This has been a long time coming, but I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to top my last one. But I think I’ve got one, not quite as interesting in my opinion (certain people I could name would disagree), but very interesting nonetheless.
This time I’m introducing to you a band (unless you’re already familiar with them) from my homeland. However, do not think that all Norwegian music sounds like this. This isn’t like a traditional Norwegian sound, nor a very traditionally Norwegian band. It just so happens this particular band is from Norway. The band is extremely popular in Norway, though, and all the lyrics are Norwegian.
To be absolutely honest I don’t actually know a lot about this band, but growing up I’ve heard a lot of their music. I liked what I heard, but I never started listening to them on my spare time… until now.
I’m just going to post one of my favourite songs from this band, and then talk a little bit about the story behind it.
If you want to know what he’s singing, you can go here, for a rough translation. However, the singer and writer of this song (and most of the other songs), Janove Ottesen, really is a poet. Not actually a poet, but the song makes much more sense in Norwegian, and he uses the words to create very strong pictures. The point is that you probably won’t get the same experience from reading it in English, but for you to better understand the story I’m posting it for you.
This song is one of 30 songs telling a story about Violeta, her mother, Beatrice, and her father, Kenneth. After a while Beatrice starts losing her mind, and Kenneth, being afraid that his daughter will turn out like her mother, takes Violeta with him and leaves his wife.
Being separated from her daughter drives Beatrice to madness. She lives alone in an attic, drinks vodka, smokes cigarettes and plays a small organ, while wearing her old wedding dress. Every year she is away from her daughter she cries a bucket full of tears.
After seven years she has cried herself dry and decides to take her own life using dynamite. But after connecting with her daughter in a dream she has a change of heart and throws the dynamite out the window. As she throws it out the window, her dress, now covered in gasoline, lids up and she catches fire. Her old sorrows now becomes her rescue as she uses her seven buckets of tears to kill the fire. After this she decides to go out and look for her long lost daughter.
Meanwhile, Kenneth experiences what he has feared: his daughter has become like her mother. He takes his daughter with him to Singapore, where he meets his brother. They both try to get rid of Violeta through the black market, but she escapes and runs away to an orphanage.
I know there is more to the story than this. My friend told me something about Violeta and Beatrice commit suicide and jumps off a building together, and something about the Devil. What she told me is kind of blurry, because of my bad memory, so I’m counting on Wikipedia for sound information.
Honestly, I haven’t actually heard every song on the album, not to mention studied every one of them. There are 30 songs in total, spread out on three volumes of the album Violeta Violeta. Sorry I couldn’t make this a bit more analytical and exciting, but it was the best I could do on short notice.
Interestingly, Janove alternates on “who” sings the song, or tells the story, if you will. Sometimes it’s the daughter, other times the mother or an other character, but all of this is done without any indication. Once you know about the story you can tell them apart.
After being told the story behind it, this song, first of all, started to make a lot more sense, and second, became even more beautiful. At first I thought it was just another love song, but turns out it’s a touching story about a mother and her beloved daughter. Especially the line “Du bøyer deg ned, og eg står på tå” (“You kneel, and I’m on my toes”… this is very badly translated, by the way. It should be “You bend down, and I’m on my toes”), which I thought was very confusing at first, until my friend told me they were hugging (a child and an adult hugging: the adult bends down and the child reaches up). This is what I mean by Janove being a poet. Instead of just saying “we hug” he describes the actual action of a child and an adult hugging, and it creates an image in the listeners mind. It’s things like that that makes Kaizers Orchestra such a great band. I realise that now.