Mappamundi: songs of "Courting Disaster"
Mappamundi: songs of "Courting Disaster"
The album Courting Disaster
formed the basis of an amusing program we recently produced for Valentine's Day. Here is a random sampling of our multitudinous collection of love songs. Of course not every
song is about a disaster: how cynical do you think we can be?
- Was That the Human Thing to Do?
- This question was originally posed by the Boswell Sisters
- Away with These Self-Loving Lads
- From John Dowland's "First Book of Songes" in 1597; fools and love have been linked for centuries
- Why Do Fools Fall in Love?
- A 1950s chestnut, by Frankie Lyman
- Na Pirino Mome (a girl in the Pirin Mountains)
- From Macedonia: "Why are you so beautiful, girl?" "Because I've drunk Pirin water and walked on Pirin's grass; because a Bulgarian mother bore me and Mother Pirin raised me."
- Kissin's Nae Sin
- Scottish, from the singing of Ewan MacColl: "if it wasna lawful, lawyers would not allow it ... if it wasna plentiful, poor folk wouldna get it."
- Chant de Foulon
- French Canadian weaving song: a maiden falls into a well, and a passing baron asks what she'll give him if he pulls her out. She says: "Pull away, then we'll see!"
- Tayere Malkele
- Yiddish: When Malkele raises her eyebrows, the sun is ashamed. Her joy brings paradise. When her eyes sparkle, it seems seraphs are gazing. She's more beautiful than Shulamis, hotter than the month of Tamuz..."
- The Fit's Come on me Now
- "There's butchers and bakers, and boys that follow the plough - I must and will get married cause the fit's come on me now." A mother's nightmare.
- By the Mexican composer Agustin Lara: "After I swear that I hate you, after I have so much suffering to forget, I have remembered you again."
- Bisero Cerko
- A Macedonian mother begs: "Bisero, don't marry that Turk cause he doesn't go to church!" "Mother, by the will of God I WILL be a Turkish bride!"
- Making Whoopie
- By Donaldson and Kahn, made famous by Eddie Cantor. Jane updated the peculiar lyrics.
- Na Ugorje
- (Russian) A mother braids her daughter's hair; the daughter is marrying and moving far away
- Break Now, My Heart, and Die
- From Thomas Campion's "Third Book of Ayres" 1617. Jane put some of the lyrics together from various sullen Elizabethan verses
- I'm Beginning to See the Light
- Incendiary images from Duke Ellington, Johnny Hodges, and Harry James
- You Got to Know How
- By Sippy Wallace, revived by Bonny Raitt.
- Alta, Alta
- Sephardic, collected in Rhodes: "High rises the moon - a girl without luck had better not have been born. I was born into a high family, I knew nothing about laboring ... I was fifteen when I met you, you villain, may God punish you for what you've done."
- Touch But My Lips with Those Fair Lips of Thine
- From Shakespeare's "Venus and Adonis" - Venus, an immortal, begs for a kiss (or two) from the really buff shephard she has fallen madly in love with.
- The Peggy Lee favorite, frenzied love through the ages
- Yiddish: "I'd sell my boots, I'd sleep on the floor, I'd sell shawls to strangers and wash floors just to stay with you, my kitten, my little bird." A song of obsession.
- Take a Bumper and Try
- From Colonial America: the reasons she has left her lover and chooses to hang out in the tavern instead. For the world-weary among us.
- Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst
- Mel Brooks, from "The Twelve Chairs."
- Con los Anos
- A song begging for a second chance that may last a lifetime: learned from the singing of Gloria Estefan for a Spanish wedding.
Since Mappamundi has adopted the "Courting Disaster" theme, men's contributions are now included:
- Meet Me in St Louis, Louis
- Though she has left him, she promises: "We will dance the hoochie-koochie, you will be my tootsie-wootsie, if you will meet me ..."
- San Kemene
- Greek: "How could you ever leave a great guy like me? You will never find another man as wonderful as I am!"
- All of Me
- "You took the part that once was my heart, so why not take all of me?"
- From Grapelli and Reinhardt: "First you say you will and then you won't..."