I sat listening to Van Halen the other day – going through my old albums, on vinyl – anyone remember those big old round things? When I got to the 1984 album and the hit Jump – something hit me. This song got me thinking on a Swedish word Ättestupa.
While David Lee Roth sees jumping as something positive, Ättestupa is quite another form of jumping – Instead of; get up, and nothing gets me down – Ättestupa means; get down and nothing gets you up again. But the phrase; Might as well jump. Jump! – works in both cases!
Ättestupa is what one could call an immaterial cultural heritage. It’s a word for a type of ancient or historic remains that really is only part of ledgends or sagas. The word comes from the Icelandic saga: Gautreks saga (aka Götriks saga) in which a cliff, (Æetternisstapi), in Götaland (a part of Sweden) is mentioned.
In this saga Göte gets lost while hunting in the woods. He ends up in cabin belonging to the poor Skavörtung family. While there he sleeps with the farmers daughter and knocks her up. This brings shame to the family – and they, except the daughter, jumps of the Æetternisstapi.
In 1664 the saga was published in Swedish by Olof Verelius. The saga got very popular during the 17th and 18th century inSweden and many saw it as a historic record. Due to this many cliffs have been named Ättestupa and legends has been spun regarding their history, people imagined that old people jumped off these cliffs as not to be bourdon to them selves or their relatives, or to rid them selves from pains or sadness.
From Erik Dahlbergs Svecia Antiqua et Hodierna (ca 1680-1740) (1924 ed)
Well, maybe, it’s time for vinyl to end up on a Ättestupa soon – but I think I hold on to them for just a little longer though 🙂
BTW – Van Halen is back together again – on tour – possibly to town near you!
At present I’m digging into the history of blues and rock & roll via Josh Alan Friedman’s book Tell the truth until they bleed. Coming clean in the dirty world of blues and rock ‘n’ roll (2008).
When reading these types of books youtube is a blessing (in disguise). As you read you can listen in and find “new” favs along the way. Though I would like to have it as an audiobook with soundclips incorporated.
When doing so I also feel bound to read up on the artists in question – so the next couple of posts are 40s, 50s and 60s bound. The book starts with Jerry Lieber and composer Mike Stoller, american songwriters, known for ‘ Hound dog’ among lots and lots of other hits. Elvis recorded this in 1956 but it was orginally released by Big Mama Thornton in 1952. This is her singing it in 1965.
Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton was born in 1926 and died in 1984) She’s also known for writing and recording ‘Ball ‘n’ Chain’.
Other interesting artist mentioned in the firstchapter is Little Esther (Esther Philips 1935-1984). Great Vocals!
Three tons of joy, Marie Adams and sisters Sadie and Francine McKinley.
I’ve just read the first chapter so there’s more bound to come.
I’m off to Greece and Thessaloniki so the next post is from there.
These last few weeks I’ve been reading a lot since I’ve found a new favourite author; Ken Bruen, who by the way been very productive. It is nice when you find someone who speaks directly to you, who seems to know what you want to read but still manages to make every page an adventure.
Most of my favourite authors are long since dead and buried; I love the crime-noir authors like Cornell Woolrich and Raymond Chandler, the authors of the Beat generation, Ayn Rand and many others (many of whom are but obscure footnotes in literature). Ken Bruen combines much of the prementioned and he adds in his writings lots and lots of references to novels, short stories, authors, poets, songwriters and musicians. To this comes a unique voice and languish which is probably what intrigues me the most and that create a universe of its own. His stories are not light nor are they difficult; they are intelligent, warm, humorous and just a little blue but more than that they are human.
Of the books and authors mentioned in his books I’ve read some but most I’ve never heard of, though I am now interested in knowing more of. Some refrences are easier or at least quicker to find, among them Irish musician Johnny Duhan who has several songs on youtube. He is mentioned as a favourite to the fictional ex guardi (cop) Jack Taylor and do in some way describes at least part of the mode in Bruens books;
Johnny Duhan – Just another town
Why Galway on my mind? Check out Bruens books!