Archive for ‘Music’

May 17, 2013

Make me a day, make me whole

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This made my day. I found it on my desk when I came to work after taking a day off. A friend of mine had asked me for my work address for a “karma tryout,” leaving me puzzled. Good thing, I had mentioned to my boss that I might be expecting a delivery while I’m absent. And the next day… Ta-da! It made me think maybe more people than I thought are reading this blog. Turns out, he saw the other picture with all my Tori CDs on my Instagram. A geek who’s not hostile towards Instagram. A novelty for me. But a pleasant one at that. So once more, thank you so much tirtman for this amazing surprise!

May 5, 2013

An outpouring of Tori

I can’t remember how old I was when I discovered Tori Amos, but it must be around the time I was attending middle school. It feels as if my whole existence, everything I am today, was shaped during those three years. Anyway, I stumbled upon her Strange Little Girl music video on VH1 and I liked her instantly. I can see now why I liked her. The song was good, the song title appealed to me, it was a woman singing, she had an oddly pretty name and I had never heard of her.

So I looked her up on the internet and started buying her albums. I liked her music but unlike now, I didn’t fall in love with it at that time. I was (and am still not) never a fan of the piano. Strings > Piano. Always. Period. But something about her music, her fiery red hair, her not-so-pretty face, that ever-mocking expression on her face told me that I would like this woman. Very much.

But it was really hard for me to achieve that at that time. Me, a teenage girl from Turkey who spoke intermediate English, had very little in common with Tori. And I am a person who finds comfort in familiarity. She was singing from the bottom of her heart, I could feel that, but I understood nothing from her lyrics (I still don’t most of the time).

Around that time, I had tried to read Tori Amos: All These Years: The Authorized Biography by Kalen Rogers. I finally read it last year and realized why Tori had seemed so distant to me even when she was put into words by others. Here’s one example:

…Dr. Amos recalls, “the first time I told Tori the Christmas story, she asked me what would have happened if Joseph had emerged from the manger shouting ‘Wow! It’s a girl!'”

There is no way, I could have understood this reference at that time.

On top of all this, I was shocked when I found out that she was a rape survivor. Another huge gap. The idea made me very uncomfortable, scared and curious at the same time. I remember being kind of like a nun at that time. I had a very strict no-swearing policy. And I had resented a lot when I had heard her swear in some of her songs. For some some weird reason, I had thought that she should certainly not swear using sexual slurs because she had gone through something so horrible. Silly me…

But I think I must have liked her enough to go to her concert in Istanbul in 2005. It was just around the time The Beekeeper was released. My mom had accompanied me. She was no fan but neither were any of my friends and it was obvious that I wasn’t going alone. I remember being very excited because, for the first time in my life, I was going to a concert because I wanted to. I wasn’t accompanying anyone and it was my music that was going to be played.

So naturally, I cried when she appeared on stage. It was a rather short concert because towards the end, something happened to Tori and she rushed backstage. I think she got an electric shock from one of the devices there. She came back a few minutes later and played Silent All These Years as the final song. No encore. Later I queued behind the people trying to get backstage. I remember two girls holding her CDs and begging the bodyguards to let them in because they had come all the way from Greece. Of course they didn’t allow any of us backstage and I was too shy to try to sneak inside unnoticed. I know I could do it and my mom was urging me on from afar. After seeing at least three Turkish celebrities pass by me to the backstage, I started shouting “Tori! Tori! Tori!” and was astonished when the crowd of fans surrounding me joined in. But we could not go in.

After that I stopped listening to Tori. I’m not sure why. I guess I was embarrassed by the way I acted during the concert. I remember thinking to myself that I should have known my place and not tried to go backstage. I thought it was only right that a fan would want to see her idol and I was touched that all the other fans started started cheering along with me but I felt guilty over the whole thing. This incident is a perfect example of how awkward I was as during my teens. I was overflowing with feeling over the things I loved and, at the same time, constantly trying to contain myself. And when I couldn’t I felt ashamed. So I must have felt rejected by this whole experience and given that I could in no way relate to Tori let alone understand any of the things she was singing about, I gave up.

Wow… I think this is the first time I put these feelings into words. Weird how liberating a blog can be.

So yeah, Tori was a fascination, an enigma that everybody except me could understand. Yet no matter how unapproachable she seemed she was very… female. I think I sensed and was struck by the feminine in her at that time.

And today? I think it is safe to say that she is one of my favorite musicians. I still don’t understand her lyrics (I don’t even understand her interviews sometimes), we are still worlds apart but she’s somehow closer to me than she was before. Close enough that I can say that she is part of my world, she is one of the things that I would use to identify myself like The Rose of Versailles or the Harry Potter books. Having started listening to her again last year after such a long time, I also discovered how she has shaped my taste in music. For example, I like it when the music starts calmly and gradually builds up and climaxes as the whole orchestra starts playing. Sound familiar in let’s say Yes, Anastasia, Pretty Good Year and Precious Things?

So yes, I can say that I love everything about Tori. Needless to say, this blog is named after one of her songs. But okay, maybe I’m no fan of her earlier music videos that much, but I love her looks, her image, her dreamy and distant expression, what she represents, the way she gives lengthy explanations during her interviews with long pauses in-between, the way she rolls out the word “girl” and the way Code Red starts so dramatically after Programmable Soda.

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March 31, 2013

I’m alive, I’m alive

…In the distance hear the laughter of the last unicorn

“What the hell happened?” right? Well, this happened. I translated a book. No… Not a book. A historical romance novel! I know, I still can’t believe it! Or should I say, I can’t believe it’s finally OVER? This baby (cuz it’s kinda my baby now) sucked all the life I had in me. Kinda like Renesmee. I can’t believe I just made that reference. But unlike Renesmee, it put back 4kg instead. I can only fit in a handful of clothing I have and I’m enjoying my freedom too much to take up exercising. But although the taste of freedom is intoxicating, I don’t think I’ve ever known such a gratifying form of captivity. I was a willing captive, unlike Ellie. The long hours I spent translating consumed me, ensnared me, at times made me completely deranged. It was utter submission (yes, I’m reading Fifty Shades *dies*).

There are so many things I can say about the whole process of translating a romance novel that I really don’t have the patience to organize them into a neat post right now. I’m in the mood for writing about something lighter. Like my birthday!

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Although I neglected them a lot during these past four months, my wonderful friends threw me a party last weekend–two weeks after my actual birthday. Why so late? Because I wanted to submit my translation first, so that I could be totally at ease and in mood for celebration. But it didn’t turn out to be a wild party (which is all the better for me) and we ended up celebrating at a friend’s new apartment with cake and lots and lots of alcohol (But the yummy cake and pastries above are from the small gathering at my grandparents’ place). However, the biggest surprise of this year was from my boss.

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The Monday following my birthday, I found these flowers on my desk at work, together with a small, flat, gift-wrapped box which looked suspiciously like a CD. There was a card on top which wrote “Please help save the last unicorn.” Oh my god! He remembered that I wanted to order this months ago and acted before me.

The Last Unicorn is a surprisingly good long-feature animation from the 1980s, based on the fantasy novel of the same name by Peter S. Beagle. When I was a child I used to love its story, though not as much as I love it now. I recently watched the movie and found out that it had much more depth than I could grasp as a child. Now I’m looking forward to reading the book before I can write a full-fledged review. Though I have to find it first.

Oh, and the soundtrack is divine (minus the image songs perhaps). Here’s my favorite track:

So thanks boss! You’re the best!

The biggest surprise coming from my boss, the greatest gift came from my boyfriend.

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Yes, he made this himself, and yes, those are tiny Harry Potter books–all seven of them!

January 30, 2013

Eleanor Rigby

This is a playlist of four different versions of this baby. Probably my favorite Beatles song. There’s also that awesome piano solo of “In My Life” that somehow sounds Baroque-ish and reminds me of an indie pop song. Though if you check my last.fm profile, it seems that I can’t get enough of “Come Together”.

I’m yet to see the grave of Eleanor Rigby when I go to Britain. Among other things. One day. Perhaps.

January 2, 2013

Emmas I like…

  • Emma Woodhouse
  • Emma Thompson
  • Monica’s daughter Emma from “Friends”
  • Emma Watson
  • Emma Bunton

and counting…

December 22, 2012

Oyneng Yar, Oyneng Yar

Here’s my attempt at translating Oyneng Yar by the amazing German medieval/pagan folk band, Faun. The original lyrics are in Kazakh (or Uyghur, I’m not sure) and have been translated into Turkish via English. I know… A word of thanks goes to here and here.

Bu bahçede kimler var?
Oyna yâr, oyna

Oğlanlarla kızlar var
Oyna yâr, oyna

Haydi çık oyna güzel kız
Oyna yâr, oyna

Sen bana pek güzelsin
Oyna yâr, oyna

Bırak eteğin göklere çıksın
Oyna yâr, oyna

Gonca güller açılsın
Oyna yâr, oyna

Oy oy, kız yârimsin
Oyna yâr, oyna

Benim sevgili yârimsin
Oyna yâr, oyna

November 12, 2012

Pâle Septembre

Pâle septembre,
comme il est loin,
le temps du ciel sans cendres
il serait temps de s’entendre
sur le nombre de jours qui
jonchent le sol
d’octobre

Mâle si tendre
au début de novembre
devint sourd aux avances de l’amour
mais quel mal me prit
de m’éprendre de lui?

Sale décembre
comme il est lourd le ciel
sais-tu que les statues de sel
ont cessé de t’attendre?

Pâle septembre
Entends-tu le glas que je sonne?

Je t’aime toujours
Je t’aime toujours d’amour
je sème l’amour

Les saisons passent mais de grâce
faisons semblant qu’elles se ressemblent
qu’elles se nous ressemblent

Mais qui est cet homme qui tombe de la tour?
Mais qui est cet homme qui tombe des cieux?
Mais qui est cet homme qui tombe amoureux?

I’ll never go to the sun
I’ll never ever know if he’s still alive
I’ll never reach the sun

Pâle septembre,
comme il est loin,
le temps du ciel sans cendres
il serait temps de s’entendre

Click here for English translation of the lyrics. I tried my hand at translating them into Turkish and here’s what I came up with…

Solgun Eylül,
külsüz bir gökyüzü
hala uzakta ki,
daha kaç gün
Ekim’in toprağını örtecek
diye anlaşmanın
vakti gelmiş

Erkek öylesine ince davranırken,
Kasım başında
aşkın hamlelerine kulak asmaz oldu
Bana ne haller oldu da
kendimi ona kaptırıverdim?

Pis Aralık
Gökyüzü öylesine ağır
Haberin var mı?
Tuzdan heykeller dönüşünü beklemeyi bıraktı

Solgun Eylül
Duyuyor musun çaldığım yas çanlarını?

Seni hala seviyorum
Seni hala aşkla seviyorum
Aşk tohumlarını ekiyorum

Mevsim değişiyor ama yalvarırım
birbirlerine benziyorlarmış gibi yapalım
Bize benziyorlarmış gibi yapalım

Öyleyse kim bu kuleden düşen adam?
Öyleyse kim bu gökten inen adam?
Öyleyse kim bu aşka düşen adam?

Güneşe asla varmayacağım
Asla o yaşıyor mu bilemeyeceğim
Asla güneşe dokunamayacağım

Solgun Eylül,
külsüz bir gökyüzü
hala uzakta ki,
artık anlaşmanın
vakti gelmiş

October 31, 2012

Daughter’s Lament

Come in, come in my father dear,
And spend this hour with me.
For I have a meal and a very fine meal.
I fixed it up for thee, thee.
I fixed it up for thee.

No I ain’t coming in,
No I ain’t coming in.
To spend this hour with thee.
For I have to go down in the mines.
I’ll return this night to thee, thee.
I’ll return this night to thee.

Then she got her arrow and her bow,
Her arrow and her strings.
And she went down to the forest deep,
And sweetly she did sing, sing.
And sweetly she did sing.

Up spoke, up spoke, a mockingjay
Up from a willow tree
Saying you have a father in the mines
Who’s gone this day from thee, thee.
Who’s gone this day from thee

Woe be, woe be, mockingjay
Woe be, woe be, to thee
I’ll send an arrow through your heart
For to bring such news to me, me.
For to bring such news to me.

Up spoke, up spoke, that mockingjay
Don’t waste your time with me.
Go home and mind that pretty little girl
Her father no more to see, see.
Her father no more to see.

Then she went home to her house that night,
That house so cold and mean.
And she held her sister close to her side,
And never more did sing, sing.
And never more did sing.

October 12, 2012

She walks in beauty…

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

This is the song that plays at the beginning of the movie Vanity Fair, starring Reese Witherspoon. It features the first verse of Lord Byron’s famous poem She walks in beauty.

I’m not at all big on poetry but this… is simply beautiful. Although this is a well-known poem, it’s new to me since I’m no scholar on literature. But it just is too beautiful for me to ignore together with the haunting melody and the soft voice of Sissel. It fits perfectly to my current mood which is a state of constant daze influenced by the historical romance novels I’m reading. It sets off my imagination. I try to create a scene in my mind. What sort of sight or fantasy would inspire such fascination? Would mesmerize what sort of man to reflect that emotion so beautifully? Could its beauty be truly equal to the verse’s? It’s so inspiring that one can write an entire story out of this mere verse. Oh, no! Don’t look at me :D So far I only came up with a simple music video.