The Moiroi, The Norns; Macbeth’s three witches – hags; especially a trio of hags, are a recurring theme in European folklore.
To that pantheon we can add Baba Yaga, She lives in the dark of the forest and has many strange affectations; one of which is her dwelling – a flying hut that stands or turns on chicken legs; perhaps even a single chicken leg. I’m not sure how she gets in and out. A ladder I suppose.
Regardless; for such a fearsome legend a mighty tribute is required – luckily Mussorgsky is here to provide us with one!
There are some good listening notes for Pictures at an Exhibition (the suite from which the Hut is taken) on the BBC Radio 3 website and of course we can’t mention Mussorgsky without having a quick listen to Night on a Bare Mountain. The man certainly had a good grip on drama…
Emily Barker is an Australian singer-songwriter; The Red Clay Halo are a multi-instrumental trio. Together they are Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo, and their song Nostalgia, from the album “Despite The Snow” featured as the title track to the UK version of Wallander.
Wallander has a very distinctive ringtone – generally heard just before he is informed of yet another murder – which I managed to track down a link to in this Pistonheads post.
“Silbo Gomero (Spanish: silbo gomero[ˈsilβo ɣoˈmeɾo], ‘Gomeran whistle’), also known as el silbo (‘the whistle’), is a whistled register of Spanish used by inhabitants of La Gomera in the Canary Islands to communicate across the deep ravines and narrow valleys (gullies) that radiate through the island. It enables messages to be exchanged over a distance of up to 5 kilometres”
Wonderful that a whistling language exists; doubly wonderful that somebody wrote a song about it. Especially for those of us who remember the Clangers.
Joseph Canteloube was a composer who also collected traditional French folk songs. His most famous collection being “Chants d’Auvergne” (Songs of the Auvergne) of which Baïlèro is one. It is sung in the Auvergnat dialect of the Occitan language; a language still spoken today in the south of France and some parts of Northern Spain.
It is something of a paean to a shepherd; separated – perhaps from his lover – by a stretch of river.
Shepherd, the meadows are in bloom.
You should graze your flock on this side,
Sing baïlèro lèrô
The lyric baïlèro lèrô is apparently untranslatable – we’re all the better for that, I think.
Nella Vecchia Fattoria is an Italian rendition of “Old McDonald had a farm”.
A creation of “Quartetto Cetra” – famous light entertainers of Italy – their version has some qualities which recommend it above any English version I have heard. Mainly, there is a superior effort in terms of production and arrangement. A very pleasing staccato effect is employed during the animal noises which gives the song a quite modern feel.
Before disqualifying my VERY serious advocacy; please do go give it a listen, I am sure you will agree.
Now, since this song has become an Italian nursery rhyme; it is a little hard to find an exact match for the lyrics. But i’ve already done the work for you in finding them and you can enjoy, with the exception of the spoken words at the end: “Ma che stiamo diventando tutti matti?” (but are we all going mad here?)
The song is also performed in the film “Maracatumba… ma non è una rumba”.
Quartetto Cetra are also performers of “Crapa Pelada”; a song – with lyrics in both Milanese and Italian – employed to good effect during an episode of Breaking Bad.