Blue Flame

Troubadours“Blue Flame” is a song inspired by the troubadours of the 12th century, the first songwriters to write what we would recognize as romantic love songs.  Jaufre Rudel’s “L’Amour de Loin” (“Distant Love”) and Paul McCartney’s “The Long and Winding Road” have a lot in common. Many troubadours, including several women, wrote love songs of timeless beauty, emotion, yearning, and honesty.

The opening melody line of my song is taken from a beautiful ballad by Bernart de Ventadorn, “Quan vei la lauzeta” (“When I see the lark…”), written more than eight centuries ago. Bernart very likely heard the melody sung by someone else and added his own words. This was a perfectly acceptable practice at the time, so I thought I would slip into the troubadour tradition myself and use one of their melodies. After the first few bars I took things in a different direction but tried to keep the overall “drone” feeling that is typical of medieval love songs.

The lyric, too, is steeped in the troubadour style. I was inspired by a beautiful  song called “A chantar m’er…” written by the Countessa de Dia, a woman troubadour in the 12th century. It’s one of a handful of songs written by women troubadours that have come down to us. There’s a wonderful recording of it sung by Gisela Bellsola on the album TERRE DES TROUBADOURS.

My friend Jean-Louis Pujol was a great help in my research into the troubadours. He translated several lyrics from Occitan into English for which I am very grateful. Thank you, J-L!

Blue Flame

Album: Catch These Wings  by Bird and Apple   Buy it at CD Baby
Words & Music by Robin Frederick

I have never been tied to gravity
Nothing could hold me down
Nothing could hold me down
And I have never taken more
Than I could carry around
No more than I could carry
No more than I could carry

But I know, I know, I know
I will hold on to the fire
I will never be the same
No, nothing will be as it was, as it was, as it was
No, never. I will follow you, Blue Flame.

I have lived all my life in a shadowland
Nothing but shades of grey
Nothing but shades of grey
But here you are, shining in the darkness
Calling me, leading the way
A bright, shining northern star
You are my Northern Star

And I feel, I feel, I feel
My world is suddenly on fire
I will never be the same
No, I will not live as I did, as I did, as I did
No, never. I will follow you, Blue Flame

Copyright 2003 Robin Frederick / Songs On The Wing (ascap). All rights reserved.