Over the years I’ve written about a few tribute songs by artists to other artists, in some cases those original artists were around 50, even 100 years ago.
The best known is on my personal Spotify playlist, Emily Barker’s ‘Sister Goodbye’, a paean to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Godmother of rock ‘n’ roll and an inspiration to the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley (and who once played a gig on a suburban railway station platform in Manchester, the audience watching from the other platform).
More recently we’ve featured Sweden’s Le Lac Long 814 and various musicians associated with that duo, who aren’t shy to honour musicians and personalities from previous centuries.
Now it’s the turn of Anna Kruse to celebrate the life of Edith Södergran, a Finlandic poet to whom she has written over 60 songs and she even has a Spotify playlist just for them (that’s dedication for you!) and who died 100 years ago.
Anna Kruse has immersed herself in Södergran’s poetry for many years. The words have been exposed to big band, string quartet, choirs, wind quartet, electronic and most recently symphony orchestra. Who knows, we might get metal and rap versions yet.
The song is recorded with (Danish) musicians she has worked with for over 20 years.
So ‘Glädjen är en fjäril’ is published as a declaration of love from Anna Kruse and the actress Stina Ekblad, who has worked with her on other Södergran material, to their own “sister.”
It is one of Södergran’s first poems and was only published after her death and one of the first poems where one can recognise the “sound” of Södergran for the first time.
Edith Södergran’s life was short, yet she is considered one of the most important lyricists within Swedish modernism. Her poetry is considered to be “timeless and bursting with power.”
Södergran is not only timeless, but also contemporary. Theatrical performances, new music and performances based on Edith’s life and poetry emerge all the time.
And that timelessness is well represented in this song, in the fluttery, hanging notes, especially of the piano and the vibrating trumpet that opens the piece, while Anna Kruse’s voice is more comforting than hot milk and chocolates on a winter’s night in front of a roaring fire.
You don’t have to understand it. Don’t even try. Just let it wash over you.
‘‘Glädjen är en fjäril’ was released on 23rd June and a video will follow on 30th June.
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Photo: Julie Montauk.