Pink Martini: U Plavu Zoru

Written by Laura Lee Everett

OPERA America

In category: Song of the Day

Published December 17, 2015

LLE headshotThis week our SoTD curator is Laura Lee Everett, the Director of Artistic Services at OPERA America, who’s had a long and varied career in opera—stage managing, mentoring young artists, facilitating the creation of new works, and more—at companies all across the U.S., from Alaska to Virginia.  (She’s also helped NYFOS present our NYFOS Next series at the National Opera Center for the past few years. You can catch it there in February 2016!)  Thank you and welcome, Laura Lee!

I really like songs from other places that have a distinct sound and feel to them that tells you where they grew. One of the greatest things about so many of my peers and colleagues is that they are not from here, meaning the United States. It allows me to learn about music from other cultures, with other sounds and languages. In turn, I learn about the people from those places, cultures and religions through their ears, their music.

A friend was playing a song at a party that caught my ear and I said “WHAT is that? I love it!”

PM.pngThis “small orchestra” from Portland, Oregon of 12-14 musicians writes their own songs in at least 10 languages. Thomas Lauderdale, a classical pianist from Indiana and China Forbes, a singer with a gift for languages, co-wrote most of the songs that the band performs. Their sound is wonderfully eclectic and diverse, designed to bring people together around the piano. They have many a story telling song painted with the sounds of other lands and cultures. And they are fantastic live, often performing with symphony orchestras around the world.

The song of theirs that I find both beautiful and haunting is written in Croatian. I have no idea how to translate it. But the cello (played brilliantly by Pansy Chang from Vienna, Virginia), the driving rhythm section and the color of the piano lines make me listen to it again and again.

U plavu zoru                                               At Blue Dawn
Tiha noc                                                        Silent night
Sjene su u bijegu                                        shadows are in hiding
Ja cujem zvuk                                              I hear a sound
Sta blize zove me                                       that’s calling me closer

U plavu zoru                                                 At blue dawn
Sa svjetlom, tu                                             with a light, there
Na mojo vrata                                              at my door
Ti stizes                                                          you’re coming
Naci ces                                                          You will find
Praznu postelju moju                                my empty bed
Dok vlak nosi                                               while the train is taking
Me’ daleko                                                    me far away

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    This is absolutely one of my favorite songs of all time.

    I wish I could remember how I encountered it.


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