music, music, music -

a wildly mixed music blog

i started this music blog because i want to promote diversity in music. i listen to both old and new music, to classical and folk, to punk and rock - to everything i come across and start to like. but i think there are very few channels for varied music today, radio and tv gives us only one genre at the time and sources like spotify and youtube rarely supply me with anything new - i tend to search for the stuff i already know and love. so in this wild mix i hope i can introduce my visitors to something they haven't already discovered.

some of the months i post music on a certain theme, other months i just post whatever i feel like. even in the months with a theme i usually mix in other music too and occasionally i dedicate music to people.

most of the music here is taken from youtube for practical reasons (easy to clip in on the page) and if the clips are homemade recordings by amateurs i ask for their permission to post. sometimes i get no reply and in those cases i usually don't post the song but for a few clips here i couldn't resist posting anyway, so anyone who comes in here and sees their own youtube clip - please tell me if you want me to take it away!


happy new year to anyone reading this! whew, i'm still exhausted from celebrating last night and my poor ankle aches after dancing. i'm a bit low too - my usual old new year blues. i've always hated the feeling of saying goodbye to another year that's been less well spent and less succesful than i had hoped and wished it would be when i started on it. sigh!

but new year's eves come and go and they never really change any of the important things in life. i have my family, i have my friends, i have my faith. there are pictures and patterns all around me and there is still great music in the world if i only look for it. so why sigh, right? let's have some of that good music instead!

i first thought of this theme when i was up in orsa for christmas and i was looking for the lyrics to an old favourite song that i haven't sung or listened to in a while. i borrowed one of dad's old song books where i thought i'd find that song but it wasn't there. instead i found lots of other great old favourites and i thought of many more on the same theme or from the same period and realised this was the theme i had to have for the month of january on the music blog: peace and protest!

when i was a kid, there was a lot of talk about peace and freedom and global justice issues at home. not just talk either, there was thinking too, which is more important. growing up in that atmosphere gave me a strong conviction that these things should matter more in my life and in all of our lives than they usually do. i grew up at a time when the protest songs from the sixties and seventies were still sometimes sung without irony and people still  hopedd for and believe in changes for the better. today, we seem to have lost that hope and given up, just because it wasn't as simple as we thought it would be - but why did we let that get us down?! this is a moment when we need to see what songs of peace and protest really want to tell us, when we need their encouragement and their inspiration. so, for the first month of this new year, i will post peace and protest songs, new and old, and hope they will help us keep up our will to fight for the right causes in the right way!

last night i had a great phone conversation with a friend about the politics of the four courts of faerie, among other things. what i appreciate about all my friends is how interesting they are to talk to and how many unexpected things that come up in our conversations - who would have guessed, when a sensible student of political history calls a habilitation worker/ex-teacher's assistant/ex-student of linguistics/tiara maker, that they would end up discussing the dilemmas of the summer queen?

that wasn't the only issue we treated though. we also talked about the conflict she is writing a paper on right now, the kashmir conflict. that is a corner of the world i really think we should pay more attention. it's not just kashmir, kashmir is more of a symptom than the actual disease, there is a deep wound that goes straight through pakistan and india and the western world is partly guilty (though it's dead important not to simplify here! we can't blame britain or europe alone for what happens on the indopak subcontinent today,that would be both stupid and dangerous) of inflicting that wound, of causing the bleed.

when i looked for indian and pakistani peace songs, i found many songs that talked of peace but at the same time couldn't keep from laying the problem and the blame on the other part. in the end i chose an afghani peace song instead - but the video clip of that song was problematic. the song in itself, as far as i understand it (i've only read english translations, i don't speak a word pashtu) is simply a desperate prayer for peace in a land that is going to ruin by many years of war, but the comments to it, and the sites where it has been embedded, speak hatred and unability to forgive. the consequences of war are blamed on the americans or the western world in general, on the pakistani, on the punjabi, on one afghani ethnic group or on another afghani ethnic group. isn't that us humans in a nutshell? we want peace, but we can't really admit we're part of the conflict. if i didn't believe in a god i could cry out to when i read things like that, i'd soon be broken down by the hopelessness of it all!

if i sometimes have problems taking manu chao seriously, i have even more problems with karibuni, the band in this clip. i do like them, both them and this song, but sometimes i'm really ashamed of liking them. just look at this video! children in flower wreaths dancing about in flower fields - that might - and mind you, i say might - be in place in a bollywood dance number, but in the video of a song with a serious message, well...

warning: what follows is a glaringly prejudicial text and it shouldn't be taken too seriously or be read by people who lack the ability to make reflexions of their own on what they read!

i said "a song with a serious message" and that's what it is, after all. peace is a serious matter, we can't reduce it to flower power. if we really want peace we mustn't forget that it costs us something - it takes a hard fight against ourselves, if nothing else. so what makes me feel a bit embarrassed when i hear and see karibuni is their seemingly naïve and goody-goody image. and i can't help thinking "it's a bit too german for me". if something is german in bold letters, it's an instance of a special , cheesy, kitschy style that has been popular in germany both when it comes to music, to pictures and to clothing. it's the well-known and much feared "german style".

i know i shouldn't really blame germans for this, sometimes we all go over the top a bit and simplify things to much or add a few flower wreaths and starry eyed children than we really need, so don't let my silly sensitivity against kitsch, sentimentality and cheesiness (at least outside bollywood movies) turn you against karibuni and their song. karibuni is a good band with a nice folksy world sound and i like the way they mix amharic, lingala and german in the same song.

to me, manu chao was simply "that guy who had worked with amadou & maryam" - i really like amadou & maryam - until i heard this song, then he became a musician worthy of special notice. one of the most important issues that we need to solve is that of global migration. as an old-school liberalist, i believe in the freedom for all of us humans to choose where to live our lives and the way we treat immigrants - illegal or not - pains me deeply and sometimes makes we want to hide my face in shame. especially, i think it's inhuman how we treat the illegal immigrants - they seem to be less than human in our eyes and how can we defend that attitude?! we treat them as criminal elements, but who has made them criminal? 
manu chao has his bad sides. he has that "commie chic" attitude that i'm so tired of, wears che guevara shirts and flirts with soviet symbols. i've met too many people like this to be impressed, to me it seems silly and childish. and then there's that attitude towards drugs that seems to go with almost any of the so called "alternative" subcultures today and that i just can't stand. so when i listen to this song (that i really like otherwise) i always wince at the lines "marihuana illegal". i wish it was metaphorical, that manu chao was making the point: "hey, we hold the same attitude to immigrants as we hold to illegal substances!", but i know all too well that's not what he means...

nonetheless, this is a good protest song. for all the hidden people i've met (and especially for a. who was only fourteen when she begged a meal from me, who lived in a tunnel, and who never used the emergency number i gave her), here's manu chao's "clandestino".

here it is, the song i started looking for up in orsa. it's one of those songs that i remember dad playing from when i was a kid and one of the songs i used to sing a lot myself when i had learned my first three guitar chords. it's buffy saint-marie's "universal soldier" and in the beginning of this clip she tells of how she came to write it, so i won't say another words here, just let you listen to buffy saint-marie herself.

i can't let this month's theme pass without posting phil ochs. i guess i have a bit of a thing for old sixties and seventies protest singers. maybe because i have a guitar playing father who liked to sing their songs when i was very young, thus influencing my taste in music forever. but i didn't just take over my parents' music, i explored this kind of music on my own as a young adult, with a guitar of my own and a need for inspiration and hope all my own. i made findings that were all my own and i have a relation to this music that is entirely my own. actually my dad had never heard of phil ochs before i talked about him. he probably heard this song when he was young though, most people of my parents' generation who were involved in anti-vietnam protests or peace movements of different kinds heard it. and no wonder, it is a great song. it's true to the genre, simplistic and a bit folksy, and the lyrics are straightforward and without unnecessary frills. today, we seem to shrink back from this kind of lyrics, we think they're a bit too naïve and programmatic. but to look back at the history of your country and see how much blood that has flown to shape it - is there really anything naïve about that? and to question if it was worth it all and come to the decision that you won't be a part of the same violent pattern - that seems like mature reflexion to me.

phil ochs wasn't necessarily a sympathetic and nice man. he was an alcoholic and got in fist fights with friends and strangers when he was drunk - how's that for a role model for young pacifists? he seems to have had a bit of an inflated ego, much like bob dylan and like bob dylan he seems to have been a bit of a jerk in his relationships with women. but with all his faults he wanted to break patterns of war and injustice and the anti-vietnam-war movement wouldn't have been the same without people like him to inspire and enthuse.

here i have to make an interruption in the peace and protest songs to post a clip just for my own sake. it's a recording from just before new year's, when i was up in vänersborg, where my friend susi and her husband live, for a short visit. my visits to three of my best and closest friends around this christmas have really been sparkles of sunshine on my way - having pancakes and a little chat with joss and getting to see her little children, watching ben hur and having rice porridge with sandra and her boyfriend, beading and playing music with suss (or susi, as she prefers to be called). may sound simple enough, but i could easily spend much more of my life that way if the choice was mine!

suss let me try her fairly new acquisition, the octave mandolin, and i was surprised by how hard it was to adapt to the broader neck now that i'm used to the mandolin, so i gave up my attempts to play anything complicated and ended up playing two really simple french folk tunes. suss more or less immediately picked them up and played them on her melodeon and we made two recordings where we play together - a little picture of our friendship, is what i think when i see and hear it. thanks for a good time, suss & daniel!

this clip is a live recording of a french folk group called malicorne. they sing their own arrangement of a folk song from the sixteenth century called "le prince d'orange". the reason i post this is because i think it illustrates how people have always cursed war and its effects, no matter how much war was glorified by the people in power. it may be easy to get caught up in what seems to be a good cause and it may be very tempting to young people eager to make their mark on the world to head out for war. but seeing these young people come back with deadly wounds of mind and body makes it most natural to join in the chorus of this song: "que maudit soit la guerre!" "cursed be the war!". malicorne lay great stress on this chorus and that way it becomes a fine, five centuries old, protest song!

i posted boris vian's "le déserteur" long ago, but i'm going to post it again here, because it's a very strong song and perfect for this theme. the slightly ironic touch in the lyrics, boris vian's way of singing them with faked naïveté, makes the warmaking business seem just as outrageously irrational as it actually is. as it was back then, in the fifties, and still is today, in 2011. we like to think war is different now and yes, it is different in many ways, but not in the most central parts. the effects of war is still grief and pain, people are still killed and hurt and no modern efficiency can take those facts away.


finally!! it's one of my favourite months of the year - it's december, the blue month as i always think of it. that's partly because december as a word is blue for me and partly because the sky gets a deep blue colour and the shadows in the white snow takes on blue shades. we actually have snow now, and minus fourteen degrees C - lovely!
but i didn't sit down to write on and on about snow (i could go on for ages about the loveliness of it if i started), i'm going to introduce this month's theme: christmas music. and don't think: "oh no! not one more "silent night" or "jingle bells", i just can't take it!" because on this blog you won't get silent night or jingle bells. you'll get music that's at least slightly less common and you'll get music from different countries and in different styles so just open your heart and your mind to some of my christmas favourites!

i don't think i am conservative as a rule when it comes to music. i love folk music played in traditional arrangements, but i can love the folk-rock and folk-punk mixes equally well. i love vivaldi's largo from the piccolo concerto in c major, played classical style, no frills - but i once heard it played on a saw, two mandolins and a tin whistle  and it swept me off my feet. so why do i have a problem with songs like "o holy night", "pie jesu" or schubert's "ave maria" performed in new and different styles? i really don't know the answer to that one!

this version of schubert's "ave maria" is an exception to the strictly classical versions i prefer, though. it's dolores o'riordan (lead vocalist in the cranberries), a woman with a voice that always touches me, who sings it here. it's recorded live from a performance in italy. i liked the mixing in of some scenes from "the passion of the christ" too, i think it takes away some of the ridiculous cuteness around virgin mary and focuses on the ordinary woman with a tough life and an extraordinary mission that she really must have been!

i did promise you no silent night or jingle bells on my blog and so far i have kept promise. there is one real classic i just can't keep from posting, though. adolphe adam's "minuit, chrétien", also known simply as "cantique noël" or in the english speaking world as "o, holy night".

that song holds the whole of the gospel in two verses and is among the strongest and most majestic songs i know. my respect, not to say reverence, for this song makes me a bit conservative, i want it sung by a male voice, classicaly schooled. and man, am i ever fussy about the singingers' technique in this piece! i have a versh with oslo gospel choir, where the norwegian soloist sings it in swedish and i almost can't listen to it just because the slight norwegian accent in the swedish ruins the perfection of the song to me!

this version isn't with a male, classically schooled voice, though. it's from a world music christmas album and it's sung by angélique kidjo, one of my great heroes, in her native language. she manages to sing it in her own style without losing the heart and soul of the song and that's what really matters most of all to me with this song!

this song is one that i play or sing to myself whenever i feel my glitter-and-bling-loving side has taken overhand around christmas time. it has a very clear anti-commercialist message and serves as a reminder to me to go back to the important part in life and in christmas celebration: my christian faith.

the song isn't faultless, it seems to lay the blame of exploitation of nature entirely on christians and i often think jackson browne, who wrote this piece, seems to be both prejudiced and a bit of a hypocrite. as a rule you should never exclude yourself when you come with critics this severe, so when i sing it myself i exchange every "they" and "i" with a "we" - that way i remember my own share of the blame while i don't submit to simplifying a problem or laying blame on just one group of humans for what the whole of mankind is responsible for.

i hope that little disclaimer doesn't turn anyone against this song though! it's a great song, excellently performed by jackson browne and the chieftains and my past eight or so christmases wouldn't have been the same without it.

today my family had to separate again after only a few days together over christmas. my oldest sister, my brother-in-law and the little white dog left this morning while i was still asleep. mum and dad went to norway, where dad is working the coming week. me and two of my sisters drove southwest after lunch. we drove past wintry landscapes with tall spruces and pines all covered in snow and red wooden houses standing knee-deep in the sparkly whiteness. it felt wrong to leave dalarna and go back to göteborg now, when dalarna shows up its most beautiful face! but we left loaded with the love of our family, with the joy of seeing a new generation of children playing on our living room floor and, of course, loaded with grandma's home baked crisp rolls. and, when our road felt long and weary we had two great christmas records to cheer us up!

one of the records holds this song, sung by jonas fjeld (who sings in this clip as well) and oslo gospel choir. my mother doesn't like the lyrics of the song because she doesn't think they mean anything, and the first times i heard it i agreed with her. but then i started to listen more closely and found some lines that gave it meaning to me. it would take me too long to quote and explain here, but i now see the song as an inspiration to remember the love i have received from friends, family, former boyfriends and from god, without letting the loss of love from the people who drifted out of my life embitter me. if you want to take a close look at the lyrics you can find them here:  (in original norwegian) and here: (an amateurish translation in english, the only one i found).

russian-norwegian alexander rybak caught my attention with his frank and natural way of singing and his great fiddling in the eurovision song contest. here, he impresses me again by giving his very own versh of a norwegian christmas favourite of mine: "romjulsdrøm" . the song is about being four years old around christmastime and going over to your grandma's house dressed as a christmas buck, the old scandinavian tradition that has by now (at least in sweden) been completely replaced by santa claus or tomten or julenissen or father christmas or whatever you want to call him. the song paints a charming little picture and is written by alf prøysen, a norwegian children's writer and master storyteller.

just one more thing: don't you just LOVE the way rybak handles his fiddle?! in spontanity and personality this performance reminds me a little of another clip i've used on this blog - the one where billy boyd sings a britney spears song on sharon osbourne show.

my (so far very few) swedish readers will probably wince at the next song. it's one of those songs that we get to hear in shops and stores and radio shows and tv-shows every year around christmas whether we like it or not. but i have been in love with this ever since it first came out in 1984 (oh heavens, i'm feeling old now!), so i'm going to post it anyway. besides, it's a charming example of swedish music videos from the eighties ;)...

the song is about being obsessed with christmas and just wanting more of it ("mer jul" is of course "more christmas") and it's full of ingenious rhymes and clever references to swedish christmas traditions. it's written and performed by synth/pop/whatever duo adolphson & falk.

if you take an old danish hymn from the 17th cenury, let a norwegian language-reformer translate it to nynorsk* in the 19th century, then let a young norwegian musician compose a tune for it in the 21st century and finally let him sing it together with a norwegian singer who is  married to a danish man but mostly works in sweden, you can get this scandinavian gem as a result. here it's sung in norwegian, but the same duo also perform it with swedish lyrics written last year - heartwarming with all this scandinavian collaboration!

the title of the song means "rise up all, and rejoice!"

*the youngest of norway's two official written languages, but based on the old norwegian dialects. norwegian language history is a jungle...

just got back from the yearly christmas concert at church (a high point every year), full of  great music and of course of gingerbread and glögg. that's a great time to sit down and post more christmas music to your music blog!
here's a celtic christmas favourite of mine. it's an irish song, "don oiche úd i mbeithil" - "i sing of a night in bthlehem", though i just learnt there are scottish gaelic versions as well. have to find one of those some day - but not right now, i want to post the song. i'm having more trouble than i expected finding decent versions of all my christmas favies, though. what is it about christmas that makes us consume endless amounts of recordings with women singing in really sugary voices or with majestic-sounding choirs? i admit i feel that need myself when christmas comes up, but this is ridiculous, where is the variation in style? i worked hard to find the áltan versh, so i hope you enjoy it. the vocals here are not so sweet you have to brush your teeth immediately afterwards...

i like the french christmas carol "un flambeau, jeannette, isabelle" when it's sung and played in a style true to early music - the song is from the renaissance and i like it best that way. but did i find any clips with an early music touch? oh no! i found stiff and pompous sounding choirs, i found a swedish/finnish psychobluegrass band, i found loads of singers with the wrong attitude - this isn't a deeply serious tune, like "o holy night", another of my french christmas favourites, this is a cute and down-to-earth story of the milkmaids who found baby jesus and his parents in their barn when they came to milk the cows and ran off to tell the whole village to come and see, bringing torches to light the way but being oh so quiet because the baby may wake. why, o why do people want to sing it like it was either a verdi air or the marseillaise?

i had decided not to post the song at all, but then i stumbled on this. it's anything but early music, actually. i think i can hear lots of very modern influences here, and the french isn't quite up to the mark either which always irritates me (though i came across so many worse pronounciations in my search! this was one of the better...) but this singer has the right attitude and she makes the song her own in a way that none of the other singers on youtube did, so i just loved it imperfections and all.

here's part of the british folk music nobility: the steeleye span. they started playing before i was born, this was recorded in 2004 and they still sounded this great then so i think they deserve a lot more praise and attention than they get in these days of over-produced pop and over-exposed teen stars.

the song is in latin and if you've read this blog from the first month i kept it you'll know i have a soft spot for latin - why else would i post the cookie monster singing "gaudeamus igitur"? but latin lyrics isn't the only charm of this song, it's also a song that makes me want to clap hands and dance. the words of the song tell us to "rejoice, christ is born!" and when i hear this i feel like dancing down the streets in long medieval skirts, tambourine in hand, singing because christ is come. the people of göteborg should be greatful i haven't tried it yet...

we're starting with advent sunday, because for me as for many swedes, that's when the christmas season begins. we eat our first gingerbread or saffron buns, we drink our first julmust or glögg for the year and some of us go to church and sing the beautiful hymns of advent. the most known and most sung of the swedish hymns for advent sunday is called "bereden väg för herran" ("make a way for the lord") and i like it with the ordinary, well-known tune but i am always left breathless by the beauty when i hear it sung to the old folk melody from my home province of dalarna. so the opening clip for december will be bereden väg för herran dalarna style, sung by norwegian soprano sissel kyrkjebø.


i can't believe it's already november! i'm a bit late in posting the first music for the month - it's now the eighth of november and all hallow's weekend is past and gone, but better late than never i guess. i decided when i took up the music blog again that november, the darkest and heaviest month of the year for many scandinavians, will be a month of caribbean sunshine and warmth. i hereby declare november caribo music month!

so what's caribo music? caribo music is of course music from the caribbean area. in the past summer i started exploring this part of the world musically and i found that the caribbean is home to so many interesting genres and musical creolization (linguist term, that. look it up in a dictionary if you don't know the meaning, i'm too lazy to explain) that we hear too little of - at least here in sweden. to mention just some of the caribo genres: ska, calypso, soca, chutney and reggae - and of course all of these genres have hundreds of varieties. no use talking about it, you'll know what i mean when you hear the music, i hope.

here's some more riqueno music. this time it's an example of bomba, a genre with african roots  and where dancing plays an important part for the shaping of the music. i got a vague idea of what bomba is back in the late nineties, when i borrowed a bomba compilation at the library downtown. i had no idea what bomba was when i borrowed it, but the cover had drummers on it, and drum music is something i love. so i gave bomba a try and liked it but found no more bomba records at the library and i forgot about it until i came across the word when i was exploring caribo music this summer. i think the mix of african and latino influences is great and when i see the dancer i  just wish i could move like that! in bomba, the dancers are supposed to carry out a sort of teasing dialogue with the drummers and singers, and the bomba musicians adapt to the dancers just as much as the dancers to the musicians. i'm simply not capable of judging if this clip exemplifies that or not, but it's an interesting thought and i can always enjoy the clip for the driving rythms and the graceful movements without analyzing it further.

no job today, so here i sit, after some hours of cleaning up (preparations for advent sunday, i want the room to look a bit neater before i put up my advent candles and christmas star and all that), sipping spicy chai and listening to channel one. and i'm going to get a bit sentimental now, so close your eyes if you just can't stand  emotions! the thing is, i miss my family. i know i see my sister in town pretty often and mum and dad came down less than two weeks ago and my brother was here last week before he left for china - but still.
this christmas we will get only two days together and i've been spoilt over the years with longer christmases up in my parent's house in orsa. and my brother will be in china, far from all of us - i hope he at least finds that gingerbread at ikea!  so, i'm interrupting the caribo theme with a special greeting to my family. if our family had an anthem it would be written by paul simon, his music has had such a prominent place in our home, so of course the greeting had to be a song by paul simon. how about these lines: "i'm laying out my winter clothes and wishing i was gone - going home..."

love you all, you are definitely the best thing in my life after tea and snow ;)!

p.s. they're getting older, but so are we! if they are not what they used to, just look at yourselves ;)

so little is left of the month and so much caribo music is left to explore! i'm going to have to leave out more than two thirds of what i wanted to post, but maybe i will come back to the caribo theme in the future. i hope i'm forgiveen if i don't end this with reggae, reggaeton or any salsa variety, i think we hear a lot of that anyway and we definitely hear too little of the aguinaldo. the aguinaldo is a puerto rican genre and it's been explained to me (i actually asked a webpal after hearing the word in paul simon's "the capeman") as the puerto rican equivalent to christmas carols. aguinaldos are sung or played both in church services and in the streets, in parade-like gatherings called parrandas, that move down the streets singing in christmas to the whole town. sounds like a fantastic tradition to me! there are many different types and many different styles of aguinaldo and the aguinaldo has been mixed into so many riqueno genres it made me dizzy to try and read up on this, but i have chosen a type called aguinaldo jíbaro to exemplify the genre  simply because i've found so many wonderful interpretations of it on youtube. in this clip there is no singing, but a young man plays the cuatro (puerto rican national instrument) and does it beautifully.

kassav' is another haïtian band (and great favourites of mine) though their greatest achievement, the invention of the zouk (dance music mixing and electronizing different caribo and african sounds), is actually french as well as haïtian. the first zouk album was recorded in a studio in paris with a paris-based studio musician, back in the late seventies. but the product of this, the zouk sound, is very caribbean so kassav' and the zouk genre still fit in with my caribo theme. the song i've chosen is an early one, kassav's first real international hit: "zouk la sé sèl médicaman nou ni" or "zouk is the only medicin we have" from 1985 album yélélé. just like tabou combo, kassav' is a band still going strong and they do a lot of touring, so i'm dreaming about seeing them here in göteborg sometime!

in the past fifteen years or so sweden (and, i have no doubt, many other european countries) has been invaded by salsa. salsa dancing is now part of swedish mainstream culture and with the dancing came the latino influences on the music. i don't complain, of course, i like latino rythms as much as swedes in general but i think we need to broaden our perspective here! the caribbean isn't just cuba and caribo music isn't just the latino sound popular on salsa floors. so, i've chosen to post some haïtian music next. just as i'm writing this, swedish national radio are broadcasting a report from haïti, where the cholera and the consequences of the earthquake make life more than hard right now - i will include haïti in my thoughts and prayers and i hope anyone reading this will do the same!

first i will post an example of kompa (or compas), a music style that first saw light of day in the late sixties and mixed funk, pop, reggae and other more modern influences with more traditional and rootsy percussion music from haïti. this is the kompa kings tabou combo with "a kou tchou kou tchou". the earliest recording i have found of this song is from -98, but tabou combo have been playing since -67 and i wouldn't be surprised if the song exists in older versions. in any case it's a great song...

this weekend has been a blast, good people! i've spent it in a friend's summer house down the coast together with some of the girls i went to crafts and design school with and some of my friend's friends (including her one year old godson and his nine year old uncle - both of them really nice young men). on saturday we went to see a woman who has a doll's house museum and a small workshop where she paints glass ornaments for christmas trees and i came out of her house bursting with inspiration and new ideas (and carrying a newly bought ornament in shocking pink with a glittering gold decor - very bollywood...). in the evening we had a party and my friend danced - she's a lindy hop dancer and i tell you she's dynamite on the dance floor! in the end i chucked my inhibitions and complexes overboard and danced too. not lindy hop, just my normal sloppy style, but no one present liked me any the less for that, so that's fine. any saturday ending in dancing is worth celebrating, so i'm going to celebrate it by sending a greeting to the girls from my crafts and design school at helliden.  this song is, believe it or not, a former swedish contribution to the eurovision song contest from back in the seventies. it was made as a protest against the commersialism and shallowness of the whole eurovision song contest business and when it won the swedish competition it caused a minor scandal among the hardcore schlager fans but back in helliden we played it for fun on our many tea and creativity sessions - a song about a man called gösta who comes in, asks for coffee, is told there is none, says okay and leaves again.

say: "i love soca!" (I LOVE SOCA)  say: "i love soca!" (I LOVE SOCA) follow the leader, leader, leader, follow the leader....

if you know where that came from, you already know a bit about soca, but whether you do or you don't i'm going to tell you what i know. soca is a caribo genre and it started out as a mix between soul and calypso, that's how it got the name so-ca. though that's of course not the whole story, there is early chutney music (i've explained that below) involved in the mix too and the process of mixing still goes on, with rnb influences, hip-hop elements, dancehall and reggae elements, pop or even rock mixed into the soca juice. in any case, it's percussion based and more often than not it has lyrics on a simple and repetitive party-and-dance theme.

i will give you two examples of soca here. the first one out is machel montano, who started at an early age back in the eighties, when he sang "too young to soca" as a child artist (the vid is on youtube, look it up if cute children in videos don't make you nauseous...). here he's a bit older and a bit less cute and i'll let him illustrate both the good sides (fun party vibes and nice rythms) and the bad sides (male chauvinism and glorifying of alcohol) of modern soca. soca (as other caribo genres) is associated with "wining" - hip-and-booty-shaking, often done in long lines, follow-the-leader style. this style of dancing shocked the white inhabitants of the caribbean and if the caribo today are a bit obsessive about their wining maybe that's why? but while wining in itself is cool (and i for one envy those who have the ability to shake booty, my stiff and too controlled body just won't learn), the modern use of it in videos as well as in real life isn't! the thing is, it seems to be the women undressing and wining up on the men, who wear more clothes and usually sip a drink. that attitude never fails to irritate me, and while i like many of machel montanos songs i reserve the right to hate his videos!

the other soca example is from  dominica and it's the sub genre called bouyon soca. bouyon soca is usually sung in french based creole and i LOVE it! we get to hear too little french accents in the music here in sweden if you ask me. i'm not gonna preach over this one, i'll just let you all wine bouyon-la with ibis lawrence!

on a day when no one seems to want extra staff at a day centre or group home, the extras can post more music on their music blogs - so temporary unemployment is a blessing in disguise...

i have posted an example of calypso, so i thought i'd move on to ska now. ska music is a complex matter - not the music in itself, perhaps, but the roots and the subgenres and all the ska-mix genres - it's a world in itself.

my first meeting with ska was, like for so many others of my generation, the british group madness and their song "our house". but madness was part of the so called second wave of ska, which is mostly connected with britain and where a lot of punk elements were mixed in - ska started in jamaica with dancehall music and some say it started in the fifties, some say it started earlier, i say it's impossible to say exactly when.

 ska music has two main features, backbeat (just like reggae, only ska is usually a bit quicker) and brass, that seem to be there no matter what else is thrown in the mix and i hope these two examples illustrate that. the first is a latino-ska band well known in world music circles, ska cubano. the second example is the mighty mighty bosstones, sometimes described as a "ska-core" (ska and hard core) band. i hope to have space for more rootsy ska too this month, otherwise you will just have to look for it yourselves!

we'll start at the calypso end. what do you think of when you hear the word calypso? harry belafonte, perhaps? that's what i used to think of and that prejudiced me against a whole genre. harry belafonte's music was a bit too well groomed for my taste and in my eyes (or should that be ears?) his music was for people over the age of sixty who might also be interested in julio iglesias. that was pretty much my opinion of calypso until i discovered the more rootsy calypso stuff some years ago.

the discovery started with this song, though it was an older and scratchier recording of it with another performer. it was played on swedish radio channel one and introduced by some well known swedish journalist or other by a little talk on rootsy calypso. one of the things he mentioned was the name tradition of calypso performers, a tradition that exists in other caribo genres as well. the tradition is to take a name that sounds a bit "big" and often rather warlike or vaguely threatening - names beginning with "lord" (how about "lord invader" for a scene name? i can't think of anything cooler!) or "mighty" are common, and also names of historical warrior chiefs, like attila the hun.

this example features a less warlike lord, though, it's the lord caresser and i think his scene name suits the theme of the song very well.  it's a song about edward VIII of england who abdicated to marry the divorced woman mrs wallis simpson. the real story contains more political elements and neither wallis simpson nor edward himself come across as nice people at a closer look, but never mind the truth - lord caresser tells us a story of love alone and does it with a heart!


it's october allright! the leaves are raining from the trees and go crisp under my feet and the winds are fresh and cool, silver glimmers of frost catch my eyes when i leave home in the mornings to go to work. yes, that's right, work. not school. the thing is, it's now october a year after the september when i made the last post in the music blog. i spent a full school year struggling with exams and practical training weeks and had no time to breathe, so i put everything aside just to get through school and get my degree - friends and neighbours, i'm now licensed to work with people with all sorts of disabilities and work in three different places, coming in whenever i am needed. so, that is where i am this october and after a full year's absence from my music blog i have my head full of good music that needs posting - i'll just get going, shall i?

it's time to round up this month's music. the last days of october will be full of work and i'm also hoping to be able to help out with my goddaughter a little, so i'll post the last song now. a filmi song, people! "filmi song" means a song out of an indian movie - doesn't have to be a bollywood movie, but this happens to be. it's from a movie called delhi 6, a movie that knocked me off my feet with it's beautiful photo, masterful use of colours and of course it's fantastic soundtrack, signed a.r. rahman - does the name ring a bell? he did the soundtrack for slumdog millionaire but that's just one of mr rahman's many ten pointers, the man is a genius. in delhi 6 he mixes high and low, folk tunes and rap segments, throws in a hint of blues and of course goes his own ways with it all and i love it.

this is one of my favourite songs from the film, masakali. "masakali" means something like "free spirit" and it refers both to the young woman in the video and to her father's pet dove, actually named masakali. at one point she explains to the male lead that masakali has her wings clipped "because she's father's favourite" and it's obvious that she herself, independent-minded and strong as she is, leads a somewhat wing-clipped life, longing to fly off chasing her own dreams. i illustrate this song with one of my polyvore sets based on it!

metal is not a genre i know very well. i do like some metal, but most of it is from the mid eighties - judas priest's "british steel" is my favourite album of the whole metal genre, which i think says a lot about my attitude to the heavier side of rock. i only know the band hammerfall because they're a göteborg band with a member from a place not far from orsa (that's my old hometown, you know. wonder if i have said that enough times?) so i couldn't escape from noticing them, but their music has always seemed too anonymous to me, they've been just another swedish metal band, no more no less.

another band i've thought of as anonymous and nothing special is american new wave rock band the knack, the band who had a big hit with "my sharona" in the late seventies. i've always thought "my sharona" sounds like something you'd come up with if you: 1.were aiming at a genre you didn't really know much about and 2. were totally blind to what musical roots and influences you had before.

strangely enough, the next song is a meeting between the anonymous-sounding band and the song that can't decide what it is going to be when it grows up - and the result actually puts a spark of new life into both.  so, this is hammerfall's versh of "my sharona"! 

aaahh, what a lovely weekend! two of my sisters, three of my cousins and me spent saturday together and today i was at sankt jakob (best church in göteborg, easily) and after taking a walk in the cool october air, wading through the birch and maple leaves, i am now going to spend what's left of my sunday with shah rukh khan, king of bollywood. before i put the mohabbatein dvd in, though, i want to post a clip that i've longed to post since may.

i was sitting in one of our computer rooms at school, having some time to kill before my last exam on the whole programme. in the same computer room was another woman my age, just as keen on computer room rules as i am (meaning, not keen on them at all...). i was sipping a cup of tea, she was sipping a caffè latte. she was watching youtube clips without using earphones, i was downloading midi files of medieval branle tunes.

then i heard it: a melodious and strong voice, full of emotion and an oud accompaninment that took my breath away - reminding me both of the arabic oud players i have found on good compilations and of western folk guitarists. i couldn't really focus on my search for branle tunes and in the end i turned around and asked the other woman what the music was. she was so happy i asked! obviously hozan besir (again, where's the cedille when i need it?) was one of her great heroes and she loved telling me about him, about how he is a kurd from turkey and mixes both the kurdish and turkish traditions and sings in both languages. she played some three or four clips and we sat there just enjoying the music together before my teacher came in and said it was time for me to come and take the test.

that's how i met hozan besir, and i can't help thinking it really pays to be a breaker of small rules sometimes - what if i had told my unknown friend to use her earphones as soon as i came in and heard she was playing youtube clips - i would have missed out on some really beautiful music and a meeting with a stranger that probably brightened both our days!

anyway, here is hozan besir. the song is gelmis bahar, the first song i heard with him.

this song is on one of my spotify playlists, to be specific it's on the list called "one more weird playlist" - the playlist where i also put the kinks "apeman", "oriental lady" with the holy modal rounders and tom lehrer's "masochism tango". if you have heard any of those songs you should have an idea about what the playlist is like. in any case, the vapors "turning japanese" seemed to fit in very well on that list with it's orientalist riff and it's punky-style tune and of course it's strange and humourous lyrics.

the lyrics, when dave fenton of the vapors wrote them, were about a separation with a girlfriend and what that did to him, about how obsessed he got with her pictures, especially the one that they had both written "i love you" on. you know, the kind of stuff infatuation does to people, turning them slightly nutty whether they're happy or unhappy, with or without the object of their feelings?  but when the vapors took their newly released album on tour they discovered that their audience had quite a different interpretation of the lyrics and there are still people (mostly men, why am i not surprised?) around who are convinced that the song is about masturbation! (sorry about the whisper, if you're a swedish free church girl it doesn't matter if you're cool with the phenomenon in itself, you still find it a bit uncomfortable to talk about it...)  the rumour started in the u.s. where there was a lot more hush hush about sex matters than in the european punk/power pop/new wave circles and every expression that wasn't easily understandable was interpreted as having something to do with sex...

there's another interpretation of the lyrics that you come across today, too. the manga/anime lovers here in the west, especially those who dress in harajuku street styles and learn to write kanji, see it as a sort of anthem. the vapors were before all that started, but i don't think these kids are aware of that...

 well, i may scorn those people, but dave fenton himself is a lot wiser. he says "well, some people have decided what they want the lyrics to mean for them and that's fine with me. it was about something else when i wrote it, but that's just me..."  for that attitude he got a star in my book  - hope i will one day have confidence enough to let people make even embarrassing assumptions about me and the things i do without letting it bother me, that's true integrity!
setting all that aside, "turning japanese" is one of my "jump-about-and-shout-along" songs, much like "ca plane pour moi" (btw, anyone who knows where i find the cedille on this keyboard?)  and the proclaimers "500 miles" and once in a while you really need a song of that kind, so here it is!

who doesn't have a soft spot for hank williams? oh, i know there are people who don't know who he is and here in sweden there are probably even many who don't know who hank williams is - but i'm sure they would have a soft spot for hank williams if they only knew he was the guy behind "your cheating heart", "alone and forsaken" and "i saw the light" among others.

and, hank williams went down to louisiana and caught the cajun bug and then went back home with a traditional cajun song that he reworked to turn into "jambalaya", the song that opened my ears to cajun music so i am deeply indebted to mr williams for all the good times i've spent with cajun music.

you're probably now expecting something with hank williams, but ladies and gentlemen, you're wrong. i'm going to give you the cajun trad song that "jambalaya" came from, the eternal classic "grand texas". enjoy the music and that perfectly delightful cajun french!

p.s. it's said that it's the accordeon that makes the cajuns dance, but in my opinion they couldn't do without the fiddle - nothing beats cajun fiddling in sheer intensity.

next song out is a bollywood classic with one of the most famous voices in bollywood's history: lata mangeshkar. the song is from a seventies movie called samadhi, starring asha parekh, but i found it in a much later movie, "chori chori" starring rani mukherjee. in that movie, the song played only for a short moment, as the female lead does a little dance in front of her mirror after succeeding in making an impression on the male lead (just like john hughes-movies always had a scene with a main character dancing and singing along to an old favie, remember that, anyone?) but i hunted it down on spotify and on youtube - not that hard because it was a great hit when it came. the lyrics mean something like this: "behind the bungalow, under the tree, the thorn pricked me, yes it pricked" and the thorn pricking is of course falling in love. if you've never tried bollywood music from the seventies before, you should give it a chance. well, i'll leave you in the able hands of lata mangeshkar and asha parekh now!

this song was a chutney soca mega-hit. it's trini soca star ravi b (in this remix joined by problem child from st vincent) who gives the message: "woman, yuh can't teach meh!"

i think the reason it was such a hit is in equal parts the catchy tune and the alcohol cult. people heard it as a party song, a sort of cheeky get-back from a fun-lover at his moralist wife or girlfriend and her narrow-minded family. that's definitely not the reason why i post it here! i have been fascinated by this song ever since i first heard it because what i hear is the real tragedy of the alcoholic and his/her worrying and suffering family. there's something so deeply tragic about that aggressive defense of the story-teller's drinking habits, it gets so obvious that the man in the song is choosing alcohol over his loved one - when she tries to take fight with the bottle to get him back she is seen as a possessive bitch and she only gets accepted when she drinks with him. this is a reality i've seen all too many times in real life and somehow it gets to me so much more when it's told from the naive perspective of the drinker.

so that's why i keep going back to this song in my spotify playlist, the contrast between the carefree party mood of the song and the dark shadows it casts. hope you can hear it too!

the  first october song is by an american group called the be good tanyas. like with so much of the music i love, i first found the be good tanyas on a compilation in the library downtown in göteborg and what made them stay with me was the cool, sort of casual way they sing harmony. they sound so much like my mood on a day when i have nothing special to do and i go walkabout with camera and sketchpad and have a crêpe or two at the crêpewagon...


this is one of my favourite times of the year, september when all activity starts again and the air gets fresher and the winds start to bite a little. and it's time for vemod, friends and neighbours! i know some of you don't speak swedish but i think this is hard to explain in english - if it helps you "vemod" is the same as german "wehmut" and roughly and inelegantly explained it means a feeling of enjoyable sadness. and that's something we scandinavians are a bit proud of, our scandinavian vemod that shows in our art and our movies. well, at least that's what we all think. in any case, vemod is one of my favourite words and i associate it with autumn, so septembers theme will be vemod, wherever i may find it.

here's a break from the vemod theme again. i have made some serious calculations and come to the conclusion that this blog just isn't as bollywood-fixated as i thought. i have decided we need lots more bollywood music on here, folks! i'm going to start with a dedication to a football team (european football - round ball, no hands, okay?) that i only discovered because i fell in love with my brother's football cap with their ugly logo on it - you can see it in "my weekly obsessions", it's a white skull and cross bones logo on a black cap. not the kind of cap you would expect me to fall in love with if you knew me, but i did and the cap is now mine and we're happy together. and i started reading up on the team, fc st pauli. did you know they were the first ever football team to ban any neo-nazi or other racist symbols among their players and fans? well, they were. respect! i'm following their results in bundesliga - their last match was a loss of one goal against f c kaiserslautern, but they're doing fine and to cheer them on for the next match, i send them this greeting from a (really bad, i don't recommend seeing it!) bollywood movie: the fantastic cheering song "hala bol". go st pauli!

awww, tonight the scandinavian vemod is overpowering me completely! it's been one of those sunny, but crisp and frosty autumn days here in town and i got some time to breathe it all in on my way to and from my exam today (i'm taking exams once a week, people. one or two subjects per friday and the exams are in the shape of two hour discussions with my teacher). days like these, the beauty, sadness and poignancy of life just hits me full in the face and i get quite insufferably poetical and ... well, full of vemod. one thing leads to another, as they usually do, and my vemod feeling got me to look up my old simon and garfunkel collection just to hear "the boxer" and then i started thinking what a shame it is that we don't hear so much of paul simon these days and then i knew i had to post him on my music blog right now. i'm posting two clips at the same time because paul simon is one of my greatest musical heroes - they call elvis the king and they call michael jackson the king, but in my world, the ruling musical monarch is paul simon and will always be!

the first clip i post just adds to my vemod - this aging man, now old enough to be one of the old friends on the park bench that he sang of in "bookends" (look that song up if you've somehow missed it!), still strumming his guitar and singing like he's always done, in his calm and slightly melancholy way and doing it so genuinely well. this clip fits very well in with my vemod theme.
the second of my paul simon clips will be a bit more uptempo. it's an old simon and garfunkel hit and i've always loved it for the impressionistic sketch it gives of a young man's story of being on the run and for the tune that's (typically for paul simon!) so simple but so spot-on.

nitin sawhney is another of those übertalented guys who can do almost anything when it comes to music. wikipedia says he "studied piano, classical and flamenco guitar, sitar and tabla" . just like that. i barely got on with the recorder*)... well, anyway, i thought i'd give you some vemod from kent in england with a great deal of india in the mix - here's "nadia", one of those songs that took my breath away when i heard it the first time.

*)flute, that is. not tape recorder!

(oh, and i almost forgot: nitin sawhney is friends with my old crush sanjeev bhaskar - they worked together on what eventually became "goodness gracious me". another star for mr sawhney in my book...)

enough with vemod for a while, i have so much good music on my waiting list. this particular song first caught my ear somewhere on the way between orsa (my old hometown, have i made that clear to you yet?) and northern norway back in -92. my family was squeezed into the car and the car radio was on and i tried not to hear it because it was the wrong channel and they only played music for old people. but then this song came and it differed so much from the rest that i couldn't help noticing. it was in french and swedish radio plays french music once in a decade or so (and would you believe it, just as i wrote this, i heard yves montands "la bicyclette" played on swedish radio, coincidence? i think not ;-)...).
crêpes suzette

 i was a good french student, so i understood the few lines of the lyrics that i could hear clearly and those lines stole my heart away - i mean, who wouldn't want to be likened to a crêpe suzette by your loved one, with "a little taste of orange, honey and chocolate"? and then he sang he had lost his head when he met suzette, and lost his reason every time he met suzon (that's like "susi" for "susanne") and i like my lovesongs charmingly exaggerated, so i was hooked. there was no youtube in those days, in fact internet was just for computernerds of the worst kind and i don't think i had even heard of it. so for years i searched for a song that might be called "suzette" with a group or singer i didn't know the name of in record stores with no result of course. youtube is a gold mine that way, one day when i made a search for "suzette" i found dany brillant, the classic french charmer, with "suzette" - et voilá!

we scandinavians really shouldn't be so proud of our capacity for vemod after all. the world is actually full of it, you find it in every culture all over the world. and pretty close to scandinavia there is a place where they know all about vemod: scotland, my favourite spot on earth. this tune is called roslin castle and it's beautifully played here on viola da gamba, though personally i think the recording that scots folk band old blind dogs have made of it is the most beautiful versh in existence, so look it up! it's on an album called the world's room.

the first time i heard this tune was actually when old blind dogs played it live on a folk music festival. i had been feeling rather down for some time and the folk music festival worked like happy pills on me. but what really helped me out in the sun again was hearing this tune, because it sort of let loose all my sadness and at the same time made me feel like there was so much around me that was still so beautiful and enjoyable and that i could be happy again. that's an effect that vemod in arts and music often has on people, i think.

strange thing that tanita tikaram isn't scandinavian, because she is a sort of queen of vemod! this haunting song is from the first record i ever bought with her, way back when i still paid half price on the train without having to arrange my hair in pigtails, carry a walkman and chew bubblegum (that line is a bit cryptical but i'm not gonna explain, there may be ticket inspectors reading this...). most of the songs on this album (ancient heart) have a touch of vemod in them and the latest songs i heard by her did too, so it's obviously a mood she likes to play with. i won't keep you from the song much more now, i just want to say i hope you all enjoy her unique voice as much as i do!


august is already one day old and i've been thinking of a theme for this month's music but in the end i decided to dedicate this month to music on my waiting list instead. so, probably very mixed picks this month! and if i don't add as many songs as usual, the logical explanation is that i start a new education on the 17th and will be both busy and tired in the beginning.

i just scrolled back down to see if i have managed to keep a music blog for about seven months without mentioning this group even once - i hadn't. when i posted lolita pop's tarzan on a big red scooter back in april, i mentioned the vocalist of transvision vamp as one of the people i wanted to be when i was a teenager. like so many of the female singers i've liked through the years, wendy has attitude baked into her voice, that's what i liked best about her*) and attitude is also what i like best about this half-forgotten song from my beloved eighties. i often try to explain the attraction of this song to people born in the eighties and nineties, but it generally fails - it's like simplicity and straight-down attitude just got lost somewhere around the  early nineties, and oh how i miss it! so i beg you, good neighbours, open your mind to attitude and to transvision vamp or at least try to understand how a dignified m.a. in linguistics can suddenly let out a yell and jump on the dance floor when she hears this song, obviously thinking she's fifteen again...

*)though her tulle skirt outfits surely added to her great impression on me. never underestimate a tulle skirt!

woohoo, look at this! it's a video clip with the copper stills! if you've been following this music blog, you've heard me say this is freakin' good music but i suppose many of you won't have followed the link anyway, out of sheer laziness. i only came to know of this canadian band through a friend on polyvore. we started talking folk music and stuff and she said her boyfriend played. some months later she told me where i could listen to his band on the web and i loved it and loaded my mp3-player with their music. i like all the references to old bluegrass/american folk music that the copper stills use and i also think i hear a touch of bob dylan. let's try it, shall we?

whew! i'm one week into school and i am tired! but so far it hasn't been so much the studies themselves as everything around them that's been tiring; new impressions, new routines, new people. and my old arch-enemy migraine paid a two-day visit and on top of it all i've been jumping about on one leg most of the time since i stretched a muscle on sunday. sounds like i really deserve a good song, right? and here it is: ace of spades like you've never (?) heard it before! it's performed by the hayseed dixies.

i know, i know - i shouldn't be posting a bollywood song again, you'll all think it's the only kind of music i listen to and that's lightyears from the truth. but i had such a great time yesterday and today when i went to the bollywood exhibition at the world culture museum in göteborg and brawled along to some of my bolly favies in the bollywood singstar game. and guess what? i hit the high score list on "bole chudhian"!!  and my friend anna (who, i have to point out, had never heard any of the songs before and isn't familiar with the bollywood style - she's just a great singer) hit the high score list twice today, once with "maahi ve" and once with the song i'm posting now, "salaam-e-ishq" from the movie with the same name. just looooove this smooth song!

if you've followed this blog or seen anything of this site you've probably seen my weirdo-whacko side by now. it's the weirdo-whacko in me that chose this song: tip-toe through the tulips. a flippant twenties number, performed by a perfect nuthead from the seventies who stole his name from a dickens story - can it get any better? well, it can't get much whackier at least, and i love it. the tiny tim cult didn't hit sweden especially hard back in the seventies and i don't think i ever heard it back then. first time i came across it was when i was watching a movie i don't remember, all alone in mine and my cousin's apartment in göteborg first year i lived here and i remember it made me laugh in spite of a spell of homesickness. then i forgot all about it until it was played in swedish radio a month ago when it stuck on my brain badly. i read up on it at once - and found that tiny tim died in a heart attack back in -96 while performing this song, so the story has a sad twist. but to end on a happier note, i'd like to say i admire yeh paagal ("this crazy man" - i'm struggling with my hindi/urdu learning at the moment) for something he seems to have achieved as far as i can tell from what i've heard, seen and read about him: he made it as himself, purely and simply, and didn't conform to the music industry or the common ideas of genre and style, he just did what he wanted and did it well!

i wish i had as much info on this as i usually have on the music i post here, but i don't. i've been busy making changes in my flat and haven't really done my homework. i know the artist is called uğur Işık  and that he is turkish and he plays cello - but that's it. i found this tune on a compilation and it ended up on my mp3-player - now it's one of the tracks i listen to most often. the clip is a live recording from a concert in holland and the sound quality isn't perfect, but you can still hear the magical tune!

i mentioned "my best boys" when i posted the proclaimers. my best boys are the proclaimers and the housemartins - the reason? well, both groups write music and lyrics in their own style. both groups perform their songs with feeling, intensity and lots of humour and self-distance. and both groups consist of the kind of men i obsessed over already back in the eighties, the sort of self-made nerds that just melt me. nowadays they're all so old it's scary, of course but who cares?*) the proclaimers still write good songs and perform them just as well as in the old days (though their themes are a bit mature now, which is only natural) and listening to the housemartins old stuff still makes me joyful! my first choice of song with the housemartins was "me and the farmer", which has always been my favie, but lately i've seen so much of irritating conformity around, so many people who just float downstream without questioning and what's worst of all is that i feel myself doing the same  at times. so this song, with some of the best pop lyrics there are,  just had to be posted.

p.s. i don't minding floating along with the stream as long as i really beleive the stream is taking us somewhere good. the danger lies in not stopping to think of where you're heading and why.

*)my youngest sister would unashamedly say "well, so are you!"


i'm back! it's only been a few days since my last post here but i feel like i've been away for ages. the reason: migraine. high air pressure, heat, strong sunshine - the weather here for the last two weeks has been a paradise for my evil monster of a migraine and now i feel a bit like i'm back from the dead after two days of almost constant pain and nausea. i can't think of a better way to celebrate that than by posting the first music of the month! july will be fado month, something i decided long ago. fado, the "portuguese blues", is a melancholy and passionate music and i think you should give it a try if you haven't before, give yourself time to sink into the atmosphere.

and so july fades out and vanishes too. there's still a few days left of the month, but i'm back at work and won't have time to post more music until august starts, so this will be the final song of my fado month. so far, i've picked fado from the lisbon tradition so here's an example of fado in the coimbra tradition. coimbra is a beautiful town (never been there, but i've seen enchanting pictures of it) with an old university, rich in academic traditions. coimbra fado is linked to these academic traditions and is sung (traditionally) exclusively by men, accompanied by portuguese guitar with a different tuning than in lisbon fado and (again, traditionally) it's mostly sung at night, in the dark. this is one of the most known coimbra fados, saudades de coimbra (means something like "pinings for coimbra" if i'm not mistaken) performed by the group verdes anos.

portuguese fado has some close relatives - a sister in brazil called fado brasilenio (brazilian fado) and a cousin in cabo verde called morna. this is the most famous morna singer of all, cesaria evora, performing one of her most famous songs, sodade. "sodade" in cabo verde is "saudade" in portugal and it is a concept central to both fado and morna - the concept of pining (for something or someone) or nostalgia.
i can still remember where i was when i heard this song for the first time (lying belly down on my bed, studying for my course in linguistic field methods and almost falling asleep over david silverman's "interpreting qualitative data") and how it put me under a spell that was broken only hours later...

a break from fado to celebrate two really special events. to begin with, the proclaimers have a new album out! the proclaimers have followed me since the eighties and their energy, intensity, brilliant lyrics, humour and general niceness continue to inspire me. when i make playlists for my mp3-player or on spotify or facebook or wherever, i always have one playlist with some proclaimers and housemartins favies and name it "my best boys". i've only heard this single from the new album but i like it and i don't doubt i will like the rest of the album too as soon as i can get my hands on it!
the second big event is that i now have met my friend's little newborn baby. she's a miracle of course, it was amazing to see my friend's features on a little baby and even more amazing to get to hold her. she's not eating properly, keeps falling asleep over her meals and causes lots of worry and frustration that way - but as the proclamers say, love can move mountains and little alice-or-julia-or-emily's parents don't lack the love they need to deal with this!

"sweet love, bitter love" - how very fado! "amor de mel, amor de fel" is an old amália rodrigues classic, interpreted by many ather fadistas after her. it has that true fado feeling, melancholy and passionate. my favourite version is probably one by katia guerreiro, but i  wanted to post a male fadista for once, so here's a versh by antónio zambujo, a very interesting guy. in all his fado he mixes in a little of a traditional male singing style called "cante alentejano" and i think he does it brilliantly, it doesn't diminish the fado, just adds to it. other of his influences are jazz and brazilian bossa nova - can you hear it?

my friend susi will once more appear on this page. why do i post her clips so often? well, the obvious reason would be that she is my friend and i like her - and that's of course true, but that's definitely not the main reason. i post her clips because they represent a really important aspect of music: the DIY approach. this is how all good music starts, with someone doing it themselves instead of just listening to records and going to concerts. most of us do that to some extent, but i think more of us should have susi's guts (she thinks she's scared of performing in front of strangers, but she played in public just a few months after she bought her first mandolin and did great) and perseverance. besides, she plays in the folk music tradition (bluegrass, her main genre, isn't actually folk music but belongs to the folk traditition nonetheless), where creativity is very important, you often play tunes that have been traded down for generations, so it's important that you can give them your own signature.  well, that's enough said, here comes "cold frosty morning", a really great tune!

i have a bit of a dilemma here. i want to promote diversity, like i say, and i want to give you a good picture of what fado is. so i really should post some of the more modern fado, like dutch fadista maria fernandes. but on the other hand i want to post the music i really like and believe in and while maria fernandes and the other "neo-fadistas" are great performers and skilled singers, they have mixed in elements in their fado that i just don't like, it takes away some of the fado atmosphere that i'm so in love with. so, i made a compromise. i've posted one of the more modern of the traditional fadistas, ana moura - still feels like fado to me but has other elements mixed in as well. and i'm giving you a link to a youtube clip with maria fernandes where i really think she shines!

i'm interrupting the fado for a while with a very special dedication. it goes to my friend josefin, her boyfriend and their brand new baby daughter!!! my friend called me today with the news, after she had had a little time to rest. all the best wishes to you and your newly completed family, my friend, and i hope you all like this beautiful lullaby!

the song is written by kate rusby, but it's based on a scots gaelic lullaby she found in book of folk songs. i like it with kate rusby too, but when i found this version on youtube i simply loved it.

now that i've shown my independence and posted mariza on first place on the fado month, i will post the uncrowned queen of fado - amália rodrigues. my first thought was to introduce her with her own song, fado amália, but i couldn't find an embeddable versh on youtube and couldn't find it anywhere else on the web either (on spotify of course, but they only let you share with other spotify users), so i picked another symbolic song instead. this is "tudo isto é fado", a song that says a lot of what fado is all about. the chorus in translation says: "all this exists, all this is sad - all this is fado".

a fado theme should of course be kicked off with amalia rodrigues, the most famous fadista ever, but i decided to go my own way and start it with mariza instead. mariza in this particular song was the last push i needed to cross the limit into fado-fandom (i was already halfway there, but a bit reluctant...) so for sentimental reasons i'll give mariza and "maria lisboa" first chance this month. the song is a (yes, i dare use the word once more) perfectly delightful piece, describing old lisbon as a fisherman's wife in clogs with shells on her clothes and a heart beating to the rythm of a troller and: "her real name is maria, her pet name lisbon".  mean as i am,  after rambling on for several lines i'm still not letting you go straight to the song, i've posted my polyvore tribute to mariza above the clip!

(and just when you thought i was going to shut up i came back to tell you to note the instrument in the set and it's mate in the video clip - it's a fado guitar, a both visually and audially beautiful instrument.)


summer is officially here, my friends! june in sweden means little kids in their best clothes singing astrid lindgren songs on the last day of school, it means truckloads of graduating students shouting their way through town - and it means hordes of tourists on a pilgrimage to dalarna for midsummer's eve and me staying as far away from my old home province as possible to avoid the hysteria. but in honour of the swedish midsummer traditions i've made swedish folk music, and especially music from dalarna and my old hometown, orsa, the theme for this month. i won't go all the way though - on midsummer's eve, the wake of st john, i will actually post a song from another european country, that'll give any visiting swedish midsummer fascists something to chew on, moahahaa...

june is drawing its last breaths and it's time to bid farewell to swedish folk music. i'll say my farewells with these two clips, both featuring music from dalarna. the first is a dancing tune from the island of sold ("sollerön" as it is known in standard swedish.), played on a traditional flute from orsa (my old hometown, as i keep telling people. i'll nag on about it til it sticks!), a spilåpipa. the other clip is a song that would have been sung as the young people gathered for their dancing games. some of the verses are from a nineteenth century drinking song that was sung to the same tune, so there's two halves of the song that thematically don't connect. the first part is folk-poetry of a classical kind: "i blew my pipe and a little dove appeared..." - i think it's a charming piece. the second part is the drinking song and the words have a coarser ring to them: "the  boys will pay for the hard liquor that we drink, but we'll pay for the beer ourselves". it also contains some mockery against the church. 

midsummer's eve - the wake of st john

midsummer, once more. i'm one day early posting this, but that's because i'll be helping out at the youth bible camp from tonight and all through midsummer's eve and there's no way i'd drag my darling laptop out there!
the song i'm posting for midsummer's is one that has been waiting to be posted since i started this page. last summer i made a youtube search for some french folk song or other and then just followed the "related" until i found this song - and it took my breath away with its simple beauty.

the song starts with the words "voici la st jean, faites la veillée" - "st john's is here, let us hold the wake". a wake in medieval times always meant a festive occasion, very likely with dancing - a lot like midsummer's eve in sweden. in fact, the general feeling to this song is very much like a late midsummer's night in sweden - sort of bittersweet, with a fairy tale touch.

i'm not going to translate the entire content of the lyrics for you but
the picture i get in my mind is of a woman waiting for her loved one. it's midsummer's night and the young couples in town are all gathered, but she stands alone, knowing that her loved one is still far off, fighting in a batlle perhaps. he has been gone for long but has promised her a white dress and a gold ring at his return and she knows he will travel not only by daylight but also at moonlit nights such as this to get to her as soon as he can.

i've already said i'll post a non-swedish song on midsummer's eve, but there's still a few days to go before that so today i'll post one of the most sung swedish folk songs*), one that has a misummer theme. the sad part is that i couldn't find a really good versh of it, after counting out a weird ukulele version, a jazz-fusion version and a version sung by an amateur choir that can't keep the rythm, i ended up with these two clips. one of them is an old recording with a female classical vocalist from dalarna and i think that versh is a little bit too opera-fied. the other clip is by a guy who seems very competent but i think his versh is too "straight", it hasn't got any of the ornamental trills of the original. so, i'll let you all pick your poison, friends and neighbours!

*) by "folk song" here i mean a song in a folksy style. it's not an old song and it's not been traded down through generations the way "real" folk songs have. it was written in the early twentieth century, but it quickly made its way into the folk musicians' repertoire.

this is another tune from my old hometown. i've only heard it played on the fiddle before, but i think the occarina sounds good too - i'm all for trying everything out on a new instrument, it can give you a fresh ear for the tune.

i was going to wait a few days to post the next piece of music but i was too impatient... this piece is another polska tune, quite different from the last one. this one is from orsa, my old town and so is the guy playing it if i'm not mistaken. usually this would be played on a folk fiddle but i think it sounds beautiful on the guitar!

this clip is of a polska tune from dalarna. polska is a dance in 3/4 measure and i've never learned how to do it - we were taught at school when i was a kid but at those lessons you'd find me hiding behind the equipment in the gym hall. in any case, this tune, hjortingen, is one of those that swedish folk fiddlers are most often requested to play and as a result many swedish folk musicians grow dead tired of it. i think it's great though!

this is the swedish folk music group kraja, performing an old swedish folk classic, "uti vår hage" (in our pasture). i wasn't going to dedicate any songs to anyone this month since i have far too many people to dedicate songs too - but i'll make an exception for a bunch of really sweet little lassies, my friends from crafts and design school. i miss you, my friends! hope you're all doing fine in your respective parts of the country and that you pay your daily respects to the lama...
 during a study trip with school to barcelona in -05 some of us gathered the courage to stand in a street corner across from la pedrera and sing this song. i think we did very well, but the performance was met with violent uninterest from the people around us. remember that, girls? we'll do it again and we'll kick ass, right ;-)?!


now is the month of maying, etcetera etcera... i probably should have that as a theme for this month, but my list of good music for this page has grown so long it's ridiculous so for this month i'll just post anything i like.

one of my friends has five weeks to go on her pregnancy. i want to wish her all the best for her present as well as for the future with this song - my friend, take some time to take care of yourself and if you find it hard to get out of bed just get someone to move the bed outdoors in the sun and lie down on your back with a good conscience, knowing that it's perfectly all right to do so! my prayers and well wishes are with you and yours.

this song is about letting yourself be happy in a simple way just laying back and staring into the sky and the singer, lisa ekdahl, may very well be my favourite of all swedish singers. and hopefully she will remind my friend of some good times that we shared together, having lots of tea and listening to lisa on my stereo...

long time since i posted a bollywood clip now. this song, "jhom barabar jhoom", is taken from the movie with the same name and any fan of bollywood movies recognizes the old gypsy musician in the video clip: amitabh bachchan, indias most known actor. i haven't seen the movie yet but i really like the song!

when i revisited that playlist with french music i realized it's high time i posted boris vian's "le déserteur". songs protesting against war and violence usually score high with me, but few so high as this one. it's a man writing a letter telling mr president why he's not going to war though he's recieved his orders. the tone of that letter is what gives this song it's poignancy - it's upright and gentle and a tiny bit ironical in the beginning when the man tells mr president "it's not meant to upset you, but i'm going to be a déserteur" and the way vian sings it enforces that ironic touch and that's what makes the absurdity of warfare so clear in this song.

boris vian (for those who didn't know) was a man of many talents, he was an author, a reporter, a jazz trumpeter, an engineer and a singer/songwriter. he died at 39 of a heart attack.

thinking of my youngest sister reminded me of the youtube playlist i made her for her birthday, with french music. and thinking of that playlist reminded me i still haven't put in any edith piaf on this page - scandalous! so here comes my favourite piaf piece, the song about the man who surely is no angel.

(i first discovered the song through the versh recorded by vaya con dios and i love that version equally well. check it out if you haven't heard it!)

20th of may is carolina's day in the swedish calendar. that makes me think of my youngest sister, carolina. she was just a kid when this song was frst released but she thought of it as her song and i still think of it as her song now that she's a grown up with a job and bills to pay. happy name's day, carro!

unlike most of my female friends i have a soft spot for old fashioned, beer-and-gasoline-smelling rock'n'roll. don't get me wrong, i don't drink either beer or gasoline and if you tell me bruce springsteen is an overrated old has-been i will nod my agreement. but i'll add that i still love some of his old songs and i can name other examples of the genre that i love too. i think what i appreciate in this music is the simplicity of melodies and lyrics, the bittersweetly weeping guitar solos and the slightly smoky blues influences. in any case, the hooters is one of my favourites of the genre and this song is one of my favourites with them - so here's to all you zombies ;-)...

when i come across old ghazal classics ("ghazal" is a type of poetry, but i refer to the ghazal songs, which are simply ghazal poems set to music) in a modernized form i usually sigh and press the forward button - this is an exception. ustad ("ustad" means "master" or maestro" or simply "teacher". when you speak of a respected musician or poet you reverently refer to him or her as "ustad X") ali hafeez khan sings so beautifully and the dub factory's remix actully adds to the character of the song instead of clashing with it. if you're wondering what on earth "kaise guzar ga'ii hai jaawani na" means i can't help you. a friend of mine once translated the whole song for me and as i had already guessed it all has to do with tears and love....
("kaise" means "how", though. i'm pretty sure of that one!)

i've had this clip on my waiting list ever since i first found it and since the song is in spanish and i just got back from barcelona with my head full of sunshine, dramatic gaudí curves and spanish words i think this is the right time to post it. i know next to nothing about lhasa de sela or about the song, but it's sent shivers of pleasure down my spine ever since i first heard it. and though my knowledge of spanish is about zero as well i can get the meaning of the lyrics through the singer's voice and her careful way of holding on to some of the words (but it does help to know a little latin, french and italian too ;-) ... ). the video is beautiful too, a visual equivalent of the song.


the obvious theme for this month was easter. but what would you listen to at easter? since i am a christian, easter is a time for reflexion and holiness, easter is the time to remember christ's suffering as well as his eternal triumph. not all the easter music i will post here is tradionally "christian" music (whatever that may be!), but it will be music that somehow fits in with the theme of suffering, reflexion, holiness and triumph.

apart from the easter songs i think i'll just post whatever i feel like at the moment :-)

i've really stuffed this month full with songs, haven't i? and i guess you thought you'd finally got the last song for the month, didn't you? friends and neighbours, you were wrong! i'm a huge fan of tom lehrer, the master of satire songs in the fifties and sixties, and i'm a huge anti-fan of pigeons. this means no spring is complete to me without this charming little ditty...

(and don't worry, i may love to sing about murdering pigeons, but in reality i don't even kick them when they REALLY get in my way downtown. i sincerely wish those winged rats would behave themselves, though!)

next song from my waiting list - which only gets longer, there's so much good music and so little time! - is from the scottish folk band malinky. the song tells the story of a man who dares to turn down an offer of marriage from the ugly but powerful witch, alison cross. of course he gets to suffer for it, but don't worry, he is rescued in the last verse by the fairy (the "seely") queen...

this clip has been on the waiting list for a long time now. i love blondie and this is my favourite with them, one of those songs that i start singing anytime, anywhere, without thinking of it because the tune and lyrics are burnt into my memory after all the times i've listened to it. what makes me love this song so much is the mixture of cuteness and attitude. the song in itself is so cute it could have been made by a girl band from the sixties, but blondie as a band and debbie harry as a singer add their attitude and integrity and make the song a bit punky. the video clip is damaged in the second verse, but since this clip held a higher sound and picture quality than other youtube clips of this song i kept it.

a while ago one of my friends told me he has lost a dear one. not much i can do for him and his family other than pray for them, but i've been thinking of sending him this song and i've been thinking of posting it here on my page, so i'll post it here and say: Z, this one is for you. once when my life was going through a really dark spot i heard this song and felt the words came as a letter to me  from god just then. it gave me a beam of comfort now and then in those dark days and now i pass the song on to you with all my best wishes.

finally! i've been waiting for this clip for a long time now: my friend susi's new youtube clip. it took a long time before she put something new out on youtube and when she did i was busy posting my easter music and then i had pc trouble for a while (ever tried to fix a problem that had to do with partitions on your hard drive? well, my advice is: just leave it as it is!) but here it is, at last. i think her singing gets more western style every day...

 friends and neighbours - christ is risen! that's how christians all over the world greet eachother on easter day. sunday services today will ring with these triumphant words and there will be joy and celebration (though i have to admit i don't think we celebrate enough in churches here in sweden - there could be a lot more of dancing and singing if you ask me). my song choice for today is a south african hymn that a swedish folk music group called fjedur helped spreading to europe. i feel a bit ashamed to admit i don't know what language it is written in, but i know some of the words mean "jesus, my joy" and the swedish lyrics go something like "jesus my joy/jesus my triumph/you have overcome death" and that's why i have always associated this song with easter day. i have no idea where this choir is from, but i think they do a great job!

 today is easter eve - since scandinavians have the habit of always celebrating the eves before the big days instead of the actual big day, this is the day when my family will get together for a big festive dinner and share some easter eggs in chocolate and marzipan - yummeee! but in the easter gospel, this is the sort of empty day, the day that nothing really happens. christ died on the friday and lay in grave all of saturday. easter eve is like a sort of void, i mean, god was actually dead. but just before christ died he said the words "all is fulfilled", and those words ring in my head on easter eve. they mean god's plan is realized and there's now hope for everyone. so for today i chose a beautiful recording of "alles ist vollbracht", "all is fulfilled" from bach's johannespassion. it's sung by marian anderson, a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice who was one of the two people (the other being my friend joss) who finally reconciled me to the classical vocal technique.

"good friday" - i always thought that a bit of a strange name for a day in rememberance of someone being tortured to death. but in the end, i believe, it really was a good day when god himself went through one of the many cruel treatments that we humans invent for eachother. he's been tortured, hated and despised so he knows what life is like at it's worst. and this is the reason that christians can actually say, like johnny cash (whom, i have to point out, i liked waaay before it was considered chic ;-) ...) does in this clip, that we "cherish the old rugged cross". note that he actually sings it both in english and in american sign language, i think that adds a lot to the performance.

today is the thursday before easter - the day when the story of christ's suffering begins. the day in rememberance of the last supper and of that lonely night of prayer and agony in the garden of gethsemane. the song i chose for today is another story of agony and loneliness, it's taken from the musical "kristina från duvemåla" by benny andersson and björn ulvaeus and i chose this rather than for example "gethsemane" from jesus christ superstar because i think the feelings of intense pain and of being abandoned and entirely lonely are much like what christ felt at the same time as they are easy for any human being to relate to.

next song is one of those that i'd post just because i felt like it :-). this is lolita pop, a swedish band from the eighties. i was rather young when they disappeared from the limelight and i never got round to buying their records or even catching any of their songs on my mix tapes - i hunted this particular song for years and never got it. in the end i just gave it up for lost, but a couple of weeks ago i accidentally found it on youtube, recently posted by another swede who rememberes lolita pop! their singer, karin wistrand, was one of my big heroes when i was in my teens. i wanted to be her. or susanna hoffs in bangles. or wendy in transvision vamp...

this is marillion with "easter". the theme of this song isn't meant to be religious, but for me it is, and in my mind it relates to the easter gospel. a boy is shot in the conflict in northern ireland - will easter forever be a time of grief and anger for them? will they ever forgive? "what will you do? make a stone of your heart?" as the lyrics say. this song speaks of things that are really painful and really hard to forget, but to me as a christian, easter is a rememberance of a great forgiveness, a great sacrifice and a great triumph over hatred and evil, so i think the song is still a hopeful one and very beauiful.


this month wasn't supposed to have any special theme, but then i thought the international women's day should be remembered in some way so i decided to post some of my female musician heroes this month. it won't be women only, but women mostly.

i'm rounding up this month with one of the most powerful female singer/songwriters i know - tracy chapman. she has a strong voice, she's not afraid of strong words but she's still a master of soft tones and gentle expression. her songs always leave me feeling a tiny wee bit stronger myself and if my heart has been broken i can cry with her for a while in "matters of the heart" and then she gets my spirits back up again with a song like this.

i have a friend who's got hooked big time on amadou et mariam and keeps telling me i need them on my music page. et voilà! here they are. this duo has been among my world music favourites for a long time and they have made it big, especially after their cooperation with manu chao, so i don't think they need much introduction!

yooohooo - chutney soca! this song is what got me into the chutney genre in the first place, i found it on a compilation and it was love at first beat. chutney music is a caribbean mix, like calypso or soca, but the major ingredient is east indian music - east indians came to the west indies as plantage workers  and chutney music is one area where their influence is visible.

next of my woman heroes: billie holiday. her voice can't be beaten and of all the possible ways of performing old classics like "more than you know" or "summertime" i always prefer hers. this clip is a live performance of "strange fruit", the song billie holiday wrote herself on the subject of the race violence in the southern states of the u.s.

this lady had to show up sooner or later - she's been among my heroes for so long and she's one of the brightest stars of the folk music movement: joan baez.

i don't really know how much i heard of her music in my early childhood, but my dad bought her "joan baez songbook" and before i knew any english i sat spellbound by the illustrations (in a sort of collage technique, very typical of the period) and the photos of this beautiful young woman with long dark hair and amber eyes. and when i understood the old ballads and the protest songs in the book, i read them for the pleasure of it. i kept my ears open for any recordings of them and instantly learned the tunes by heart if i heard them. when i had learned my first three guitar chords i "borrowed" the book from dad (the book still lives with me) and learned to accompany myself in the same songs joan baez used to sing.

the clip i chose is "freedom land", from the days of the vietnam war. joan baez sings it a capella, acompanied only by handclaps and i love this version because i think it shows a strong woman with a belief in what she's doing.


michelle shocked - first out of the women heroes i talked about. i think she's a genius, she picks up influences from pop, rock, jazz, blues, all kinds of american folk music, and she still does her own thing her own way. her lyrics are well written and very characteristic. the song i've picked out here is a song that always has to be on my mp3-player (and used to be on my portable cd-player and on a mixed tape in my walkman in the old days) when i'm travelling alone by night, because it goes so well with the feeling of adventure in a late night journey and it has a tune that let's you rest and enjoy the moment of warm drowsiness before you go to sleep. above the video clip is my polyvore tribute to michelle shocked.

the arkansas traveller - tribute to michelle shocked

i can't really say why i fell so hard for this song. it's from a movie called "veer-zaara" and the movie isn't one of my favourites, i thought it felt too long and too slow. the song is rather slow too and i usually like the up-tempo ones best. so maybe it's the theme of the song that i liked: the ghost of a former lover's presence lying heavy over your life after breaking up, sometimes so concrete you can see him or her before you. "mein yahan hoon" means "i'm here".

Mein yahan hoon


second month i choose music for my homepage - i'm having so much fun! this month is a party month for me, so there will probably be lots of up-tempo stuff. and there's valentine's coming up - i'll find some sweet music fit to send to a valentine.

birthday specials - my party day, 25:02

first out of the birthday specials: "bole chudiyan", a happy and cool party song from bollywood movie "kabhi khushi kabhi gham". i took the long clip from the movie because i love the scene so i'll give you some story background.

setting: a party for indians living in london. it's a special festival celebrating in-laws.

participants: rahul (in white and grey) and his wife anjali (in red and gold), rohan (in white), brother of rahul - but rahul doesn't know that - pooja (in pale pink), sister of anjali and in love with rohan.

rohan and pooja have made a bet: if rohan dares to finally tell rahul that they are brothers she will in her turn tell everyone at the party her innermost feelings. none of them thinks the other will dare, but rohan tells his part by singing a traditional greeting song to a brother and sister in law - rahul doesn't appreciate that since he's upset about the flirt he sees going on between pooja and rohan and he thinks rohan is being presumptive calling them in-laws already. anjali on the other hand, likes rohans traditional behaviour and smiles at the younger couple. and the glass bangles (chudiyan or churiyan) tinkle, just like the title says and so, good neighbours, will mine this evening!

this song will get a shorter introduction: it's simply a perfect "jump about and shout along" song. not everyone knows french, but most of us can shout "ca plane pour moi!"

valentines is here, my friends!

i just had to post this polyvore collage i made on polyvore as a greeting to some selected fantastic specimens of the human breed. i think it also applies to the guy who wrote and performed the song i chose for this last minute tip for a musical valentines video for a loved one. the song is incredibly funny to anyone who has played mario kart, especially if they (like me) tried it together with a boyfriend or girlfriend. so send this clip to a video game-crazy loved one = instant success!

here's a recommendation that i will hammer into everyone i meet: listen to anything that moïse & alida viator (villatoro) are involved in and you'll hear it's great music. i tried to find the song that really got me hooked, it's from 2001 and it's called "wangateur". unforrtunately i haven't found it in any version, video or audio. so instead i'll give you some links to where you can hear examples of their music - not whole songs but long enough clips to make you feel the strength and energy in their music.

creole fusion a preview of the record 'creole fusion' from -06, by moïse & alida together with the band eh la bas.

mermaids of the canary islandsa preview of 'mermaids' from -03, by the viator siblings and eh la bas.

mo belle creole a preview of 'mo belle creole' from -01 (when alida was all of fifteen years old, folks!)- it's worth buying the cd just for wangateur, if you ask me.

ahhh, ska music - one of the pleasures of post-modern life!* this is madness, known to the great public through their hit with "our house" back in the eighties. but they were a great band with many great songs and here's one of my madness favourites, a song i love for parties. i think the video is cute too, but you have to wait a while before the song actually starts.

*i stole that line from a novel, but i don't remember which one. originally it refers to tapas and not to ska music. if you recognize the quote please go to "comments" and tell me where i found it!

some more valentine romance. this is marillion, all the way back from the early nineties. the singer at that time was steve hogarth and his voice, so strong and so full of feeling, is what makes this song something more to me than just another easily forgotten song about love. if you're thinking of sending a song to your loved one on valentines and you're not afraid of big emotions - well, this is it. 

here comes some romance now :-). this is the best version ever made of "i can't help falling in love with you". it's an eighties versh with lick the tins and it was featured on the soundtrack to "some kind of wonderful" (which may very well be the best john hughes film and eric stoltz makes it even better). as far as i know, it's the only version that throws a kerry polka in the mix - a touch of genius if you ask me. unfortunately, the only clip i could find of this that wasn't too heavy to load on the page was this incredibly boring one with the poor sound quality. it's a mystery to me why people film their old vinyl players, but maybe it's some collector thing that i just don't understand.

here's some of my party music! this is te vaka from tokelau in the south pacific, performing alamagoto which is one of my favouries with them. this puts me in a good mood and makes me want to dance and i think it's a pity they're not better known outside of the pacific - at least not well known among other than people like me who always dig through international compilations in search of new groups to listen to.

hehe, i promised uptempo party stuff and music fit for valentine's, but i just had to post this first. it's a reminder to everyone who comes in here of a great man and musician who died while he had still lots to give: phil ochs, folk/protest singer in the early sixties. i love his lyrics and his attitude and the poignancy of his tunes. this video clip is of a song called "the highwayman". ochs didn't write the lyrics, but reworked an old poem by alfred noyes telling a tragic story of the highwayman who is warned off a meeting with his young love by a shot that tells him the soldiers are after him - the shot kills his young love and shortly after, the highwayman dies too, but it's said they continue to meet on stormy nights... i'd probably like this song well enough even if it was set to a different tune, it contains one of my favourite motives - the death of two lovers - but i think ochs' tune is so perfect it puts tears in my eyes!


first batch of music on my page

the first ever video featured on my homepage: my great friend and playmate, susi (aka sinead) playing some nice tunes (soldier's joy, mississippi sawyer and liberty) onher mandolin. she's getting so good at this!

and now for something completely different! it's latin time, boys and girls. and i'm not talking hot salsa music or tango rythms - i'm talking verbs of the first declination, first pers.plur. an' a' that. this is the cookiemonster (delightful little fellow - have you heard they're kicking him out of sesame street?), rocking hard in the medieval student song "gaudeamus igitur". told ya i was weird!

this isn't a video, but a  link you should definitely check out! i heard of "the copper stills" through a friend - it's mostly her boyfriend doing the singing, playing and songwriting. i'd say this is music for bob dylan-fans and folk music lovers but don't let that scare you off, it's freakin' good music.

for sentimental reasons, mostly - here's a youtube clip from a st lucia celebration in dalarna - my old home province. the song is from my old home town, orsa, the girl singing it too. the beautiful winter pics are from the woods outside orsa.

guess what? i have the nerve to put myself singing on this website, moahahaha!!! this is a beautiful scandinavian folksong and i sing it in the local dialect of orsa, dalarna. i make the same mistake i always do: a slight heightening of pitch after a while. not my fault, i was taught badly....

next video clip is in honour of a real hero, who sadly passed away in 2008: miriam makeba. since my father just nagged me for some paul simon too i put in a clip where they perform together at paul simon's concert in central park. but first i post this polyvore set that was my personal tribute to ms makeba on the day she died.

new videoclip - another hero of mine. this is the wandering wonder, the troubadour who can play anything that sounds and who sings in a bluesy, folksy style that makes my heart beat faster. and who writes some of the best lyrics in his genre (let's call it folksy singer/songwriter, i listen to a lot of stuff like that) and improvises like only a real talent can do. this, good neighbours, is rory mcleod! the song is "be my rambling woman" and it's one of the best love songs i know - if a guy walked up to me and asked me to be his rambling woman i'd need a very good reason to say no...

here's a clip that's very close to my heart for two reasons. one: because it features the man i would have married in a perfect world, the multi-talented, SCOTTISH and handsome billy boyd. two: because it shows what good music is all about, namely, feeling. sure, billy boyd has a better voice than britney spears, and more musical talent in his pinky finger than she has in her whole person - but the real diference between a song that sounds just like a thousand others and a song that really goes to your heart is the feeling it's performed with - and here's a guy who delivers with feeling. go billy!