Folksongs in Rock: Eversleeping by Xandria

I’d never really sat down and listened to the song before. A pattern caught my ear. “Wait, seven? Seven seas, seven years, seven rivers? Hmm, that’s a folksong pattern that goes back to the Bible and a few other places.” Places like the song “Greenwood Sidie-O [The Cruel Mother]” among others . . .

The lyrics to “Eversleeping” (single version):

Once I travelled 7 seas to find my love
And once I sang 700 songs
Well, maybe I still have to walk 7000 miles
Until I find the one that I belong

Once I crossed 7 rivers to find my love
And once, for 7 years, I forgot my name
Well, if I have to I will die 7 deaths just to lie
In the arms of my eversleeping aim

[Chorus]

I will rest my head side by side
To the one that stays in the night
I will lose my breath in my last words of sorrow
And whatever comes will come soon
Dying I will pray to the moon
That there once will be a better tomorrow

[Bridge]

I dreamt last night that he came to me
He said: “My love, why do you cry?”
For now it won’t be be long any more

“Eversleeping” Writer(s): Marco Heubaum, Elisabeth Middelhauve, Philip Restemeier, Gerit Lamm, Elisabeth Schaphaus From the album Ravenheart (2004)

The motifs of seeking a lost love, of traveling over multiple obstacles, of dreaming of the lost love . . . Can be found all over the place. I grew up with “Siúil a Rún,” “The Wars of High Germany,” “Scarborough Fair,” “She Moved Through the Fair,” and a lot of other folk songs. Folk tales too include people traveling long distances over mountain and ocean to track down a lost love (“East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” several Russian stories . . .) And of course, the dead lover (“Hills of Shiloh,” Gordon Lightfoot’s “Bitter Green,” “Hills of Loch Lomand.”) https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheLostLenore

Xandria plays with those folk-song ideas a fair amount, at least in some of their albums. “Rose on the Grave of Love” is probably the most obvious (“Barbara Allen,” and a host of others). Xandria tends to be more melodic than some other Goth-rock groups, which also fits the folk-motif borrowing. And of course, mourning over a distant or deceased lover is a staple in Goth-y stories and romances and characters and so forth. Edgar Allen Poe’s “Annabel Lee,” the premise behind some of Behind the Black Veil‘s songs from Dark Sarah . . . The tropes are common, and ancient. It’s just intriguing to find them used in new ways, by new genres of music. Part of me wonders if some of this is the influence of groups like Jethro Tull, Steeleye Span, and the folk-rock side of rock, blending with the Goth and metal sides.

Since Xandria appears to have broken up [ah, band dramas!], I can’t exactly ask them, but it’s fun to speculate.

9 thoughts on “Folksongs in Rock: Eversleeping by Xandria

  1. dead lover … Gordon Lightfoot’s “Bitter Green,”

    OK, I was driving the last time I had the GL compilation playing, but I need to go back and listen to “Bitter Green”.

  2. Seven Planets

    Seven Days (note, I goofed when I thought Seven Days (week) came from Seven Planets.)

  3. Interesting, and can’t help but wonder is ‘somebody’ over there studied a little history along the way.

  4. The number seven often appears in arcane lore (break a mirror–seven years bad luck) tp the point that any time the number seven appears in a claim, I look at it with a beady eye (swallow gum—stays in your stomach for seven years).
    I wonder if the reason ancient people thought the number seven was uncanny is because of its rarity in nature.

    • “Cherno-” means black, so Chernozem or chernozolic soils are black and rich with a lot of decayed plant matter. Think Iowa. Chernobog, black god, doesn’t have quite such a positive connotation. (We also steal podzolic as a soil classification, because that’s what English does 😛 )

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