2 Shades of Grey

Songs from the soundtrack of your life


A Lithuanian folk song for Christmas

Man patinka Lietuva

Sigita, my Lithuanian teacher at VDU in Kaunas, sent me this at Christmas a couple of years ago before I started this blog.

So now I want to share it with you, my Lithuanian friends and colleagues and followers of my blog. It’s a song from the Dzukija region performed by a collaboration between Donis and Kūlgrinda.

Donis is a Lithuanian ambient, neofolk and experimental music project created by the Klaipėda multi-instrumentalist Donatas Bielkauskas.

Kūlgrinda is a neofolk/pagan folk band from Vilnius, Lithuania, established in 1990 by Inja and Jonas Trinkūnas. The band owes its name to kūlgrinda – a secret Samogitian underwater causeway.

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I was in Vilnius and I heard Lily was here

Walking through the back streets of Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, on my last visit I heard the strains of “Here Comes the Rain Again“. It sounded like the Eurythmics but not quite them.

DSC00256On my way back I heard it again and realised it was coming from an artist’s studio. I went in and met Cica, the artist, playing a vinyl record by Dave Stewart and Candy Dufler over and over again, particularly the haunting track “Lily was here”.

As we chatted about his art, his visits toLondon, his disillusionment with the way things were being run in Lithuania, and his aspirations for a better Lithuania for his children he just kept re-playing this track. It got into my head. I knew I knew the tune but where from?

DSC00262He called me Big Mike, offered me a coffee and his philosophy on life and art. He thought Beatlemania had been a force for change; something a Ukrainian composer, Sparinsky, also told me in Kiev a few years ago. Strange what we take for granted but then we were never under soviet occupation.

I later discovered the tune was released in November 1989, from the the soundtrack of a Dutch film De Kassière.

David A. Stewart wrote the soundtrack and invited Candy Dulfer, who had not previously released any of her material, to play the saxophone on this instrumental. The single became a major hit and stayed at the No 1 position for five weeks in The Netherlands.

Because of its success, the single was then released in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States where it also became a hit, reaching No. 6  in the UK and No. 11 in the U.S..

His vinyl record had three tracks; “Lily was here“, “Here Comes the Rain again” and one other I can’t remember – possibly “Lily robs the bank“.

But it was “Lily was here” which haunted me for the rest of my stay.

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Street Music in Vilnius

Man patinka Lietuva

DSCF1131 You don’t see that many street musicians , or buskers as we call them in the UK, around in Vilnius. But here are a couple of them (right) outside the Europa Centre on Konstitucijos pr. with an unusual combination of instruments.

DSCF1628The most popular site is on Pilies g. (Castle St) the cobbled street that wends its way from near the cathedral square up to the town hall. (Keep walking up the main street and you come to to the last remaining perimeter gate , the gates of Dawn, from the days when Vilnius was a walled city).

That was where this couple (left) were performing, next to the little outdoor market, singing Russian folk songs.

I asked them why they were singing Russian songs. They said their parents were Russian speaking and that Lithuanian folk songs were too sad.

P1010487 - Version 2This girl singer/guitarist was also playing near the…

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