Lately I have been recording some. This afternoon it was for a friend who is making a CD of his own songs in a studio. It was inspiring, because I want to do the same thing. And as a matter of fact I AM also taking steps in that direction. Last Wednesday I went to the home studio of a friend and we worked there for some hours. I played and sang quite au naturel, and what I mean is that I just sang and played just the way I do here at home, and neither separated the tracks nor worked with metronome, because that flakes me out! The best song was The Desert, which I wrote 5 years ago and have been playing and singing quite regularly since. The message to me is: practice. Which means: take the time to dream and have fun more. Fortunately the time has come for this, because it's Summer holiday! It's something gradual though, because I'm actually working on my teaching material a lot these days and believe it or not I really enjoy it! Vacation for me is seldom being totally "out of it" but doing everything I normally do (working, playing, singing, taking showers, cleaning the bathroom, washing dishes, cooking etc.) in a somewhat calmer tempo and with some more flexibility and some less pressure.
Wow, finally I found this wonderful song on the Youtube: Le temps s'écrit sur ton visage by Yves Duteil. I heard it for the first time twelve years ago when I had got my first real teaching job in Stockholm and was desperately looking for teaching material and found a cassette in the dusty school archive called "Chansons d'aujourd'hui", a title that once had been valid, but that wasn't even at that time anymore, I assure you. But some songs are just timeless and this is one of them! Throughout these twelve years I've never managed to hear it again, except for in my own head and heart. This wonderful French singer with his velvet voice sings to his wife about how he loves her although age is marking her face. This makes me think of my parents but also of this lady I photographed some years ago in China in a restaurant nearby a Bhuddist temple my friends and I were visiting. She first didn't understand why I wanted to take a photo of her, because she thought she was just so old and wrinkled, but you get it, right? A big hug to her and also to my own Mum for the Swedish Mothers' Day on Sunday!!!!!
My new musical discovery: Lisa LeBlanc - a Canadian francophone singer with a FANTASTIC voice and attitude and Chiaque ACCENT! I especially like her songs Y fait chaud, Câlisse-moi là and Juste parce que j'peux. I found her on France Culture so on Saturday evening if you're too bored by the Eurovision Song contest pls click on the photo and listen to this radio program. Lisa LeBlanc - vingt points!!!!!!
This gentleman payed my school a visit last week to give a workshop about songwriting! Rana and I were both there and were both, I think, touched by the somewhat rough gentleness of this Welsh singer-songwriter. I had heard of him for the first time less than a year ago from a very fervent Christian friend of mine, and I think I had somewhat wrong expectations about him being a Christian artist. But at the same time this was not a disappointment to me. I've been very much preached to in my life and that has made me discover that neither do I like being approached nor would I like to approach others in that way. Also he would never have been invited to my school if he had been a typical Christian type of singer.
I was so surprised some months ago when I accidently found out a colleague of mine organised concerts with Martyn Joseph close to Leuven and that one of them was taking place in May this year! Plus a song-writing workshop. Wow, I thought, and managed to change a class to be able to attend.
What especially touched me was his honesty and vulnerability, mentioning briefly his experiences of bullying and being in psychotherapy (both of which I can refer to very closely) and at the same time showing very much of personal integrity. He spoke of his work as a singer-songwriter in a way that made me think of one of my professors of Greek literature at the KULeuven who repeatedly stated that a poem is not "nice" or "beautiful" but good or not good, like an artefact which either does the job or doesn't. No focus on the person but on the work. A poem doesn't only have one meaning or "moral" but if it's good the listener co-creates it and gives it meaning. That way of thinking is so rich! And not only is it rich but I think also godly. God is not a God who is anxious to be overly clear. He doesn't force, neither through words or deeds, but even hides Himself (Isaiah 43,15). A fact upheld by the two Jansenist heroes of mine, Pascal and Racine. Also it was the gospel hidden in the allegory of the Chronicles of Narina of C.S. Lewis that first, although in an indirect way, managed to open me up to Christianity.
So thank you Martyn Joseph for your visit! You have surely left some tracks. And if you'll ever read these lines, may it be clear that I think Bruce Springsteen should look up to you more than you do to him, that you are fantastic live performer and song-writer but that I hope your next album will be more like "Evolved" than like your last one, "Songs for the Coming Home", which is also very good, but misses that acoustic, plain, raw sound that I liked so much with "Evolved". Also I prefer to be punched in the stomach by the quite shocking lyrics of a song like "Working Mother" to listening to "Clara" which, although it is a touching song based on a fantastic story, I find it too packed with words. But of course myself I'm only a frog jumping up the steps of the Parnass inch by inch : )
I'm just home from another Swedish class with my students from the first year. I'm always happy going to this class. What a privilege to teach a group of motivated and really nice students. I'm truly thankful for this school where I may work, teaching my mother tongue, a school with vision with colleagues who are PROUD to be teachers! My little unique contribution is teaching languages through singing. To quote Lady Gaga (I'm sure this is the first and last time I'll quote her in this blog!) I'm born this way: singing. Music is my weapon and I sense that it also works in class. My dear colleague can't understand how I can have time to sing so much in class. The answer is: it isn's something pasted to the program - it's an integrated part of it. I just BELIEVE in it, you know. I sing existing songs, I change existing songs for my purposes (a song with the title Do you like me? was changed into Did you like me? for the introduction of past tense today. The sad title inspired me to change the melody from major to minor too : ) and write my own about going to the shop, ask someone how they are, present oneself... I used to think that I was an intellectual person, but when I stand there in front of my class with the guitar and feel they really like it and that they are learning something, I know THIS is my calling. THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS!!!!!!
Hello world! Welcome to my frog blog. I will try to amuse you with my music and my texts. I'm Batty and you can read some about me under "Who is the frog blogger?" I have had a lovely day today with the sun shining here in Belgium! A friend and I hang out with her 2-year-old daughter in the garden and in the park on the other side of the road. I'm glad there are people with 2-year-olds around me, as I don't have any myself. And I think the little girl appreciated my company two, because she gave me two "dikke kussen" ("FAT KISSES") beyond the one prescribed by her mum!
The morning, though, was spent making mending a recording of a song I wrote together with Rana, a very good friend of mine who is a gifted text-writer. I came off with the music and she wrote the lyrics and after some to's and fro's this is the result. Enjoy this ad-hoc-version. I hope to make a really good recording later this year (apart from better sound quality I'm looking forward to having more different singers and a better violing player than myself). Pls comment and say what you think about it! All feed-back is welcome!