Thursday, September 15, 2011

A musical lunch break: 'I’ve kept a rein on my life, travelling among yellow trees in driving rain'

Maybe this site has been getting a bit snarky lately. It's been easy to be this way, what with the political climate both here and in Europe, dire economic news, etc. etc.

But here is something that, while maybe not cheerful is, in my mind, utterly, utterly beautiful.

Below is the promotional video by ECM for the new 2-CD release by Charles Lloyd featuring his incredible quartet with the great Greek singer and political activist (and former member of the Greek Parliament) Maria Farantouri. The new CD is Athens Concert, more information about the song and the CD after the video:

Amazingly, the most beautiful part of this song is after the fade out as Charles Lloyd continues to solo. As for the song, Κράτησα τη ζωή μου, it was written by Mikis Theodorakis with lyrics from a poem, Epiphany, by Giorgos Seferis. The lyrics used for the song are taken from the beginning of the second stanza:

Κράτησα τη ζωή μου
ταξιδεύοντας ανάμεσα σε κίτρινα δέντρα,
κάτω απ'το πλάγιασμα της βροχής
σε σιωπηλές πλαγιές φορτωμένες
με τα φύλλα της οξιάς
καμιά φωτιά
στην κορυφή τους βραδιάζει.

The flowering sea and the mountains in the moon’s waning
the great stone close to the Barbary figs and the asphodels
the jar that refused to go dry at the end of day
and the closed bed by the cypress trees and your hair
golden; the stars of the Swan and that other star, Aldebaran.

I’ve kept a rein on my life, kept a rein on my life, travelling
among yellow trees in driving rain
on silent slopes loaded with beech leaves,
no fire on their peaks; it’s getting dark...
The translation is by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard and was reproduced from the Poetry Foundation website where you can find the complete poem.

Also seen in this video is Charles Lloyd crazily talented quartet made up of Jason Moran, piano, Reuben Rogers, bass, and Eric Harland on drums. The concert took place at the open air Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens in June of last year. The CD is available on ECM Records. Let's hope a DVD release follows.

If this got your appetite up for more, there is another, longer, YouTube video that goes into the background of the concert and CD after the jump.