Thursday, August 06, 2009

On Harry Patch' Funeral: Baez and Dietrich

A chorister today sang Where Have All the Flowers Gone? at Harry Patch' funeral (the last Uk survivor of the Western Front). I have been listening/watching the song on YouTube.

I present two versions. One by Joan Baez (to me the person whose music has meant more to me than any other) and then by Marlene Dietrich. Marlene sang the song in both English and German, but I give the German version. A salute to Harry Patch who hated all war.

JOAN BAEZ - Where have all the Flowers Gone?

MARLENE DIETRICH - Sag mir wo die Blumen sind? {It was written by Pete Seeger, but made a worldwide hit by Marlene)


Sag mir, wo die Blumen sind,
wo sind sie geblieben?
Sag mir, wo die Blumen sind,
was ist geschehn?
Sag mir, wo die Blumen sind,
Mädchen pflückten sie geschwind.

Wann wird man je verstehn,
wann wird man je verstehn?

Sag mir, wo die Mädchen sind
Männer nahmen sie geschwind.

Sag mir, wo die Männer sind
Zogen fort, der Krieg beginnt.

Sag, wo die Soldaten sind
Über Gräbern weht der Wind.

Sag mir, wo die Gräber sind
Blumen blühen im Sommerwind.

Sag mir, wo die Blumen sind
Mädchen pflückten sie geschwind.


Tell me where the flowers are
where have they lived on?
Tell me where the flowers are
what has been done?
Tell me where the flowers are
Tell me where the flowers are
what has been done?
Tell me where the flowers are
Young girls plucked them hastily.

When will they ever see,
when will they ever see?

Tell me where the young girls are ...
Men they took them hastily.

Tell me where the men all are ...
Moved away, the war begins.

Tell me where the soldiers are ...
Over gravestones wafts the wind.

Tell me where the graves all are ...
Flowers bloom in summer wind.

Tell me where the flowers are ...
Young girls plucked them hastily.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Kseniya Simonova - Sand Animation

This "Sand Animation" won Ukraine's Got Talent. It's completely unexpected - I have never seen anything remotely like it - and completely wonderful.

The experience is like watching Picasso paint Guernica.

Update: from WOSU, an American Public Radio Station:

"This incredible “sand animation” is performed by the 2009 winner of the Ukraine “Got Talent” television series, Kseniya Simonova. Apparently, it is telling the story of life during WWII, which would explain the emotional reactions of some of the audience. The text at the end where they’re staring at the sailor’s ghost says: “You are always nearby”.The 24-yr-old atist’s prize was 1,000,000 Ukrainian hryvnia (April 2009, approximately US $125,000)

"What she depicts is love and war, set amidst the turmoil of The Great Patriotic War, or as we call it in America, WWII. Ukraine was probably the area most devastated in the war, even more than Germany. It was a conflict that saw nearly one in four Ukrainians killed. Ukraine represented almost 20 percent of all the causalities suffered during WWII. The scene ends in 1945, with the death of Hitler and the end of a long war.

Update II

From Random Thoughts blog

"This was a part of the competition Ukraine's Got Talent, and the girl did win the First Place. Her name is Kseniya Simonova, and she is Russian living in Ukraine. The composition she is "performing" is called a "Sand Requiem", and it is a short version of World War II on the territory of Ukraine, or Western Russia, or possibly Bielorussia. You will see that she really strikes a cord with her audience which weeps through a portion of the show. The most emotional place is accompanied by a song "Cranes" which goes something like this: "Sometimes I dream that our soldiers who did not return from the bloody fields, did not lie down into our earth, but turned into white cranes. Since those bygone days until now they have been flying over us and sending us their calls. Could that be the reason why we often get quiet and look up into the sky with sadness?" Her medium is very fine black volcanic sand. Kseniya is married, and has a young son.

Update III

From The Guardian

"Here, she recounts Germany conquering Ukraine in the second world war. She brings calm, then conflict. A couple on a bench become a woman's face; a peaceful walkway becomes a conflagration; a weeping widow morphs into an obelisk for an unknown soldier. Simonova looks like some vengeful Old Testament deity as she destroys then recreates her scenes - with deft strokes, sprinkles and sweeps she keeps the narrative going. She moves the judges to tears as she subtitles the final scene "you are always near."

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A Simple Question

Why is there so much advertising for car insurance in Britain?