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Spiderdust (Bel Canto) (Norway)

The atmospheric, melancholy, somewhat medieval soundscapes of Bel Canto (Italian for "beautiful song") mix an essentially synth-based, chamber-rock sound with a wide range of orchestral and folk instruments. This Norwegian band consists of ethereal vocalist Anneli Marian Drecker, plus Nils Johansen and Geir Jenssen. The group claims to draw its inspiration from powerful energy fields, including those of the female and the earth's gravitational pull; additionally, their compositions sometimes draw on world music and the ambient experiments of Brian Eno.

This track is from their album "Shimmering, Warm and Bright", recorded in 1992.

She lived in limbo
Time showed no mercy
Till a man in grey gave her
Doses of a sweet poison

Mmm, she got. Mmm, she got
Hoodooed, voodooed
Mmm, she got. Mmm, she got
Finally released

She stirred huge cauldrons
With toads and henbane and, and...

...spiderdust, spiderdust!
Hotchpotch for haunted lusts
Spiderdust, spiderdust!
Hotchpotch for the evil-eyed
Spiderdust, spiderdust!
Hotchpotch for spellbound lusts
Spiderdust, spiderdust!
Hotchpotch for the demonized...

Mmm, she got. Mmm, she got
Hoodooed, voodooed
Mmm, she got. Mmm, she got
Finally released

She stirred huge cauldrons
With toads and henbane and, and...

Spiderdust, spiderdust!
Hotchpotch for haunted lusts
Spiderdust, spiderdust!
Hotchpotch for the evil-eyed
Spiderdust, spiderdust!
Hotchpotch for spellbound lusts
Spiderdust!
Hotchpotch for the demonized...

She bred toads
Oh yea.
She got burnt.

Spiderdust, spiderdust!
Hotchpotch for haunted lusts
Spiderdust, spiderdust!
Hotchpotch for the evil-eyed
Spiderdust, spiderdust!
Hotchpotch for spellbound lusts
Spiderdust!
Hotchpotch for the demonized...

Mmm, she got. Mmm, she got
Hoodooed, voodooed
Mmm, she got. Mmm, she got
Finally released.

LIMBO= A Latin word meaning "edge", used in Medieval times to refer to a place which was neither heaven nor hell, but "on the edge of heaven". So there, there was no joy or pain. From this meaning we still use the expression "to live in limbo" when your life fells like a blank, nothing happens, neither good or bad (and that is for most people a terrible thing, a boring life).

TIME SHOWED NO MERCY= Time was passing by and she was growing older (and still no love).
To show mercy is to feel compassion for someone and not hurt them.

TILL= Until.

HOODOOED= (from African and Caribbean traditions) A hoodoo is a spell, a charm, an enchantment. To hoodoo someone is to cure or control them using magic. If she got hoodooed then she was enchanted, she fell under the magic spell of the man, and that man in grey started to control her life.

VOODOOED= (from African and Caribbean traditions) "Voodoo" is a charm, fetish, spell, or curse holding magic power, and to voodoo someone is to hurt or control them through voodoo. Again, if she was voodooed by the man, he got to control her using magic.

FINALLY= At last.

RELEASED= Liberated.

STIRRED= To stir a liquid is to move it again and again using a stick or a pole.

HUGE= Very big.

CAULDRONS= A very big earthen pot, like the ones used by witches to make magic potions.

TOADS= An animal similar to a frog but which doesn't live in water, but just in wet places (see picture).

HENBANE= A poisonous plant with sticky leaves (see picture).

SIPERDUST= If you let a dead spider become completely dry and then you ground it, you can make powder with it, spider dust.

HOTCHPOTCH= A thick soup or stew made from meat and vegetables. A mixture of many different things.

HAUNTED= If a house or a place is haunted, ghost appear there regularly or permanently. If an idea haunts you, it comes to your head again and again until you become obsessed with it.

LUSTS= Lust is sexual desire.

THE EVIL-EYED= In ancient times people thought that wizards and witches could cast an evil spell on you just by looking at you in the eye, so those charms where called "the evil eye". If someone cast you the evil eye you could get ill, or die, or lose your job, or have any other calamity in your life. THE EVIL-EYED are the people who had been charmed like this.

SPELLBOUND= A "spell" is a magic charm, an incantation. "Bound" means "tied, chained". So if you are spellbound, you are controlled by a magic spell.

DEMONIZED= Possessed by demons (evil spirits) who come inside you and control or torment you.

SHE BRED TOADS= To raise toads, to take care of them and help them multiply. You breed sheep for the wool and cheese, etc. Witches breed toads for their magic potions.

This song, like the rest of the songs in this album, are a mixture of fantasy and symbolism with resonances from distant places (both geographically and in time).

We are introduced to a lady who is not young anymore, and yet, she has found no love in her life yet. Nothing ever happens to her, so she "lives in limbo" while time passes by and she gets desperate. But suddenly a man in grey appears. We know this man is not a very good option because if he was nice the song wouldn't describe his clothes (and probably his whole appearance) as grey.

This man was actually very bad for her, but she was so desperate to find love that she accepted him gratefully, and so the man ruined her life with her permission, he "gave her doses of sweet poison".

Under the powerful influence of this man she changed everything in her life. She got hoodooed and voodooed by him, but she couldn't realise he was destroying her life, she accepted him as a liberation, since after a long empty life, now "she got finally released". Well, that's how she felt, but that's not how things were.

And now, the most symbolico-fantastic part of the song. She is described as a witch making potions, stirring a huge cauldron. This probably means that in time, he ruined her life to the point that she turned into a very disgusting person, horrible and mean. The end of the song condenses this idea: "She bred toads, she got burnt". Toads are associated to witches, malefactions and evil things, it's an ancient symbol of evil, so when you help evil grow inside you… you get burnt.

Yep, a sad story but an enchanting song. Be careful.  Or simply take it as a short fairy tale.

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