Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Grandfather's favourite

video


Towards the end of last year my only grandfather still living whom I so dearly love was on the verge of death. It was so sad to see him in a terribly weak and helpless position. Thanks to grace, he was granted another Christmas with his family. This little video is proof that he made it another year and at 80 years old can still put a smile on his face.

Recently, I asked him what his favourite song is. I wanted to know what melodies touched his heart so much so that still to this day he remembers it. With a sparkle in his blue Scottish eyes, he said "Loch Lomond". I asked him to share the story behind the song. This is his recollection of the song and it's history:

"I'll start from the beginning.

Granny and I (when we were over in Scotland) went to a castle in a place called Carlisle. The tour guide was an English person.  He said how cruel the English were to the Scots people because that castle actually belonged to the Scots people but the English commandeered it.

When the Scots people went to attack the English that had taken over the castle, they had a motor around the castle and they had what was called a draw bridge. They put the bridge down and allowed the Scots people to come in. There was an archway. They let them in and then they closed the gate. But then about 10 meters further on there was another gate. They lowered that. They were trapped in that and packed in. Then they showed above us there was a trap door. The English used to open it and pour hot tar on all the Scots people underneath. Of course this burnt them to death.

Those that survived, they put in a cell in the castle. The tour guide took us down there. As I say, he even said how cruel the English were to the Scots. They put them in this cell. They packed in about two hundred people in a space which could only take twenty. They couldn't even feed them because they were so congested. This one chap knew that he wouldn't come out there alive so he wrote that song Loch Lomond to his fiance. And that's where it originated. He wrote the song down and when his colleagues eventually died and of course he had died as well, they found this song that he had written".






Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Blog Blessing from an ex BA Student

It's New Years eve 2013. Although I should probably be preparing for the festivities tonight, I'd like to take a few minutes to write a little blog post.

December is always a fascinating time of year for me as it forces one to think of those that are close to the heart. Unless you're drinking beer all day, your mind tends to take you through thoughts of reflection. Faces, experiences, people and words start to fill your mind. All the important moments that you experienced in the year compile like a disorganized movie.

As I begin to enter my second year out of university, I reflect differently to the past where the movie of my year would have been an enticing romantic comedy of a Stellies girl. At the moment I'm looking back at 2013 as a dramatic action film of a BA graduate - not nearly as interesting as past years.

The first year out of varsity is a very strange year - especially if you are an ex BA student. You kind of confusingly make your way through your first year out of the beautiful comfort zone of university and hope that by the end of the year you know exactly what you want to do with your life. There are so many things that you could do with your life but it now boils down to - what do you want to do?

So this is the question that I ask you on this new years eve - what do you want to do with your life? May you ponder and wonder until you can no more, may the movies in your mind come to rest, and may a great passion magically shoot to your heart and awaken a desire to do exactly that which makes you come alive.

Let that idea be like a guiding bright star and let it lead you to your destiny in years to come.

This is my blog blessing that I wish for you in the new year.

Happy 2014!!!!!

Love

Rivkah
x






Saturday, December 7, 2013

Album Release


Rivkah Hope's debut album full of Pop Folk tunes is now available for purchase at www.rivkahhope.com/album. Submit your details today to have the album delivered to your doorstep!

Get a preview of the album at www.soundcloud.com/rivkahhope. 




After months of working on this album I am most pleased to say that it is finally ready for your ears to hear! Creating music has been a dream of mine for many years and finally I can say that the dream is now a reality.

The tracks that feature on my debut album entitled Time Is Forever were written over two years and recorded within 6 months. The recording process started in February 2013 in Jo Ellis' comfy studio in a land far far away called Ladismith.

Although it was my first time recording my solo work, Jo eased me into the whole process with great insight and an amplified spirit. I spent 7 days at the studio. The dormitory where I slept was literally a room right next to the studio. So for 7 days I breathed music. We worked from 8 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. The days were filled with creating magical sounds, the coffee was abundant and my mind was free from the corruption of the city. If I could do this for a lifetime, I most certainly would.

The first couple of days were really fun as we experimented various musical routes. I did not have an established identity as a solo artist so we could explore various sounds within reason of course.

As we approached the end of the week, I started to stress as we had left the most important song for last. Never Never Land is a love song that I wrote during my third year of studying. It meant so much to me so I wanted to make sure that the recording was a perfect representation of the emotions that I felt at the time - love, hope, freedom, longing.

When I listen to the song now I am exceedingly grateful for Jo and his musical insight. On the day of recording this song I was extremely emotional. Jo could sense my anxiety. The original song was written on a charming piano tune which has the ability to transport me right back to the emotion which I experienced when I was romantically involved. Jo could sense that I was far too attached to the song. He casually whipped out his guitar so as to distract me from the piano tune. We tried recording the song with the guitar as a lead instrument instead of the piano. Once we made this slight change, the whole mood of the day changed and we were able to complete the track in the time frame that we budgeted.

It took me 4 months before a started recording again. On 29 June 2013 I started recording a completely different sound with Charlie Hamilton in his studios in Cape Town. Charlie is probably the most enthusiastic grown man I have ever met in my life. Even his speaking voice tone is pumped with positivity. Charlie's style of producing is to go totally wild and then stabilize the sounds by throwing out the bad and keeping the good. He has years of experience in the music industry and continues to humble himself by keeping a discipline of studying music religiously.

It took us a month to work on 2 songs but it was worth it. This form of recording was completely different to the way in which I had recorded before. As Charlie is a vocal coach as well, he believes in creating powerful vocal performances in the recording process. We explored so many different main vocals and backing vocals. We really went all out in the vocal candy shop.

The version of the song Time Is Forever with its initial main vocals was very weak. Charlie worked hard at getting the production to sound as powerful as possible but it was just missing something. We couldn't put our finger on it. We then re-recorded the main vocals. It was missing that "umph". I changed the whole melody of the song to a slightly higher vocal range. It worked perfectly!

On 2 August 2013 I headed back to the Karoo to record two tracks with Jo. These songs were
completely unplanned. I had written these songs in a couple of minutes during the week. Love Be Pouring In turned out to be completely different to anything I had done before. To my surprise, it turned out to sound like an old Irish folk tune.

A lot of time and careful thought went in to the whole recording process. I am proud to say that these productions landed me #1 on the Reverb Nation pop charts for 8 consecutive weeks.

Thanks to Jo Ellis and Charlie Hamilton for making my dream come true! I am forever grateful for your patience, guidance and for sharing your insight with me throughout. Thanks to those who have been a support from beginning 'til the end ~ it means the world to me.

May the album take you on a memorable journey. 

All my love

Rivkah Hope









Tuesday, September 3, 2013

For That Bad Day

For those days when you are feeling much less fabulous than every other - Bon Iver is the cure.

Life's not easy for most of us and I blame it on capitalism. Capitalism favours a certain kind - either incredibly hard-working and intelligent people who relentlessly work their way to the top or the fortunate few who have an inheritance of great social contacts, the highest standard of education and the security of family money. Don't quote me on this - it's just how I perceive the system.

I have a love-hate relationship with the reality of capitalism. On the one hand, I hate the fact that the result of capitalism is that the minority at the top of the system live in luxury while the majority slave their lives away like little working ants. However, on the other hand I have tasted those moments of being on the receiving end of the luxurious lifestyle and boy, if I could live like a queen for a lifetime, I'd probably happily indulge. It's part of our human nature. We always want more. And besides that, it's nice to have people serve you and to not have any financial worries.

Although capitalism favours a certain kind, life is hard either way. Whether you're rich or poor or somewhere in between, successful or a failure, beautiful or not, it's hard.

Wherever you may find yourself in the system, for those moments when life finds you in rough place take a listen to this:





Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I never hit so hard in love

On the morning of Sunday 25 August, Miley Cyrus' monster of a team posted the audio of her latest track Wrecking Ball. I was just chilling at home watching the classic series 'Friends' - it was supposed to be my weekend of relaxation for my over-worked mind.

I have been working with the insightful and experienced producer and song-writer Charlie Hamilton on two tracks as of late. He suggested that I do some live covers and post them up on YouTube. I wasn't so keen on this idea as I didn't want to come across as another lame idiot saying "Hi Guys, this is my cover of xyz. If you liked the video, please follow me on every social media network available on planet Earth." No offense to those people. I don't mean that in a patronizing way at all. It's just not my style.

After uploading a cover of Katy Perry's latest hit ROAR, I immediately deleted it. I just looked so ridiculous! I told Charlie that I would rather post my own music videos than do covers. On Sunday morning I changed my mind.

Miley Cyrus' latest song Wrecking Ball completely compelled me within the first 30 seconds of hearing it. I could hear a lot of the melody was copied from Rihanna's song 'What Now' which I love. After hearing the song, I jumped off the couch, had a quick shower, phoned up my photographer Alison Els and producer Charlie and headed off to Charlie's studio.

We tried a million different backgrounds for the cover - in the studio, outside in the garden, on a couch. This is the perfectionist side of me. We tried the song acapella, with an electronic beat which Charlie whipped out in 10 seconds, and finally we settled with old-school vibes. Just me and the piano. With the moody lighting and all, it turned out to be a very intense performance. Something inside of me connects with the song.

The performance wasn't exactly perfect but it was real. I hope you enjoy my first cover.







Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fake Empire

Historically there have always been massive empires that have governed people - let's take the Roman Empire for example. Two thousand years ago this empire ruled most of the "discovered" world. It was a monster of an empire. Although it was powerful at the time, eventually the people revolted and the empire collapsed.

Over the centuries we have seen this time and time again. An empire's power never lasts. It got me thinking - what is the empire that rules my world today. Is it the government, the law and wealth? To a certain extent, yes. But there is another dimension to life that was never there before.

Today we live in three dimensions, I believe - reality, the unconscious realm and the online realm. "Reality" would be the old-school real experiences where we have a physical presence. The unconscious
realm would be the space that we enter when we're asleep or under the influence of alcohol/drugs. The new dimension which I call the "online realm" is the life that we are involved in where we are not physically present but consciously present.

Although the government, the law and wealth have power, we cannot deny that the online realm has a stronghold over us as a society. Even if you choose not to partake in online activities, the world is shaped by this new presence.

Macklemore's song "Fake Empire" challenges our thinking of the online realm. He states that we're half awake in a fake empire. The music video tells how we have become obsessed with empires that don't even exist in the real world - empires that are not physical although their activities may have effects on the physical world. Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Blackberry, Facebook, MySpace, Apple, ESPN, Xbox and YouTube are all fake empires.

These fake empires have a certain degree of power over us - so much so that we can't even have coffee with a friend without checking our phones. Whereas before our behaviour and physical performances/interactions would shape our identity and society would dictate who we are, today we can literally shape our own online presence. We tell the world who we are instead of the other way round.

The online presences that we create definitely have some effect on how people perceive us in the real world. I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing that we dictate the perceptions of ourselves online. I think it can work either way. One thing is for sure - the online world has an effect on us. It can build us up, break us down, alienate us, bring us together, hurt, comfort. Although the empire may be "fake", it's implications on our thoughts and emotions are definitely very real.

Every empire under the sun has had a rise and a fall. If we had to measure the online empire in accordance with history, we could say that it is bound to collapse eventually. But then again, it's a new kind of empire we're living in.

- Rivkah Hope



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Not Even The King

When I was 12 years old I got a hold of the sheet music of Alicia Keys "If I ain't got you". I sat for about two days learning the piano part of the song. I never played piano before so I had to work out every note in relation to it's note on the violin which is my first instrument.

I fell in love with the lyrics of the song which state that all the materialistic things that we want don't really matter. All she wants is that one special person. That one person is more important to her than any other thing.

Alicia carries this message through her current song "Not Even A King". Once again, she says that not all the gold in the world matters to her. She describes a beautiful relationship of trust. Not even a king would be able to afford this. There is no exchange of money but rather an exhange of hearts.

In a time where the music industry is bombarded with so many attention seekers and rubbish, Alicia Keys shines through like a ray of fresh morning light. She's truthful and honest. Her words are pure and her music sweet.

- Rivkah Hope



Friday, July 12, 2013

Kat Dahlia - Gangsta

Kat DahliaIn a time where millions of families are struggling financially, Kat Dahlia captures her story in her latest track "Gangsta".

The situation which she describes is the reality for so many people where every day is a financial and emotional struggle. Dahlia's growling vocal tone agressively and desperately paints a picture which opposes the idea that Gangstas live a glamorous life of control, autority and money. This song suggests that those that claim to be 'all that' because they're a gangster doesn't impress her at all.

If this song is about her own life, it seems that Dahlia is consciously opposing the norm. The norm where women look up to gangsters, falling for the bad boy - "Never trust a man cos they're all hungry". I think this is what naturally sets her apart as a young woman. She's determined to make something of what she has. She wants to make it for herself without the help of a man.

This song demands respect because it comes from such a real place of struggle.

- Rivkah Hope


Friday, July 5, 2013

We Can't Stop

I'm part of an interesting generation - we are completely and outrageously wild. When we need to work, we work. But when its time to party, there ain't no holding back.

I speak to my grandparents about the good old black and white days where showing a bit of legs was far too provocative and the highlight of the week was Dorothy's monthly house party. When I ask "Tell me about your wildest times in your youth", Granny's highlights aren't so enticing. Its seems for women the goal of those times was to get married. No disrespect to that goal.

These days women have so many more opportunities than before. We no longer rely on men for financial stablilty and we certainly don't see marrying as the ultimate goal in life.

We work hard and we party hard.

Miley Cyrus' new music video for the song "We Can't Stop" is a bit overboard and may be unacceptably shocking to the faint hearted but I think the video does a very good job of capturing our generation. Not necessarily the imagery but definitely the lyrics and feel of the song.

Just to make it clear, I don't particularly like this music video but it does paint a pretty good picture of the attitude of my generation. Also, I don't necessarily think we're better off than Granny's generation.  If anything, we're probably more messed up. Who knows. Take this article as a "social finding" and not a personal attitude/stance.

- Rivkah Hope



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Daughters of Jerusalem

I have a natural inclination to anything related to Israel.

I used to be drawn to certain "religious" music but haven't found something that hits to the heart in quite a while.

There is no denying that this song "Daughters of Jeruselum" is truly beautiful. When you listen to the song for the second and third time, you truly start hearing the words. In such a gentle way, Shane expresses his sentiment of being love sick.

 Its quite sweet how this song-writer address the ladies as "daughters of Jerusalem". I'm not sure why he calls on the ladies to help him find a saviour but I find it surprisingly beautiful.

Even if you can't relate in a spiritual way, I'm sure it will apply to someone you love.

- Rivkah Hope