Category Archives: English

Jazzanova – I Can See

Optimistic song and interesting mixture of styles – enjoy!


If I ever disappear,

… this is where you will find me:

Another Corina who loved May?

It appears that the name is of  Greek origins and was derived from the word “maiden”. It began to be used again in the 17th century, thanks to this poem, which I instantly fell in love with:

Corrina’s Going A-Maying.

by Robert Herrick

GET up, get up for shame, the blooming morn
Upon her wings presents the god unshorn.
See how Aurora throws her fair
Fresh-quilted colours through the air :
Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see
The dew bespangling herb and tree.
Each flower has wept and bow’d toward the east
Above an hour since : yet you not dress’d ;
Nay ! not so much as out of bed?
When all the birds have matins said
And sung their thankful hymns, ’tis sin,
Nay, profanation to keep in,
Whereas a thousand virgins on this day
Spring, sooner than the lark, to fetch in May.

Rise and put on your foliage, and be seen
To come forth, like the spring-time, fresh and green,
And sweet as Flora.  Take no care
For jewels for your gown or hair :
Fear not ; the leaves will strew
Gems in abundance upon you :
Besides, the childhood of the day has kept,
Against you come, some orient pearls unwept ;
Come and receive them while the light
Hangs on the dew-locks of the night :
And Titan on the eastern hill
Retires himself, or else stands still
Till you come forth.   Wash, dress, be brief in praying :
Few beads are best when once we go a-Maying.

Come, my Corinna, come ; and, coming, mark
How each field turns a street, each street a park
Made green and trimm’d with trees : see how
Devotion gives each house a bough
Or branch : each porch, each door ere this
An ark, a tabernacle is,
Made up of white-thorn neatly interwove ;
As if here were those cooler shades of love.
Can such delights be in the street
And open fields and we not see’t ?
Come, we’ll abroad ; and let’s obey
The proclamation made for May :
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying ;
But, my Corinna, come, let’s go a-Maying.

There’s not a budding boy or girl this day
But is got up, and gone to bring in May.
A deal of youth, ere this, is come
Back, and with white-thorn laden home.
Some have despatch’d their cakes and cream
Before that we have left to dream :
And some have wept, and woo’d, and plighted troth,
And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth :
Many a green-gown has been given ;
Many a kiss, both odd and even :
Many a glance too has been sent
From out the eye, love’s firmament ;
Many a jest told of the keys betraying
This night, and locks pick’d, yet we’re not a-Maying.

Come, let us go while we are in our prime ;
And take the harmless folly of the time.
We shall grow old apace, and die
Before we know our liberty.
Our life is short, and our days run
As fast away as does the sun ;
And, as a vapour or a drop of rain
Once lost, can ne’er be found again,
So when or you or I are made
A fable, song, or fleeting shade,
All love, all liking, all delight
Lies drowned with us in endless night.
Then while time serves, and we are but decaying,
Come, my Corinna, come, let’s go a-Maying.

(picture from here)

On Being Romanian

I’ve never been anything else but Romanian, nor would I ever want to be. I’m quite pleased with who I am and I know that even if I tried, I could never be something or someone else. This is not superiority, this is just acceptance. However, above pertaining to a nationality, I am human. And no matter what nationality or race we belong to, we all are just that, everything else is just… details.

I was reading this article by Vlad Mixich on yesterday and had some of my thoughts about being Romanian confirmed. The article basically condemns some of the great names in Romanian culture, who do nothing but lament about the current state in which we find ourselves as a nation and crucify our destiny as though we were damned and hated by some sort of mocking superior force to be where we are. The author thinks, just like myself, that we are doing pretty well where we are right now. Well, not great, but we could have been a lot worse considering what we’ve had to survive throughout the last century. Yes, many people here live very poorly, yes the authorities could do a lot better, but we’re working on making things better. And by “we”, I mean the young and hopeful who still believe that they can change something. Yes, many of our valuable and talented people have left for other countries, where they are paid better and are more appreciated, but some of them eventually come back here, in their home country, and start their own businesses here, teaching others what they were taught abroad.

We’re not so bad as a nation. And, living in Bucharest, I can tell you what I love about this place; I love its diversity. I love the young people who, just like me, came here to study, holding their hopes high and dreaming about changing the world. I love the orange hair that some girls have and the thick dreadlocks that bohemian boys and girls proudly hold on their heads. I love the colors in people’s clothes, I love the accidental smiles on the faces of those talking on the phones or handsfree devices, as though they are laughing to themselves, on the street. I love the noise and the queues in front of theaters, cinemas and museums on various occasions. I love the accents that differ from one person to another, depending on where they came from. I love hidden places in Bucharest, with old houses covered in ivy, with chipped walls, that bleed with the reddish dust of naked bricks. I love small and unknown small streets, with archaic names and vintage charisma. I love old people that stop and warn you about dangerous things and tell you beautiful stories…

I don’t love it when I see frowning faces, beggars and stray dogs on every corner. I don’t like it when I’m verbally abused or touched on the streets just because I am a girl. I don’t like watching my back whenever I go home later and not feeling safe, even in the center of the city. I don’t like the fact that beautiful old buildings, architectural works of art, are crumbling apart in front of us. I don’t like the fact the the elderly are forgotten and thrown into miserable apartments where they are left to die of famine and lack of affection. I don’t like the children whose parents never showed them the beautiful things in life or warned them about the bad ones, because they didn’t have time or because they left abroad in order to make money…

I especially don’t like it when we do nothing but complain about the way things are and the way the authorities deal or don’t deal with major issues. I would love it if we actually began using that wasted energy in order to change things. I know that things can and will be different. And if we stop wallowing in our own misery and start believing that we can do better, maybe it won’t be that long before that long-awaited change will eventually take place.

I wrote this in English so that someone looking up Romania or Bucharest will find and understand it. Romania has wonderful places and people, it is definitely a country worth visiting and reading about. We might be making a lot of mistakes, but our newly found democracy is only 20 years old. So, excuse us if we’re not that good at it; we’re still working on improving it.

(a picture of a Romanian dance that I took during the rehearsal of a local festival)

Born Free

Here is M.I.A.’s new video, “Born Free” (it contains both explicit violence and nudity, so feel free not to watch it if you are easily disturbed):

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

I was really looking forward to something new from M.I.A., since last year’s “Paper Planes”, featured on “Slumdog Millionaire” ‘s soundtrack. I really loved that track and the new one has a shocking video and message… The message as I see it? Any single one of us could be the next minority, a victim of the majority’s erruptive frustrations; any of us could be subject to discrimination. Needless to say, the video was banned in the US.

Regarding the sound, the song is not bad. Not memorable, either, but pretty well edited. Too bad you can’ really make out the lyrics. If you’re curious though, you can find them here.

“Follow Your Bliss

… and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” (Joseph Campbell).

I watched “The Secret” today, after a very good friend recommended it to me. I was quite skeptical to begin with, because I do not really believe in all the motivational products, as they all seem to be mostly made of marketing and not of true meaning.

But, as someone said to me, you can learn something out of anything. And this TV documentary taught me that if you truly want to achieve something, you have to believe with your entire being in that something in life, rejecting all the failing possibilities (because if you think of them and imagine how you would feel in that situation, you turn those worst-case scenarios into self-fulfilling prophecies). Picture yourself becoming who you want to become and you will find a way; the universe will conspire in your achieving that. That is the definition of the law of attraction, after all: positive thinking will attract positive things!

It seems that we’ve been so busy conquering the outside world, that we forgot about the one inside us, our own infinite universes. We only use 5% of our mind; what if you could use 100% of it? Imagine that! Nothing is really impossible, no matter what everyone says. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will. So, down with pessimism!

What I did not appreciate about the documentary was the fact that everyone wants to focus on having expensive cars, money, mostly superficial things. I think there’s more to life than that. And, eventually, the documentary’s conclusion was that being wealthy does not only mean being materially fulfilled; sure, that is an important part of achieving the 360° experience of life, but not all.

All in all, I loved the positive message of the documentary and all of the quotes taken from some of history’s greatest personalities, all holders of this “secret” to life and happiness. So, if you’re feeling down and overwhelmed with problems, watch this documentary or read the book and start believing in yourself. Nothing bad can come out of that!

Greeanpeace Birds

“Acum e randul tau sa inghiti.” (Now it’s your turn to swallow.) – is one of the new Saatchi & Saatchi Romania prints for Greenpeace’s campaign “Collect (Waste) Separately”.

The images taken by photographer Chris Jordan are real and unaltered.

I find the title quite powerful, yet slightly vulgar and violent. The people that will probably understand the campaign’s message don’t throw waste in nature anyway. The others who do will not even notice the posters. Moreover, the campaign simply seems to support the idea of throwing waste in the garbage, not collecting it separately. As I understand, as long as I don’t throw waste of any kind in the nature and I put it in the garbage can, the birds will be safe.

What’s more, the campaign seems to threaten me: “Now it’s your turn to swallow!” – I can’t help but imagine a nature-loving bully (and not the friendly Captain Planet) forcing everyone to swallow used lighters and bottle caps because birds did too and now they died. Is that the way that we want to teach people to become responsible towards the environment? By threatening them? They will just laugh in your face and continue to throw waste either on the streets and in nature, or, in the best case, in the bin where all the types of garbage are kept colectively.

Unfortunately, I cannot read the smaller writing integrally. The title is the continuation to the headline… what we are supposed to swallow is “the truth”. Further, from what I can make out, the main headline is explained on a friendlier tone “The images are real… You can change this… etc.”. So, from that threatening tone in the title, now the voice behind the ads gives us a parental piece of advice? Hmm…

I think I would have just let the images speak for themselves. No headline. I would have let the explanatory block of text, but made it smaller: “The images are real. Put garbage where it’s supposed to be!”. I believe it’s more impactful that way. The shocking image would convince me to read the text, while the bullying title probably just annoys and scares the passer-by, encouraging him/her to move on and not read further.

But that’s just my opinion. The campaign seems good and will most certainly not pass by unnoticed; if it raises awareness, that is the most important result, after all.

Sources: AdPlayers, Strategic

David Byrne Reloaded

As a kid who grew up with her retina glued to the TV screen, my favorite TV channels were Cartoon Network, MTV (back when the British version ran in Romania), and VH1 Europe. The last one was a very useful source for finding out about not-so-mainstream artists, whose music was worth discovering.

Talking Heads were just that kind of band, forming a colorful blend of unexpected artistic forms of expression. At first, there was the fascination with the creative sound and innovative visual experience, but then, when I found out more about them, there was the curiosity why they disappeared so quickly… According to Wikipedia, the band was created by David Byrne and Chris Frantz; Tina Weymouth, Frantz’s then girlfriend, joined the duo in 1975, as they encouraged her to learn how to play bass, because they could not find a bass player. The band’s first name was “The Artistics ” (quite an accurate choice, considering the mark that they left on the music and video industry), a name which only lasted between 1974  and 1975. The three band members had all majored in design, thus coming from a creative background, which reflected in their eclectic approach to music: they combined punk, rock, funk, avant-garde, pop music, art rock and world music. Their second album was produced by the legendary Brian Eno, according to the same source, and the most famous song from that period is “Once in a Lifetime”.  Post-Eno came “Burning Down the House”, “Road to Nowhere”. The band broke up in 1991, but most notably reunited in 2002, with the occasion of their induction into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. However, the three’s artistic differences will not probably ever allow them to collaborate again, according to Byrne, at least not in the Talking Heads context.

While listening to Guerilla Radio , I was surprised to recognize David Byrne’s voice on this track:

… which is a collaboration between David Byrne, Fatboy Slim (who goes by the alias BPA – Brighton Port Authority) and British Rapper Dizzee Rascal, dating since 2008. David Byrne and Fatboy Slim are also working together on an opera entitled “Here Lies Love” about Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines, a project which might feature artists such as Tori Amos, Cyndi Lauper, Florence from Florence and the Machine, Roisin Murphy or Santigold (source: here).

Reading further about Byrne on Wikipedia, I found out that he was fascinated with music, and art in general, from a very early age: “before high school, David Byrne already knew how to play the guitar, accordion, and violin. He was rejected from his middle school’s choir because they claimed he was “off-key and too withdrawn”.” Bob Dylan is however the best example that one doesn’t need an opera voice in order to achieve musical greatness… All in all, David Byrne is a fascinating artistic figure who has definitely left a mark on music globally, is and will continue to do so…

Summer Storm

Yesterday, the Bucharest skies were announcing a long awaited summer storm. Yes, a summer storm, in the middle of spring… Yet the gray, curly clouds were only visiting. It’s not the moment… But in a couple of weeks’ time, we’ll probably get the long awaited climatic tantrum that we’ve been waiting for through all those long, endless winter days. The kind of storm that will wash away all the accumulated pressure and frustrations, making way for probably the best period of the year: May, the third month of spring, when it’s neither too cold, nor asphyxiatingly hot. That wonderful spring/summer hybrid of a month, when everything seems to come into place… The raw and lively green seems to invade you from every direction and you have no choice but to surrender to its pure freshness… Peaceful thunder storms bring the most beautiful rainbows. After all, the skies only seem to be playing, especially when they see the temporary chaos that they cause among humans. Among whom, only very few adults, overgrown children, remember to laugh when, caught in the moment’s abundant rainfalls without an umbrella, have no choice but to… giggle along. It’s just water, after all.

“Because I’m free, nothing’s worrying me…”

Notes on “A Single Man”

– Tom Ford’s artistic vision is very visible throughout the film, both in the slow-motion succession of key moments and in the clean choice of the soundtrack;

– the most painful and beautiful song of the movie would have to be the main title, Abel Korzeniowski’s “Stillness of the Mind”; second place: “Snow”;

– Colin Firth did not go too far from his usual acting panel, but why should he, when it fits him so well? He is the kind of actor that makes acting seem natural;

– life has a way of solving things better than we ever could; and in a so much more cruel way…

– watch the movie; even though it is sad, it will leave you with a desire of living life to the fullest 🙂