer Rebecka Enholm, a more acoustic one. I do prefer Laleh’s version as I think it has more character, but this one is really nice too.

Here is my post with the song by Laleh and the English translation for it.

 

Rebecka Enholm – “Bara Få Va Mig Själv”.

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Droskblues” & Jack Vreeswijk – “Efter Midnatt” (After Midnight).

Hey people! 🙂

Maybe it’s not the best time to share a song like this – talking about all the crazy stuff that is going on after midnight in what we could call the margins of society – (it’s not even 10 AM here when I’m writing this) but I figured it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things since people are in different timezones and maybe you’re going to read this and listen to this song in the future, after midnight.

When I first heard this song sung by Cornelis Vreeswijk (who is, as you may already know, one of my faza people),

at the age of 17, and was able to roughly understand what it was about, I found it a bit creepy, but not in a somehow deterrent way, more like an interestingly creepy way. I also just like the bluesy sound of it.

Cornelis is quite known for having translated a lot of songs from other languages, mostly American though, and this one is no exception. It’s relatively recently that I learned that it’s not really his original song. It can be difficult to figure out sometimes if you don’t know the original version, because most often, his translations are quite loose and more like variations onn a theme rather than proper covers of the songs just in a different language. This particular song was originally written and performed by J.J. Cale and is known as After Midnight.

I feel that Vreeswijk’s version, even though it’s not written in first person like Cale’s, is more to-the-point and in-your-face. I can understand most of the lyrics (although I don’t even know what what the drosk- in Droskblues means) but there are a few lines which I don’t really know how to translate, so I figured that, to give you some  idea of what it’s about, I’ll share the original, English lyrics. What they differ in is that, like I said, Cornelis’ version is more graphic, and all sorts of people like directors, pimps, organisers and entrepreneurs, nymphomaniacs, drug addicts, are mentioned specifically. The ladies start their season, basically, all the yucky stuff that you don’t see during the day comes out. It has generally richer lyrics than the original, but well, Vreeswijk was also a poet, after all.

Additionally, I decided I’ll also share with you another version of this song, called “Efter Midnatt” and performed by Jack Vreeswijk – Cornelis’ son. – I like Jack a lot, but in this case I like his version a lot less than Cornelis’. I don’t dislike it, or I wouldn’t share it on here, but it’s not very interesting musically, oh, and my least favourite instrument is saxophone and it’s quite prominent in here. Besides, when I first heard his version, it literally made me laugh because I think his melody totally doesn’t match the lyrics. I often don’t mind and even really like songs which have dark, sad, depressing, scary etc. lyrics and a very upbeat melody when it’s clearly on purpose and kind of a way of being sarcastic or something, but here, I don’t think it’s on purpose at all.

So here are the J.J. Cale lyrics:

 

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

After midnight, we’re gonna chug-a-lug and shout

We’re gonna stimulate some action

We’re gonna get some satisfaction

We’re gonna find out what it is all about

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down (after midnight, after midnight)

After midnight, we’re gonna shake your tambourine (after midnight, after midnight)

After midnight, it’s all gonna be peaches and cream (after midnight, after midnight)

We’re gonna cause talk and suspicion

We’re gonna give an exhibition

We’re gonna find out what it is all about (what it is all about) (what it is all about)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down (we’re gonna let it all hang down)

(We’re gonna let it all hang down)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

After midnight, we’re gonna shake your tambourine

(We’re gonna shake your tambourine) (we’re gonna shake your tambourine)

After midnight, it’s all gonna be peaches and cream

(We’re gonna shake your tambourine) (we’re gonna shake your tambourine)

We’re gonna cause talk and suspicion

We’re gonna give an exhibition

We’re gonna find out what it is all about (what it is all about, what it is all about)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down (after midnight, after midnight)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

(We’re gonna let it all hang down) we’re gonna let it all hang down)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

(We’re gonna let it all hang down) (we’re gonna let it all hang down)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

(We’re gonna let it all hang down) (we’re gonna let it all hang down)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

(We’re gonna let it all hang down) (we’re gonna let it all hang down)

Cornelis Vreeswijk’s version:

Jack Vreeswijk’s version:

It’s not on YouTube, but here are other streaming platforms where you can find it:

Jack Vreeswijk – “Efter Midnatt”.

 

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Balladen Om Fredrik Åkare”.

Hey people! 🙂

Thought that I’d share another song by Cornelis Vreeswijk with you today, one from his debut album from 1964. It is called, as you can figure out from the title, “Balladen Om Fredrik Åkare” and it should not be confused with one I shared before and that is very popular in Sweden – “Balladen Om Herr Fredrik Åkare Och Den Söta Fröken Cecilia Lind”, that one was later.

From what I’ve read, this Fredrik Åkare guy (whose name could also be translated to English as Fredrik Rider), is based on a real life person, that is Cornelis’ brother-in-law, husband of his younger sister Ida. Somewhere else though I’ve read that he was something like Vreeswijk’s alter ego, so I am a bit confused, but I guess it could simply be so that Fredrik Åkare played slightly different roles in different songs, depending what he was needed for, and he could as well have been some sort of a blend of these two people, anyway he is one of those characters (like Ann-Kat(a)rin Rosenblad, that I wrote about a little before 

who appear quite regularly in his various lyrics and poems.

This song has always had such a depressive and resigned feel to me. I don’t feel like writing a translation and I don’t want to botch it, so I thought I’ll just tell you what it is about, which is strongly from my point of view, the way I understand and feel this piece.

The lyrical subject – I think we cann assume that here it’s the author – meets Fredrik Åkare somewhere out in Stockholm – as Cornelis once said at one of his later concerts, this was in January, on a cold, early morning. – They meet, presumably after not seeing each other after quite a long time, and just have a friendly catchup, although it is mostly Fredrik talking and pouring his brains out, because it turns out that a lot has changed in his life since they’d last seen each other. He’s been wandering aimlessly, not really sure of anything in his life as it seems. When the lyrical subject asks him about his wife, he says that, indeed, he had a wife, but he has divorced her. He also says that she has taken everything they/he had, so he’s pretty much left with nothing, but he doesn’t give a fuck, as he says. So he’s just kind of living without any purpose or anything, walking around Stockholm like that, seemingly unsure about anything in his life, whether future or past, kind of oblivious to whatever is going to happen and letting things go however they will in a bit of an apathetic manner I’d say, or as he says himself – “like in a trance”. – But what is most important to him is that now – after a lot of emotional upheaval and sorrow – he is free.

I must say I don’t really get this understanding of freedom – being left with nothing, even without a family you used to have, and it especially doesn’t speak to me because he doesn’t really seem all that happy with this arrangement, and life still sucks for him, but I suppose it was just the next best thing, in his opinion. This frantic looking for freedom is quite characteristic of a lot of Cornelis’ lyrics or poems and it always makes me sad when I think of it because it doesn’t seem like he ever found it during his life. But then, does anyone? It’s probably just that some people lack it even more and so feel it a lot more keenly, dealing with all sorts of addictions and other things like that. Cornelis himself was married to three women over the course of his life and divorced all of them, but this bit about Fredrik Åkare’s divorce can’t be inspired by his personal experiences because if I remember correctly he married his first wife, Ingalill Rehnberg, the same year that his debut album came out, and he was with Ingalill for four years. Not that it wasn’t a difficult relationship from the start, from what I know.

So yeah, a depressing piece really, or so it is to me.

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Saskia” – & Pernilla Andersson – “Saskia”.

Hey people! 🙂

So as you may remember I shared with you yesterday a song from Swedish pop singer Pernilla Andersson, and I said that I might share one more soon, that is her cover of a song originally written and sung by Cornelis Vreeswijk. And so that’s what I decided to do today.

This song is what made me fall in love with the name Saskia so much that if I ever considered having kids, Saskia would be a very serious candidate for a girl. I’d never really come across that name a lot before hearing this.

The song comes from one of Cornelis Vreeswijk’s earlier albums – “Tio Vackra Visor Och Personliga Persson” (Ten Beautiful Songs And Personal Persson). There is a recording of his live performance at an Örebro jazz club called Powerhouse, which was released as an album after his death, where he says that this song was inspired by a real life Saskia he once met in his “green youth”, on the way back home to his wife with whom he was at the time (Ingalill Rehnberg I think based on the timing), he would often stop at some sort of other beer place I don’t really know, to have a few beers with his “good friends and other condemned individuals”. And one time when he was there, there was a girl called Saskia who was working there, and she apparently asked him what was Rembrandt’s wife’s name, so he said that she was called Saskia van Rijn, and then he had free beer for the rest of his stay there. How magnanimously of her… I don’t know though if what they were doing after her work according to the song is also based on facts or not really. His second wife, Bim Linnea Warne, said once that, while he was awfully jealous which is quite well-known, he was very faithful himself, although, as much as I like Cornelis, I can’t help but feel a little doubtful about that. 😀

I love Cornelis’ original version, but Pernilla Andersson also does a really great job. Her song doesn’t have the last couple of verses though.

According to the lyrics, Saskia is cross-eyed, and that’s why she is a subject of ridicule for everyone, which I’ve always found a little surprising because, perhaps I’m totally wrong at all that but I guess strabismus (I suppose that’s how it’s called in English?) isn’t an uncommon thing, it’s also not like a very disabling condition or making one somehow grossly unattractive even if it’s commonly seen as not very beautiful, so while I get that someone could be bullied due to something like this, would that really raise so much attention? In the 60’s? As I said though, I may have no clue, since I’m blind myself and don’t know how much things like that can affect one’s view of a person, it’s just something that I’ve found kind of interesting and strange.

Below is the translation of the song, I wrote it myself but I used

this one

to help myself.

  Saskia has a name with a ring to it

She works at a pub

Pours beer for the guys

The guys think she is good

The guys think

She is good

Then there is nothing more to it

Saskia, she is crosseyed, you see

Although her gaze is clear and bright

It raises ridicule in everyone

It raises ridicule

In everyone

She is quiet and unnoticeable

Her uniform is starched

But she was beautiful, and when she smiled

In a way that made you gasp

In a way that

Made you gasp

I let my eyes explore her

And it was actually worth the effort

The more they saw, the more they found

She was purely incredibly brilliant

She was purel

Incredibly brilliant

After I had strengthened myself with a beer

I said “Miss, have you noticed?

Has it not struck you yet

That I have been observing you?

That I have been

Observing you”

She said “Sir, it is true

The reason is unknown to me”

Then I mustered up the courage and said

“When are you free, Saskia?

When are you free, Saskia?”

We watched a romantic movie

Then we drank coffee at a café

I followed her to her house

A light was burning in our hearts

A light was burning

In our hearts

Saskia had a sleeping alcove

And she was beautiful when she slept

And we were awake more than enough

Then her alarm clock went off

Then her alarm

Clock went off

Saskia is a name that has a ring to it

She works at a pub

Her eyes are crossed, wherever she looks

But she is beautiful when she smiles

Yes, she is beautiful

When she smiles

Pernilla Andersson – “Koltrast Vid Haväng” (Blackbird at Haväng).

Hey people! 🙂

Today I’m sharing with you a song by Pernilla Andersson from Sweden. She’s quite a well-known pop artist in her native country. I guess her most known song is Johnny Cash & Nina P. or perhaps it’s just me who has heard it on Swedish radio incredibly often. She also, like many Swedish singers, has covered Cornelis Vreeswijk’s music, and it’s possible that I will share her interpretation of his song soon. For now though, let’s listen to her own piece. Haväng in the title is a nature reserve in the south of Sweden, which is a popular tourist destination.

Question of the day.

Have you ever been to another country? Which?

My answer:

I’m not very well-travelled, but I have been to some countries a few times, although with most of them these were just day trips, so as you can guess most of these were our neighbouring countries (Lithuania, Slovakia and Czech Republic). My Mum’s family – namely my grandad – has some Lithuanian heritage, but we also have some distant family – from his side – in eastern Poland, mainly in Masuria. That is also where my Mum was born. Masuria is an amazing place to go for holidays to, because there are a lot of lakes and beautiful views and a lot of yummy food, and a lot of rural areas and tourism is quite a big thing there. So we would often go there to see our family and would often stay at their place and travel in the area or something, during summer holidays. One such year we decided to go a bit further, to Lithuania. Partly because of that family connection, although this is not something we know a lot about or have a strong emotional bond with because it’s just too distant, and partly because I’ve had a devotion to Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn, whose chapel is there, and I wanted to visit it, so my Dad had always promised me that we’d go on a pilgrimage there or something, and that’s what we eventually did. Zofijka was only a toddler then. She was also quite little on our next trip – to Slovakia – and often when we were driving somewhere that felt very far to her, she would keep asking: “Are we still in Poland?” which always made us laugh because it sounded as if she was such a globetrotter or a cosmopolitan that she can’t keep track of which country she’s in anymore. 😀

As for Slovakia, one year my Mum persuaded me to go on a summer camp that was organised by my school, and as a way of coaxing me into it she said that they – my family – would go there as well on their own. The whole trip was to the Tatra mountains, here in Poland, because my school had like its quarters there – that is, sort of a closely affiliate school in a village close to the mountains which was for primary school-aged children with some additional learning difficulties other than just blindness, so we were using that school as our base. – I would sometimes do stuff with my school, and sometimes with my family. Sometimes my family would join the school in doing what they had planned to do, and at other times they’d do something different. And my Dad was really keen on the idea of us going to Slovakia, because back when he was going to school, he once went to a school camp in Czechoslovakia and then later even was briefly penpalling with one of the girls from there, which is interesting because while Polish and Czech/Slovak are obviously in the same family of languages and are relatively well mutually intelligible, it’s not like you’ll understand each other all the time if you don’t have some background in the other language, at least that’s my experience, there are a LOT of “false friends” and their spelling also differs a fair bit, so I would never have thought that my Dad would be up for such a challenge and at school age, I’d think that would require some language consciousness that people, let alone school children, don’t always have. Then later on our trip to Czech Republic, to both my and Mum’s great surprise, it was my Dad who was the most communicative and understood people the best, my English was of less use than his Polish and plain ability to understand what people were saying. 😀 We’d never suspected him of a hidden linguistic talent like this. Anyway, because of having such memories with Czechoslovakia, and because of us being close to the Slovak borders and all being into the idea, we felt like it would be fun to go there. And because my Mum always wanted to visit some thermal aquapark or something like this, we were happy to find out that there is one quite close to the border, in Oravice. And, for me personally, that was the most fun day of the whole trip, which overall was, I believe, more exciting to my parents than my siblings and me. 😀 But we had a lot of fun in that thermal aquapark and have been thinking about going there again ever since, but never have so far.

Then, quite a lot later, as an adult already, I went to the Czech Republic only with my parents, because Sofi was on a swimming camp and Olek was working. Again, we were on longer holidays, this time in Silesia, and my Dad really wanted to cross the border. We went to Prague but weren’t really doing anything specific there, just walking around, taking everything in, people watching, listening to the language, trying random foods that we’d never seen before in our own country etc. That was a lot of fun. Then the next day we travelled to Czechia yet again but this time round to some villages and again weren’t doing anything specific. My Dad was chatting to people, me and Mum too but like I said before he was actually the most effective at that and could both be quite well understood and understand the most of us all, I remember we also went to some cemetery there.

And last, but not least, my most adventurous trip abroad so far was to Sweden, but I think most of you know a fair bit about it already. I went to Stockholm and nearby areas, again just with my parents because Sofi was on another swimming camp. This was quite spontaneous, even though my Dad was promising me every year that we’d go. I never believed it because we never ended up going. But that year he also kept saying we’d go to Sweden and then, quite unexpectedly for everyone, we actually ended up doing it. I felt really ambivalent about this trip. It was absolutely awesome, and I loved being immersed in the language and how it improved so incredibly muchh for me in this single week, how I got some real experience of talking to natives, which I had almost none of in Swedish before, or at least certainly not in person. And I heard so much positive feedback about my Swedish, although at the same time whenever I let it show in any way that it’s not my first language people would instantly switch to English so I was often wondering whether my Swedish is really that bad, haha, but I guess people just do it like this in Sweden regardless of your fluency level. It is frustrating from a learner’s perspective, but in fact I’m only starting to understand this phenomenon now that I’ve been helping some people who are learning my language, and I’ve realised that it’s really tempting to just switch to English, which we both know well, because this way we could communicate more quickly and also a bit more clearly, and I wouldn’t have to be mindful all the time of what and how I’m saying so that they could understand me more easily if they’re a beginner, which in turn feels less free and natural. Plus for me it’s probably also that I write much more in English these days than I do in Polish. 😀 But there were even people in Sweden who were surprised when they eventually realised that I’m only learning Swedish, which felt really flattering because I didn’t, and still don’t, feel all that confident in it at all, not as much as in English, my Swedish still feels a little clunky to me and not as comfy to use. But I guess what may be making this initial impressioon on people is that I pick up the phonetics and language prosody easily and perhaps I do a really good job at this one thing in Swedish, that’s what I heard from my Swedish teacher but he wasn’t objective, 😀 which maybe is what to people makes me sound more like a Swede even if I make grammatical/syntax mistakes and use sometimes not the right vocabulary than if it was the other way around – if I were speaking perfectly grammatically but with a weird accent. – If it really works like this, it’s funny that an accent can create such illusions. I loved just listening to people on the streets and observing them. One of the highlights of that trip for me was when we went to the cemetery where there is Cornelis Vreeswijk’s (one of my fazas) grave. I had always dreamt of visiting him there and bringing him some flowers. We had the yummiest Swedish chocolate and ice-cream, there were so many beautiful views that my Mum was in love with, I got lots of children’s books to scan, and, on the last day of our trip, we found a minerals shop, where I got some lovely new gem stones to my collection. I loved the shop owner, who seemed to like me too or perhaps was impressed with my interest with stones or something because he was incredibly nice and talked to me a lot about his stones and how he got them, and showed me lots of them even though initially he wasn’t too happy to let me touch them. The whole trip was extremely exhausting for me though in a lot of ways, and on that last day, I was feeling totally knackered, and when I’m very tired or sleepy or have drank alcohol or something like that, I have a strong tendency for mixing languages, especially if I happened to switch them a lot or was learning one of them intensely earlier that day. My thoughts are a jumble of different languages and sometimes I won’t be able to filter things out and will say something in a different language than I wanted. That can be quite funny, if a bit embarrassing for me or confusing for the other side, although my family are used to it and just ask me what language that was, and my family are who I mostly interact with in person. 😀 Anyways, that was the state of my brain on that day, and at some point, in the middle of my conversation in Swedish with that guy (which was rather challenging in itself because he was speaking super fast and with a rather strong Scanian accent, and Scanian accent is not something I can understand very well, it’s almost like Danish 😀 ), my Mum told me – in Polish of course – that there’s also a huge sapphire there and that it’s soooo very expensive. Instead of replying her in Polish, I did it in English, and was all like oh my I love sapphires I wish I could have it!!! or something along these lines. My Mum, who can’t speak English, didn’t get it, but the shop owner did, and was quite amused. He said he can’t sell that sapphire to me at any significantly lower price, but instead could give me a smaller one for free. And that’s how I got a lovely mini sapphire ball. That’s always something to start with, and I was quite euphoric over getting a sapphire – even if very small – to my collection. But I also bought a lot of other beautiful stones there.

The worse part of the trip was that it was really quite challenging overall, it was absolutely exhausting! First we had to do all the travelling, and my vestibular system went crazy on the ferry, I was freakishly dizzy and it was scary. Most of the trip I was going on a lot higher doses of my anti-anxiety medication than what I normally take, which is probably why a lot of my memories of that time are rather foggy and feel more like a dream or something. My parents don’t speak either English or Swedish, which means I had to do the talking for three people, when I normally struggle doing it just for myself. While my linguistic curiosity was higher than my anxiety, it didn’t make it any less difficult and all the interactioons with people, even though mostly very positive, were really wearing me out. So I was just as super happy leaving as I was going there, and I have the same very ambivalent feelings when thinking about going there again. I’d love it, but when I start to think practically about going through all that socialising and travelling shit again, it makes me feel sick. 😀

How about you. 🙂

Vederkast – “Balladen Om Herr Fredrik Åkare Och Den Söta Fröken Cecilia Lind” (The Ballad About Mr. Fredrik Åkare And The Sweet Miss Cecilia Lind).

Hey people! 🙂

While I find that it’s always best to listen to my

fazas’

music in the original, when it comes to Cornelis Vreeswijk, I think he can be proud of very often having had people cover his music very well! I do like some covers of his songs almost as much as his original versions. And this is one of such cases.

I stumbled upon this version of the ballad about Fredrik Åkare and Cecilia Lind when my faza on Cornelis was quite well-developed already, and I instantly loved it. I like how in this rocky, gloomy version, it takes on an almost entirely different feel, yet is no less true and authentic than the original version. And also I just plain like how it sounds.

Here you can find

my post with the original song and the translated lyrics,

and here is

my post with Cornelis’ Dutch version. 

The YouTube version is just a teaser or something, so below is the link to Spotify, and if you don’t use Spotify, there’s also a link to Songwhip where you can choose the streaming service that you use.

Vederkast – “Balladen Om Herr Fredrik Åkare Och Den Söta Fröken Cecilia Lind”.