|Consider the words of the Shaker hymn,
’tis a gift to be simple, ’tis a gift to be free ’tis a gift to come down where we ought to be. And when we find ourselves in the place just right it will be in the valley of love and delight. When true simplicity is gained to bow and to bend we won’t be ashamed. To turn, turn, will be our delight, ’till by turning, turning, we come round right.
At first glance, the combination of folk songs and art songs on the same vocal program might seem odd, particularly when the folk songs are not dressed in art song accompaniment. A closer look at their similarities offers insight into why the combination works: both folk and art songs are compressed musical statements where the seeming simplicity of the texts and the music dares the listener to delve deeper into his/her own personal experience, into the heart and mind as well as the ear.
It is the very simplicity of the compressed form of these folk songs, spirituals, and art songs which makes them accessible, whatever the subject matter or artistic genre.
”Simple Gifts” combines different kinds of songs in order to come closer to universal experience, in order to move the listener. Musical expression using the human voice is as old and as varied as humanity. Thus the songs have been carefully chosen to express universal truths and experiences with which we can all identify: the common denominator being that life is a gift, that we are all on the same journey, and that personal truth can be found by looking and listening within.
DEBORAH HENRIKSSON is an American singer and music teacher who has lived and given concerts
in Sweden for many years. She studied at the Göteborg College of Music and with Max Lundquist,
Stockholm. Together with pianist Jan Bülow she has created two musical happenings, Art Sounds (Västerås
Art Museum, 1998) and Room for Senses (Culturen, 2002), where works of art and music interplay. Her musical
and cultural roots have always been important to her. The present CD is an expression of this focus.
| SWEET LITTLE JESUS (traditional) 2’34|
 SIMPLE GIFTS (Shaker hymn, traditional) 2’00
 SOMETIMES I FEEL (traditional, arranged by Harry Burleigh, 1918) 2’41
 WEEPIN’ MARY (traditional, arranged by Harry Burleigh, 1917) 2’45
|Paul Bowles (1910–99)|
 THREE (1947) 1’10
 SLEEPING SONG (1946) 1’39
(Paul Bowles), 1946
 A LITTLE CLOSER, PLEASE (1941) 1’25
 THEY CANNOT STOP DEATH (1984) 1’33
 ON A QUIET CONSCIENCE (1947) 1’32
(Charles I) (Yes, Charles I was the English king who was beheaded!)
 LETTER TO FREDDY (1935) 1’18
(Gertrude Stein) (The composer is ”Freddy”.)
 THE FEATHERS OF THE WILLOW (1984) 1’26
 THE HEART GROWS OLD (1984) 1’10
| THE WATER IS WIDE|
(traditional, collected and arranged by Cecil Sharpe, 1916) 3’31
 THE CHERRY TREE CAROL (traditional) 2’29
(Thank you, Mrs. Epstein!)
 THE GREENWOOD SIDIE-O (traditional) 2’28
 OH SHENANDOAH (traditional, arranged by Bülow/Henriksson, 2007) 2’22
|Samuel Barber (1910–81)|
 SURE ON THIS SHINING NIGHT (1941) 2’45
From HERMIT SONGS (1954):
 THE MONK AND HIS CAT 2’04
(8th or 9th century, translated by W. H. Auden)
 THE CRUCIFIXION 2’15
(12th century, translated by Howard Mumford Jones)
 THE HEAVENLY BANQUET 1’27
(Attributed to St. Brigid, 10th century, translated by Sean O’Faolain)
 THE DESIRE FOR HERMITAGE 3’14
(8th or 9th century, based on a translation by Sean O’Faolain)
| MY LAGAN LOVE (S. MacCathumhaoil, traditional,
arranged by Bülow/Henriksson, 2007) 3’39|
 POOR WAYFARIN’ STRANGER (traditional, arranged by Bülow/Henriksson, 2007) 2’58
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