Arva

by Ange Takats

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about

MEDIA RELEASE

What happens when you blend 60s folk with 30s jazz, add a former foreign correspondent turned folk singer with a gift for storytelling, and the genius of Melbourne record producer J. Walker? The answer is songwriter and author Ange Takats’ sophomore album Arva.

With three-part vocal harmonies, lush string arrangements and ragtime jazz instrumentation, the 11-track album is a departure from the Queensland Music Award winner’s folkie roots.

“Strangely enough it was Joni Mitchell who led me to 1930s jazz. I read an article in which Joni spoke about being greatly influenced by the work of Billie Holiday. I bought a Holiday album and fell in love – not only with her achingly honest voice but also with the charm of the era. I went on to discover the Boswell Sisters and began playing around with backing vocal ideas for some of my songs,” Ange said.

To help her weave a nostalgic thread through her second album, Ange travelled to Victoria to team up with award-winning composer and producer J. Walker (Machine Translations) who recorded and produced Paul Kelly’s latest album Spring And Fall.

“He’d just finished composing the music for the ABC TV series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries which is set in the 1920s, so he was in the perfect ‘old world’ headspace to work on my songs. We recorded most of the vocals in an old hall in Gippsland. A few weeks later he was in the same hall, recording Paul’s album,” Ange said.

Walker recorded, produced, mixed and laid down most of the instrumental tracks on the album – playing double bass, piano accordion, violin, cello, piano, vibraphone, dulcimer, banjo and percussion. He also gently nudged Ange outside of her comfort zone with some challenging backing vocal arrangements on tracks like Infatuation, Fine & Dandy, Old Fashioned Man and the opening track – Hotel Napkin.

“We did most of the harmonies on the run in the studio. He was playing these crazy jazz notes on the piano and asking me to mimic them with my voice, which was no easy feat,” Ange said.

In between the old world tunes are a mix of folk and alt-country songs such as Little Word Called Love, Minnesota and the title track, Arva.

“The song is named after a town in Ontario. I moved to North America eight years ago after falling in love with a Romanian Canadian medical student. The relationship didn’t go exactly as planned. The song is about finding happiness in unlikely places and was inspired by a very long walk down a highway,” she said.

Ange has had an unusual journey into the world of music – beginning her career ten years ago in Bangkok where she worked as a foreign correspondent during the day and folk singer at night. In 2011 she released a travel memoir – The Buffalo Funeral – detailing her adventures in Asia. The former journalist’s lyrics reflect a life that has been truly embraced - and contain an honesty that can be confronting. There’s no better representation of this than the track, Last on his List, where J. Walker’s darkly haunting string arrangements prove the perfect match to the raw power and sincerity of Ange’s lead vocals.

credits

released January 16, 2013

All songs written and composed by Ange Takats
Recorded, produced, engineered and mixed by J. Walker at
The General Store in South Gippsland (machinetranslations.org)
Live songs recorded in the old Mawson Hall in Gippsland
Instrumental arrangements by J. Walker
Lead vocals, backing vocals, guitar by Ange Takats
Piano, banjo, dulcimer, double bass, percussion, drums, violin,
piano accordion, cello, dobro, vibraphone by J. Walker
Horns by Colin Chandler
Mastered by William Bowden, King Willy Sound, Sydney

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about

Ange Takats Australia

One of the purest voices on the Australian music scene – Ange Takats is able to coat with sugar, crush with sadness and cut through to the soul of a song.

Her second album Arva mixes Americana folk with the sounds of 1930s jazz … think Joni Mitchell meets Billie Holiday with the Andrews Sisters on backing vocals. It was recorded and produced by J. Walker (Machine Translations).
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Track Name: Hotel Napkin
Wrapped up in a hotel napkin
Is a little letter I wrote on the weekend
That says I like you, might even love you
Sealed with the kisses of a chocolate fondue

These days our love’s like an icecream
Eaten on a hot day in the middle of spring
He says I like you, might even love you
I ask for one scoop but he likes to buy me two

Maybe this could last a long time
If we resist the temptation to clarify
This feeling that floats so effortlessly
Between you and me

Taking the slow boat to the island
As the sun is slipping down to the horizon
Stars light up the sky
I look to my right
And he is by my side

Waking on a summer morning
To cicadas singing and the ocean breeze is
Playing with my hair
I look to my left
And he is there
Track Name: Infatuation
Martha says she’s found a new love
He’s tall, he’s handsome, he’s charming and divine
She can not eat, she can not sleep
She’s thinking ‘bout him all of the time

She calls it love – not infatuation
But I wonder if true love would inflict such hunger
And sleep deprivation

Nina says she’s met ‘the one’
He’s cute, he’s clever, he’s oh so much fun!
She can not eat, she can not sleep
It’s the kind of passion that smothers the sun

<CHORUS>

Jodie says he sweeps her off her feet
She’s been spinning for days, he makes her feel dizzy
She can not eat, she can not sleep
Her work is out the window ‘cause he’s keeping her busy

<CHORUS>

Frida says he takes her breath away
She met him last week and he’s been calling her each day
She can not eat, she can not sleep
She’s head over heels, she’s hook, line, sinker and sailing away

<CHORUS>

As for me well, I’ve found a love that’s just right
I know, because when I am with him I don’t lose my appetite
As for me well, I’ve found a love that feels light
It’s a steady kind of love, that lets me sleep all through the night
Track Name: Arva
I walked all the way to Arva today
Past the cornfields and the hay
With a bottle of water in my hand
I set off down the highway

I walked all the way out of town and then some
Tom Rush was singing in my head
The sun was shining over the farmhouses
The roadside flowers were orange and red

Oh happiness, happiness
Happiness finds me even when I’m alone
Oh happiness, happiness
Happiness finds me even when I’m far from home

I walked all the way until my legs lay me
Down in a field full of green
The sky was big and blue
The clouds were far and few
And I was feeling free

Oh happiness, happiness
Happiness finds me even when I’m alone
Oh happiness, happiness
Happiness finds me even when I’m far from home
Track Name: Fine and Dandy
I’m just fine and dandy
I got a man with blue eyes standing by me
And his garden’s full of fruit trees
Believe me when I say, I’m fine and dandy

I’m just fine and dandy
My home is a rental by the sea
And I got no mortgage hanging over me
I’m positively fine and dandy

People often ask me “What comes next?”
As if I’d been expressing a restlessness
Oh what comes next? Well I don’t care!
‘Cause happiness is already here

And I’m just fine and dandy
I don’t live to work but I work to live
And I mightn’t be rich but I sure got a lot to give
Believe me when I say, I’m fine and dandy….
Track Name: Baby, Sweetie, Honey
Falling for the first time, I remember love
With a backpack full of big ideas and rainbow-coloured dreams
Falling for the first time, I remember love
So young and so naïve
I let him call me ‘honey’

Falling for the second time, I remember love
With a handful of heartbreak hoping he would fix it all
Falling for the second time, I remember love
A little older but still hopeful
I let him call me ‘sweetheart’

But the ‘baby, sweetie, honey’, well it fell away
And he started calling me by my first name again
And I was left to think about the woman I used to be
Before I became his ‘baby’

Falling for the third time, I remember love
With a suitcase full of sorrow and a cynical hat on top
Falling for the third time, I remember love
I thought I would be safer if I kept my walls up
But I let him call me ‘love’

<CHORUS>

Falling for the – who knows what – I have lost count
But you’re standing here before me and you make my heart pound
I know I’m a little bit crazy with all these silly rules
Please understand it’s just my fear of looking like a fool

‘Cause if the ‘baby, sweetie, honey’ was to fall away
And you started calling me by my first name again
I’d be left to think about the woman I used to be
Before I became your ‘baby’
Track Name: Last on his List
I’m the last on his list
Below the milk and bread
Won’t spare me a kiss
Before he goes to bed
I’m the last on his list

He used to sing and dance for me
When he walked through the front door
Now there’s no more melody
In his heart for me oh lord
I’m the last on his list

Hand me the salt and the pepper shaker
These days have become bland
I’m losing my appetite for life
I’m losing my man

I’m the last on his list
And soon will come a day
When he picks up a pen
And crosses out my name
You may ask me why I stay
And risk such a disgrace
I suppose I live in hope that he’ll
Return me to first place
Track Name: Edna's Song
The moon is playing peek-a-boo
Behind the clouds in the darkening blue
And I am thinking about you
Though you’re not here with me now
I still remember how
Life used to feel with you beside me

I’ve got family all around
But I still miss the sound
Of your slippers shuffling on the kitchen floor
And Seven years have gone by
Since the night that you died
But I still wait, expecting to see your face

My lovely, my darling, my dear
Thanks for all those tender years
I’m lucky you’ve left me with so many happy memories
My sweetheart, my true love
I know that this full moon above
Is your way of leaving the light on for me
Track Name: Little Word Called Love
We may have only emails and long distance calls
But I love you now more than ever before
I may fall asleep without you by my side
But I’m blowing you kisses each and every night

And trusting in a little word called love
Trusting in a little word called love
To carry us on this ride

I find myself looking through
A box of trinkets and of clues
They help me sail back to you
I keep your scarf wrapped in a plastic bag
Hoping to hold on to the smell of you

<CHORUS>

And the crosses on the calendar
Are like kisses and stepping stones
Each day that passes
Brings you closer to my arms and home
Track Name: Minnesota
I met a boy from Minnesota
He took me out on
His little green boat and we sailed out to sea
Between the rolling tides
The who, the what, the why
We studied squares of sky
And floated towards goodbye

I met a boy from Minnesota
He took me out on
His little green boat and we sailed out to sea
In the blackness of the night
The moon cast a line
Around a triangle of light
Then tugged back time

We passed the hours by reading books
And feasting on sweet nectarines
All I can say about the boy who took me to sea is that
He wasn’t what he seemed

I knew a man from Minnesota
I knew a man from Minnesota
Track Name: Back to the Sun
The sun is sketching spider webs, among the morning leaves
And the day’s so clear and beautiful, that it’s almost make believe
It seems to me that the grass is greener right here under my feet
And don’t it come a sweet relief

Between birth and death – what will you choose?
Will you give to those you love and let them give love back to you?
Will you understand that rosiness is often followed by blue?
And will you begin and end each day with words of gratitude?

Today I see the sad clouds, rolling on in
But tomorrow I know that the wind will blow and push them out to sea
And it seems to be that the darkness is there to teach me
Just how bright a little light can be

<CHORUS>

Oh the afternoon is not the end of the day
But just the morning waiting to find her way
Back to the sun, back to the sun

<CHORUS>
Track Name: Old Fashioned Man
Lately I have noticed that love has lost all of its class
All these ‘booty calls’ and speed dating scores
Makes for love that never lasts

What became of that old fashioned man?
Who was happy to hold your hand
Who asked permission to kiss your cheek
And how the thrill of it would make your knees weak

Lately I’ve noticed that love has lost all its charm
What happened to town hall dances and slow romances
Down the boulevard arm in arm?

I’m just looking for a man with an old fashioned passion for me