Saturday, April 14, 2012

Gloomy Sunday

"Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come."
                           - Rabindranath Tagore

 Our sweet little Meow-Meow has passed away..... such sad news.
She had health problems so it is amazing she lived as long as she did, about 6 years. She came with me from Florida when we moved to Japan 3 years ago. She was such a good kitty during the long trip. We will miss her and her lovely absinthe-green eyes and her tortoise shell fur, but; we believe she will return to us when she gets a new, healthier body.
Here I'll post videos and lyrics to the saddest song ever.... 'Gloomy Sunday'.
Although we feel that Meow-Meow's spirit is now free from the bonds of earthly suffering (kurushimi), and her passing carries some relief (keigen = relief from pain; anshin = relief from anxiety); but, we will still mourn (itamu) and lament (kanashima). Mourning (mo) is an important part of dealing with, and acceptance of, loss.

I think music, and song lyrics are a fantastic and interesting way for ESL students to study English.
Listening, reading and pronunciation are all highlighted this way. In this case we also get to listen to two American female vocalists interpret the same song in two different ways!

"Life is about dealing with loss."
                                - Mia Farrow
'Gloomy Sunday' is a well-known song of deep sadness in the West that is rarely heard or performed publicly because it is so "gloomy"; and some people fear it's rumored reputation  for encouraging suicide (jisatsu). Please note that I do not encourage suicide, but rather a necessary period of grief (kanashimi) and catharsis (katarushisu).

Gloomy = usugurai (dark); yu'utsu (na) (depressed); kanashii (sad); undadareteiru (dejected).

First I will put the version by Diamanda Galas because she gives a brief introduction to the song before she sings/plays it, and I'll transcribe (write) her words & lyrics down for English students.
I admit that Diamanda Galas's singing style is an acquired taste... that is, her music is not for everybody.
She is dark, dramatic and often purposely discordant... to amazing effect!

Diamanda Galas (Intro):
"This next song was sung by Billie Holiday, called 'Gloomy Sunday'.
Um, when she first recorded it on the radio, there was a, uh, protest from the record company because it was, um, it was too pessimistic and depressing. Therefore, they had her change the ending to make it more optimistic and hopeful. And at that moment was born the first pop music. I don't do it that way of course."

Sadly, one Sunday, I waited and waited
With flowers in my arms for the dream I had created
I waited 'til dreams, like my heart, were all broken
The flowers were all dead and the words were unspoken
The grief that I knew was beyond all consoling
The beat of my heart was a bell that was tolling
Saddest of Sunday(s)

Then came a Sunday when you came to find me
They brought me to church and I left you behind me
My eyes could not see one I wanted to love me
The earth and the flowers were forever above me
The bell tolled for me and the wind whispered 'Never'
But you I have loved and I'll love you forever
Blessed of all Sunday(s)

And now.... 'Gloomy Sunday' by Miss Lady Day (a.k.a.) Billie Holiday, with lyrics.
Did you notice how it was changed in the last verse to make it all sound like a dream???
The original version does not contain the verse that begins: "Dreaming, I was only dreaming....."

One final quote from a book I'm reading now:

"People are not the only things that go through cycles and end with death; there are situations, relationships, eras of your life, even the seasons of the earth and the stars and the wheel of the great year go through cycles of life and death. At some point everything comes to an end, which is good; life and death have the same maker and come from and through each other. Even though death ends a cycle, the circle continues on."
                                                                 - Marie White
                                             'The Mary-El Tarot,  Landscapes of the Abyss'

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