Ranagri – “High Germany”.

   Hi guys! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you something from a folk group whose music I’ve only recently discovered. As I’ve been interested in English and Celtic folk music for years now, the name Ranagri was already vaguely familiar to me, but it was only a couple weeks ago that I had a chance to listen to their music and I liked them straight away. This particular song I want to share with you today is from their  album called Voices. 

   Ranagri are an Anglo-Irish band based in London, consisting of Dónal Rogers, Eliza Marshall, Eleanor Dunsdon and Jordan Murray. Their sound includes vocals and  instruments such as flutes, whistles, guitars, bouzoukis, harps and drums. 

   While High Germany is a traditional song dating back to the 18th century, and probably set during either the War of the Spanish Succession or the Seven Years War, Ranagri recorded it having the First World War in mind, and this song fits it just as well. 

Question of the day.

   What’s something you have zero interest in? 

   My answer: 

   Even though I’d say I’m at least slightly interested in lots of things, or at least some aspects of them, I’m sure there are also loads of things that I’m just not into at all. One such thing that comes to my mind is sports. I mean, I like horse riding, I like to do it myself (putting my complicated relationship with it aside), I like to hear about other people’s experiences etc. But even with horse riding I’m not that madly and universally into it that I’d follow any horse riding events or watch/read about competitions and so on. With other sports, I’m totally disinterested. I never watch them, unless perhaps occasionally for more social reasons like simply because we’re just sitting with my family in the living room and the telly is on and they’re watching some sport stuff, like my Dad would usually watch football and my Mum likes to watch boxing and some other sports as well, but I’m not likely to pay much attention to that anyway. It actually strikes me as kind of peculiar that so many people here in Poland watch football so religiously even if they don’t have much of an interest in it outside of watching it, and same about ski jumping, which for some people in my Dad’s family it’s just some sacred tradition that they have to watch it, even though aside from that they don’t show any real interest in ski jumping. I’m not into doing any other sports than horse riding either, and I often find it kind of difficult to comprehend their rules, especially team sports, so this is just not something I get. 

   Other such topics would most definitely be all things automotive, which comes to my mind because my Dad, being a lorry driver, is very much interested in and has a lot of knowledge about, and some about Olek, who has also always wanted to be a long-distance driver but for now has ended up being a car mechanic with his own business. So there’s a lot of car talk in my house, which sometimes makes me thinkk that out of all the automotive-ignorant folks out there in the world, my knowledge on the topic must still be quite extensive because I just passively absorb so much stuff about it since very early childhood. 😀 There’s even a whole separate Polish TV channel ALL about cars and my Dad likes to watch it, and it’s just SO insanely boring. I like the fact that there are TV channels about such, well, still relatively niche topic I guess, but I think it’s unfair that there aren’t many more channels which would be all about a specific niche theme or at least that they are not more popular. 

   And speaking of my Dad’s and Olek’s interests, all things military as well. I’m not  a pacifist, but I thinks it’s slightly odd to have such a super strong interest in all things war (WWII specifically) as they do. Of course it’s not because they think it was good or anything, but they just find it super interesting and Olek has always dreamt that he could go to war and experience some real adventure. His view of it is definitely somewhat skewed from having been raised on stuff like the Polish TV series Four Tank-Men and a Dog, which takes place during WWII and deals with the topic in a rather light way. I’m actually surprised that he still hasn’t joined the army which he would really like but I guess my Mum would go crazy and he cares too much about her. But my Dad actually served in the army and while he never explicitly said it that way (because I don’t think he even realises it) I have a strong feeling that he got quite traumatised in there. Not quite PTSD for sure, but he saw some awful things in there and it seems to have been a difficult experience for him overall. Or perhaps I just project my own feelings on him because it sure would have been a shitty experience for me to have gone through all the things he’d gone through there. Anyway, regardless of that, he’s still very much into all things military and all things WWII. I think it’s important to have a decent historical knowledge and especially about the history of your own country, but with the strictly military stuff my thirst for historical knowledge doesn’t really go beyond that, unless it’s things like for example people’s personal stories of how they experienced war and what it was like from their individual perspective or stuff like that. 

   Oh yeah, and maths. Pretty much anything really that involves lots of counting, or counting that feels unnecessary/superfluous to my brain, or lots of numbers in general. It’s just so unappealing. I can deal with simple math if I have to and if it’s actually useful for something, but I have no interest in it and it blows my brain how some people find math-related stuff interesting, engrossing, fascinating, beautiful or whatever else. That means that all things econoomy, finance, budgeting, just money in general feel very unappealing to me as well, and if it’s about my personal finances, also super stressful and overwhelming, even simple shopping sometimes ‘cause I just have no idea about things. Same about physics, it’s super boring. And everything astronomy, space etc. I like it here on Earth and I don’t get why I’d have to think about space, the more that I can’t even see the sky so it feels super abstractive. Some biology- or even chemistry-related stuff can be interesting though. 

   So, these are things that come to my mind first. Others I’m probably so disinterested in that I can’t even think of them. 😀 

   You? 🙂 

AnúNa – “SiúIl A RúIn” (Go, My Love).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you a very famous Irish folk song, which is performed by lots of folk musicians, not necessarily just Irish. I think there are many great arrangements of it, with those by artists like Clannad and Celtic Woman being particularly well-known, but I decided, at least for now, to share this song with you sung by Anúna. As is the case with all their music, this song was arranged by twin brothers Michael and John McGlynn, who are directors of this Irish choir. I really like their interpretation of it. 

   Siúil A Rúin is a song with very unclear origins, which was probably initially in Irish in its entirety. It isn’t even clear whether the Irish chorus that is part of it now is actually the only bit of the original that has survived to this day, or whether it has been added later. The song is from the perspective of a woman, lamenting her lover who decided to join the military, whose desire is to follow him so that she could be by his side. In the past, I shared with you a similarly-themed American song called Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier by Kronos Quartet with Natalie Merchant, and that one is actually directly derived  from Siúil A Rúin. 

   Here is what the Irish chorus means:

  Go, go, go my love
Go quietly and go peacefully
Go to the door and fly with me.

Song of the day (11th November) – Katy Carr – “O Mój Rozmarynie” (Oh My Rosemary).

On November 11, we celebrated Independence Day here in Poland, so I’d like to traditionally share something in Polish, especially that there’s very little Polish music on here and also because I myself don’t spontaneously listen to a whole lot of Polish music. Another tradition I like to observe here on Polish national holidays and especially Independence Day is to share something from an artist whose first language is not Polish, as I find it very interesting to find out how they cope with it. I first became interested in Polish-language music by Polish non-native speakers thanks to a programme Strefa Rokendrola Wolna od Angola (English-Free Rock And Roll Zone) on Polish Radio Programme 3, where the presenter, known as Doktor Wilczur (Wilczur literally translates to Alsatian, as in the Alsatian wolf dog which is a bit of a wordplay because his actual surname means sheep dog in Polish, and Doktor Wilczur is the name of the main character in the Polish movie Znachor (The Quack) plays music in any language possible except English, and normally also except Polish since there’s plenty of Polish music you can hear on the radio in other circumstances. But he makes an exception on Polish national holidays, when, depending on which day of the week they fall, he either plays music sung by Poles in other languages (still no English, mind you) or, what seems to be more fascinating not only to me but also to most listeners, music sung by people from other nations in Polish.

And the singer whose song I want to share with you today has become known to me thanks to Doktor Wilczur. When he played her song (a different one than I am sharing) I remember that he classified her as some eccentric artist who just doesn’t know how else to express her quirkiness so she sings in languages like Polish even though she’s British. Nowhere near his exact words, but that was more or less the point. Except when I later checked her out it turned out it’s not the case at all. Because Katy Carr’s mother is Polish, and while it seems like Katy started learning Polish on her own, she clearly loves her second motherland very passionately and she has released a lot more music in Polish or about Polish history than just two songs. She also popularises Polish history and Polish-British connections in Britain and works with the Polonia in her home country. Interestingly, she’s also an aviator.

From what I understand, she also writes her own songs, which is really amazing given that it’s not her first language. Her Polish is also really good while singing.

This song, however, is not Katy’s own material, but a traditional Polish song strongly associated with WWI. It’s not sure who has written it, and apparently it has been based on several different earlier folk songs. There are also several versions of this song.

I managed to translate it to English, and man have I learned a fair few new English words in the process. 😀 The song consists of a whole lotta repetitions, so I decided to not include them in the translation.


Oh my rosemary, blossom,

I will go to the girl,

And if she answers me “I do not love you.”,

Uhlans are recruiting, riflemen are marching,

I will enlist.

They will give me a chestnut horse,

And a sharp saber,

To my side.

Oh my Rosemary,

They will give me boots with spurs,

And a grey overcoat,

With facings.

They will give me an ashen uniform,

So that I wouldn’t miss,

My home.

They will give me a canteen with booze,

So that I wouldn’t miss,

The girl.

And when I will become an old sweat,

I will go to the girl,

For a kiss.

Oh my Rosemary,

Robin Huw Bowen – “Ymadawiad y Brenin” (The King’s Departure).

Hey people! 🙂

There’s quite a strong stereotype going that harp, whichever kind of harp that may be, is a very feminine instrument and I’ve even heard people say that it’s somehow strange when a man plays it. I don’t really understand why we need to consider it as such an almost exclusively feminine instrument, and I think it’s interesting to learn about men who choose to play the harp as well. So for today I decided to share with you a piece of music played by Welsh triple harpist – Robin Huw Bowen – who is one of the most influential people in his field currently. This version is the only one of this tune that I’ve heard so far but from what I understand it does have lyrics and it was written by John Thomas. I’ve heard it described as a Welsh war song and I’d love to know more on its history, like what exactly it’s connected to, is it about any of the actual Welsh kings etc. but wasn’t able to find much. Still, it sounds great and I love its majestic feel.

Ruelle – “War of Hearts”.

Hey guys! 🙂

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m sharing another song by Ruelle. I don’t know about Like You Mean It that I shared yesterday, but this song I’m sharing with you today was definitely featured in a movie soundtrack. It can be heard in the movie Shadowhunters. I like both versions, but it was the acoustic one that I’ve heard first and I guess I slightly prefer it, so I’m sharing this one here.

Declan Galbraith – “Danny Boy”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today I’d like to share with you a piece from another of my faza people – Declan Galbraith, these days also known as Child of Mind. – This song, however, was sung by him long before the Child of Mind project, as it’s from his very first, self-titled album from 2002, which he recorded at the age of 10. Some songs on it are original material, but mostly they’re covers of either pop classics or, as in this case, quite well-known Celtic folk songs. Declan definitely has a special relationship with Celtic music, even if it’s less apparent in his later music. This is because he is of both Irish and Scottish descent, and his grandfather – affectionately called Poppy Ben by Declan – with whom he had a very close relationship because he was looked after by his grandparents a lot as a child; played several instruments in a Celtic music bands, and would often take Declan along on rehearsals and concerts.

“Danny Boy” was written at the beginning of 20th century by an English lawyer and lyricist, Frederic Weatherly. He was introduced to the song “Londonderry Air” by his sister, and set this new song of his to its melody. It is not known how exactly this song should be interpreted and what the author had in mind writing it, but what comes to mind for many people is that it’s from the perspective of a parent, whose son is leaving home for war or an uprising, which makes sense to me.