Monday, January 11, 2010

You Came to See Me & Yet You Didn't (Ksembarkoi at Kavvadias' "Fog", 1986)

Nikos Kavvadias in 1934 (s/s Ionion 1934)

Nikos Kavadias wrote the poem. Born exactly 100 years ago on the 11th of January 1910, he died in 1975. During these 65 years, he travelled a lot -being a sailor, and he wrote beautiful poems that later on became beautiful songs. Some info about his life and works can be found here.

The first and most popular set of his poems to music was done by Thanos Mikroutsikos in 1979 with the album "The Southern Cross" (Ο Σταυρός του Νότου/ O Stavros tou Notou). Less known, the band Ksembarkoi (meaning... "left overs") made an other approach quite different than the first one with the album "S/S Ionion 1934" that was released in 1986. Simple intsrumentation, minimal and tense expression in vocals, nice melodies. Worth to listen to one of Kavvadia's most famous poems, as they set it to music. We are lucky to host a professional translation by Tefkros Simeonides (what a difference!).

poem: Nikos Kavvadias
music: Ksembarkoi

The fog fell with the evening
-- the lightship lost --
and you arrived unexpected
in the pilot-house to see me.

You are wearing all white and you're wet,
I'm plaiting your hair into ropes.
Down in the waters of Port Pegassu
It always rains this season.

The stoker is watching us
with both feet in the chains.
Never look at the antennas
in a storm; you'll get dizzy.

The boatswain curses the weather
and Tocopilla is so far away.
Rather than fearing and waiting
better at the periscope and the torpedo.

Go! You deserve firm land.
You came to see me and yet see me you didn't
I have since midnight drowned
a thousand miles beyond the Hebrides.

Relevant music links:

1) The sailor's prayers by Ksembarkoi, at the same album
2) Giannis Koutras sings amazingly Thanos Mikroutsiko's music and the poem "Woman" of the Album "Souther Cross".
3) Giannis Koutras sings the poem "Kuro Siwo", music: Thanos Mikroutsikos.

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