Two songs by the Finnish a cappella group Rajaton

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Karim 1 month ago.

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  • #16452

    Laura
    Participant

    The Finnish group Rajaton (Boundless) writes songs based on Finnish mythology and folk lore motifs. These two songs have been set to the lyrics of poems by the Finnish poet Eino Leino, who lived around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

    The first song is about being disillusioned by the material joys and ambitions of a life lived that are now gone. It encourages one to find strength in the yearning in one’s soul to transcend time, matter and death, and connect to one’s sacred star.

    The English translation of the lyrics is by Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, which I have changed a little.

    Yearn O Man

    Yearn, O man,
    long for your fondest hope and memory,
    For your childhood days,
    the times when you were lovingly cared for,
    For your father and mother,
    your brothers and sisters in far-off lands,
    For the maiden of your dreams,
    who disappeared like the twilight.

    Do you remember the time
    when your morning rose golden,
    The magic of your love,
    the joys that are now long gone,
    The walks picking berries,
    the splash of soft waters on the bay,
    And herding the cattle,
    listening to the summer night alone and with her?

    Do you ever long to be beyond time,
    beyond place and death?
    Sitting in the evening,
    feeling yourself slowly returning to soil,
    As everything beautiful disappears,
    your noble purpose
    slowly evaporates,
    however high you still do aspire?

    Do you weep then, O man,
    for the lost beauty of knowledge and feeling,
    The finest feelings of your heart,
    your greatest ambitions and strength?
    Can you hear the sands
    measuring your time running out?
    Can you see the hoary sword,
    poised to cut down the flower of your days?

    Yearn then, O man,
    beyond time, beyond place and even death!
    On this shore of sorrow see your sacred star
    beyond the night and matter!
    A golden string forever resounds in the yearning soul,
    and the searching lives,
    while those content with what they have
    from ashes to ashes go.

    The second song feels to me like it’s describing a spiritual experience in a higher dimension. The English translation is by me, though the language is very old so I did my best to understand its meaning.

    Star Garden

    I walk the strange path
    of a star garden,
    a hundred dreams and illusions
    have been put to death.

    Here thorns do not prick,
    thistle wounds do not burn,
    here one can only rise,
    and cannot fall into dirt.

    Here it is safe to walk,
    beyond hate,
    above night and frost,
    along the heavenly path.

    One’s head becomes dizzy
    looking at the worlds below,
    and the wonderment is twice that
    looking at others high up.

    It is the first time in my life
    that I live at heart’s peace,
    I live the great dream of harmony,
    the mind of gentle songs.

    #16691

    Jordan Resnick
    Keymaster

    Thanks for sharing these Laura, I thought they were really nice, particularly the first one – amazing! It’s got a pretty good message too.

    #16692

    Jenny Resnick
    Keymaster

    Wow, really beautiful songs, Laura. I especially like the first one — the singing, the melody, the fact it’s a cappella is really impressive, and overall the feeling of the song is very special.

    I especially like the line “A golden string forever resounds in the yearning soul” — it really is a beautiful illustration of how we are always connected to the divine and can find and hold on to that connection, even though when we don’t look for it that “string” can be very thin or nearly invisible…

    #16739

    Karim
    Participant

    I agree. Wonderful a cappella song that first one, so nicely done and pleasant to listen to.
    The meaning of the song and the lyrics themselves are actually really good!

    It seems to try to grasp or describe that which is undefinable and perhaps beyond description. That mysterious longing within wanting to reach ……. .

    The last paragraph especially is very powerful. Yet other lines alluding to a secret past we have are also beautiful. Thanks for sharing these Laura.

    #17630

    Anne Linn
    Participant

    The lyrics of these songs are beautiful, so full of longing and beauty. I also like listening to the first one especially. Kind of feels like sadness…but in a lovely way if that makes sense. A longing for things lost, and for something beyond time and this world.

    #17634

    Lucia
    Participant

    Really beautiful voices and how they make the impression of it being a complete band with musical instruments, especially the first song. I also like the lyrics as others pointed out, especially the last paragraph of the first one – very inspiring.
    Thanks for sharing Laura!

    #17637

    Ella
    Participant

    Wow. Amazing what can be done just with the human voice! I really like the wistful and mystical lyrics of the first one, combined with the bucolic imagery. It’s no surprise it was written by a poet!

    #17733

    Olga
    Participant

    Lovely songs Laura, the first one to me, feels in someway like I walked into a lullaby, as though I begin to be cradled into the caresses of the song, warmed by happy memories, only to then be spoken to more intently of the seriousness of life and our actions in it. I love these kind of ‘gentle’ introductions leading to more stern and thoughtful messages. Reminds me of the Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.

    The second song brings to mind what it would be like when the work, or even a portion of it, would be accomplished, and the darkness within vanquished. A peace that is almost unrelateable and strange to the rest of the world. The differentness of the song/melody seems to allude to that too.

    #17743

    Dara P
    Participant

    Laura these are lovely songs. Especially being a capella — I’ve always loved what can be accomplished using only the human voice and this group certainly doesn’t disappoint. The lyrics of the first one especially are inspiring.

    #17888

    Laura
    Participant

    Thank you for the wonderful comments everyone.

    This group seems to have a high standard and they are all very skillful and talented with using their voices and arranging/composing their pieces (though some are traditional melodies). They have so many wonderful songs I could listen to again and again, though most not really spiritual in the same way as these.

    I was struck by the first song as it was the first one I found from them, as being something special you don’t often find, in the atmosphere they create, and those powerful lyrics. I agree that using the human voice as an instrument like this can be really powerful, somehow maybe expressing deep inner things in a different way than real instruments can.

    I was particularly impressed that they have kept the original poem exactly the same as it was written, however they did leave out two stanzas (maybe it would have been too long otherwise). I’ve translated them and indicated where they are placed within the poem, having included the first two lines from the surrounding stanzas.

    Do you ever long to be beyond time,
    beyond place and death? …

    Do you ever laugh, then,
    the laughter of mocking sarcasm?
    Does it startle you, even though
    it is only the echo of your own voice resounding?
    Do you then bow your head,
    afraid, grey at the temples?
    Does your ice break
    for that dear memory, hope, long gone?

    Do you weep then, O man,
    for the lost beauty of knowledge and feeling, …

    The grace of tears
    is our most merciful gift from birth,
    the vigour of a great sorrow
    has been sown with a blessing on the path of hearts:
    suffering, you endure,
    where enjoying pleasures you would have fallen long ago,
    weeping, you save yourself
    from the power of the horrors of emptiness.

    Yearn then, O man,
    beyond time, beyond place and even death! …

    @olga, that is such a beautiful and poetic description of what they made you feel, and helped me see them from a different light. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    @Anne Linn, yes, I think it’s that sadness that comes from deep within where you realize you may have not been living your life in the best way, but that is empowering at the same time as it propels you to look for the connection to higher things, and a higher purpose, and helps to transcend the loss of those material joys.

    #17898

    Laura
    Participant

    There are actually two more songs from this group I want to share. I don’t want to create irrelevant content here though there’s really nothing obvious about them that connects to the religion of the sun… But in Finnish culture spiritual things are so subtle (where they are not non-existent) you would often think there is nothing left of a possible past connecting to the spirituality of the sun. I seem to find however that they may express their spirituality intuitively through connecting to nature and the seasons, and using symbolism and imagery from nature.

    Interestingly as well, it was mentioned here elsewhere about some scientist or linguists linking the Sumerian language to the Uralic language family, which would link it to Finnish as it is a Uralic language.


    (Lyrics here)

    It seems to me to express the beauty though brevity of human life, with a gentle sweetness and sadness. Also where it mentions the sun, it feels to me how the sun is so involved in our lives, even in a mundane way, for even those not aware of its spiritual aspect, in wakefulness and sleep (life and death). I also like the setting in nature and imagery on their video.


    (English lyrics here)

    This for me is saying how our divine being will not leave us (the sun is revealed from behind a cloud) even when we seem to be going through a difficult time or tests in life (when the earth is dead and cold). But how we need to get up and go meet the divine (at least) half way. How if you are afraid of them leaving you, that fear has separated you from them. Anyway, I think it’s a nice illustration of how they express spirituality through this natural imagery.

    #18162

    Karim
    Participant

    Ikavoi ihminen. Just repeating again how truly spot on those lyrics are. And the delivery by the group very powerful.

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