Going Through the Mist

The past eight years since I closed my shop at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival have been incredibly busy, and have brought me some stability in my life. Through it all, I’ve sought artistic inspirations whenever and wherever I can. One of my favorite places to go for that inspiration is YouTube. I found the following music video by going to Kantele.com. Priscilla Hernandez is playing a Kantele from the same luthier that made mine, Gerry Henkel in Duluth Minnesota. It was when I was watching this video, over and over, that I was inspired to write my first full song: Through the Veil. I had written tunes before, and put a Tolkien poem to music, but that was the first song where I wrote both music and lyrics. It is still one of my favorite songs to play, and is precious to me. I remember running to my studio to write the words that were flowing through me, and then I worked through the chords on my autoharp until it sounded right to me.

The visuals are stunning, and I love the ethereal quality of it. I’d never heard of Priscilla Hernandez before, but I was an instant fan. I have yet to purchase her album, but I intend to remedy that in the next month or so. My first stumbling steps into the world of songwriting changed my life forever. Now I have learned to honor my need to seek out new artists and new inspirations, and to immerse myself in the experience. Without immersion transformation cannot be achieved, and what is art but a transmutation of materials into a new form? A new sense of wonder captures me every time I write a song. I long for them, wait for them, try to be ready for them, but I can never force them. They come when they are ready. Sometimes in bits and pieces and sometimes almost whole, revealing themselves to me as quickly as I can put the words to paper, and strum the notes to find the chords I need to give them birth.

It is a mystical experience, much like drawing and painting. But while the process for a fully realized painting can take hours, days, and weeks; my songs come much more quickly. It’s also a flexible art form in that the song is never played exactly the same way twice. Different instruments create a different result, but it’s still the same song. It can be very private to play a song to myself, or very public to share the very same song in a group of musicians or before an audience. Being present in the moment is what is required. Today I feel very present in re-creating Wyrdhaven Studio into a new form. I have a renewed sense of wonder and excitement since I updated the site just a few days ago. Priscilla is also an illustrator, and that gives me hope, that I too can find a path of my own of creativity, wonder, magic, and joy and share it with the world. Sharing what inspires me is a part of that, because I want others to feel what I’m feeling. It is too precious and too rare. It’s part of being human, exploring the nooks and crannies of creative expression.

I did not fade when I stepped into the mist, I went through the veil of music and creativity to find my heart.

Hyvää uutta vuotta!

Hyvää uutta vuotta! That’s Finnish for Happy new year! OK, I thought I’d start the new year off right by blogging about some of the stuff that has been going through my head lately. My art studio is still in less than 100% assembled stage. My lamp for my drawing table has a three prong plug, but I only have a two prong outlet. That means getting a converter doo-hicky in order to draw and paint after sun-down, which currently happens about an hour before I get home from work. I have been filling free evenings with devouring books, which  has been fun.

I have lots of ideas for things like music books, paintings, songs to learn, Kantele lessons to take; all to be done in 2013. I’m glad I have this blog begun so I can have an outlet, some kind of measure of how I’m doing, and how well it’s going. I intend to share what works and what doesn’t more about my processes creating music and art, all that kind of thing.

And Finnish. I want to learn some basic phrases, and a few songs. The first one I’m working on is Kun mun kultani tulisi. 

The following are the notes on the song from album “Loituma – Things of Beauty” – Lyrics in Finnish and English, English translations by Susan Sinisalo

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.

Loituma “Kun Mun Kultani Tulisi”


Kun mun kultani tulisi,
Should my treasure come
armahani asteleisi,    
my darling step by
tuntisin ma tuon tulosta,    
I’d know him by his coming
arvoaisin astunnasta,  
recognize him by his step
jos ois vielä virstan päässä    
though he were still a mile off
tahikka kahen takana.        
or two miles away.

Utuna ulos menisin,        
As mist I’d go out
savuna pihalle saisin,            
as smoke I would reach the yard
kipunoina kiiättäisin,      
as sparks I would speed
liekkinä lehauttaisin;        
as flame I would fly;
vierren vierehen menisin,            
I’d bowl along beside him
supostellen suun etehen.
pout before his face.

Tok’ mie kättä käppäjäisin,
I would touch his hand
vaikk’ ois käärme kämmenellä;
though a snake were in his palm
tok’ mie suuta suikkajaisin,
I would kiss his mouth
vaikk’ ois surma suun edessä;
though doom stared him in the face
tok’ mie kaulahln kapuisin,
I’d climb on his neck
vaikk’ ois kalma kaulaluilla;
though death were on his neck bones
tok’ mie vierehen viruisin,
I’d stretch beside him
vaikk’ ois vierus verta täynnä.
though his side were all bloody.

Vaanp’ ei ole kullallani,
And yet my treasure has not
ei ole suu suen veressä,
his mouth bloody from a wolf
käet käärmehen talissa,
his hands greasy from a snake
kaula kalman tarttumissa;
nor his neck in death’s clutches:
suu on rasvasta sulasta,
his mouth is of melted fat
huulet kuin hunajameestä,
his lips are as of honey
käet kultaiset, koriat,
his hands golden, fair
kaula kuin kanervan varsi.
his neck like a heather stalk.

The Finns are not a happy people, with a sense of humor so dark it makes all things Goth seem festive. And so I will learn this beautiful song, and revel in it all the more, because the Finns have been Goth for centuries, and it’s in my blood. I’m trying to learn this with a couple of my Idisi sisters, and on my Ten String Kantele, just because it sounds so lovely with it.