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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..."