Tuesday, January 20, 2015

When the heaven shines with stars...

As Javanese descend, with Gran who love Javanese song (and Javanese poetry, myth, and poetry), my childhood days filled with song's from Waldjinah, Endang Sukoco, Gesang, and other singers and gamelan groups which name I never knew. And now, eighteen years later, any hints of classic java songs always fill me with nostalgic feelings. Of hot days spent under jambu air (Syzygium samarangense) listening to radio and the wind rustled, with chickens clucked and peeped in the background.

One of those song is "Yen ing Tawang ono Lintang"? Have you heard it? No? Hurry and search in Youtube. The Waldjinah version is a classic, while Mayangsari version bring hint's of modern touch. And if you feeling adventurous, try Ramaaipama version, which, let say, quite interesting.

I love how melancholy and romantic the lyric is. It goes like this:

Yen ing tawang ono lintang, cah ayu
Aku ngenteni tekamu
Marang mego ing angkoso, nimas
Sun takokke pawartamu

Janji-janji aku eling, cah ayu
Sumedhot rasaning ati
Lintang-lintang ngiwi-iwi, nimas
Tresnaku sundhul wiyati

Dek semono, janjiku disekseni
Mego kartiko, kairing roso tresno asih

Yen ing tawang ono lintang, cah ayu
Rungokno tangis ing ati
Binarung swaraning ratri, nimas
Ngenteni mbulan ndadari

(Repeat *)

And for you English speaker, here the translation (+):
When the heaven shines with the stars, (1) pretty girl
I'm waiting for your presence
To the clouds above the sky, milady
I ask your whereabouts

All those promises I do remember, pretty girl
Pounding inside my heart
All those stars are mocking (me), milady
(Because) My love touching the heaven

At those times, my promises were witnessed by
All the clouds above, accompanying (my feeling of) love and tenderness

When the heaven shines with the stars, pretty girl
Listen the cries of this heart
Within the sound of the night, milady

Waiting for full moon to shine

(Repeat *)

Beautiful isn't?
Most people think this song is about the singer / composer yearning for his lovers. But, you know what, actually this song is about how the composer waiting for the birth of her daughter! Yep. Her daughter. Who is not born yet. Talk about dramatic.

Most singers made little change here and there, transforming this song into lover song. And that version is the most popular. Love sells after all.

Still, this song is a classic. I love Waldjinah and Mayangsari version. Same song but bring different atmosphere. However, Waldjinah version is still the best. I just love her angelic voice. It soar effortlessly above gamelan. So clean, so powerful. Beautiful.

Try it, maybe you like it. If you by any chance stumble upon CD containing this song, especially the audiophile version, just buy it. You won't regret it.

(+):  Of course, it's not direct translation, because it always hard to capture how one language express something to other language, but I guess that translation is as close as it could be.
(1): actual translation is "when in the sky there are stars," / "when in the sky the stars are seen" but the Javanese language used is the flowery form, so I chose to romanticizing it a bit.