One of my favourite songs by one of my favourite South African bands…
Loreena McKennitt’s music is widely known and admired, and one of my favourite songs, that appears on the 1997 album, The Book of Secrets, is “Dante’s Prayer”.
The first song of McKennitt’s which I fell in love with, is actually “The Mummer’s Dance” — although I had no idea at the time of who sang it or indeed how her other music sounded. Little did I know just how much I would come to love all her music!
Loreena McKennitt’s music has that strange and ethereal quality that draws you in immediately and calls you away to Faerie.
In her own words:
December 17, 1995, Trans-Siberian Railway: It is now Day 5 on this train journey across wintry Siberia. Travelling alone, it is strange not to be able to have a conversation with anyone, but one learns how much can be conveyed through actions, body language, a look in the eye… I saw some men on the platform today and one resembled my father. He had reddish hair and a long, very Celtic-looking face I would have expected to see in Ireland, not Russia… I am reminded again of the Celtic exhibition in Venice and the suggestion that the Celts may have originated in the Russian steppes. Perhaps the love of horses which began there is the very same that can be seen in County Kildare today.
December 18, 1995, Trans-Siberian Railway: Dante’s The Divine Comedy keeps running through my mind as I gaze out at the landscape passing before me, thinking of the people who inhabit it and how they share this human condition… Are we helping or hurting each other?… How has the West come to this place of transition? Honourably? What are we bringing them? What are their expectations? Are our lives really what they imagine? We always want to believe there is a place better than our own…
Here is also “The Mummer’s Dance” —
A-ha’s music has been part of my whole life (literally — their first song was released the year before I was born) and I still love their music just as much as I did when I was younger. Mind you, it probably helped me learn English quite a bit, now that I think about it… Anyway, “Stay On These Roads” remains one of my favourite songs.
One (very) nice thing about growing up was that my mom and I had the same taste in music. Although it also meant that I couldn’t “rebel” by listening to something like Linkin Park or Blind Guardian. ‘Cause mom liked their music as well!
I think one thing that’s made this week a bit difficult for me, was that we heard on Sunday that my gran’s younger sister passed away. Now, my grandparents both died 19 years ago and my mom 9 years ago, but as anyone who’s lost very close family will tell you,* the pain doesn’t actually go away. And I found that, this week, I really miss them. I may have even felt a bit sorry for myself for being an orphan. Luckily, however, these acute feelings do fade again and you can remind yourself that there’s just a curtain between this world and the next, really. That we will meet again.
*My sister, mother, and I lived with my grandparents, so we were very close.
“’Hard of Hearing’ specifically is about the awkward middle period, that space where you don’t feel well at all, but you can outwardly function again. I learned that we often understand things long before we feel them, and that can create a sense of limbo. That limbo is where this song come from.” – Ben Cooper/Radical Face
Some ramblings on my mood
I’ve been struggling a bit with my mood over the past few weeks. Not bad enough to see my psychiatrist for med changes, thank goodness, just enough to keep an eye on, basically. I can, however, (like in the song) say “I know I’m not well, but I’m alright”. Oh, the joy of mental illness.
However, I have been writing and thanks to a four-day-weekend (whoohoo!) got to have some proper time to rest (while thinking about writing and working out some scenes in my head, let’s be honest). I’m slowly coming out of my — do I call it semi-depression? Sort-of-depression? Yes-probably-depression-but-it’s-usually-much-worse-depression? — whatever this is, and I am feeling much better the past few days*. Yay!
* Not in the hypomania kind of way though. See? The joy of mental illness. The gift that keeps on giving.
Go listen to more of Radical Face’s music — now!
Radical Face is one of my favourite artists by far. I first discovered his music on Noisetrade, where the concept of his Family Tree albums had me intrigued. The Bastards were the first part of the Family Tree albums that I listened to and was blown away. Since then I’ve been eagerly listening to his work and awaiting new music (I may have fangirled at my desk on the day “Hard of Hearing” was released). Here are another three of my favourite songs, “The Mute”, “Always Gold”, and “The Ship in Port”.
“Ashes of Eden” by Breaking Benjamin is another of those songs that I just can’t stop listening to…
It’s a few days before Christmas and here in South Africa the weather is sweltering, so it just seemed right to end my Christmas music Fridays with some local Christmas songs!
I start off with Somerkersfees (Summer Christmas), followed by Sonneblom uit Bethlehem (Sunflower From Bethlehem), Hierdie kind (This Child) and Kersfees in Kaapstad (Christmas in Cape Town). Lastly you can hear how Silent Night sounds in Afrikaans. Enjoy!
Ok, I’ll admit, when I heard Peter Hollens’ version, it was the first time I’d heard this song and immediately fell in love with it!
Next week, as the weekend before Christmas, I’ll share some of my favourite Afrikaans Christmas songs.
Just in time for the weekend, a throwback to one of my favourite Bon Jovi songs!
Also – can you believe the technology has changed so much in so little time? But I digress. Again.
Enjoy! And enjoy the weekend!
Written by Ingrid Jonker, this poem is from Kantelson (1966), which was publishedshortly after her suicide. Absolutely beautiful.