Monday, 20 March 2017

Murder Ballad Monday--Harpa Toner (Norwegian)

Hello and welcome to part seventeen of Murder Ballad Monday.

Last week we looked at a Norwegian version of the ballad The Twa Sisters. This week, I would like to look at another Norwegian version by a band called L.E.A.F.
                       Image result for l.e.a.f. band harpa toner
While it is identical lyrically to last week’s version, the tune is slightly altered.

The refrain is:
Harp tones tender and fine.
(Humming)

The Norwegian version is unusual compared to the English language versions in the body parts that are used to make the instrument. English or Scottish version tend to use the fingers, the breastbone, and the hair whilst the Norwegian version uses the leg bones and the hair.   

If you’d like to see the Norwegian lyrics side by side with the English lyrics go here: http://lyricstranslate.com/en/harpa-harp.html

L.E.A.F. have a really lush sound with bells and chimes which puts me in mind of the Cocteau Twins. This version of Harper Toner features Oliver S. Tyr of the German band FAUN. Listen to it here:
  

Here’s how it breaks down compared to other versions: (same as last week)
Name of ballad: Harpa Toner
Performed by: Bergtatt
Refrain:
Harp tones tender and fine.
Fa la la la la la la la la la
Number of sisters: two
Where did they live:  by the shore
Appearance described as: The young one went forth like the sun,
The older lagged behind like a worm in the ground.
Sweetheart: Mentioned, but not named
Excuse to go to the water: “let us go down by the river”
Body of water: river
Does it contain the line “Sometimes she sank, sometimes she swam”: no
Miller and child: no
Mistaken for: n/a
Described in death: n/a
Who finds her on the bank: two shepherds
Instrument she becomes: harp
Body parts used: leg bone and two locks of hair
Would her song “melt a heart of stone”: no
Do the strings sing individually: yes
What does the instrument sing:
It told of the bride's evil deeds which caused the bride to stand frozen on the spot.
Is the sister punished: doesn’t say, but you presume so as her guilt is giving her away

Here are the lyrics in Norwegian if you would like to try to follow along.
 Det bodde en bonde ved en strand,
Harpa toner var og fin.
To fagre døtre hadde han.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Den eldste til den yngre sa:
Harpa toner var og fin.
La oss ned til elven dra.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Den yngste gikk føre som en sol,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Den eldste etter som orm i jord.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Den yngste satte seg på en stein,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Den eldste dyttet, hun var ikke sein.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Hun strakte ut sin hvite hand,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Og ropte søster hjelp meg iland.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Hvis jeg ikke hjelper deg,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Så vil din kjæreste ekte meg.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Det var to gjetere på den strand,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Og de så liket som fløt i land.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

De tok fra hennes kropp et ben,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Og lagde av det en harpe ven.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

De tok to lokker av hennes hår,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Og harpa gyldne strenger får.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Til søsterens bryllup ble harpa bragt,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Og på en strubbe der ble den lagt.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Det var senere på denne kveld,
Harpa toner var og fin.
At harpa spilte av seg selv.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Da den første strengen lød,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Den fortalte om brudens onde dåd.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Da den andre strengen slo,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Bruden som forstenet sto.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

So, that's it for for version seventeen of The Twa Sisters. Stay tuned next Monday for version eighteen.

1 comment:

  1. It's beautiful music, with a sad tone. What is the story? This sounds like something I'd like to play on the ukelele!

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