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A little Medieval love song – “Havn”

The lyrics of all the songs on my album “Divan” were inspired by ancient historical documents. The lyrics for “Havn” date back to 1100 AD/CE. The first line, in Medieval Dutch, is: “Hebban olla vogala nestas?”, which means “Do all birds have nests?”. The name of the song, “Havn”, means “haven” or “harbour” – like a safe nest. That’s what the song is about. The singer is Eden Rayne. The bassist and sound engineer is Luke Garfield.

The song is very simple – a repeated melody, on guitar – like a Medieval Roundel. But in this case, key changes make it a bit more interesting. The rest of the lyrics are about the redundancy of the question that is asked: We know now that birds do not sleep in nests. They breed in nests and for the rest, they sleep wherever they can, on branches, in shrubs, etc. However, the idea is that a couple of lovebirds will be safe and happy in a little nest, and so will a pair of human lovebirds in a little home. Since the question implies concern that time is passing them by, I worked into the lyrics the idea that these people are a couple, but have been homeless for quite some time.

The phrase was pronounced like modern Dutch by English-French vocalist Eden Rayne, who had no problems with it, and whose sweet and breathy voice suits the subject and the melody.

Vocalist Eden Rayne

Lyrics

Verse 1 

Hebban olla vogala  nestas?  (Do all birds have nests?)
Waarop wachten wij dan nu?  (What are we waiting for now?)
Do all the birds have nests to rest in? 
Why are we waiting, me and you? 
  
All the birds have begun nesting; 
we’re still waiting for a sign. 
All the birds are sleeping soundly; 
we are running out of time. 
  
Bridge 

Home is so hard to imagine, 
when it’s been 
so far away. 
Let us make a place to stay. 
  
Verse 2 

Hebban olla vogala nestas? 
Does each bird have its own nest? 
Every little bird has built one 
in the way that it knows best. 

Do all the birds have nests to rest in? 
What are we still waiting for? 
There are just the two of us here. 
Step inside and close the door. 
  
Chorus 

For so long there’s been 
only me and you. 
Can we make a home 
just like lovers do? 
We’ll be safe and warm 
in our nest for two. 
  
Verse 3 

Hebban olla vogala  nestas? 
Does each bird have its own nest? 
Every little bird has built one 
in the way that it knows best. 
  
Winter snows and rains are coming 
as the days grow shorter still. 
And the birds are safely bedded, 
in their nests with downy fill. 
  
Verse 4 

Hebban olla vogala  nestas? 
Does each bird have its own nest? 
Every little bird has built one 
in the way that it knows best. 
  
Here we are, with no safe haven, 
but this I can offer you: 
In our nest, my little sparrow, 
there we can be happy too.  
Credits are in the video.

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