Apocalyptica in Bucharest – or how live music is the closest we get to magic

Apocalyptica descended upon Bucharest in a show we will surely remember. They have been celebrating their 20th anniversary for a few years, so we were glad to see them return with Apocalyptica plays Metallica by 4 cellos.

First of all, we all know Apocalyptica, the world famous metal cello band. I had seen them last year in a festival so I already knew just how incredible their live show was. That being said, we were not ready for what came. It was an incredible night of emotional music, that left us all wondering how they can do all of that with just cellos. But more than that, their stage presence, their charisma, their wit, all made for a great evening.

The show had two parts, the first seeing the 4 celloists in front of panels, creating such a powerful image. Would have been much appreciated if the stage was not so low, and most of us could have actually seen that. The magic of a cello show is that the audience can be heard so much louder, somehow making a 1700 people show seem so intimate and special. Though you’d expect the public to singalong a bit more loudly to well known Metallica songs.

They started strong with bangers like Enter Sandman and Master of Puppets, continuing to play songs from their first ever album (obviously Metallica cover album). It was really magical from beginning to end. Even for those who knew the band, myself included, it was surprising and incredible to hear it all and know it’s being done just with 4 cellos. The sound and atmosphere was just so intense.

Photo credits: Adelina Sahlean

The second part of the show was heavier, with the appearance of drummer Mikko Sirén and hist very interesting drum set. They took us through well known songs, but also included some gems such as Orion or Escape. And for a little snippet for those who paid attention, during Seek & Destroy, they also gave us some tunes from AC/DC’s Thunderstruck.

Photo credits: Adelina Sahlean

What I must definitely mention is that I have rarely seen better interaction with the public. Eicca and Perttu took turns engaging the crowd, sharing anecdotes, being funny and very charming. Kudos to Perttu for being quick silver on stage, running all around while playing a cello. And a huge bow to Eicca, who clearly fought through fever and illness to still give us one hell of a show.

It’s been a couple of days and I am still thinking of how great the show was. We all knew they are great musicians, but seeing them on stage is something else. The whole show is just something else, pure magic. I am so glad we were able to see them in Bucharest once again, and let’s hope we do this again soon.

Holidays inside the heart of Romania (I)

When I think of traveling, two words come to mind: happiness and diversity.

I have always thought that this world is too small to stay in one place (or, to, you know – just work and pay bills). But while we are really eager to discover new faraway places and jump into a totally new world and culture, we sometimes wrongly disregard the closer ones. Our next unknown destination could lie next to us, but not trigger our curiosity because it doesn’t seem foreign enough.

Somehow (and some of you may resonate with me here) I used to not consider my own country so interesting to visit, thinking that I knew everything or just because it was one too easy goal to achieve. The truth is that you never know enough until you go there. Romania can be enchanting thanks to a bunch of small, simple features which, gathered altogether, depict a beautiful country.

Bucharest used to be known as the “little Paris”, while these days it has become “the lively and chaotic capital with cheap beer”; Brasov is where Dracula lives, a gem in the heart of Transylvania. Then there are many outstandingly beautiful areas of Romania that tourists appreciate for the tradition that is still kept in place, like a pocket of time.

Traditions are kept in the North (maybe “the North remembers” could have more meanings, if you think about it). In Bucovina and Maramures one can find the real “lively” spirit of Romania and its real wealth: the fully green hills and valleys and the warm-hearted people. In my last trip I got to know them all.

First stop: Putna

Putna or Stephane the Great´s place

I couldn’t think of a better place as an opening to this journey. It introduces you to a peaceful and story-like atmosphere. Its two main elements are the hills and the Monastery. They are peaceful and, literally legendary at the same time, as the region plays an important role in History.

The Monastery of Putna was built under the orders of Stephan the Great, ruler of Moldavia between 1547 and 1504. There is a nice story behind it, which also connects the two key attractions I have just mentioned. On the upside of the hill there is a big cross, which lights up at night and represents an important symbol of the construction of the Monastery. It is said that Stefan aimed with his arch from that spot, saying that, wherever he would shoot, he would build the abbey. I also recommend climbing up until there. It is totally worth it and you can follow Stephan´s steps. I would leave the arch home though…

Vatra Dornei

Imagine arriving to a wide space that looks like the scenery we usually create in our head when we want to calm down and think of something relaxing. You know…when you imagine running on a large field, on a sunny day, feeling free and happy in the arms of the nature. This is exactly how it feels once you drive closer and closer to the heart of Bucovina. More than Vatra Dornei itself, as a city, there are the surroundings in there that totally grasp you. Oh, and their food. They have really good “ciorba”.

The accommodation in there makes a difference also, as most of the guesthouses are actually chalets located outside of the city, as high on the hill as possible. That way you can enjoy a beautiful view in the morning while drinking your coffee or watch the stars at night. They are usually way more visible from a large field. A good reason why the cabin we stayed at was called “the Dream House”.

Our stop here included more and more amazing landscapes to admire. The chairlift really lifts you. It lifts your state of mind. The road to the top of the hill with the chairlift, between trees and large areas of fields opening in front of us every five minutes, made me realize I hadn’t felt so relaxed in a long time. Arriving there, we were welcome by traditional Bucovenian music and an appealing smell of “mici”. It couldn´t get more Romanian than that. It is also a great place for trying horse-riding and visiting a stable.

Metal Gates Festival: Costin Chioreanu to join Hamferd on stage for a LIVE PAINTING Session

Hamferd show from Metal Gates Festival 2019, promise to be enveloped in a unique and dark artistic ceremony that cannot be missed!
The Romanian artist Costin Chioreanu will join the 6 musicians from Hamferd, on stage, for a LIVE PAINTING Session during the entire show!
The theme and the dynamics of their music will lead the entire creative process of this live session and will define the final paiting.
This fusion is not a random one, as Costin Chioreanu is in charge with Hamferd visual graphics since 2018.

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Metal Gates Festival 2019 – Programul pe zile METAL GATES FESTIVAL 2019 – PROGRAMUL PE ZILE

Metal Gates Festival 2019 – Programul pe zile


Sambata – 19 octombrie 2019
16:30 – open doors
17:00 – 17:40 – Molybaron
18:00 – 18:40 – Marche Funebre
19:00 – 19:40 – Taine
20:00 – 20:40 – Clouds
21:00 – 21:50 – Ancient
22:10 – 23:10 – A Pale Horse Named Death
23:40 – 01:00 – Dark Tranquillity

Duminica – 20 octombrie 2019
16:30 – open doors
17:00 – 17:40 – Pillgrimage
18:00 – 18:40 – Descend Into Despair
19:00 – 19:40 – Officium Triste
20:00 – 20:40 – Hamferd
21:00 – 21:50 – Antimatter
22:10 – 23:10 – Dagoba
23:40 – 01:00 – Taake

Bilete Metal Gates Festivalhttps://www.iabilet.ro/site/event/42433/
Organizatorii incurajeaza cumpararea doar din surse oficiale.

A treia ediție a festivalului Metal Gates 2019, organizat de Final Step Productions, va avea loc pe parcursul a două zile în perioada 19 – 20 octombrie 2019 în Club Quantic, București și va aduna trupe din întreaga lume.

Myrath revine în România pentru două concerte memorabile!​

Iată că în 2020 încheiem iarna cu două concerte călduroase: MYRATH revine în România pentru a susține două concerte memorabile în București și Brașov alături de un invitat special: Eleine.

Pe data de 28 februarie 2020 ne vedem în clubul Quantic din București, iar pe 29 februarie, în clubul Rockstadt din Brașov, unde vom întâmpina primăvara cu una dintre cele mai călduroase formații metal.

Cu un stil propriu de progressive metal îmbinat cu influențe orientale, incredibil de personal chiar, Myrath a devenit încet-încet una dintre cele mai fascinante formații de pe scena internațională, iar acum revin în România. Aducând împreună influențe progressive și ritmuri catchy, ultimul lor album, „Shehili”, combină muzica arabă și bucăți groovy din „Tales Of The Sands” (2011) cu aranjamente muzicale lucrate cu grijă și structuri intrigante din cea mai recentă operă, „Legacy” (2016).
Inovativ și totuși fidel sunetului specific Myrath, „Shehili” îndrăznește să stabilească un contrast între melodii vesele și versuri extrem de bine gândite, dar triste. Acest aspect se poate observa cel mai bine în „Dance”, piesă care spune povestea „unui dansator sirian care primește amenințări cu moartea de la Isis, dar a ales să continue să danseze, chiar dacă asta însemna să danseze printre ruine și morminte”, așa cum spune Zaher Zorgati. „Țelul muzicii noastre este să inducă fericire și bucurie, să fie un tribut pentru cei care refuză să cadă sau să se oprească din a spera, chiar și într-o lume plină de ură și incertitudine.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2rKORvyOcM

Departe de clișeele care se regăsesc la multe formații metal moderne, ”Shehili”, deși produs cu o grijă extraordinară, păstrează o aromă organică și naturală. Tobele au fost înregistrate în Hamburg, Germania, de Eike Freese (Deep Purple, Gamma Ray), părțile de vioară – datorită chiar Orchestrei Simfonice din Tunisia – au fost trase în Tunis, iar restul albumului a fost înregistrat de Kevin Codfert care s-a asigurat că absolut fiecare notă și-a găsit locul.

„Shehili” a fost produs cu pasiune și o deosebită atenție la detalii de trei producători: Codfert, Freese și Jens Bogren (a mai lucrat și la „Legacy”), astfel fiecare piesă a primit cel mai bun tratament.

Acum, ce înseamnă „Shehili” vă întrebați? Acest cuvânt arab enigmatic și poetic e numele unui vânt antic care vine tocmai din dunele Saharei. Atingerea blândă a unei brize care-ți șoptește legende la ureche și-ți deschide calea către vise… N-aveți de ales, trebuie să ascultați aceste minunate melodii și să vă pierdeți în ele.

Cu simfonii armonioase, heavy metal și un show live captivant, Eleine a devenit una dintre cele mai apreciate formații metal tinere care oferă un spectacol ce nu trebuie ratat. Încă de la lansarea albumului de debut în 2015 și al doilea album, „Until The End” în 2018 care s-a aflat pe locul 1 în topurile de vânzări suedeze, au fost ocupați cu turnee europene, în Japonia și Marea Britanie ca headlineri, dar și ca support act pentru formații ca W.A.S.P., Moonspell sau Arch Enemy.

Biletele, în număr limitat, se pot achiziționa exclusiv de pe AmBilet.ro la următoarele prețuri:

  • 80 lei 59 lei – Earlybird (preț redus pentru primele 50 bilete)
  • 80 lei 69 lei – Presale (preț redus pana pe data de  28 februarie, inclusiv)
  • 80 lei – Acces (preţ în ziua evenimentului, atât online cât și la intrare)

Taxa de procesare: 5 lei / bilet.

Evanescence Brought Bucharest to Life

Bucharest was definitely Brought to Life! Once again Evanescence graced us with their music and presence and we were there for it.

The night was opened by Chaos Magic, who were bringing a nice rendition of symphonic metal. The crowd was gathering surprisingly early and they did play to a lot of people. The lead singer, Caterina Nix, can really show off powerful vocals. It was a nice way to start the evening.

Next up were Veridia, who I can only describe as “Ariana Grande with guitars”, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think they sounded very good and were a good choice opening up for Evanescence. But the singer had her ponytail and moved and sang like Ariana Grande :)) They were fun and I will probably listen to their material some other time. Yes, many people were upset because “it’s not truuu metal”, but I am petty like that so I want to like the band even more.

There aren’t a lot of bands that make me as nostalgic as Evanescence does. The main difference is that they still got it. The could be touring with the same setlist for the next few decades and it will not be enough. There’s nothing quite like hearing “Bring Me To Life” sang live. Yes, it was missing the male vocals. But knowing that they were only included in the song by sheer force of the label, who though Amy Lee could not anchor a song on her, I am more than happy to hear the crowd fill in and try to sing both parts at once.

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Photo by Carlos Funes

The setlist moved graciously through energetic songs and heart-wrenching ballads. The audience was not all that energetic, but on softer songs like “My Immortal”, “Call Me When You’re Sober” or “Lithium”, they joined in for a very emotional rendition of the songs. As for the more energetic “Going Under”, “What You Want”, or “All That I Am Living for”, I screamed my lungs out. I cannot pretend to be the biggest Evanescence fan. I am more of a “I used to listen to it in 7th grade and I hope I still remember the lyrics” fan, but I still enjoyed the show.

An extra special moment was the last song, or rather last songs. The show ended with a medley of Haunted / My Last Breath / Cloud Nine / Everybody’s Fool / Weight of the World / Snow White Queen, a new addition for this tour.

Amy Lee did not sit still for one moment. Running from one end of the stage to the other, she lived each song and interpreted it in a way only she can. Whether she was singing and jumping around, running to the keyboard and back, she was truly mercurial. The more I see her do it, the more impressed I am with her.

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Photo by Carlos Funes

She interacted with the public much more than in previous concerts and seemed genuinely happy to perform and thankful to be here. Genuine is a word that would describe her whole presence, where it is clear she is performing, but you can feel it’s really her living the show and giving her very best on each song.

She reminded us that the video for Bring Me To Life was filmed in Bucharest all those years ago. More than that, it was the first time she got a passport and traveled abroad, so Bucharest has a very special place in her heart. She later posted about it on Instagram as well.

While I went on and on about Amy, I do have to mention the rest of the band played their very best. Musically they lived to every standard. My impression however, was that they were there just as a support for Amy. Whether they were singing on stage or somewhere off stage would not have made that big of a difference. I didn’t really get that “band” feeling. In their defense, it’s hard to catch up with Amy on stage.

The reason Evanescence is still so important all these years later is hands down because of Amy Lee’s impressive creativity. I have talked at length about her great voice and incomparable stage presence, but the real reason is just how good a songwriter she is. Her songs meant so much to us and they still do, so we’ll come back again and again to hear her sing them.

Machine Head va susține un concert special în Romania

Machine Head revine la București (club Quantic) pentru un concert special de 3 ore, structurat în două părți. În prima parte va fi prezentat celebrul material “Burn My Eyes” (1994), iar în partea secundă alte piese de rezistență din discografia trupei, inclusiv ultimul material discografic “Catharsis” (2018).​

Din cenușa Vio-lence, nume de referință pentru thrash-ul Bay Area, în 1993 se năștea MACHINE HEAD. Proiect copt îndelung în mintea liderului Rob Flynn, pe vremea aceea încă un rebel care nu-și găsea locul, adesea certat cu legea, Machine Head a canalizat eforturile unor muzicieni solizi și închegați, iar primul album, “Burn My Eyes” (1994), a fost fără îndoială unul dintre cele mai reușite debuturi ale acelor ani. 

Forța thrash se îmbină cu un balans foarte rock, vagi incursiuni hardcore și un simt melodic care pun bazele unei evoluții cât se poate de sinuoase. Intrată la un moment dat într-un con de umbră și experimentând în direcții precum nu metal sau alternative, trupa a scos între timp albume clasice, precum “The Blackening” sau “Unto the Locust”. Și dacă ultimul album a adus noi probleme de componență, la aniversarea debutului, Rob Flynn a reușit să-i readucă lânga el pe bateristul Chris Kontos și pe chitaristul Logan Mader, foștii lui colaboratori de pe “Burn My Eyes”, care l-au însoțit în 1994 și într-un turneu de mare succes alături de Slayer, care tocmai lansa “Divine Intervention”.
Întoarcere în timp, re-creare a unui context muzical inspirat, nostalgie sau rădăcini revigorante? Singurul răspuns cert este că Machine Head pornește într-un turneu memorabil pentru cei atașati de istoria metal a ultimilor 25 de ani.

Interview: Ashleigh Semkiw of Tulip

I recently discovered Tulip, an interesting and very promising new metal band coming from America. The powerful operatic vocals of singer Ashleigh really shine through the strong metal instrumental. Their style follows the recipe of symphonic metal, with strong prog influences, but it adds an extra flair, which I can only say is their American background.

I am a big fan of symphonic metal and I could tell you wild stories about most of the bands in the genre. However, no one has a wilder story than Tulip (and I am counting Nightwish in here, so that says a lot).

Colin and Ashleigh come from an extremely religious reformed Christian community. They talk about the pressure to get married young, so that when they met in their mid-twenties, they had already been married to other people. They wanted to pursue music together, but that was frowned upon in their community, as they were married. After a lot of turmoil, the two of them decided to pursue a new life together, having music be a strong part of it. But that did not sit well with the church leadership who excommunicated and publicly ostracized Ashleigh. Church elders turned against them and harassed them, instructing their family and friends to stay away from them. Out of all of this came their EP, TULIP, touching on where they’ve been and how they see life.

Teen Art Out: With the songs being this personal and you having to share the story again and again, is it ever painful reliving it?         

 Ashleigh Semkiw: It is. But it’s worth it. Every day that we get to wake up together, every show that we get to play, every fan we get to hug afterward, makes it all so very worth all of the heartache. It melts away in those moments. 

Teen Art Out: You are also working on your first full-length album. What can you share about that?

Ashleigh: It’s almost done. We’re incredibly proud of it – we started writing it as soon as the EP was finished, so it’s been marinating for a while. It continues on the themes of the human condition, of existence, of the paranormal and unexplainable. We can’t wait for you to experience it. 

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Teen Art Out: You’re in the middle of a long tour supporting Evergrey. How has it been so far and what have you learned about yourselves as musicians after hitting the road with your EP?
Ashleigh:
We have learned a lot. This was our first tour as TULIP, and though all of us have toured in other acts before, there was something special about this. There seemed to be a regular occurrence, each night as we would walk out on stage to all of these Evergrey fans, only four of us, young and some of us in neon, like “wtf is about to happen here?” – we would win those folks over in a song or less. That was really exciting for us, because we love playing live music, we’re damn good at it, and I think today, that is lacking in popular music. Being able to play an instrument is a lost art. Also – being able to observe and listen to Evergrey’s set every night, these absolute giants of Swedish Prog – we felt very lucky to witness such tremendous musicianship. They should be on every metal fan’s bucket list. 

Teen Art Out: What is it about your music and everything around it that makes you feel the most fulfilled?
Ashleigh:
We would each have different answers but I’m sure one that we all share is connecting with an audience through art. We’re all artists, and in our society today when everyone is so polarized, being able to listen to 40 minutes of good music, to move and sing together is really extraordinary. 

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Teen Art Out: You sound came naturally because of your background in metal and Ashleigh’s powerful voice. However, have you been fans of symphonic metal before starting the band?

Ashleigh: Colin has always been a fan of the Scandinavian brand of melodic death metal. He also loves film-score and grew up with classical music in the home. The symphonic element adds a harmonic depth to our arrangements that you can’t get with the typical guitar, bass, drum setup. We prefer gripping chord changes that take the listener somewhere over riffs, and it’s easier to do that when you’ve got several registers to work with and lots of harmonic clarity up over the guitars.

Teen Art Out: What are some of the concerts you have been to that left the biggest impact on you?

Ashleigh: Last year we saw David Byrne‘s American Utopia tour and it blew anything we’ve ever seen out of the water. In the metal space, After the Burial and Parkway Drive put on a great show as well. 

Interview by Simona Mihalca

The stories behind our actions

Do you ever sit and think about why are you doing some things and consider who has done or said them first? It may sound as overthinking. This is not something we do all the time; unless one is fond of digging towards the root of things.

Some people study history in order to find an explanation for their present days, others study etymology in order to understand the whys behind the language they are speaking. There can be many weird, maybe even funny stories that can come out of this research. I went ahead and selected a few interesting and important ones, which have profound consequences to this day. Let’s see how those go.

The universe of storytelling comes in many shapes – realistic stories, fictive stories, myths, legends, fairytales, the story our grandpa told us from back in his time or a simple occurrence told by an old friend. Most of the times we are not aware of the effect that this has on us in the long-term.

Some brief examples: the tooth fairy, the monster under your bed, the acts of love we usually do, the “pandora’s box” phrase – there is an explanation behind all of them. Where do we use them and what is the connection with the “past”? Let the overthinking start.

closeup photo of castle with mist

Fear of the dark and other childhood stories

Remember that night of insomnia you might have experienced at some point. Amongst all the other twisted thoughts in your head, you were probably thinking about the terror the dark creates within you – that terror that gives you a strange feeling and it remembers you of your childhood. What was it that scared you so much back in time? Maybe the monster under your bed

The fear of the monster under the bed is very common within children and we may sometimes find ourselves recalling this fear. However, where did it come from? Who started this? Some parent, at some point, threatened his child for the first time with the appearance of the monster from under their bed, when they did not want to sleep. Anyway, even this idea and affirmation comes from an older story and from some developed human instinct. From the beginning of time, every attack and every malefic occurrence was happening during nighttime. Then there is also the common and normal fear of what we cannot see. We cannot protect ourselves and neither beware of our “enemy” in the ark. This phobia is being fed by the numerous horror stories we read or watch. This psychological thig mixed with ancient and modern stories will make one turn on, one by one, every light of their house when they hear a noise. We have all done it at some at some point.

While for adults it is a bit hard to overcome this fear, as it turns into a more serious one, it is possible to, at least, help children fall asleep. Mythology gives us the “good guy” as well – the “Sandman”, who actually helps children fall asleep. It is a Scandinavian myth that says that he is throwing magical sand in their eyes, which is also meant to bring the good dreams. In the mind of a child, this could work as a psychological effect, just as the “placebo” effect works on us when we take a pill. The Sandman is also a good example of how old stories and myths could inspire art – we can find him as a main character in Neil Gaiman’s comic books, The Sandman and as a symbol in Metallica’s Enter Sandman song. Some stories live through other stories and most of them start as a childhood story. Here is another one:

Do you remember fairies? We used to love them as a child. I have one that was also present in our childhood days – in an apparent, physical way, in our naïve mind – the Tooth Fairy. As a child, losing a tooth was neither a simple procedure, nor an event without consequences. It hurt, but hey! – we were getting money for it. Maybe not us in Romania, but American kids surely were getting some gold for their teeth. The old myth says that if we left your lost tooth under your pillow during the night, the tooth fairy would come and pick it up. As a reward, she would leave us some money under the pillow. In our innocent childhood days, this was a moment of happiness. And this myth was told for the first time in the medieval era. It is impressive how we still use this technique with kids nowadays (like Santa Claus, just that not as popular).

woman in white dress wearing green fairy wings

Maybe you have a vague memory about throwing your tooth over the roof of your house. This would be another made up myth of how to be rewarded for your lost tooth, which is applied in other cultures. It doesn’t bring money but it is said to bring good luck to kids. Not that much worth the pain, right? I remember believing strongly in it though.

Children are fascinated with stories; their world revolves around them. That’s why it is so easy for parents to educate them with the helping-hand of a good story. In fact, we are led by stories, too, even though we don’t realize it. We can take a deeper look into the adulthood world.

When did the romanticism start?

Love stories

Taking one of the nicest things adults enjoy doing today – nice, romantic stuff with or for their partners. Some things might be done by instinct but others are inspired from stories heard before, although we may not realize where and how we heard them. It could be a recalled tale from your childhood, an old movie you watched before, a glimpse you took into your mother’s romantic novels or some simple gestures and adventures noticed outside there, in your surroundings.

photo of woman hugging man under clear umbrella

Romeo and Juliet is one of the most commonly used comparison when referring to an in love couple. “Be my Juliet and I will be your Romeo”, “Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity”, “A lovestruck Romeo sang the streets of serenade” – some songs that made use of these characters and of the ever-lasting love story. It’s taken as an example of true love and sacrifice, as a whole, but also as an example of a prohibited love. Anyway, since the 16th century people long to find their Romeo/Juliet. This is an older example, but most of the idealistic love stories depict a feeling that can overcome any challenge, a feeling that is stronger that any barrier in life.

There are some more examples that could quickly come to mind: Tristan and Isolde, Beauty and the Beast and The Sleeping Beauty or some more modern stories like Rose and Jack´s one from Titanic. Oh! And let´s not forget Jane Austen´s books and her particular characters and dialogs she builds between them. We have proof that love examples and inspiration can date back in any cycle of our life. As a kid, we don’t recognize their importance; as a teenager, we desperately wish to live the same stories; and as an adult, we don’t really realize that we had looked for that feeling before.

Talking about Tristan and Isolde – the end of their tragic love story depicts a rose that grown on Tristan’s tomb – a rose that will live forever. When did we first hear about roses, by the way?

The rose

This flower of passion is a symbol for love and romanticism since the beginning of art and culture. We have the Greek mythology as a reference and Aphrodite’s legend – the flower would grew with her tears and the red color would be given by her lover’s blood. It’s marvelous how a simple legend can have such an influence over the world and their customs; and this is just a legend out of thousands, maybe million others. Maybe you have come upon Saint George’s one:

red rose on top of piano

Dragons “lived” way longer than in George R.R. Martin’s books. The legend made Saint George the main character of a brave battle with a Dragon and a beautiful love story. He saves a princess whose destiny had made her the perfect sacrifice for the dragon who was threatening the city. From the dragon’s blood there grew our famous rose, which he offered to the princess.

photo of knight riding dragon action figure

Saint George is the patron Saint of various towns and countries but I would choose Catalonia (Spain) for some “did you know” facts here:

  • during Saint George’s day, according to tradition, men have to offer roses to women.
  • the legend is so powerful within Catalans that even their flag contains the image of the Saint, on a horse, killing the dragon with his sword
  • the architecture of “Palau de la Música” in Barcelona is beautifully portraying, amongst other impressive statues, the statue of Saint George and, also, a ceiling where multiple roses surround the bright stained glass.

This is how a simple story can become a culture and how it can turn into art as well.

Hand-kissing

Here we are looking through another example of romanticism, which is, perhaps, a more rarely encountered one. It is a special gesture because it suggests respect and honesty. It would be interesting to talk a bit about its origins: we can go way back to the Roman empire when it was employed as a sign of submission and respect for monarchs (it could have settled the base of its evolution). It was later on, in the 17th century, in the Polish and Spanish courts as an expression of courtesy and esteem. In time, it turned into the romantic gesture we all know today, still having as main symbolism respect and sincere appreciation. We can consider it fully valuable.

Even words have a story

Now let’s get to something even more common and which we often encounter in our lives: the language, our daily speech. During our day-to-day conversations, we find ourselves saying some sentences or more like expressions that we had surely heard before, that are specific of the language or quoted from some old story.

Whenever we are joking around with our friends, we use all kinds of quotes and phrases we had heard in movies and books. So whenever I say that my room is my private space, “you shall not pass!” Most probably, the first thing that comes to your mind is Gandalf´s face and Lord of the Rings. However, this phrase was shouted for the first time during the First World War, within the battle of Verdun. It was emphasizing the determination of the French army to defend their territory from the Germans. The original expression is “they shall not pass”. Nowadays it is still used in similar situations and propagandas, given the power and courage that it evokes.

If we were to have a wider, cultural view, the sentence has been adapted in various languages, too, although one may utter it in English most of the times. In Romania, for example, “pe aici nu se trece” has been said during the “battle of Marasesti” (still against the Germans) and it gave the name to a Romanian movie inspired by the historic WWI happenings.

Browsing through the infinite quoting scenarios, from different cultures, there are some funny ones that come in view (well…in “hearing” actually). Latin America is a fully alive and full of humor land. That is why they also have a great deal of weird and amusing quotes and phrases. “Vete al carajo” could totally fit into this category.  It is literally translated as “go to the carajo” but we have to see with this carajo means, as it is a typical Spanish word.On the old Spanish sailing ships there was this guard post on the highest point of the ship, which was very uncomfortable due to the windy conditions and the movements of the ship which were making it unstable. Given its bad position, it was also used as a punishment. Crewmembers who were disobeying the rules were being sent there. Therefore, each time latins get mad at someone they send them to “el carajo”. Thinking about it, it is actually one of the few phrases that actually make total sense. Consider it for the next time.

The English “fair play” term is an accurate example of how language adapts to the passing of time. The one who “gave birth” to this way of expressing justness was Shakespeare. He used it in “The Tempest”, where it was pointing out the negotiation of kingdoms. Currently, we are using it in sports or in any other day-to-day similar circumstances. Sometimes it’s interesting to think about its origins; it is not “fair play” to not give credit.

Some stories are traveling through time

We have seen that stories affect us unconsciously and they sometimes inspire us as well. There is more to it, anyway, when somebody taken action on them. Things flow along with time and people use, recycle and modernize learnings from before.

The modern art and technology is even using old discoveries in order to make them real or to create a piece of art.

The parallel universe, mentioned by Plato hundreds of years ago, is taking more and more shapes today with the scientific discoveries. It also creates some pretty terrifying horror movies (Example: Stranger Things series)

Oh, Bella Ciao! 

Does this sound familiar to you? It’s that kind of song that gets stuck in your head instantly and unwillingly.

The Bella Ciao song, initially composed as a defensive against fascism and chanted by the Italian partisans is still intonated during protests for freedom and opposition. Besides, it also makes the main theme of the famous “Money Heist” show. In the series, the song conveys the shouting for strength and resistance. Its symbolic meaning can be applied in a variety of scenarios and it can be a tool for art creation. I bet you would feel like playing that song on the background even in some small, glorious moments of your life, too.

It doesn’t matter whether you are an adult or a child. Everybody deserves a story and, consciously or unconsciously, that old or modern fairy tale is leading your way through life. They say kids are smart in their tiny, imaginary world. This is why we should be kids from time to time and use this adulthood tales to develop something bigger out of them; or in order to just enjoy and escape from reality from time to time.

Codrina Pavalachi

Sonata Arctica have released new album “Talviyö” and video for “Who Failed The Most”

Sonata Arctica are back in force with a new album and video! They have released today their 10th studio album, »Talviyö« (“Winter Night”), and it’s definitely a good one. It is symphonic, atmospheric, and powerful, everything you can wish from from the Finnish band. With both cheerful tunes and their trademark sad ballads, not the mention the usual touch of cheesy lyrics, we could not be happier.

The video for Who Failed The Most was directed by Patric Ullaeus and it is the second from this album, after Cold.

Keyboardist Henrik “Henkka” Klingenberg states, “The wait is finally over, now all of you will hear what we’ve been working on for the past year or so as we present our latest album »Talviyö.« It was quite an experience getting this album ready for you guys and for the first time ever, we had some outside help from our very own Mikko Tegelman who produced the album. We focused on playing live this time and I think the album really captures how SONATA ARCTICA sounds like today. It will be a blast to go out and perform this new music alongside selected cuts from our catalogue. See you soon and meanwhile we hope you enjoy the album as much as we did making it.

»Talviyö« – Track Listing:

  1. Message From The Sun
  2. Whirlwind
  3. Cold
  4. Storm The Armada
  5. The Last Of The Lambs
  6. Who Failed The Most
  7. Ismo’s Got Good Reactors
  8. Demon’s Cage
  9. A Little Less Understanding
  10. The Raven Still Flies
  11. The Garden