Jethro Tull – Heavy Horses

Believe it or not, though I have liked Jethro Tull for many years (and passionately loved their album Songs from the Wood, which has been one of my favorites since late high school / early college days), I just listened seriously to this one, and read the lyrics, for the first time the night before last. Wow! I did not know what I was missing:

Let me find you a filly for your proud stallion seed
to keep the old line going.
And we’ll stand you abreast at the back of the wood
behind the young trees growing
To hide you from eyes that mock at your girth,
and your eighteen hands at the shoulder
And one day when the oil barons have all dripped dry
and the nights are seen to draw colder
They’ll beg for your strength, your gentle power
your noble grace and your bearing
And you’ll strain once again to the sound of the gulls
in the wake of the deep plough, sharing.

Standing like tanks on the brow of the hill
Up into the cold wind facing
In stiff battle harness, chained to the world
Against the low sun racing
Bring me a wheel of oaken wood
A rein of polished leather
A Heavy Horse and a tumbling sky
Brewing heavy weather.

Again, wow. Lifts the hair on the back of my neck! For someone who loves the great draft horses as I do, this is a deeply moving song. Magnificent!

horse
A much younger Anglophilic Anglican, ground-driving a Percheron mare, at a draft horse driving workshop at the Carroll County Farm Museum, c. 2000-2001.

 

Where Celtic and Nordic meet…

I have long been especially fascinated by the intersection of Celtic and Nordic traditions: two strains of the European folk that are closely related, and yet distinct – but which have mutually enriched each other (even as they have sometimes also fought each other!) for millennia.

Here is one example, vocal improvisation on a Celtic folk song, accompanied by the traditional Swedish nyckelharpa:

 

Source: https://www.facebook.com/jasinkamusic/

And interestingly enough, the young woman in question is Polish! So truly a coming-together of three streams of European tradition: Celtic, Nordic, and Slavic. Awesome!

The Glories of the West, Old Midsummer, and a blessed Feast of St. John the Baptist!

In honor of this (“Old”) Midsummer’s Day – the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist – Sumer is icumen in (“Summer is a-coming in”)!

(… and of course, more of the culture that we Europeans don’t have…! *wry smile*)

Glories of the West: Germany’s living folk music tradition

Anyone who thinks Europeans (or their descendants, here in the “European diaspora”) lack culture, is simply not paying attention! European culture is rich and diverse, and by no means is it limited to “high culture”: folk music is a vital part of European culture, as it is of cultures across the world. Here are a few examples!

First, a young woman named Marilena sings “A Lausbua muass er sei” – “He’s Got to be Cheeky,” or as I have also heard it translated, “He Must Be A Scamp.” Light-hearted, cute, and flirty, but not the least bit lewd or inappropriate as so much of today’s music is:

Here is a translation of the lyrics, for those who may be interested!

Next we find two sisters going by the stage name “Die Twinnies,” singing “Bayernmädels” (“Bavarian Girls”) while playing accordions and rollerblading (!):

This version doesn’t have as good picture quality, but does include English subtitles. And true, they are in jeans rather than more traditional attire. Alas! But even I have to admit that rollerblading in a dirndl might not quite work, either practically or aesthetically…

Finally, here is the finale of the Alle Stadlstern Sieger 2006-2010 – 30 Jahre Musikantenstadl (all of the above were also recorded at the Musikantenstadl), “a live television entertainment program broadcast in the German language throughout Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. It features Austrian, Swiss, and German popular folk music (Schlager, Volkstümliche Musik), international pop and folk music as well as interviews and comedy” (Wikipedia). If this isn’t diverse, I’m not sure what is!