The Song Navigator: Espejo – The Mirror (and a bit of butter)

Ancient Finnish legends tell that the old wise man Väinämöinen had to smuggle himself into the Underworld and back, to seek for secret or hidden words, wisdom or tools. When we got to the 1970’s things had gotten more laid back in here and it was enough if the people just crossed the border to Sweden to get some cheap butter. I was born early enough to take part in these “fat-trips”, as they were called, and my uncle was inspected at the border every time he was coming back, for he had such a dark hair that obviously something illegal must have been going on.

Somehow many of us made it to the next millennium, and one sunny Friday morning at 8:15 in 2008 or maybe it was the next year, I found myself being in a band that was starting a 1300km journey for a single gig to Stockholm to export some flamenco world music, this was how strange the world had become.

The next day at noon I woke up, for some reason I had insisted to drive the whole way there, and as we got there I had the need to take a sauna for hours, swim in the nocturnal sea and to be noisy and full of life till the wee hours, and so my head was being hammered with a small brigade of pick-axes and there was a bunch of dandelions glittering on the window shelf and I couldn’t figure out whether I had picked them up myself of if it had been someone else. From the yard I could hear the hilarious noise of experimentation of or bass played Antti who had received a brand new effects pedal just in time before setting off for the journey, and who was basking in the sun and trying to imitate the sound of a duck that had flown by, with his bass.

Time passed slowly in the strikingly beautiful archipelago first woken up to a spring glory and then lullabied back to a charmingly humid sleep by the early summer heat wave. Anyway in some point I noticed I was sat on a rock, out from the bad air of my room, a steady rock impressive enough to rise quite a bit of every Swedes national pride, squinting my eyes. Okko was playing his guitar and Antti had swapped to his violin, as his bass amp extension cord was not long enough to reach this majestic rock.

How it all went

An idea emerged out of nowhere, or somewhere, and i wanted to play along the others. But all my instruments were somewhere and I was somewhere else. Still the images kept dancing into my mind as lightly as a freight train dances, and those images needed to be dealt with. Over a thousand years ago the Swedes leaving these rocks, the Swedes nowadays mainly recognized for ABBA, a stunning ability of being sovereign and their IKEA meat balls, a fair thousand years ago these Swedes formed the most inner circle of the bodyguards of the almost almighty emperor of Bysanthium some 3000km away, because they were big, frightening, extremely strong and ready to die to the last man instead of surrendering.

In my eyes I had the vision of a declining ruler, surrounded by his last men, even though they all know they’ll soon be defeated, but not yet, for the last battle is still just about to start, and so I grabbed a few dry sticks lying on the rock and started banging them along with the music, to live with it.

I started feeling better as the day went on, the gig went fine that night, the next day I drove those 1300km back home, a moose ran to the road but we missed it so that I’m still here to tell this story. Those fragments of sounds and visions we brought home, instead of butter, later became the second song on our album – Espejo. But the dry sticks I unfortunately left lying around on that rock. However, or maybe therefore, the song turned out great.