Music
03. 03. 2021
Marina Vesić

Looking into the art of Lene Lovich – Bird Song

One of the most important personalities in the popular music culture
that originates from former Yugoslavia is Lene Lovich. She achieved
huge success with her song during the 1970s “Lucky Number”, which
she still performs today. Lene Lovich, singer-songwriter and musi-
cian of Serbian and English origins, is born in Detroit, America.
She is a crossover between new wave, post-punk, and gothic rock.
She studied Art School in London where she also learned to play the
Saxophone.
Analysing the art of Lene Lovich helps me form a new platform
for female composers that come from, or that originated from the
territory of my homeland, Serbia. During my scientific research in
the past few years, musical examples that I have collected have a self-
healing experience.
Last year I was on a phone call with Lene Lovich and got the ex-
clusive material for the ongoing research of my dissertation, where
I also learned the story of how she met Salvador Dali. Although mu-
sically maybe it is not visible a direct connection with the Balkan
influences in her art, however, she said that she feels it inside her,
in her DNA, and she is discovering it all the time. As she works in-
stinctively, things just happened very naturally, and that influences
from that part of the world make Serbia exist in her music. She has
visited Belgrade, a capital city of the country of her ancestry, during
the 1980s when her band had a tour. There she found herself very at
home, and very happy.
Her parents have migrated from former Yugoslavia into the USA
during the war. Therefore they gave her the name Lili Marlene be-
cause it was a famous song from that time. She didn’t like that name
so there comes the name Lena. In her musical palette, the song that
took my attention for deeper research was the Bird Song. This song
comes from emotion, a very sad emotion. Lyrics and music were
written by Lene. In this musical piece are lots of semiotics and story-
telling to discuss, both lyrically and visually. Bird Song is a repre-
sentative piece of Lene Lovich as this song revolves around different
aspects and one of them is a bird per se, which represents freedom,
and one of the reasons I have chosen it. Nevertheless, this is maybe
the only one song that is really Gothic style, therefore is musically
unique to analyze.

Storytelling of the “Bird Song”
Lyrics:

1st Verse
A little bird told me, you were untrue…
Even though, I had, faith in you
I believe, the liars words
Oh the same, little bird

2nd
So, with the bird, one day,
you flew away I woke up, too late, you had gone
Fading on… with this song
Of the hurting little bird
Oh, Oh Oh Oh

Chorus:
Still I watch the sky
Still I wonder why
Still I hope that I
Can carry on
If I can’t be strong
If you hear my song
You’ll know that it was wrong, to say goodbye.

3rd
Such a cold bird, so hard,
captured your heart Does it matter,
I am, falling apart
Breaking fast, as the flesh
Oh Oh Oh Oh
Of the dead little bird

Chorus:
Still I watch the sky
Still I wonder why
Still I hope that I
Can carry on
If I can’t be strong
If you hear my song
You’ll know that it was wrong, to say goodbye.

The following analytical approach has been considered: The way a
story could be told, a point of view of the ones telling the story, the
story can be based on the reality or fiction, or both. Some stories are
autobiographical, non-verbal presentation (dancing, choreography,
body language.), lyrics of a song and sound – visuals. The meaning of
the song could be a love story where there were trust and faith. Feel-
ing this song with sadness and pain, it could mean that one person
left for another: “Such a cold bird, so hard, captured your heart.”
However, this song could have a different context. The story could
be death. It could have a destructive element. If we connect the lyrics
with the video, there is a complete picture of the possible description
of what this storytelling could be.
In the original music video 1) of the Bird Song, there are very im-
portant symbols such as blackbird, eyes, wedding, funeral, camera,
all people wearing black cloth, the church. The video was taken at The
St. Pancras Old Church in Camden Town (the same Church where
The Beatles did “Mad Day Out” photoshoot for the song “Hey Jude” 2) ).
Analyzing this video performance, there is a wedding and then
running away from the church, and in the next clip, we see the fu-
neral, so the storytelling is much more complex. Lene Lovich has a
very unique voice so therefore it is possible to conclude that she is
calling the bird with her voice, with her vocalized “screaming” in
the song. However, in this music video, we see her looking through
the window fence, which could mean that she is inside and cannot
get out, or she has been stuck somewhere inside. In the scene of the
funeral at the cemetery, she walks by those people in black and is still
searching for something, whereas in one short clip we see a man who
just walks away from the cemetery with his bag. There are different
interpretations of what this story could mean and that makes it so
exquisite and marvellous. According to my research, the collected
data so far suggests to me that this song is a huge success in the Lene
Lovich music universe.
The voice in the chorus revolves around only three notes, E, D#,
and C#. For me it was interesting to analyze this, as the main part of
the compositions I have analyzed so far, has almost the same musical
situation similar to some of the musical pieces that are connected
with my research: revolving around three or four notes. The chorus
is constructed with 4 + 4 bars. The song begins in G# minor, but the
chorus starts with the fifth, in C# minor. The very special musical
moment in this song is when we hear the vocalized “screaming”
between the verse and the chorus, especially at the beginning of the
song.

Lene Lovich Band
Since 2012 Lene Lovich performs with her band, Lene Lovich Band
and last year they have marked their 40 th Anniversary. The latest song
that Lene Lovich created was Retrospective with the singer-song-
writer Morgan King.
“Sometimes when life isn’t so easy, you find a way to make it inter-
esting.” – Lene Lovich 3)
________________________
1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maucjGIUzzo
2) Information provided from the personal interview with Jude Rawlins,
May 2019 in Berlin, who has formed Lene Lovich Band in 2012, and was not
only a member of the band but also her manager, but left the band by end
of 2019)
3) From our phone call conversation in Autumn 2019

Music
03. 03. 2021
Marina Vesić

Serbian border-crossing artists
who found widespread success

Serbian popular music has been greatly influenced by Western music.
As I am doing my research about border-crossing artists, between
popular and experimental music from 1970, there are many artists
who I would like to introduce in this article, as well as their musical
achievements, both international as well as Serbian. For now, I will
concentrate on music and art by the Serbian born composer, Milica
Paranosic.
As a classically trained composer, multimedia artist, and per-
former, Milica Paranosic is one of the most important personalities
in the cross over style and history of popular music.
She has lived and worked in New York for more than 20 years.
She still lives there and works at the Julliard School. Additionally,
she founded the Paracademia Inc. in NY. I met Milica in 2009 at
the Music Academy in Belgrade, at one of her workshops, where
I received a multimedia DVD of her collaborations with Carmen
Kordas. Back then, that DVD inspired me a lot, and further, in the
years that came, made me a cross over thinking artist.
Paranosic is famous for her diversity of styles in music, combin-
ing minimal with popular music, experimental with avant-garde,
and more. Her magnificent work, „Confessions“ (2008), a one-woman
multimedia show, is a remarkable example of combining different
music styles and crossing over between them successfully. What took
my attention at first was the opening song, „Kales bre, Andjo“.
“Kales bre, Andjo” is an original Macedonian folk song dating
from the times of the Ottoman Empire. This song has been used
in Paranosic’s significant performance “Confessions” and was pre-
miered and performed in New York in 2008. Paranosic herself says
about “Confessions” that this performance is a collection of origin-
al, arranged, and improvised compositions inspired by the Serbian
folk song heritage, and by her real-life stories. It is told by exploring
new techniques involving electronics, ethnic and found instruments,
vocals, movement, spoken word, and visuals.
Her movements on the stage are minimalistic, which indicates a
sort of performance similar to Laurie Anderson (an American avant-
garde artist, composer and musician), addressing minimal music
and performance art.
“Confessions” renders a variety of musical styles that have in-
fluenced her (among them folk, pop, punk, hip-hop, classical and
opera), merging them to create unique blends. This work is her way
of sharing her life and her art, exposing her most intimate moments.
The premiere took place at the Sanford Meisner Theater, 164 11 th
Avenue NYC.
“Kales bre, Andjo” is often performed by a male / female duet,
but not always. It is structured in the form of a dialogue. It has four
verses, of which the first three are performed by the male vocalist (in
the case of a duet). Paranosic’s performance is different as the song
structure is constructed differently; She sings alone, and the song is
composed in a modern style, where she is using her laptop (samples
made in Logic), her voice in loop effects, and clarinet. In “Confes-
sions” she is completely alone on the stage. The lyrics are originally
in the Macedonian language. The story is about a Turkish man who
wanted to marry a woman and wanted her to change her religion,
which she refused.
This song is about resistance. The real Andja, as the oral tradition
in Macedonian has been said, is based on a true story, and the woman
who refused to accept this offer committed suicide by jumping off a
cliff. A book inspired by this story has been written by Macedonian
writer Stale Popov, the book called “Kales Andja”, in 1958. This song
was used in movies as well, for instance in the famous film “Arizona
Dream” (1993) by Serbian film director Emir Kusturica.

Storytelling of the song “Kales bre, Andjo”
As this song dates from the 12 th century, the meaning of the song
has been already explained, but the question is, what could this story
mean, or what it could be? Usually, in this kind of story, the woman
would accept the offer, but here she denies it. The meaning could be
that back then she wanted to keep her own tradition and remain in-
dependent.
By Milica Paranosic’s performance today in New York, this could
have a different meaning. She is in New York, but she focuses on the
tradition and the value of the woman, to be independent, and to keep
her own faith and religion.
Alternatively, it could be a nostalgic moment for Paranosic by
performing the song, pointing out to the feminine side, to be in-
dependent and to not change herself for another one, or about the
environment where she is today in NY, meaning Paranosic is in the
world but she still wants to say that she keeps tradition and faith, as
well as her independence. Paranosic transcribed the song for voice,
oboe, viola and bass. The song is originally written in G-Major and
consists of verses and refrain, but many singers perform in E Major.
The most broadcasted version is by Amira Medunjanin and in
contrast with Paranosic’s score, she sings in G Major. Paranosic
seems to retain as much as possible of the original song composition,
and also adding more effects and electronics.
Main aspect: The transformation of the original song is accom-
plished by different performances by Paranosic. Paranosic is a cross-
over artist and she achieved that in this song by improvisation with
her voice at the beginning, accompanied by oboe, viola and bass.
Her voice is in a loop as she is using samples from her laptop
and combines words, especially at the beginning of the performance.
After every verse, there is the oboe and viola at the center.
We can hear how she is combining two styles, both the traditional
Macedonian song with electronics. On the other side, the instrumen-
tation is vastly different, so she has her own performance of this song.
An experimental style can be heard by combining both popular
and traditional folk styles. Her voice is mostly based on free impro-
visation, but she still kept the sense of the original song. Paranosic
sang the traditional melody in her own way, using sometimes loops,
probably to add emphasis and importance to some words. Her per-
formance is multimedia, as she also has a video projector behind her.
As mentioned before her movements on the stage are quite minimal,
which can also be described as a border-crossing between minimal
and experimental, with a hint of a popular, which has been combined
with the traditional Macedonian folk song.

Рубрике

ДОНАЦИЈЕ

Претплатите се и дарујте независни часописи Људи говоре, да бисмо трајали заједно

даље

Људи говоре је српски загранични часопис за књижевност и културу који излази у Торонту од 2008.године. Поред књижевности и уметности, бави се свим областима које чине културу српског народа.

У часопису је петнаестак рубрика и свака почиње са по једном репродукцијом слика уметника о коме се пише у том броју. Излази 4 пута годишње на 150 страна, а некада и као двоброј на 300 страна.

Циљ му је да повеже српске писце и читаоце ма где они живели. Његова основна уређивачка начела су: естетско, етичко и духовно јединство.

Уредништво

Мило Ломпар
главни и одговорни уредник
(Београд, Србија)

Радомир Батуран
уредник српске секције и дијаспоре
(Торонто, Канада)

Владимир Димитријевић
оперативни уредник за матичне земље
(Чачак, Србија)

Никол Марковић
уредник енглеске секције и секретар Уредништва
(Торонто, Канада)

Уредници рубрика

Александар Петровић
Београд, Србија

Небојша Радић
Кембриџ, Енглеска

Жељко Продановић
Окланд, Нови Зеланд

Џонатан Лок Харт
Торонто, Канада

Жељко Родић
Оквил, Канада

Милорад Преловић
Торонто, Канада

Никола Глигоревић
Торонто, Канада

Лектори

Душица Ивановић
Торонто

Сања Крстоношић
Торонто

Александра Крстовић
Торонто

Графички дизајн

Антоније Батуран
Лондон

Технички уредник

Радмило Вишњевац
Торонто

Издавач

Часопис "Људи говоре"
The Journal "People Say"

477 Milverton Blvd.
Toronto ON,
M4C 1X4 Canada

Маркетинг

Маја Прелић
Торонто, Канада maya.prelic@hotmail.com

Контакт

Никол Марковић, секретар
т: 416 823 8121


Радомир Батуран, oперативни уредник
т: 416 558 0587


477 Milverton Blvd. Toronto,
On. M4C 1X4, Canada

rabbaturan@gmail.com nikol_markovic@hotmail.com casopisljudigovore@gmail.com ljudigovore.com


ISSN 1925-5667

© људи говоре 2021