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!
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:
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:
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!