My friend Enkunalma is off on her travels tomorrow, so I wanted to wish her well with a song. Now, she is doing some high-level managerial tasks at the moment (aka the budget); so if I were to burst into her (blind-up) pizza den (aka the office) and start warbling it might give the lovely people who make the place their home-from-home a laugh, but it would not be an especial treat for their ears… which is why I am opting for a You Tube event.
Recently I have been going through a real period of musical nostalgia, kick-started by the fabulous Rodriguez. He reminded me of something I had nearly forgotten: I love most music, but sometimes you don’t want crashing drums, screaming guitars and electronic gizmos. Sometimes, all you want is a bit of guitar gently strumming and the human voice. That falls under the category of folk music apparently. A folk song is one that has been handed down over generations, both the tune and lyrics, a song that is pre the recorded music industry. So, I was thinking that’s the kind of song I wanted to send Enkunalma on her way with. And the song I really wanted was ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’, because it starts with the leaves coming into bloom, like they are now, and that’s what I hope for her at the other end when she gets off the great white bird and is reunited with family and friends, and no doubt some Finnish dogs and cats she has taken to her heart too.
Finding the right version of the song has proved tricky… I am heavily influenced by my youth, so the Corries’ version was right up there. And then I listened to the country singer Don Williams who has a version with the pipes and The Chieftans (sadly, too slow), James Taylor (my heart aches for his songs but he makes this song a bit too easy listening), Joan Baez (too scratchy and a bit bubbly on the high notes for my taste), Bob Dylan who is doing a great vocal job until it gets a bit too acrobatic in the epiglottis towards the end, and then there were the videos that contained a myriad of soaring Scottish scenery and uncredited voices which it was hard to turn down… But in the end, and I have surprised myself, I have gone with this version.
I’ll tell you why. It’s because I wouldn’t have expected him to have done it and he renders a beautiful folk song in its most simple form: a young man performing traditional songs without fuss or a rock star fanfare, for free on the radio. It reminds us that amidst what sometimes feels like chaos the world keeps turning, spring keeps arriving and what ever happens in life some things don’t change and those things are good.
Have a good trip!