SEASONS DEFINED: A REVIEW

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Like the birds on the cover of ‘Seasons Defined’ my soul has taken flight this summer, and with various twists, turns, swoops and sweeps my inner consciousness has been on a mysterious journey. It is an intangible experience, an inexplicable sensation without one specific cause.

Along the way two creative art pieces have become my friends; both affecting me deeply and I’ve returned to them often.

The first is a unique poetry book which I won in a Giveaway by Khaya Ronkainen. This chapbook * travelled from Scandinavia, leaving Finland early summer, only to return with me to Sweden where I savoured it in peace and serenity.

Beautifully bound with golden ribbon and tag, I unwrapped ‘Seasons Defined’ with reverential care and with sweet expectation dipped into the book. Within are sixteen exquisite poems capturing the magic of the seasons in Finland; there follows an exploration of the wilderness, the landscapes, the weather, the wildlife.

‘Hoppers chirp
Bees hum

Fostering species
Flowers bloom

Cotton clouds
Blot the sky’  (From ‘This is Country’)

Furthermore the poems become an exploration of oneself and ultimately love! This collection is a moving tribute to a country Khaya embraced as her own, as well as recognising her roots, and some poems tenderly capture the loving couple of Khaya and her husband.

we quench our thirst from a well of love
and agree, love is a beautiful thing

we dine outdoors with birds singing
and agree, it’s time to dance’  (From ‘Wilderness, My Friend’)

Life in all its facets is celebrated throughout!

As Khaya wrote in a personal handwritten inscription to me, I did indeed recognise a little, or rather a lot, of Sweden and its wilderness within the poems. I related directly to the natural world she so eloquently and vividly describes and through her words I saw the wonderful nature anew.

Whilst depicting the enchanting and bewitching seasons, Khaya’s work struck a deeper chord with me as she spoke of the solitude of the wilderness. Not to be confused with loneliness; this is an enriching, rewarding solitude that brings deeper understanding of the world and oneself.

‘I embrace silence.’  (From ‘At the Crack of Dawn’)

‘Deep in the wilderness, I stumble
The track under a canopy of spruce
Draped in snow leads to paradise

Only imagination stands between
man and reality, for in dreamland
Solitude is tangible.’  ( From ‘Winter Dream’)

The very solitude that enveloped me in its soothing arms during the summer and one which is not yet ready to release its clasp.

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Photo by Irina Kolomijets

Throughout the poems, Khaya’s sense of wonder and joy at the nature of Finland is captured with  awe and exhilaration. Her unique insight and approach is explained by the fact that Khaya is originally from South Africa. The variances of the Finnish seasons is a world away from ones experienced in the southern hemisphere. Furthermore, her poetry is influenced to a certain degree by the strong tradition of oral storytelling of the Xhosa people. I feel that within the beats of the poems there is a song to be heard, the pulse of the phrases take on a life of their own as they become all-encompassing, over-arching each other. This becomes more evident with each reading, when hidden depths are slowly unfurled.

I cannot thank Khaya enough for this precious Giveaway of both her first poetry chapbook and also of the highly unusual broadside ** of the poem ‘Summer’ with original artwork.

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To read more about Khaya & her poetry as well as to buy the print version of ‘Seasons Defined’ click here to go to her website.

‘Seasons Defined’ is also available as an ebook on Amazon UK or Amazon US.

* If like me, you’ve never come across the word Chapbook before, this is an expression from North America and refers to a small paper-covered booklet, typically containing poetry or fiction.

** Broadside were traditionally posters, announcing events or proclamations, commentary in the form of ballads, or simply advertisements.

Finally just as Khaya’s poetry moves me so does the instrumental composition below. Just as the poetry embedded itself within me, so did the music of ‘Awakening’.

From the initial crackle of an old vinyl, the quiet haunting tones of the first bars rise to a hypnotising melody that never fails to lift my heart and mood. The musical ‘Awakening’ mirrors a shift and rekindling of my conscious self.

One comment on youtube writes of ‘Awakening’:

‘Absolutely beautiful, both music and cover. The title is so apt as the shining melody, gently and persistently get brighter. The darker background fights but loses. Five stars Sammy.’

INTERVIEW WITH A MUSICIAN

Note: This is a post that was published earlier in 2018 and which I recently has somehow ended up in my draft box!! I have no idea how this is possible but wanted to return it to my blog along with its 80 likes and 160 wonderful comments! Thank you everyone again!

Sammy, I know you have studied music for a long time, since you were ten I believe. I have even had the great joy to listen to your performances both at your home, at school and in Covent Garden in London.

To me your music always express so much vitality, joy and sensitivity and I often wondered where it would take you as you grew up and took your own place in life.

Would it become your hobby and the sciences your priority? Would it become your hobby and the sciences your priority? I guess you still wonder yourself.

So Sammy, you have surprised us all by creating your first single, “MY FRIEND” whilst still 16. I am enthralled with it, its advanced musicality, its depth and also the sad but yet comforting lyrics.

I feel honoured to do this first interview with you and without further ado, we dive straight into our chat.

When did you first think about writing your own music? Was there a moment that stands out?

Sammy: I got serious about writing my own music whilst in Sweden last summer. I was walking through the forest up to a viewpoint;  standing at the top, listening to “Without You” by Avicii and felt a strong inspiration to start creating my own music in a way that would make people feel the same way as I did at that moment.

When did you start creating “MyFriend”?

Sammy: I believe I started composing that in November 2017. The first thing I messed around with was the piano chords and melodies which I recorded on my phone. Whilst trying to figure this out I also was working on the lyrics which was by far the hardest part of the process for me.

Would you mind giving us an idea of what inspired this song?

Sammy: The main inspiration for this song came from both my own experiences and those that my friends had and told me about. This song was also inspired by helping friends through hard times in their lives and wanting to help in any way possible

You are a pianist so I wonder how you created all the harmonies and layers to orchestrate the song in production?

Sammy: There was a lot of trial and error with choosing the instruments and percussion sounds. Most of the chord progression and melodies the instruments are doing; such as bells and violins, echo what the piano is doing so these were quite easy to produce. I had more creative freedom with the drums because, although there was trial and error, I had a lot of fun composing the drums in a way that made the piano and vocals stand out and sound more interesting.

Are you working on any new song and if so would you mind telling us about your plan?

Sammy: I am already half way through composing my next song which I plan to release some time in May or June this year. I don’t have much more to share at this point.

Sammy, is there anything else you can add about your music and how it makes you feel?

Sammy: The response from people listening to and hearing their opinion and reaction to it has been overwhelming and makes me more confident and excited about releasing more in the future. I am very happy with the way this song has turned out and my hope is that people will continue to enjoy the song in the future.

Thank you, Sammy, for letting me do this for me unique interview. It is a first for you and for me so it is pretty special.

Sammy: Thank you for having me and I have enjoyed answering all your questions.

To read the lyrics in full press this link. My Friend:Sammy Perry:Lyrics

“My Friend” is available on all streaming services including:

Spotify press here.

Google Play press here.

Youtube press here.

And to buy via iTunes/apple music press here.

Connect with Sammy Perry on:

Twitter:         @SammyPerryMusic