Loituma Things of Beauty

Things of Beauty

Notes on the Songs
Lyrics in Finnish and English

English translations by Susan Sinisalo

1. Eriskummainen kantele / My kantele

The text is from the Kanteletar (1840), a collection of folk poetry made by Elias Lönnrot, compiler of the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala.
Ne varsin valehtelevat,
tuiki tyhjeä panevat,
jotka soittoa sanovat,
arvoavat kanteletta
Väinämöisen veistämäksi,
Jumalan kuvoamaksi,
hauin suuren hartioista,
veen koiran koukkuluista.
Soitto on suruista tehty,
murehista muovaeltu:
koppa päivistä kovista,
emäpuu ikipoloista,
kielet kiusoista kerätty,
naulat muista vastuksista.
Sentä ei soita kanteleeni,
ei iloitse ensinkänä,
soitto ei soita suosioksi,
laske ei laatuista iloa,
kun on huolista kuvattu,
murehista muovaeltu.
Truly they lie, they
talk utter nonsense
who say that music*
reckon that the kantele
was carved by Väinämöinen*
fashioned by a god
out of a great pike's shoulders
from a water dog's hooked bones:
no, music was made from grief
moulded from sorrow--
its belly out of hard days
its soundboard from endless woes
its strings gathered from torments
and its pegs from other ills.
So my kantele will not
play, will not rejoice at all
music will not play to please
give off the right sort of joy
for it was fashioned from cares
moulded from sorrow.
2. Kultaansa ikävöivä / There is my lover
The poetry in both the Kanteletar and the Kalevala is in the archaic folk style. The text of this piece is, however, from the preface to the Kanteletar, which includes some later songs.
Tuoll' on mun kultani, ain' yhä tuolla,
kuninkahan kultaisen kartanon puolla.
Voi minun lintuni, voi minun kultani,
kun et tule jo!
 
On siellä tyttöjä, on komioita,
kultani silmät ei katsele noita.
Voi minun kultani.
 
Kukat ovat kaunihit, kaunis kevätaamu,
kauniimmat kultani silmät ja haamu.
Voi minun kultani.
 
Linnut ne laulavat sorialla suulla,
soriampi kultani ääni on kuulla.
Voi minun kultani.
 
Hunaja ja mesileipä makialle maistaa,
kultani suu sekä huulet on toista.
Voi minun kultani.
 
Voi, koska näen minä senki ilopäivän:
kultani sivullani kulkevan ja käyvän!
Voi minun kultani.
 
Syys tulee etehen ja kesäpäivä rientää,
vaan minun kultani ei tule sentään.
Voi minun kultani.
 
Tule, tule, kultani, tule kotipuoleen,
taikka jo menehynki ikävään ja huoleen.
Voi minun kultani.
There is my lover, lingering
long at the golden court of the king.
Ah my lovebird, ah my darling:
now you do not come!
 
There are girls there whose looks entrance
but my love's eyes don't spare them a glance.
Ah my lovebird, ah my darling:
now you do not come!
 
Fair flowers, the summer morning is fair
but fairer my love's eyes, his air.
Ah my lovebird, ah my darling:
now you do not come!
 
The birds they sing from a lovely throat
but lovelier is my darling's note.
Ah my lovebird, ah my darling:
now you do not come!
 
Honey and cake are sweet on the platter
but my love's lips are a different matter.
Ah my lovebird, ah my darling:
now you do not come!
 
When shall I see that day of joy--
walking and talking beside my boy!
Ah my lovebird, ah my darling:
now you do not come!
 
Autumn is fast of the heels of summer
and yet my darling is a slow comer.
Ah my lovebird, ah my darling:
now you do not come!
 
Come, come, my darling, homeward, and hurry
or I shall die of longing and worry.
Ah my lovebird, ah my darling:
now you do not come!
3. Viimesen Kerran / The very last time
This rekilaulu or roundelay is in the later style.
Viimesen kerran kun kotuani lährin
pappa se poloki jalakaa.
Mamma se itki ja ikkunasta sano, että
nyt se sun surusi alakaa.
 
Viimesen kerran kun kotuani lährin niin
hilijoolleni minä itkin,
ku mun on luotu kulukemahan näitä
maailman rantoja pitkin.
 
Viimesen kerran kun kotuani lährin
kantaen renttujani
kaikki ne poijat jokka vastahani tuli oli
vanhoja henttujani.
 
Ja mitä sinä tulit narraamhan
kun olin vielä lapsi,
mikset sä antanu vanheta ja
tulla taitavaksi.
 
Ja mitä sinä tulit narraamhan ja
surua mulle tuomhan,
mikset sinä pysyny kotona sen
hyvän äitees luona.
 
Ja mitä sinä tulit narraamhan mun
syräntäni nuorta,
kun saatit mun surua kantamhan
kun raskasta santavuorta.
 
Kun minä olsin piennä kuollu
kummini kapalolle,
niin en olsi joutunu sinne
maailman hartijoolle.
When I left home for the very last time
my father ranted and stamped his feet.
Mother she wept and cried from the window
just wait and see, soon sorrow you'll meet.
 
When I left home for the very last time
I found myself silently weeping,
Because I was born to roam the world,
to the roads and byways keeping.
 
When I left home for the very last time,
carrying my few possessions,
all the boys I met on the way
were ones who'd declared their intentions.
 
Why did you have to pull my leg
when I was still but a youngster?
Why could you simply not let me grow up
and become a little wiser?
 
Why did you have to trick me,
and bring me nothing but heartache?
Why could you not stay at home
and a life with your good mother make?
 
Why did you have to fool me,
filling my heart with sorrow?
Why did you let me drag my grief
like a mound of sand in a barrow?
 
If only I had died as a babe,
safe in my godmother's embrace,
I wouldn't have had to wander abroad
and the cruel, wicked world ever face.
4. Minuet and polska
Two dances mainly known in Western Finland influenced by the pelimanni or more recent style of Finnish folk music.
5. Kun mun kultani tulisi / Missing him
A love song from the Kanteletar published in 1802 already in French, English, German and Dutch. Goethe later made it famous under the name of "Finnisches Lied". In the middle of the 19th century a Swede by the name of C.G. Zetterqvist collected 467 translations of the poem in different languages, but they were never published.
Kun mun kultani tulisi,
armahani asteleisi,
tuntisin ma tuon tulosta,
arvoaisin astunnasta,
jos ois vielä virstan päässä
tahikka kahen takana.
Utuna ulos menisin,
savuna pihalle saisin,
kipunoina kiiättäisin,
liekkinä lehauttaisin;
vierren vierehen menisin,
supostellen suun etehen.
Tok' mie kättä käppäjäisin,
vaikk' ois käärme kämmenellä;
tok' mie suuta suikkajaisin,
vaikk' ois surma suun edessä;
tok' mie kaulahln kapuisin,
vaikk' ois kalma kaulaluilla;
tok' mie vierehen viruisin,
vaikk' ois vierus verta täynnä.
Vaanp' ei ole kullallani,
ei ole suu suen veressä,
käet käärmehen talissa,
kaula kalman tarttumissa;
suu on rasvasta sulasta,
huulet kuin hunajameestä,
käet kultaiset, koriat,
kaula kuin kanervan varsi.
Should my treasure come
my darling step by
I'd know him by his coming
recognize him by his step
though he were still a mile off
or two miles away.
As mist I'd go out
as smoke I would reach the yard
as sparks I would speed
as flame I would fly;
I'd bowl along beside him
pout before his face.
I would touch his hand
though a snake were in his palm
I would kiss his mouth
though doom stared him in the face
I'd climb on his neck
though death were on his neck bones
I'd stretch beside him
though his side were all bloody.
And yet my treasure has not
his mouth bloody from a wolf
his hands greasy from a snake
nor his neck in death's clutches:
his mouth is of melted fat
his lips are as of honey
his hands golden, fair
his neck like a heather stalk.
6. Valamon Kirkonkellot / Valamo cloister bells
The theme of this piece imitating Karelian church bells was recorded for Teppana Jänis, a Karelian folk musician. The kantele music in the old style was often based on improvisation; the player could improvise his own variations for hours and would sometimes fall into a trance. In this arrangement Sari and Timo improvise on the theme, with the addition of a Sami drum.
7. Ai, Ai Taas Sattuu / Oh, oh it hurts again
The Ostrobothnian kantele player Toivo Alaspää learned to play at home by listening to others. This piece was, however, played to him on an accordion while he was in hospital.
Ai-ai-ai, taas sattuu, aa-aa-aa
ehkä siihenkin tottuu, uu-uu-uu.
Kohtalon piston sieluuni sain,
en siitä koskaan toipune kai.
 
Herätessäin ol' aamun koi.
Huomasin sunnuntaikellot jo soi.
 
Ai-ai-ai, taas sattuu
ehkä siihenkin tottuu.
Oh, oh, it hurts again,
Maybe I'll get used to it.
Fate pierced my soul,
Will I ever recover?
I woke up, it was dawn,
And the church bells were ringing.
8. Suo / Marshland
Martti Pokela is a well-known kantele player in Finland and has recently been concentrating on composing new music for his instrument. The pieces are composed with the help of younger musicians, partly by improvisation, and there is no written version.
9. Kolme kaunista / Three Things of Beauty
This text is again from the Kanteletar and is an example of the older Kalevalaic poetry.
Kaks' on kaunista kesällä:
lehti puussa, ruoho maassa,
minä kohta kolmantena,
minä lehti liehumassa,
minä kukka kuulumassa,
minä heinä heilumassa.
Vaan en huoli huolikana,
hyvä heinä, heilumahan,
hyvä kukka, kuulumahan,
lemmenlehti, liehumahan;
ei pahat hyvästä tieä,
ei katalat kaunihista,
rupalötöt ruskiasta,
pullosuut punaverestä.
Summer is twice beautiful--
leaf on tree and grass on ground;
but I shall soon be a third--
I a leaf waving
I a flower heard of
I a stalk swinging.
And yet I couldn't care less
a good stalk, about swinging
a good flower, about my fame
a sweet leaf, about waving:
the bad don't know of what's good
the mean of what's beautiful
clodhoppers of one ruddy
bumpkins of one red-blooded.
10. Ievan Polkaa / Ieva's polka
On its release in Finland, this song entered the radio charts - a rare occurrence for traditional music. The humorous story is told in the Savo dialect of Eastern Finland.
Nuapurista kuulu se polokan tahti
jalakani pohjii kutkutti.
Ievan äiti se tyttöösä vahti
vaan kyllähän Ieva sen jutkutti,
sillä ei meitä silloin kiellot haittaa
kun myö tanssimme laiasta laitaan.
Salivili hipput tupput täppyt
äppyt tipput hilijalleen.
 
Ievan suu oli vehnäsellä
ko immeiset onnee toevotti.
Peä oli märkänä jokaisella
ja viulu se vinku ja voevotti.
Ei tätä poikoo märkyys haittaa
sillon ko laskoo laiasta laitaan.
Salivili hipput.
 
Ievan äiti se kammarissa
virsiä veisata huijjuutti,
kun tämä poika naapurissa
ämmän tyttöä nuijjuutti.
Eikä tätä poikoo ämmät haittaa
sillon ko laskoo laiasta laitaan.
Salivili.
 
Siellä oli lystiä soiton jäläkeen
sain minä kerran sytkyyttee.
Kottiin ko mäntii ni ämmä se riitelj
ja Ieva jo alako nyyhkyytteek.
Minä sanon Ievalle mitäpä se haittaa
laskemma vielähi laiasta laitaa.
Salivili.
 
Muorille sanon jotta tukkee suusi
en ruppee sun terveyttäs takkoomaa.
Terveenä peäset ku korjoot luusi
ja määt siitä murjuus makkoomaa.
Ei tätä poikoo hellyys haittaa
ko akkoja huhkii laiasta laitaan.
Salivili.

Sen minä sanon jotta purra pittää
ei mua niin voan nielasta.
Suat männä ite vaikka lännestä ittään
vaan minä en luovu Ievasta,
sillä ei tätä poikoo kainous haittaa
sillon ko tanssii laiasta laitaan.
Salivili.
The sound of a polka drifted from my neighbor's
and set my feet a-tapping oh!
Ieva's mother had her eye on her daughter but
Ieva she managed to fool her, you know.
'Cause who's going to listen to mother saying no
when we're all busy dancing to and fro!
 
Ieva was smiling, the fiddle it was wailing
as people crowded round to wish her luck.
Everyone was hot but it didn't seem to bother
the handsome young man, the dashing buck.
'Cause who's going to mind a drop of sweat
when he's all busy dancing to and fro!
 
Ieva's mother she shut herself away
in her own quiet room to hum a hymn.
Leaving our hero to have a spot of fun
in a neighbor's house when the lights are dim.
'Cause what does it matter what the old folks say
when you're all busy dancing to and fro!
 
When the music stopped then the real fun began
and that's when the laddie fooled around.
When he took her home, when the dancing was over
her mother angrily waiting they found.
But I said to her, Ieva, now don't you weep
and we'll soon be dancing to and fro!
 
I said to her mother now stop that noise
or I won't be responsible for what I do.
If you go quietly and stay in your room
you won't get hurt while your daughter I woo.
'Cause this fine laddie is a wild sort of guy
when he's all busy dancing to and fro!
 
One thing I tell you is you won't trap me,
no, you won't find me an easy catch.
Travel to the east and travel to the west but
Ieva and I are going to make a match.
'Cause this fine laddie ain't the bashful sort
when he's all busy dancing to and fro.

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