Wednesday, 15 July 2015


Hammarby Sound at 3.45 am

I am again in Stockholm since two weeks back and am enjoying the "white nights" of Sweden's Summer. Temperatures are agreeably temperate, I am glad to say, hovering around 20° (Celsius) in daytime and cooling off nicely during the night.

My apartment lies smack on a seafaring road, which provides me with never ending panoramas for putting on this blog. But it has its disadvantages, especially if Summer nights become hotter and more inviting. If that happens, the normally restrained Swede turns into boisterous "Southener". Juvenile frolicking crowds tend to congregate on the quay just below my balcony, feasting, drinking and singing way into early morning. But not this week at least; serene calm is reigning, at least after midnight.

Sleep does not come easily, even so. Today, I woke up already around 3.45, by seagulls eagerly screeching to rouse the resting old-timer. But I was glad to get up, looking at the forerunner of a raising sun on the Eastern horizon.

The warm pastel colors of the sky suddenly made me think of an old song, "Le temps des cerises". This may be a surprising association, but I was not thinking about cherries, with their intensely red color, but rather about the color "cerise", much like the color of the low horizon in the picture, even if more rich and saturated.

From the color "cerise" there is but a small step (in thinking terms) to take to the above mentioned famous song. When I looked it up on Youtube, I found a Greek singer who gave an intriguing interpretation of it. Her name is "Nana Mouskouri" and she somehow found the right tone between romanticism and revolutionary verve that characterizes the text of this genuinely French chanson.

Now, the Greek, more so than present day French, still seem to linger in a dreamworld, a mix between romantic delusion about past grandeur and anarchistic longing for changing the world, rather than themselves. So what better song to sing for a Greek than this:

Mais il est bien court le temps des cerises
Où l'on s'en va deux cueillir en rêvant
Des pendants d'oreille...
Cerises d'amour aux robes vermeilles
Tombant sous la feuille en gouttes de sang ...
Mais il est bien court le temps des cerises
Pendants de corail qu'on cueille en rêvant!


Nobuko Fujimoto said...

Dear Emil,
Again a very nice picture from your kitchen window that I enjoyed very much. Time goes fast since you went back home again. I miss you here already. The new tenant moved in last week, a nice quiet couple!
Take care,

Anonymous said...

dear Emil- what a timely set of thoughts you released
from your balcony. Nana was always one of my very favorite singers, such a pure voice and beautiful presentation That particular song reminds me of the final number at the Lithuanian Song Festival I just attended in Chicago on July 5. It was by the adored Vytautas Kernagis -"Musu Dienos Kaip Svente" - our days are like a feast day, (short) like the blooming of cherries, so let us live life , as those days will not return. You can hear it on Youtube, if interested. Nana has more romance, but Kernagis reminds us that we should enjoy life while
we can. Thanks for the memories. Danute/Berkeley

Günter Raad said...

Dear Emil,

I admire you. Really, getting up at half past three in the morning night and making so lovely pictures. I couldn't .-)). Unfortunately for some strange reasons there is a dispute pending with the German GEMA fees agency so your link did not work here in DE. But I found it with many other interpreters of this famous french song of Clement such as the one with Moukouri and Aznavour : très bonne interprétation de ce duo vedettes, à garder dans nos coeurs...and Yves Montand who is less romantic and a bit more on the side of the revolutionary interpretation as "anthem" of the 1871 commune in Paris . I hope that we will not hear it in Greek streets with this 'up-rise' understanding, but as a love poem that is was when it was written on Clement's way to Brussels (!) in 1866. And I continue now to enjoy my marvellous big-red cherries imported from ... Greece!
thanks a lot and take care, Günter