Hopefully, you are not stranded on a desert island right now, though learning to live in self-isolation with social distancing is pretty darn close. I’ve already lost count of which day of self-isolation I’m on and to be honest, with no clear end in sight, it’s probably best that way. One thing that is keeping me great company is BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. My husband introduced me to it a few years ago when we started doing road trips – and I’ve loved it ever since.
In it, BBC Radio 4 interviews well-known people from all walks of life whilst asking them to answer the following questions:
I’ve really enjoyed hearing people talk about their lives and share their stories in this context. A lot of them get really deep and personal, and it’s lovely to hear the role music has played in their memories.
So, this week, I got close and personal with Desert Island Discs myself and picked my eight discs of music, a book, a luxury item, and the number one disc out of the eight.
1. Trampoolini by Jenni Vartiainen
This is my favourite Finnish song of all time and it’s the song my soul sister and best friend Hanna and I share. She introduced me to it when I was having a tough time with some relationships in my life and I promptly realised she was, in fact, my ‘trampoline’. That’s what the song is about – you being someone’s ‘trampoline’. In other words, it’s about being there for them no matter what and helping them bounce back from difficult times. I know every word by heart and sing along to it every time I hear it. In fact, when Hanna and I were getting ready together on my wedding day, we sang it hand-in-hand. It’s a memory and song I will cherish forever. Just like the soul sister friendship we have.
2. River Flows in You by Yiruma
This beautiful piano piece is the song that played when I walked down the aisle to marry my husband. I found it by accident on Spotify and I have loved it ever since. It’s soft and it’s gentle. It’s absolute magic. It makes me want to learn to play it on the piano myself. Every time I hear it I struggle not to weep.
3. Klingande by Jubel
This is quite an unusual song in the mix but I love it. It’s got a good beat and a trance-like repetition. I particularly love the saxophone in it. I listened to this song on repeat when I wrote my first two books. It got me into total writing flow. Now, whenever I hear it, I think of those days of endless writing and smile.
4. Garota de Ipanema / Girl from Ipanema by Antônio Carlos Jobim
This melodic piece of bossa nova makes me want to sway my hips from side to side. I heard it for the first time when I was living in Brazil in my teens and now it reminds me of my time there. It represents the Brazilian way of life so well – warm, relaxed, and feel-good. I could sing the Portuguese lyrics in my sleep. In fact, I sing it out loud to my horse Mickey when I’m riding him and he feels a bit on edge. It relaxes both him and me. I also sang this song in Portuguese a cappella as part of my 9th-grade music exam in Sweden. Thankfully, there is no recording of this.
5. Comptine d’un autre été, l’après-midi by Yann Tiersen
I came across this masterpiece by accident on Spotify. It’s stuck with me ever since. For some reason, whenever I listen to this and close my eyes, I see myself dancing with my horse Mickey. I’m not on him but I’m on the ground next to him, we are in a meadow, and we are dancing side by side in freedom and full contentment. I’ve never done this with him before but this vision is making me want to do it. It’s an image that is so precious and so heart-warming I want to keep it close to me.
6. Una Mattina by Ludovico Einaudi
This mesmerising instrumental piece features in my favourite movie of all time, The Intouchables. When you sit listening to it, it takes you on a journey of your senses and you can’t help but savour it with every cell in your body. It reminds me of everything that the movie is about. It reminds me of the magic of friendship, the power of resilience, and the importance of perspective. In short, it reminds me to enjoy every step of the beautiful adventure called life.
7. Mamma Mia by ABBA
I grew up with ABBA as it’s one of my mom’s favourite bands. Listening to them reminds me of her and how she is one of my best friends. One of my funnest memories is when my mom, me, my half-Danish half-Portuguese friend Maria, and her mom all went to an ABBA cover band concert in Portugal. Naturally, as we were all of Nordic origin, the love for ABBA is in our blood. We were on our feet within the first five seconds of the first song and we didn’t stop until the concert was officially over. We danced our bodies sores and sang along so much so that we had no voices the next day. It was brilliant.
8. Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
This song has helped me through my rollercoaster ride of entrepreneurship. The phrase ‘don’t stop believing’ is one that I’ve repeated to myself again and again. It’s a song that’s kept me bold enough to keep walking my own path and walking it proudly. It also reminds me of the fantastic documentary, Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey. It’s about a Filipino musician becoming the new lead singer of the band when he’s discovered on youtube. It proves any dream is possible.
Choosing only eight discs was incredible hard so I’m going to be a rebel and give an honourable mention to a further two. Ok, actually three. After all, there is no one telling me I can’t do that here on my blog.
The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens
This is such a great, fun song to sing along to. And it’s impossible not to start shaking your booty to it. It’s one of the songs we sang in our pre-wedding day garden party where we had a sing-along with all our 45 guests. All tables had song sheets of lyrics of the songs we’d picked and one of my fondest memories of that day is hearing everybody sing their hearts out with , “A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh“.
Imagine by John Lennon
This song simply warms my heart and helps us imagine a more beautiful, peaceful world. It’s healing, it’s hopeful, and it’s full of love.
September by Earth, Wind and Fire
This just makes me want to get up and dance like no other song. It’s the perfect feel-good song.
Right, with my rebellious act over, which is the one disc I would take if I could only have one? This is a really tough one.
I would have to take one of the instrumental ones as I would imagine they would get a little less repetitive to listen to if I was in fact on a desert island. Also, I could even get creative with it and write different sets of lyrics to go along with it. Hence, I would have to pick Comptine d’un autre été, l’après-midi by Yann Tiersen.
As this show has been running on the BBC for a while, it is a bit old-fashioned in some ways. For example, you automatically get The Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare to take with you to the Desert Island.
Fortunately, on top of this, you also get a book of your choice. Personally, I’d take one that I can dip in and out of however I wish, and read again and again. For me, this would be Oprah Winfrey’s What I Know For Sure.
It’s a book that’s full of calm and contentment, as well as inspiring stories to keep you entertained.
It would be easy to answer this question with something practical like sunscreen, a guide to surviving in the wild, a first aid kit, or a Swiss Army knife. But the whole point of the question is that it is a luxury item, not necessarily a practical one.
I’ve particularly loved the answers to this question as it tells so much about the person. It’s been fascinating to hear what people’s luxury items would be.
As for me, without a doubt, it would be an endless supply of pens and journals. That way, I could keep writing however much I would want. It would be an outlet of my creativity, it would keep me calm and sane, and I would probably even write myself into fictional stories so that I would feel less lonely.
What about you? What would be your eight desert island discs, your one book, and your one luxury item? Play with these questions. It’s a fun exercise to do yourself and then share with friends and family. You could even ask them to do the same too. It’s amazing how much you can learn about a person through it.
As usual, stay safe and stay well. Together, we can get through this.