Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jeanne & maudit Modi

photo: lettertu.it

Isn't she beautiful?
Fate led her into Modigliani's arms and what a story began.
She became his muse, his lover, his soul mate...
He became her life, the air she breathed, her obsession...
But theirs was not a fairy-tale's "The End". They did not live happily ever after.
His death was such a heavy blow that she jumped out of a window being 8-month pregnant with their second child.
Unimaginable pain..How much do you have to love someone to decide to kill yourself and your unborn baby..abandon your little daughter..stand up for the Jewish love of your life against Catholic parents and end it so abruptly, yet courageously.

Their relationship inspired many.

Here's a little bit of Mick Davis' version + a unique and distinct "Ave Maria" by Guy Farley:

"I'm afraid to speak or move for fear that all this wonderful beauty will just vanish... like a broken silence." - L.M. Montgomery

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hella Haasse - forever a stranger

photo: 2.bp.blogspot.com and foliaweb.nl

Helene Serafia Haasse - a popular Dutch author is perhaps not very well known in other countries.
I learnt about her books thanks to my Dutch teacher who was never tired of listening to our mostly incomprehensible phrases and encouraged us not only to speak (or rather keep on trying to speak) Dutch as often as possible but also introduced us to Dutch culture through music, films, books and theatre.

Hella was born in the Dutch East Indies in 1918. What wonderful childhood it must have been, what fond memories since they inspired her to write most of her books.

Twenty years later she went to the Netherlands to study Scandinavian languages and litterature at the University of Amsterdam. However after a year, in 1939, she quit having realised that the Nazis' philosophy was based on Norwegian sagas she so much loved.
In 1940 she passed the entrance exam to the Theatre School in Amsterdam. She graduated 3 years later.

photo: wuz.it and 1.bp.blogspot.com

The pen was calling her though. She started writing texts for cabaret. 
Her proper debut was a collection of poems - "Stroomversnelling" but three years later she turned to writing novels (and collecting awards;)). 

Forever a stranger was she in Batavia being a child of foreigners  but once in the Netherlands she probably had to come to terms with the realisation that it would never be her home either as she grew up elsewhere.

Her story reminds me of a passage from Sarah Turnbull's "Almost French":
"The old Greek on Samos island had warned me. "It's a bitter-sweet thing, knowing two cultures", he'd said. "It's a curse to love two countries". Well, I certainly don't think of living abroad as a curse - I don't think the Greek believed it either. He was just dramatising his dilemma, the feeling of being torn between two places. And this is something I now understand. For an expatriate, the whole matter of "home" is an emotional conundrum riddled with ambiguities and caprice. Paris is my actual home: it's where I live. It can pull at heartstrings with a mere walk down our market street in the morning. But Australia is the home of homesickness and my history - a powerful whirlpool of family and friends, memories and daily trivia that I used to take for granted but now seem somehow remarkable.
Although I understand the French better now, the reality is in France I'm still an outsider." 

Hella was a Dutch Karen Blixen;) She left a country which stole her heart but was never too far away from it.

photo: fantascienza.com

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours” 
Alan Bennett "The History Boys: The Film"

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bazyli Albiczuk - a renaissance man

My latest discovery and I have to share it!

Bazyli Albiczuk was a Polish artist who died in 1995.
His formal education finished after only 4 grades of grammar school (sic!). No art classes, no master, would you believe?

He taught himself how to play violin at the age of 15 and he would take the instrument whenever the mood took him. He would stop working or talking to someone and he would play.
To everybody's suprise, he also wrote poems in Ukrainian which were found when he died.

His paintings represent mostly his garden which he created himself and cherished until the end. He was even called "a painter of gardens".
Needless to say, his last wish was: "Please, save my garden".
However soon after his death, his house was sold, the garden ran wild but the paintings remained..

photo: in-spe.art.pl

photo: stare.verte.art.pl

photo: zgstl.kei.pl

photo: samiosobie.info

photo: polskaniezwykla.pl

photo: muzeumbiala.pl

photo: kkn.pl

photo: interwizja.edu.pl

photo: ethnomuseum.website.pl

photo: samiosobie.info

Art was his life. He decided not to have family, so that he could concentrate on painting.
Despite lack of formal education, his works were acquired by galleries and museums.

There is a little bit of Rousseau and Chagall in his works...

photo: 1artclub.com

photo: engbelarustourism.by

Hopefully Albiczuk will also be recognized internationally one day.

"I love to smell flowers in the dark," she said. "You get hold of their soul then."
L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams

Mariza - la classe, quoi! :)


Every time I listen to Mariza, I wonder if she is a human being...
Her voice and her interpretations are out of this world.
She is a real mix. Her father is Portuguese but her mother's African heritage must have inspired young Mariza to look for sounds and ideas beyond Cabo da Roca. 
And the influence is significant. On the one hand, her fado is classicly correct (Amalia Rodrigues-like), on the other nobody sings it the way she does.
What's more Mariza chooses well instrumentalists who only add more perfection.  

Fado is sad by default:) but here is a bit more cheerful piece. It is a tribute to Mariza's African grandmother. This clip is part of Carlos Saura's "Fados" - a film which is a must for all fado lovers!

"Como posso dizer que o amor é cego se te amei por um olhar."
How can I say that love is blind since I fell in love with you when I saw you.

Monday, July 23, 2012

"De-Lovely" - an affair to remember.Cole Porter and Linda Thomas.

People argue whether this relationship was a happy one.
Linda&Cole - perhaps theirs was a near to perfection relationship, not all the couples are lucky to have...
I'm talking about the movie here, the movie showing a beautiful and happy duo.
Whether there was sex or not is beside the point. They were good friends, they supported each other sharing joys and sorrows. Equal financial status eliminated any potential quarrels and enabled a life of socialites.

And that's how it started (Well, did you evah?):

and then the story continued...do you love me, as I love you, are you my life to be, my dream com true (In the Still of the Night)
Believe it or not (well, actually it's proved in the bonus), the old man in this scene IS Kevin Kline.

Two of many stars in the movie and their fantastic performances of Porter's classics:

Sheryl Crow - Begin the Beguine

and Robbie Williams on set - De-Lovely

Ashley Judd and Kevin Kline are amazing. One of many reasons to watch De-Lovely!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Irish music scene: Claire Sproule

image: akazoo.com

Claire is a very talented young lady from County Donegal in Ireland.
The songs on her first album were written when she was a teenager!
She sings about all the important issues at that stage of life. Having said that, I think she can enchant youngsters and those more mature listeners alike. 
Her debut impressed many. 
And no wonder, what else would you expect if someone's starts at 14 being influenced by Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits and Elvis Costello?
Anyway, enough talking, Claire is about music, so the stage is hers now:

"You have lit a flame in my heart..."

To see and listen to Claire sing "Flame" click here

Hopefully, her second album will soon be followed by another collection of feel-goodism. Claire is a natural remedy for a bad day, bad mood or le blues saisonnier:)

“You may tire of reality but you never tire of dreams.” ― L.M. Montgomery, The Road to Yesterday

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Future heroes

Photo credits: google.com unless otherwise listed.
I often ask myself whether people who achieved so much had had any idea of what they were going to bring about. How consciously did they choose their lives and careers? Was it fate?
The ladies below had to overcome many obstacles. Yet they lived with the consequences of having said "yes":)
Did they hesitate? Did they pause or simply pursued their dreams without dragging their feet?
A few of many "special ladies" who walked the earth (or rather flew over Mother Earth most of the time...):

                                                                    Anita "Neta" Snook
                                                                                                    Amelia Earhart

                                                                           Ruth Rowland Nichols

                                                                             Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” – Unknown

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why settle for Just a piece of sky?

A very important song to me.
Sung by grande Barbra Streisand in "Yentl" - a beautiful movie about a very brave girl who dared follow her dreams.
I love playing it again every now and then.
Were the Bergmans looking at my life while writing the lyrics?!

[...] It all began the day I found That from my window
I could only see A piece of sky. [...]
[...] Though it's safer to stay on the ground,
Sometimes where danger lies
There the sweetest of pleasures are found.
No matter where I go-
There'll be mem'ries that tug at my sleeve [...]
[...] Each mile I travel only means The more I have to go.
What's wrong with wanting more? If you can fly - then soar!
With all there is - why settle for Just a piece of sky?

Thank you, Barbra! Thank you, Michel Legrand! Thank you, Alan and Marylin Bergman!
To see Barbra's performance of "Papa, can you hear me?" in "Yentl", go 


Monday, July 16, 2012

Hello, salut, oi, ola/ hola, hoi..

..a warm welcome to everyone!

Life is wonderful but it also brings challenges and disappointments...
Whatever brought you here, I hope you will find some useful information, ideas, fun or comfort.

Enjoy and do share your thoughts!