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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Listen Closely [From the backblog] 

Last Saturday, as we were getting ready for B---'s third birthday party, Evelin had the idea that we should burn a CD of kids' tunes for him. Naturally, since B--- is German, most of the kids' music he has in German stuff; Evelin thought it might be fun to give him some English-language songs for him. Celeste was helping me pick songs, and she was insisting we put "the pig song" on the disc.

I had no idea what song she was talking about*, so I searched for "pig" on the hard disk that has all the music I've offloaded from CDs and/or acquired digitally.

Nothing promising popped up, but I was intrigued by the Gina Rocco and the Rockettes [ MySpace | label ] cut "Pigtails" from her album Sea Tulip, so I played it. Celeste was still on my lap, and at first I didn't notice how closely she was listening to the lyrics:
As she cut off her pigtails / Put them in a supermarket bag
Said, I don't care what you do with them / I just want to forget
Forget my hair / Forget that it was ever there
Forget, forget my hair

Then she walked past her shadow / Without even recognizing it
Said, There isn't anything to lose / And there's no where to hide
I cut my hair / Is there anyone under there?
Forget, forget my hair

As she cut off her pigtails / Put them in a supermarket bag
Said, I don't care what you do with them / I just want to forget
Forget my hair / Forget everything I was last year
Forget, forget my hair
Suddenly Celeste sort of quietly asked: "Why did she cut her hair?" Evelin's been talking to Celeste about getting a haircut on and off, so maybe that's why it stuck in her mind, but clearly she was listening to the lyrics quite closely.

This afternoon, I was playing her a cut from Gruff Rhys, "Gyrru Gyrru Gyrru" from the album Candylion. I told her to listen closely to the song, and she did, but it was obvious she was confused.

I explained to her that the song was in a language called Welsh, and reminded her how B--- and his family spoke German and how Ms. ხ--- spoke Georgian, and she nodded. I then tried to get her to focus on/isolate the word gyrru in the song (easy to do, since it's repeated quite often), and she nodded. I then told her that gyrru is the Welsh word for "driving" and that the song is all about buses and trains and transport. Upon hearing this, Celeste broke into a big smile and started liking the tune ...

*A week later, Evelin realized Celeste might have been thinking of "Pig Island" by Scott Bakula, from the Sandra Boyton CD Philadelphia Chickens.

Per an interview Gruff gave to BBC Wales: "There's a track called 'Gyrru Gyrru Gyrru,' which means 'Driving Driving Driving' — it's a road song. The lyrics are about transport, getting to A to B by rowing boat, or helicopter."

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