I could fairly be accused of featuring some bands and artists too often at the expense of other high quality ones who don’t get a look in, especially right now.
But I’m human like everyone else and some of them just do it for me every time without fail.
One of them is Di Leva. He doesn’t hold a position of affection throughout Sweden without good reason. His songs are melodic and catchy, sometimes anthemic, always cleverly written, clearly voiced (meaning you hear every word he sings – too often still some artists don’t do that) and always topical in one way or another.
And so it is with ‘Winter in Paradise’. It’s a track from his recently released album ‘The Hybrids’ – a concept album that takes as its starting point how we relate to our own humanity and questions whether technological development should have been allowed to go as far as it has but with a hopeful outlook.
He has performed the track on national TV in Sweden, and it concerns orphans in wartime. This is a new single version of it.
That’s one of those things which is merely a passing news item for media outlets, isn’t it? This time last year the media was full of stories about Ukrainian war orphans leaving their homeland alone for God knows where. Today, you don’t hear a word out of them on the subject. It’s yesterday’s news, let’s move on.
What happened to them?
I know quite a few have found a home in Sweden so it is fitting that Di Leva is the one to highlight their plight.
He says, “In my song ‘Winter in Paradise’, I want to give all vulnerable children in the world a voice. So many children are alone and in need of special care, support, or protection in disasters and wars that are going on among us adults.”
He adds, “The only thing that can overcome humanity’s obstacles is universal love.”
I have to say that sounds like a quote that might have been made by a hippie in Haight-Ashbury circa. 1968. Or by Ringo Starr, anywhere, in the last 30 years. Peace ‘n love, man.
It would sound hackneyed and dated, but not from Di Leva. You do sense that he genuinely believes in the power of love and that does transmit itself in his music.
The song has the feel of a gentle fairground ride, a carousel with horses, or of a nursery rhyme that young children might sing on the street.
The lyrics are cutting from the off:
“Come with me and play/on the streets of pain and sorrow
I am so afraid/that I won’t be here tomorrow
Soon the planes will come/dropping bombs and spreading fire
I am just a child/playing I’m an occupier”
They get grimmer still but the singular message remains that it is winter in paradise, not hell. And paradise is home, come what may. As the song nears its conclusion the tempo increases, the key changes, aided and abetted by a powerful synth addition and the hopeful mantra is resolved – “When you smile your heart can find a way.”
Two things I’d say about this song in conclusion.
Firstly, someone should send it to the Kremlin. Right now would be a good time.
Secondly, I’ve heard plenty of ‘sentimental’ songs like this that have got to #1 in the UK charts, none of which could hold a candle to this one. I don’t see any reason why ‘Winter in Paradise’ shouldn’t.
Incidentally, there is also a ‘Director’s Cut’ of the song which is worth listening to. It’s a little rockier for those that prefer that.
Di Leva is currently on a new sold-out tour within Sweden with his acclaimed David Bowie show, ‘Changes’, through to 4th May.
Find him on: