It often happens that what I just need comes to me with foresight. After accidentally hearing the ballad Yellow Lily on the radio, I was struck by the idea of setting this sound-painting poem to music.
Ján Botto wrote it in a way that was „cool,“ in the middle of the 19th century – simply put, in the language of the people. The ballad strongly inspired by folklore may seem naive to us, but it is not so. This essential phenomenon of folklore poetry deals with the moral conflict and that is what attracted me to it, apart from the way it is written. Adam and Eva make a vow of allegiance beyond the grave. When Adam dies, Eva buries him under the threshold of the house and later marries a rich man. For this she is punished – at midnight, Adam comes for her from the grave and she dies in his arms. Their little house turns into a mound, with Evka, a yellow lily, growing in the thorns. Ján Botto wrote the poem in the context of the archaic thinking of people who believe in magic. In the past, people have been careful to separate the „world of the living“ from the „world of the dead,“ using a system of transitional rituals or protective measures to ensure that the two worlds do not mix. By burying her husband under the doorstep of her house, Eva fundamentally disturbed the traditionally understood order. But why did the poet refuse her the right to remarry? What´s wrong with a woman finding a new partner after her husband’s death? The romantic perspective, which perceives the transgression resulting from the breach of the vow of allegiance „beyond the grave“ has in the background a belief in the absolute power of the world. When I say to someone „I give you my word“ I mean that I’m making a promise. It is an absolute, irrevocable promise; an unquestionable truth. I imagine the power I have at my fingertips when every word contains a promise of action and a statement of truth. As I use words mainly for their meaning and not for their power, how do I get rid of the reckless use of words in ordinary communication? Maybe by silence, listening to lyrics that have a deep meaning for me and setting then to music, I will be able to connect to the great power hidden inside every word.