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We wait until the break of dawn – the birth of our baby

We have been blessed with one of the most wonderful presents that life can hold for you. Beginning of May our baby boy Filip Henryk arrived to this world. My fiancée Iwona and I are all over the moon. He is such a beautiful boy and his eyes are very peaceful.

Filip was born early morning in Queen Elizabeth hospital near Woolwich. I am still taken by the serenity that was filling our hearts when he was there. There are no words that can describe these moments. The beginning of new life is simply a wonder. Our little boy is a little wonder.

I remember vividly how I felt in the following hours after Filip’s birth. I stepped out of the hospital. The life around the entrance area started buzzing. Everyone I saw had sparkle in his eyes. The sky opened up into a deep and bright blue, hinting at eternity. I felt warm light from the morning sun falling onto my face. While my mind was trying to think about what happened and what will happen next, my inner heart became quiet and peaceful. Everything was in one place. Everywhere was peace.

I sometimes like to sing Filip made-up songs. Sometimes I sing to him: ‘Sonne, Mond und Sterne haben Dich so gerne’ (freely translated: the sun, the moon, the stars, send you all their love’). When I felt  happiness of these early morning hours, it was a sentiment of knowing. Happiness does not just appear out of nothing. It has been there with you all the time. Now in this moment of clarity I was able see it, again.

I once wrote a song about these moments of clarity called ‘Early Morning Sun’. I wrote a first version of the song when I was 17 years old, based on a simple guitar harmony. Though it is a love song, the sentiment is the same: Peace arriving in the early morning hours.

 

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I wait
until break of dawn
to see
your smile
in the reflection of
the early sun

 

Filip

 

PS: my music took a break in the light of these events. I was also changing how I earn money outside of music. However, I have my next single, a wonderful video and a big album near completion. I am so excited about all this to come out very soon. I will keep you posted.

Gavin Bryars – Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet

I remember vividly the very first moment I listened to Gavin Bryars‘ composition and recording of ‘Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet’. There is something truly profound about this 25:27 minutes long recording. Today I know that it has influenced me into developing myself as an artist and musician as it has shifted me to further exploring the stillness and soul that you find in music.

It was about four years ago. I was in the kitchen preparing a supper and just changed my radio to BBC 3. There was almost nothing to hear so I needed to turn the volume up. There was only one voice singing and no instruments; a thin, crackling and fragile male singer chanting just one line in endless repetition. Some strings and brass appeared from the ether, gradually overlaying the stanza. The layers of sounds carried me away. All sorts of images moved in front of my eyes; I saw an endless sky with rays of light shining through distant clouds. The clouds gave way to warm lights falling into a wide-open sea. That sort of images kept appearing in my mind. The voice sang a religious line: ‘Jesus’ blood never failed me yet, never failed me yet, this one thing I know, for he loves me so’. The words kept sinking in. I came to realize that this was just one short voice recording, repeated in endless loops. The layers of strings and brass changed he colouring of the stanza profoundly; the same voice that just sounded fragile and anxious now appeared deeply soulful and optimistic. I could hear a whole life story in this short voice recording. Strings gently glided along the chanting, opening one grand room after another, into which I was flying with the music. The longer the recording carried on the lighter I felt, making place for a deep sense of serenity. The song gradually faded out and I was there sitting in silence.

 

 

I went on to find out about this musician. I found Gavin Bryars Ensemble, a 25:57 recording, in different versions released and first performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in December 1972. Gavin Bryars is a modern composer and artist. He was working with another artist on a film about people living rough in the area around Elephant & Castle and Waterloo. In the course of being filmed, some people broke into drunken song, as Bryars described “sometimes bits of opera, sometimes sentimental ballads.” (Read the full article on Wikipedia) One, who actually was not alcoholic, sang a religious song. Bryars found this recording on unused filming material. The singing was in tune with his piano and he also realised that the first section of the song formed a perfect loop. He eventually decided to add an orchestral arrangement around this loop. The homeless person, his name unknown, passed away before Byrars could play the recording to him.

 

The composition not only made me aware what music can convey. It also reminded me about the grace that is in everyone when you look only close enough.

 

(The photography I took in Malta last year, facing the sea from the island southwards)

Time flies by surprise – writing the song The Blue Yonder

Promises. There are so many promises all around. Whenever you turn money into something you get a promise in return. Refresh yourself, do something real, find stillness, get in connection, touch the magic. The sheer amount of promises appears to be a reflection on how deep the longing seems to be for these things. I believe you cannot long for something that you don’t know.

When writing the song The Blue Yonder I had not any meaning in mind – more expressing something deeply emotional. Often I cannot grasp these things but in my songs they find a form and everything feels right. Then, after years I find out other things the song is telling me. Though even that may change in the future. That is the case with The Blue Yonder. Now it seems the song is about all these promises around us and in us.

The first verse of my song The Blue Yonder is like an early childhood memory of a morning dawn. Children have the magic at their disposal naturally. They live in the moment and easily express what they feel. However, when growing up, this kind of immediate experience seems to become less clear.  Instead there appear promises, telling you about the magic, telling you what to do. And first doubts whether these promises can become true.

“The first thing I remember
morning dew came closer
the sun fell into my shaded room
like a promise to loom”

When I was growing out of my childhood I felt more distanced to the world. I could relate to what other people said about loosing the magic. Instead of magic I saw a strange new world. A strange face staring back in the mirror. It did not happen immediately, so I cannot say when this change happened. Soon dark feelings surfaced. I did not reflect on these though – these were just some strange distant sounds.

“The next thing I remember
darkness my eyes seem to enter
in the distance a car is roaring
a sound that turns into a slow soaring”

The chorus comes with a change of energy. I have images in front of my eyes like these old surreal movies from the 20ies where clocks are turning in high speed. Time flies by surprise. All the images appear and fade in fast motion. Time can be like a promise that never becomes real. Sometimes, people want to be in a different time. Be somewhere else. Be somebody else.

“They say time flies by surprise
“I know time slips through my hands
I wonder why when living beyond The Blue Yonder?”

The third verse is about a moment of open eyes. Like a child running with tailwind. The unknown fire is ever present and never vanishes.

“Living with the unknown fire,
that makes me warm and entire
like a child running with tailwind
feel the air as you breathe in”

The last verse, an emergency room scene. Staring at the blind spot, not seeing the real blind spot.

“The last thing I remember
my eyes open in a white chamber
the nurses connecting dots
their eyes seemed fixed on a blind spot”

I had an earlier version of The Blue Yonder that I called Oblivion. I had this version for seven years and it became a companion throughout times, especially when I faced many changes in my life; like a good friend who is always there. However, there was a gap in the song that I could not grasp. I played the song many times to look for what the song is telling me. One day I was taken by the striking energy in this song. It seemed to embrace the world, it made me feel light and upbeat like a child. I knew I had to follow this trace. I rewrote the lyrics and changed some chords. In one day The Blue Yonder was finished – for now.

 

The Blue Yonder video

 

The Blue Yonder is the first single from my up-coming album ‘Here and Now‘. Purchase the single here on Amazon and on iTunes. Watch the official video for The Blue Yonder here.

The Secret

This is another song from my up-coming debut album Here and Now. I call it the Secret.

I started improvising with my guitar and soon vivid images carried me away. I saw myself at a scene on a lost beach with strong winds thrashing grains of sand and catching my face. I was chasing sea gulls and saw how the birds lifted away into the blue. The sun was drying wide banks of sands. There I found myself at a peaceful spot listening to all these sounds. I saw flowers pointing towards the open sky and moving with the wind, painting the sky with colours. I started writing the song.

Here is a sample of The Secret on Soundcloud:

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The Secret

Everything that I know
Chains of words and a jigsaw
Were blown away by the fiercely breeze
From the distant crashing seas

And leave behind a little boy
Playing quietly and with joy

How did I know
There’s a secret that unfold?
break light into three colours
Paint the sky with soaring flowers

The sea gulls soar into the sky
Salty waves spit water into my eyes
As I crawl into the wild
With nowhere to hide

She whispers into the boys ears
Then blows away his tears

How did I know
There’s a secret that unfold?
break light into three colours
Paint the sky with soaring flowers

The blue doors – George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord”

One day I went for a stroll in Soho and got into a side path called St Anne’s Court in London. It’s a connection between Dean Street and Wardour Street filled with sandwich shops, bars, cafes, a bakery, a hair dresser, a DIY store. Flowers were hanging from lamp posts and soft lights fell onto the usually busy crowds. In front of a big blue door a small crowd was gathering. I overheard a guy saying something about the first four track machine in the UK and the Beatles having recorded there. He also mentioned a list hung up into the door window so people can see who else recorded there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next time I had a chance I looked at the list. The Beatles recorded there Hey Jude, The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers, David Bowie The Space Oddity, Lou Reed Take a Look at the Wild Side, Elton John Saturday’s Night Alright, Carly Simon You’re So Vain and Queen The Bohemian Rhapsody. When you look up The Trident Studios  you will find out that many more artists recorded there. It was one of the most vibrant recording studios in the late 60ies and early 70ies in the UK. There must be something special about a music studio that facilitated the recording of so many wonderful artists and songs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The one song on the list that moved me the most was George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” recorded in January 1970. I had the melody immediately on my mind as I walked on. “My sweet Lord … my sweet Lord”. I remembered when I heard the song as a child the first time on the radio. We were all in the car coming home from a family weekend break. I always loved listening to the radio on journeys with my eyes wandering over the passing landscape. There is so much movement in “My Sweet Lord”. The rhythm of the acoustic guitars are uplifting and George Harrison sings wonderfully as he takes you onto a journey to God: “Oh Lord, I want to feel you”. The choir sets in “Halleluja”, voices like angels. “Halleluja”. Soon it interchanges with “Hare Krishna”. Peace is something you can feel anywhere on the world no matter in what settings you were born.

At home I listened to the song again. I felt deep serenity and gratitude. This is what music can do.

 

 

“We miss you Lucky Jim” – Jeffrey Lee Pierce

The lights are dimmed. Four musicians enter the stage in a small bar called the Kerosin in Augsburg, Germany. Orange and red light spots travel like satellites through the dark room, reflections from a disco ball hanging nearby the stage. You cannot figure out the musicians, dark silhouettes moving on the stage. The back wall is covered with worn out silver curtain fringes. Instruments are plugged in with cracking noises. Everyone is waiting, a surreal moment of silence. I make out the last musician entering the stage. He is all in black, only his pale face is visible. He looks sick. He seems to wait for something. After a few seconds he mumbles “shit”. Then he plugs in the guitar and starts to play. The first strums of his guitar sounds loud and wonderful. Then the whole band sets-in, fully igniting like a rocket going off. The musicians are totally on fire. It is loud, way too loud. The air soon gets hot and tight. The drummer keeps gasping for breath, working hard through the songs. The second guitar player is ferociously haunting dark spirits with his electric guitar. The female base player is blasting drones through the beats. And Jeffrey Lee Pierce sings. What a voice. What a beautiful voice shines through the haze.

Only through this gig I have found Jeffrey Lee Pierce. I am not sure I would have got into The Gun Club in any other way. All their acclaimed first records are very explosive and unique and yet they lack something that I saw on the gig. Through the live performance I became a fan of The Gun Club for some time, a band many consider to be one of the most interesting bands of the 80ies. They are Los Angeles punk interwoven with American blues and country, a voodoo like sound full of blasting energy.  I listened a lot to the album Miami. On this Jeffrey Lee Pearce voice is staggering yet heart breaking. He sings as if ridden by the devil, and often he sings beyond the tunes, flying off to a different place with no direction. Miami is masterful yet dark, unsolved.

My fascination for The Gun Club was for their dark and anger ridden side. I don’t have this fascination anymore. Maybe these were wrong reasons to like The Gun Club. I used to select music when it expressed enough pain or melancholy. Now I think differently. I know that looking at shadows is important, but without a glimpse of resolution or light it is meaningless to me.

There is one song by The Gun Club that keeps me moving until today. It is Lucky Jim, the first song of The Gun Club’s last album released in 1993 and the name of the tour that brought them to the Kerosin in 1994 (a few years Jeffrey Lee Pierce sadly passed away, aged only 37 from a brain hemorrhage).

In the song Lucky Jim radiates a special light. Something I saw in the gig. It is in Jeffrey Lee Pierce voice, one of the greatest I have ever heard.

 

(A fan uploaded the 1968 documentary “Salesman” by Albert and David Maysles to this song)

Either Or – Elliott Smith’s Row

Every time I walk from my home to Elephant & Caste in London I pass by Elliot’s Row. The road sign is mounted up on a solid brick wall, completely on its own with surrounding bricks washed with dirt and smut. The road connects to another road, or a bus station, or a college nearby. There is a row of Victorian houses. Opposite are some backyards of grey buildings with no faces. The road always makes me stop. Elliott’s Row it says. The Ballad of Big Nothing it sings. A Rose Parade was here. It is a place Between the Bars. Where you Say Yes. Either Or.

Elliott Smith‘s album Either Or has been my home for some time and very influential to my music. I can relate to every second, every hush in his voice, every picking and chord flickering from his acoustic guitar, and the deep soul in his songs. Not perfectly produced, not with many instrumentation, but speaking to your heart.

Some of Elliott Smith’s songs on Either Or are melancholic. But this is only one side of his music. There is a strong uplifting side as well. Maybe less obvious. One that will make you want to embrace life.

I feel that light and darkness are tied together in his music. One does not exist without the other. When he sings I either hear deeply rooted sadness. Or I hear optimism and pure enjoyment. Either Or.

There is a beautiful old car parking. It is ready to go to Angeles. It’s Elliott’s Row. I walk on, grateful.

 

 

(A fan made this video for the Elliott Smith’s Angeles)

 

 

A preview video of my debut album Here and Now

This is like a dream come true. I am completing the final steps for my debut album Here and Now and my songs have become even more beautiful than I dared to imagine. I will have the album finished soon but it’s going to take some time until I can actually release the album. This will be in December. I thought I give you something already now. So here is a preview video where you can hear and see six songs from Here and Now.

I directed, shot and edited all the videos in this preview. I like to use simple ideas to visualise my music. You will see such things like a running fountain in close-up, a slowly floating ice shield, a reflection of the sun bouncing on water, or a leaf held against the dazzling sun.

The Blue Yonder is the first single from my album. I like this song to be a blueprint for my album as it represents all shades of music you will find on Here and Now. For me the song is about staying in touch with an inner sense of peace. Though “time flies by surprise” there are moments of bliss where you feel something deep within, “the unknown fire that makes you whole and entire”.

 

 

St James Park is a declaration of love for life. St James Park in London is indeed where the song started. I often passed by the Park whilst I was humming the song. You are here now I thought. The lines were taking shape: “the leaves on the trees that rustle in the air create a space, that makes me aware of the warmth and the beauty of her face”.

I am optimistic. I believe this weaves through every song on the album, even those exploring the darker aspects of life. I want my music to be accessible and real, but nothing stays dark forever. Even from the most murky places light and hope will always exist.

Fools of Love – a duet with Honduran/British singer Cecilia Delgado – is one such song where I want to express both the longing and uplifting side of love. I am very fond of this song and I am so glad that Cecilia was singing the female part. She is a truly special person and you can feel this in every moment she sings. This will be my second single from my album and the release date will be end of September.

You may notice that there is no percussion on the tracks. I always wanted to record music with only the essentials, a few instruments and the voice. I feel that my songs don’t need more instrumentation. The music takes shape in between the notes, in the space in between, and so does the rhythm evolve naturally.

September, one of two songs I sing in German, is such song with an inner rhythm. The song is about facing death and separation: “Die üblichen Gedanken gehen mir schweigend aus dem Sinn. Nichts ist was ich schon mal sah. Nichts ist ganz sonderbar. Nichts ist ganz sonderbar” (“The usual thoughts leave my mind in silent. Nothing is like it used to be. Nothing is strange. Nothing is strange”)

Early Morning Sun. Long time ago I found a guitar riff that I associated with the sentiment of unconditional love. The riff turned into a song, and the song changed over years. However the changes, the images I associated with the song always remained. Now I feel I have separated shadows from earlier versions of the song. The song is now complete.

The journey on my preview video concludes with Peace. The song is about the freedom found when stop running hard to be fast enough: “I don’t mind that I don’t know, and I don’t know that I don’t mind, this is when things are at peace”.

I plan to publish a video for every song of my album over the next year. I have a lot of video material in preparation already, and I have friends and video artist who will contribute as well.

My dear friends, I am excited about this album and about the future!

The Tailwind on acoustic guitar

The Tailwind. The Tailwind carries you and it carries you further and beyond. It gives you a sense of lightness. I always enjoy improvising on my acoustic guitar. I like to follow on the spur of the moment and I never know where the journey is going to get me. The Tailwind is one of the bonus tracks on my single “The Blue Yonder“, the first release from my up-coming debut album Here and Now. I added it to the single as it fits to the third verse of the song where I sing: “living with the unknown fire that makes you whole and entire, like a child running with tailwind”.

A feeling of lightness and a sense of magic is something that children seem to have naturally at their disposal. When I got older I felt for some time that I had lost the connection to this sense of lightness. As if something got in between me and the magic. As if the tailwind had turned into a stiff wind blowing against me.

Living in London you just can’t ignore how many people are rushing with their eyes blinkered as if not aware what is going on around them. I too find myself in situations where I stop and ask myself  “Where was I the last five minutes?” and I look back and I realise that I did not notice the people passing by, a twinkle in their eyes, the amazing twisting clouds mounting up in front of a glowing late evening sky.

The tailwind is always there when you turn and take the wind with you. This is what I feel about making music or shooting photos or videos. I follow my intuition and my music evolves. I film somewhere spontaneously and something happens. This is how I came about playing the guitar for The Tailwind and making the video.

The slow-motion flashing blue lights in the first scene are embedded into the pavement under a bridge nearby London Bridge. The turning robot face was in a shopping window near Liverpool Street. In the closing scene I followed the light projections thrown onto the Heron Tower in London. These moments appear to be signposts to a world beyond the rationale. They seem to be traces to something magical. We seem to be familiar with what they express. The robot’s eyes were flashing and sparkling as if in excitement. Like the eyes of people you meet everyday.

Fools of Love with Cecilia Delgado

Fools of Love. The song features the amazing singer Cecilia Delgado. I feel so privileged that she is singing on this song for my album Here and Now.

I wrote the song Fools of Love two years ago. I remember listening to a first recording on my mp3 player whilst being on a bus journey back from work. Sitting on top of a double-decker my eyes were gazing from Bayswater Road over Hyde Park. The clouds were heavy with water and the air was light yet somewhat hazy and grey. I thought Fools of Love was a sad song.

A Saturday in May. I am with Cecilia in her house in South London where she lives with her family. We set up the equipment in the lobby. There was the entry door, an old upright piano, some stairs to the upper floor, old woodwork along the walls and white painting. She painted the whole house herself. This is her home, she said, this is the place where I had been living for most of my life. The atmosphere was light and inspiring. We practiced the song a couple of times and tried various ways of singing the lines.

Cecilia was born in Honduras and has been living in England for almost all of her life. You can hear some Latin American roots in her voice blending with her English personality. When she sang with headphones on, I could listen to her voice without any music around. I simply felt taken by her charming and warm voice. I also came to realise something else. I felt that the inspiration was also coming from the song. Two years back I did not see how optimistic and uplifting the song is. Thanks to Cecilia I do know now.

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Cecilia Delgado