Ragnar Ólafsson – Przystań Wschód, Siemiatycze; June 18th, 2022
Ragnar’s concert in Siemiatycze took place by a lovely lake with dragonflies and ducks among the guests. The atmosphere was beautiful and after a short while he had drawn everyone in an people listened. I loved every moment of it.
My trip took longer than expected, but I still mad it in good time. I had spent the night in Gdansk, because originally Saturday’s concert was supposed to b in Torun, so i had a long way to go. It got a little more complicated when the bus from Warsaw was not running and I had to take the train. The train station for Siemiatycze is almost 9 km outside of the city. wither way, I got there eventually and while I would have loved to take a swim in the lake I spent the remaining time resting and getting ready for the show.
When I arrived, Raggi and Marta were just finishing setting up the stage and demonstrated how good the sound was. They set up directly at the lake, in good view of all the tables at the restaurant/bar. It instantly made me smile and after I had felt tired and a bit queasy all day, it was all better now. I had a good feeling about this. There was still an hour to go, so I git drinks, settles down and read a book while a waited.
Shortly after 8, Raggi stepped on stage, tuned his guitar and started off by breaking a string, just as everyone turned their attention to him. So we waited a moment and excited chatter resumed and I listened to birds singing in the background. Raggi greeted us in Polish, then switched to english and decided to warm up with ‘SSDD’. The soft song made people really listen and showed just how good the sound was. A great start.
The night’s goal was to teach us Icelandic with “skál” being the first word. After a few tries, the audience responded. They were chatty at times, but as soon as a song was playing they mostly listened and whenever somebody was too loud they got immediately shushed by everyone else. 🙂 Raggi was in a good mood and he sounded great too. <3 Behind him, on the water, here was a swimming fire that was fed by a guy from the restaurant from time to time. It created a very lovely atmosphere, especially when it got darker.
‘Deva’, the song about hope was next and made me feel hopeful as always. I exchanged glances with Marta throughout the show as we both tried to capture the mood with pictures. We learned more Icelandic with “takk” and heard about words that sound the same but have different meaning in Icelandic than in Polish. H continued with ‘Ljósaskil’ and it was lovely hearing him sing the song in Iclandic instead of English. It is beautiful in either language and I can almost sing along to both versions too. 😉
Raggi spoke about his travel and also mentioned his plan to write an album in Poland. He tried four time and the first three he kept saying “I’m gonna write a Poland in album” to much laughter. Behind him, on the lake, a few ducks were making a bit of a racket as they were trying to get away. Apparently they did not care for it so much. 😉 He thought they were excited and told them to pre save the album on Spotify. Then we got to hear ‘Bravery’ without any stories about Jägermeister this time. 😀
“Here is a drinking song. There are two types of drinking songs – stupid Irish ones that you fall over to and then there is the more sophisticated, kind of intellectual, soft-hearted one. This is one of those.” It was ‘Wine’ of course and a great version too.
He taught us “vitjanir” and explains that it means having a sixths sense to see ghosts and elves. Now finally I know what it means. Of course he told us about the Tv series (Fractures in English) and played ‘Hugsanir’ for us. *happy sigh* The song always touches me, no matter which language I hear it in. <3 Afterwards he wanted to know if we liked the sound of Icelandic when it’s sung and people affirmed. Therefore he continued with ‘Örlög’ and I could not help but laugh when he asked us to sing and said he’d teach us more Icelandic words. After a slow start, most people sang along and formed a beautiful background choir.
“I wanna play you a song about myself,” Raggi said and launched into ‘Vegetate’. I have no idea if he kept it on the setlist since my last concert, but he certainly remembered the lyrics better this time. 🙂 Staying with the more upbeat songs, we got one from the river, ‘Muddy Waters’. Never mind it’s the only Blues song he has ever written, I am sure glad he did. It is always fun and was absolutely perfect that night. Turning around he checked out the view we got and mused about turning the mic around and singing to the lake instead.
He spoke about this being his solo project and having many different bands and continued with Árstíðir’s ‘Cannon’ – that was certainly unexpected and I absolutely loved it. <3 We got ‘Dragonfly’ next and Raggi introduced it by talking about his pilgrimage to Nashville, Tennessee, where he wrote the song in a forest that was full of huge dragonflies. I had seen some behind him earlier, but of course they were gone now. “And if you’re lucky, you’re gonna have a musical guest”. With that, Marta stepped up and grabbed the glockenspiel to play with him. He introduced her as his “boss” to which she quipped “as in life” before he could say “as in my tour manager”. 😉
Raggi told us about Minnesota and how people there often speak with a Swedish accent. That’s where the Mississippi starts and they started their trip down the river on a house boat. Before they started he wrote ‘Southern Nights’ to cast a spell for a good trip and asked us to sing with him. We did so pretty nicely too. It is always a great song to end the main set with.
We cheered loudly, even the present dog demanded an encore, and after joking about diving into the lake and staying underwater instead of going backstage, h came back with the murder ballad double. ‘Where the wild roses grow’ was lovely and for ‘Sleep now’ he walked into the audience. They really loved it, especially when he sang “I love you” to people.
There were so many cheers that h decided to play one last song and did ‘Always look on the bright side of life’. It was fun and there could not have been a better finale.
The night ended with great food, more drinks, nice chats and on final encore before it was time to say goodnight. It was an amazing evening. See you tomorrow!
Where the wild Roses Grow
Always look on the bright Side of Life