Lili Marleen and a Two Sided War

I couldn’t quite tell you what this Axis-Allied Second World War song meant to me throughout my childhood. While it might seem to the unlearned ear that this is some German propaganda song, it’s actually far from that. It was a tune that inspired and brought hope to both sides of the war, and was actually banned by German propaganda minister Goebbels on Radio Belgrade until popular appeal brought it back. As Allied and Axis troops both marched through Europe, Lili Marleen reminded them of the women they left behind and gave them hope for the future. It’s about a girl waiting under a lantern for her lover to return from war, and is deeply touching.

Lale Andersen

The song was originally recorded by German singer Lale Andersen under the title, “Das Mädchen unter der Laterne,” which is based off of the first World War poem Das Lied eines jungen Soldaten auf der Wacht. She recorded the song after she met Norbert Schultz, who had composed the music for the tune.

The link I have provided you with shows a much peppier, war-time, gun-ho version that was recorded after Goebbels banned it from the radio. The original tune was much sadder and slower, along the lines of a ballad. Goebbels allowed it back onto the propaganda-sodden radio so long as it promoted war support rather than lament.

Lale Andersen attempted suicide, but failed. She was allowed to perform again after the song Lili Marleen was brought back to the radio, but she could not perform Lili Marleen, despite its soaring popularity.

Belgrade Map
Because of its popularity, Lili Marleen was played at the end of each Radio Belgrade broadcast. The German-controlled Serbia had Allied forces close enough to hear its radio, and Lili Marleen became a song that was popular on both sides of the front. Both Allied and Axis troops reminisced about their sweethearts. Let me take an excerpt from Wikipedia on the matter:

Many Allied soldiers made a point of listening to it at the end of the day. For example, in his memoir Eastern Approaches, Fitzroy Maclean describes the song’s effect in the spring of 1942 during the Western Desert Campaign: “Husky, sensuous, nostalgic, sugar-sweet, her voice seemed to reach out to you, as she lingered over the catchy tune, the sickly sentimental words. Belgrade…The continent of Europe seemed a long way away. I wondered when I would see it again and what it would be like by the time we got there.”

Lili Marleen

The next year, parachuted into the Yugoslav guerrilla war, Maclean wrote: “Sometimes at night, before going to sleep, we would turn on our receiving set and listen to Radio Belgrade. For months now, the flower of the Afrika Korps had been languishing behind the barbed wire of Allied prison camps. But still, punctually at ten o’clock, came Lale Andersen singing their special song, with the same unvarying, heart-rending sweetness that we knew so well from the desert. […] Belgrade was still remote. But, now that we ourselves were in Yugoslavia, it had acquired a new significance for us. It had become our ultimate goal, which Lili Marlene and her nostalgic little tune seemed somehow to symbolise. ‘When we get to Belgrade…’ we would say. And then we would switch off the wireless a little guiltily, for the Partisans, we knew, were shocked at the strange pleasure we got from listening to the singing of the German woman who was queening it in their capital.”[4]

Marlene Dietrich

So now you know how much of an impact this song had on Europe, though you may never have heard it before in your life. Perhaps it rang through the corners of your history classroom, or perhaps you turned it off when you heard it come on some weird Pandora station. The song was also recorded by Marlene Dietrich as a way of demoralising enemy soldiers. A film and music icon and an avid anti-Nazi immigrant to the United States, Marlene Dietrich helped to popularise the song back in the States.

I’ve included a verse from the song to help you understand the nature of the translation.

Deine Schritte kennt sie,                    It knows your footsteps,
Deinen zieren Gang.                    Your beautiful walk.
Alle Abend brennt sie,                    It burns every evening,
Doch mich vergaß sie lang.                    Although it forgot me long ago.
Und sollte mir ein Leid gescheh’n,                    And if a mishap should befall me,
Wer wird bei der Laterne steh’n,                    Who will stand by the lamppost,
Mit dir, Lili Marleen!                    With you, Lili Marleen?

-A.
Photos Courtesy of:

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Jacques Brel

One of the most notorious Belgian singers of all time has to be Jacques Brel. Even a half century later, his songs and talent are still recognized across the world.

Personally, I am not sure what is more enchanting about him: his talent for poetic music or his eccentric performances. Shamefully, I hardly speak any French (even though I studied it for three years in high school), so I think that it was his performance that first drew me in. His voice is so dramatic that it tells a story unlike any singer I have ever heard. His somewhat awkward movements and gestures only add to his initial charm.

I could go on for hours explaining every single one of his songs, bit instead I’ll just focus on my favorite: Les Bourgeois. (i’ll just post the link here because it will not embed properly)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCHi5apc1lQ

Literally speaking, Les Bourgeois is about three friends going out one night to have a good time drinking and such. Around midnight, the Bourgeois (implied here as established men) pass by from their hotel. As the pass by, the three boys mock them by mooning them and comparing them to pigs. By the end of the song, it is assumed that Brel is describing how the three friends have now become the bourgeois.

Although the story of the song has little meaning or impact on me (is that horrible to say?), it is still one of my absolute favorites. The theatrical element that it is sung with is unbelievable.

In addition to being a phenomenal singer, Brel was also an actor. Unfortunately, Brel passed away in 1978 at the age of 49. It is refreshing to see the honorable and honest life that he lived, and it is assuring to know that such a remarkable man is still remembered today.

-C

Sources:

http://www.trouveztout.org/Jacques-Brel/

http://www.alinasadventuresinhomemaking.com/2007/12/serge-gainsbour.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCHi5apc1lQ

http://www.last.fm/music/Jacques+Brel/+images/34470003

http://www.geekdemusique.com/jacques-brel-jef-un-classique/

Music for a Classical Atmosphere

Hello everyone! Sorry that this is a day late; the system seemed to think we had compromising material on our blog and shut down our posting abilities until we could be reviewed by staff. I hope this lives up to how much you missed out!

Ok, so this is the first time I’ve ever tried to do this. I’m going to talk to you about music, something I will not even pretend to be an expert about! So, for all of you music buffs, this isn’t a classical playlist as much as it is music with a classical feel. Music that brings you back to the 1300s, the 1700s, etc. I was jumping between writing about the best of the 1920s-1940s and this, but I think that this might bring to light some interesting groups you didn’t think of! So turn your scopes back pretty far, retroverts, because we’re taking a jump into the real past.

Francisco de la Torre

Francisco de la Torre
You can find pieces of Francisco de la Torre on Youtube, thankfully, and if you want to jump back to real Spanish mediaeval music, this fellow is the way to go. He’s a mediaeval composer who was most likely from Sevilla. His work has a jumpy, lilting feel that is very typical of mediaeval tunes. Check out a few of these videos:

Mediaeval Baebes

These ladies have been a favourite of mine for several years, and are a staple of the ancient-loving in music. You can find their website online, where they have a few samples of songs. I don’t recall if you can buy them on iTunes (I ripped their CDs onto my iTunes), but it’s certainly worth a try. They sing in Middle English, Latin, Italian, and I believe, at times, in modern English as well.
Mediaeval Baebes

Some of my favourites of theirs include:

  • Gaudete
  • Ecce Munde Gaudium
  • Return of the Birds
  • Undrentide
  • Cittern Segue
  • Scarborough Fayre

They have a lovely authentic sound and their songs are of fantastic quality. I can safely say that I’ve been listening to their songs for as long as I can remember, really, and they never get old. Though, I do wish they’d change their name; it’s a bit embarrassing to refer someone to “baebes,” especially someone academic.

The Waverly Consort
I actually had no idea that this group was online until I sat down and wrote this. They also have a website where you can purchase some of their CDs, but I have to say, my favourite wasn’t there.

Mappa Mundi
What you’re listening to is a song called Mappa Mundi from the Waverly Consort’s CD 1492: Music from the Age of Discovery. This copy in my hand is from 1992. I can, through sheer repetition, sing along to the mediaeval Italian because it was such an integral part of my childhood. There is something pure and enchanting about their works, especially the ones from this CD. If you enjoy the Youtube video, be sure to check them out and consider purchasing more of their work.

Broadside Band

I don’t know if you can get these very easily, since my CD is from 1991 and the only song I found on Youtube, I’m not even sure if it’s by them, but they are one of my favourites. I enjoy their folk approach t classical music, and I have spent many (semi-sophistocated) afternoons listening to their CD English Country Dances, definitely what you need for a hop and a skip into real-life Pride and Prejudice!

Loreena McKennitt

A modern artist, Loreena blends mediaeval, Middle Eastern, fantastic, and some modern elements into her pieces. They evoke images of Middle Earth and other fantasy worlds to me, and I always throw in a song or two by her whenever I put together a playlist of classical-atmospheric music. After all, since none of this is actually in the genre of classical music, why not add a mysterious element to it?

The Mask and the Mirror Loreena McKennit

Find her website here: http://www.quinlanroad.com/homepage/index.asp?LangType=1033 and consider purchasing her works either in CD form or on iTunes so that you can add this exotic twist to your library!

Jean Yves Thibaudet

A few of you savvy Austen-ites may recognise this name, or perhaps just those familiar with film music. Jean Yves Thibaudet composed the music for the latest Pride and Prejudice film. These songs, while short and soft, add a quick moment of romantic dreaminess to your playlist. Take a hop back to the 1700s, with a more conventional feel, by trying out a few of these for your latest craze.

The Chieftains

Irish Pub Painting

And now we turn to the timeless. I cannot reccomend these fellows enough to you, and I beg you to invest in music that they’ve done by themselves, without featuring other artists, because I enjoy that the best. I’ve included their Christmas album into my classical-atmosphere playlists for the sort of music that makes you want to hop up and do a jig! Visit their website here: http://www.thechieftains.com/ and think about bringing more bagpipes and accordions into your life! Thankfully, they sample more pieces on their website, so you can get a better taste of them. Here’s to the best  playlist composing!

-A.

Photos Courtesy of:

The Odd World of Television

I’ve compiled a list of five of my all-time favourite television shows (some of which I have discovered extremely recently)! All of these are slightly offbeat and odd, but I think that’s what makes them so special…

Oddities (2010-)-

I came across this show awhile ago, and have to say that it is absolutely amazing. Evan Michelson and Mike Zohn co-own an amazingly quirky antique shop, Obscura Antiques and Oddities, in New York. They sell and buy stuff from mummified body parts to sideshow memorabilia. The show also features buyer Ryan Matthew Cohn, who is extremely interesting (and has the most perfect suits!!). The eccentric customers who come into their shop are really what make this show special, however. They are constantly demonstrating their talents or sharing the most captivating of stories. (Science Network)

Oddities

American Stuffers (2012-)-

This show revolves around taxidermist Ted Ross. His shop, Xtreme Taxidermy in Romance, Arkansas, specializes in pet preservation. He works with three eclectic employees and his family. It’s heartbreaking to watch pet owners suffering the loss of their best friends, but it’s rewarding to see how meaningful it is for them to have their pets back with them again. I am also intrigued by the process that Ted uses to preserve these pets. Instead of traditional mounting (where the hide is mounted to a mold), he uses freeze drying technology that allows for the preservation of the actual, physical body. (Animal Planet)

American Stuffers cast members Joseph Phariss, Dixie Grammer, Daniel Ross and Fred Greer

Family Plots (2004-2006)-

Family Plots followed the family running Poway Bernardo Mortuary in Poway , California. Although the show mostly chronicled the running of the home and the relationships within the family, it also gave viewers into the “mysterious” world of the funeral business. It is extremely interesting for me, for I am considering going into the funeral business, but really is enchanting for anyone. Although this show has not run for a few years, episodes can still be found online if you try to dig them up (oh…bad joke). (A&E Network)

Mysteries at the Museum (2011-)-

This show relays the history of numerous artifacts in multiple museums. Some include shrunken heads at the Mütter Museum, the damage caused by a hydrogen bomb at the National Museum of Nuclear Science History, and even Marilyn Monroe’s Pill Box. I really enjoy the fact that with this show you get to truly understand each individual artifact, because sometimes it is burdensome and awkward to read tiny plaques in front of things. Every episode is unique and extremely interesting. (Travel Channel)

10 Things You Don’t Know About (2012-) –

Taglined as “What your textbooks never told you,” this show shares some interesting facts about history’s best known people. For example, did you know that Benjamin Franklin was a suspected serial killer, that Mormons built Las Vegas, or that Abraham Lincoln slept with men? Historian David Eisenbach shares some of history’s best kept secrets. (H2)

Looking through this list that I’ve compiled, I’m realizing that some of these shows seem rather macabre… but maybe that’s just what I’m into haha. The hipster in me is sad that these types of shows and interests are becoming more and more “mainstream”, but at the same time, I’m so happy that these topics are being opened up to a broader audience.

-C

Photo Credits:

http://www.donewyork.com/shopping/listing/obscura-antiques-oddities/

http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/oddities/bios.html

http://m.arkansasonline.com/news/2012/jan/01/arkansan-turns-taxidermy-work-starring-ro-20120101/

http://www.poptower.com/american-stuffers.htm

http://reality-tv.findthebest.com/l/444/Family-Plots

http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/mysteries-at-the-museum/photos/la-raid-bioterror-automaton

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/

The Scottish Make Money Through Murder

Well, perhaps not any more. But at some point, it appears that somebody did. Since I’m most likely going to live in the lovely Edinburgh next year, I find it deeply fitting that I should grace you all with a Scots-themed post.

Burke and Hare  Last night, I watched a brilliantly hilarious film called Burke and Hare, which, while not being at the pinnacle of the film industry, is a dark comedy about two men who murder — yes, murder — seventeen individuals for the sake of selling the bodies to a very competitive market in the anatomy schools of the University of Edinburgh. Two delightful laymen characters horrify themselves by attempting to murder people by throwing them down staircases, losing bodies rolling away in barrels, and make a small fortune in the business.

It stars the delightful Andy Serkis and Simon Pegg, two charming comedians who will be sure to give you the best of British comedy. But I’m not just here to blow whistles for Scottish cinema, because there’s a dark underside to this story.

It actually happened.

No, really! It actually happened. William Burke and William Hare actually murdered seventeen people in order to sell their bodies to the anatomy schools, and, here’s the twist: they had no criminal record of any sort before that. Their wives were both possibly into the act, helping them smother, knock out, and throw their victims off of cliffs. William Burke was actually Irish, in fact, who came over to Scotland in 1817, and could read and write. Unusual, really.

Burke and Hare

These are the real Burke and Hare (I’ll admit that I don’t know which one is which), and the way the story ends is a little different than in the film, but the same number of people die in the end. I can certainly say that this is a film you’ll want to watch if you’re with a gaggle of friends, wanting an early 19th Century basket of laughs with a little bit of squeamish squealing but no real gory horror. Pity the world isn’t like how it used to be, what with the possibility of being nabbed and murdered for the name of science at every dark streetcorner — or that four pounds sterling could get you into an exclusive nightclub. I’ll risk the former for the latter, if I can bring a ten quid note back with me!

Burke's Skeleton  This is Burke’s skeleton, now on display in the University of Edinburgh School of Anatomy Museum. The last shot of the film shows the “what happened to William Burke,” though I won’t give you the short end, since that’d be a spoiler, but we all know he dies eventually, and this is what happens to him. Propped in a fluorescent room, sticks all up in his exposed spine, sitting in a glass canister — in the name of anatomical science. Wonder if it’s what he would have wanted. Probably not.

For the second part of my Sunday post, however, I’d like to introduce to you a recipe for a bakery item that will murder. (Well, perhaps not as much as my Espresso Double Chocolate Cookies, but I’ll save those for another day when I give you Death by Chocolate.) More in line with the Scottish way, I’m going to give you my all-secret, never before shared, fluffy, luscious, scrumptious, Scottish Berry Scones.

I warn you. These are scones that contain sunlight in them, goldeny toasty with dripping blueberries if you get them in season. I’ve done them with chocolate chips and edited them for pumpkin when it’s in season, and when I spent time in Scandinavia, I put lindonberries in them. They work well with any juicy berry that you can find in season, but blueberries always steal the show.

Serve them with jam, butter, and tea, freeze them on a flat sheet and then in a Ziplock, and they’ll last months for your enjoyment. They’ve been doubled for hungry families and they’re in American measurements because most of our readers are American. If you’d like the European measurements, please leave a comment. Also, since they’re a family recipe… it’s more colloquial cooking language.
Blueberry Scones
A’s Murderous Berry Scones

  • 3.5 cup flour
  • 2 tbls & 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup salted or unsalted room temperature butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 and 1/3 cup milk (whole for creamier texture, but even skim works fine)
  • 2 cups berries
  • 2 egg yolk
  1. Preheat oven at 400 Farenheit (200 C)
  2. Mix baking powder and flour in a rather large bowl
  3. Rub butter and sugar together (literally, take it in your hands, it will be very sticky, and sort of cream it together) until crumbly.
  4. Add flour mixture.
  5. Add milk and berries and knead gently (still using my hands), as briefly as possible. Will be very sticky.
  6. On a thickly floured surface, roll until 1 inch thick.
  7. Cut out with a standard mug or biscuit cutter and put on a ban with baking parchment, smearing egg yolks on top (I use a basting brush). Sprinkle with Muscovado sugar (Sugar in the Raw, or other very unrefined sugar).
  8. Bake 15 minutes until golden and irresistable.

These are the moistest, fluffiest, most delectable scones you will ever eat. Use wisely.

-A

Information from:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1320239/

http://burkeandhare.com/bhperps.htm

Pictures from:

http://thepenningtonedition.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/burkes-skeleton.jpeg?w=240&h=320