Advent calendar, week 2

For more Advent calendar treats, see week 1!

December 13th

This week’s recipe is not a cocktail recipe per se, but a recipe for a home made syrup you can use for cocktails. Making a home made syrup for cocktail use is quite simple, and can enhance the appeal of even the simplest party punch. The recipe we’re giving away today is one that has a very wintery flavor and goes well with either hot or cold drinks. So here we go, a honey-cardamom syrup for Christmasy cocktails.

syrup003

4 cups water
2 cups honey
20-30 green cardamom pods
10 juniper berries
2 tbsp brown sugar

Bring the water to a boil in a sauce pan and add the cardamom and juniper berries, crushed. Let the flavors infuse for about five minutes. Bring the heat down, add the honey and sugar, and let simmer until you have about 2/3 of the liquid left. Strain through a tea sieve to your chosen container. Let the syrup cool and enjoy!

If you’re making cold drinks, try this syrup with recipes that usually call for honey syrup, such as Bee’s Knees or Gold Rush. Here we did a variation on Gold Rush, adding italian amaro and just a little creme de cassis to the original bourbon, lime and honey.

syrup001

For a hot toddy, try combining a strong, brown spirit with a fortified wine or dessert wine. If you’re using a dry sherry, try to pair it with a sweeter rum or Metaxa. If you have some vermouth lying around, spike it up with cognac. We used Sauternes wine and grappa, since both share the taste of raisin and make a beautiful pair. A dash of bitters can go a long way, chamomile and of course cardamom work well!


December 12th

Last year we did a show called Kammerkabarett. For that show we made a handful of video projections, which we haven’t had a chance of using on gigs since. There’s one that we’d especially like share with you, Sweethearts! It’s our humble homage to both Méliès and Devant, a vision of the great Mascot Moth illusion. Complete with a short “making of” intro, s’il vous plaît!

 

December 11th

We have a very special Christmas playlist, which we keep adding songs to every year. It consists of many French chants de Noël, Spanish villancicos, and other Christmasy stuff, like Bela Fleck‘s banjo version of The Twelve days of Christmas – in 12 different keys and with 12 different time signatures. And of course, no playlist is complete wihtout a Tom Waits song! So take a listen, Sweethearts, and Merry Christmas!

 

December 10th

IrmaVepOikeaGif

Here’s a little Christmas e-card we made for you, Sweethearts! And we even made a version with sound, too! Remember your loved ones, send them a card!

 

December 9th

 

Often our live shows are accompanied by our muse, Noora Palotie. She’s a wonderful, warm hearted person, and an amazing performer. She’s done everything from burlesque to theatre to aerial acrobatics with us on stage, and everything she does, she does with uncommon conviction and grace.
Here’s a clip we found from the ‘Is This Casablanca?’ record release party. The inspiration to this particular coreography came from watching the dance scenes in Gilda in slow motion. Noora absolutely kills this one, complete with the single-glove striptease!

December 8th

Laura has been an avid audiobook listener for some time, and for the start of a new Advent week would like to share a few favourites from the Librivox catalogue! Librivox.org is a wonderful project full of free audiobooks, all in the public domain and read by volunteers from around the world.  These make an entertaining listen for those sleepless nights, slow hours at the gym or tedious moments on the train.

Emma_3

Jane Austen: Emma
(read by Elizabeth Klett)

A recent article on the Guardian tells us how this novel changed the face of fiction. Pay heed, and hear it out! I have to say I never really got into Jane Austen until I heard her novels narrated by Elizabeth Klett, and Emma is my absolute favourite with its ironic portrayal of the name character. Klett’s reading subtly highlights the humour and brings out all the nuances of Austen’s mature masterpiece.

Red_House_Mystery_1006A. A. Milne: The Red House Mystery
(read by Kristin Hughes)

The author of Winnie-the-Pooh was full of surprises: Milne was a noted playwright and short story writer before the huge success of Pooh overshadowed all his previous work. In 1922 he wrote one of the most impressive “locked room”-mysteries of the Golden Age of detective fiction. Enjoy the cleverness and the deductive beauty of The Red House Mystery in this delightful reading by Kristin Hughes.

Jungle_Book_1003Rudyard Kipling: The Jungle Book
(read by Meredith Hughes)

If you’ve never read The Jungle Book, you’re in for a surprise: The Kipling original is nothing like the jazzy Disney movie, but presents a haunting and often sad set of stories and songs that just might take you back to your real childhood, instead of the imaginary one. It’s a good place to visit though, especially when narrated by the lovely childlike voice of Meredith Hughes.

Human_Machine_1210Arnold Bennett: The Human Machine
(read by Ruth Golding)

Ruth Golding has a wonderfully soothing voice, and I’ve greatly enjoyed both her version of Wuthering Heights and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This essay of Arnold Bennett sounds like tremendous fun: “I am simply bent on calling your attention to a fact which has perhaps wholly or partially escaped you — namely, that you are the most fascinating bit of machinery that ever was.” Sold!

 

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Advent calendar, week 1

December 7th

afterparty002

To conclude the first week of the advent calendar, here’s a recipe to a drink that was thrown together for our Independence Day after party No. 1 (Yes, we had another afterparty much, much later on!). It’s customary in Finland to gather around with friends and tune in on the Presidential Independence Day Ball, or Linnanjuhlat, as it is known in Finnish. It is a party that collects together a respectable amount of people, from popular entertainers, distinguished academics and athletes to politicians, military figures and WWII veterans. We had a friend over, who was looking forward to spending the Independence Day with his parents, only to find out two days before that his parents were actually attending the Presidential Ball. So, after our gig at the HKTY, we sat down to watch the Ball on TV, and we whipped up this surprisingly Mediterranean drink. Let’s call it

♦The Afterparty No. 1♦

1 tbsp of rowanberry jam
Juice of ½ lemon
25 ml of Larios 12 Botanicals Gin
10 ml of Grand Marnier
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes of grapefruit bitters
A twig of rosemary

Shake all ingredients well, and strain in to a cocktail glass. Garnish with a twig of Rosemary. Double straining is recommended, but this is an afterparty drink, after all.

afterparty001.jpg

Made as such, the rowanberry jam makes the drink’s consistency lusciously thick. The Larios 12 has in it, apart from all the other spices, lime, orange, orange blossom, lemon, tangerine, mandarin, clementine and grapefruit. Together with Grand Marnier and grapefruit bitters, this drink has in it almost everything from the citrus family. The rosemary highlights the bright notes of the citrusy flavours, and Grand Marnier brings out the more mellow tangerines, clementines and mandarins.

Consider substituting the gin, since even without the Larios 12 the recipe still has a good amount of citruses in it. For the true Finnish Independence Day feel use Napue Gin, by the very Finnish Kyrö Distillery Company.

December 6th

It’s Finnish Independence Day! We played some music at the party at Helsingin Käsityö- ja Teollisuusyhdistys, and had a lovely time! Here’s just a quick video to say hi!

 

December 5th

More Film Noir inspiration, this time it’s all about hair! For the classic 1940’s look, nothing is more essential: Sure, the defined eyebrows and a popping red lipstick go a long way towards vintage glamour, but without the hairdos and the talented hairdressers behind them, Rita Hayworth’s first scene in Gilda would have a lot less of the nonchalant charm that so defines the character. Besides, what would happen to Lauren Bacall’s “The Look” without that wavy hair under which to glare?

This is why, for the 5th of November, we have put together a Pinterest board full of Noir hair inspiration for all lengths and styles! There are even a few vintage tutorials you can try for one of the parties of the festive season: There is nothing better than a wavy hairdo to help you channel the great icons of our century!

I have sported big waves à la Hayworth before, for example on our album cover, but for the intimate evenings I like a more demure, Bacallesque style. Before our Film Noir gigs in Pastis, I always go to TS-Salonki for my hairdo in the morning. We use heated rollers instead of pincurls, as my hair is super thick and I have to make it to the soundcheck in the afternoon. When the hair is set, I just wrap my hair in a silk scarf which I only take off just before the concert. Here are some selfies from different evenings of the fall (also check out Saara’s new haircolor and cut!):

December 4th

And here’s our shot at Why Don’t You Do Right, Jessica Rabbit style. This is the first rehearsal take with the whole band, from way back in September. Saara actually downtunes the C string on the cello, to get some of that upright bass feel to the song.


December 3rd

Hoagy, Bogey and Bacall. Film Noir. Jazz.

 

For the past four months we’ve been doing a Film Noir themed Show & Dinner set at Restaurant Pastis in Helsinki, and we’ve listened to a lot of songs from a lot of movies. So behind the third door of our Advent Calendar lies a playlist of some our favourite Film Noir songs.

A few interesting notes. In the “Rita Hayworth” songs Amado Mio, Put The Blame On Mame and Please, Don’t Kiss Me, the singing voice is actually that of Anita Ellis, an American singer and actress. The people at Columbia Pictures needed to turn Rita Hayworth in to an icon, and while her husky, deep voice was perfect for acting, her singing was always overdubbed. In fact, the only song Rita ever sang for herself on screen was the solo guitar version of ‘Mame‘ in Gilda. All three songs were also written by Dorothy Fisher, one of the very few female songwriters of Golden Age Hollywood.

Hoagy Carmichael is known to many as a prominent songwriter and a marvelous performer. In the later 1930s he was even hired by Paramount Pictures for a whopping 1000$ a week. He also played Sam in the TV production of Casablanca in the 1950s. Did you know, that Ian Fleming has said James Bond would look like Hoagy Carmichael, only with a scar over his face?

David Raksin‘s instrumental song Laura, from the movie Laura (1944), became so popular that Johnny Mercer was asked to write lyrics to it, and 5 different recorded versions emerged in 1945 alone. It has since become a standard with more than 400 known recordings, by Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Julie London among others. The song is also heavily referenced to in the movie – the score is almost completely comprised of the theme, the song plays on a phonograph, a band plays the song in a restaurant scene, it is heard as background music in a party, and the song is even on in the radio – at which point Vincent Price‘s character tells us it’s “one of Laura’s favourites.”

The song Why Don’t You Do Right was originally written in 1936 by Joseph McCoy for Harlem Hamfats, and was called The Weed Smoker’s Dream. Lil Green made a recording of the song with new lyrics and a refined melody. Peggy Lee, a big fan of Ms. Green’s work, made the revised version of the song famous after Benny Goodman heard her listening to it on a record over and over again, and offered to arrange it for her to sing. Hugh Laurie recorded a version of the original Weed Smoker’s Dream with Gaby Moreno on vocals in 2013.

 

December 2nd

On the Second day of Christmas my true love sent to me two turtle doves gold bugs.

The Kissel Speedster, commonly known as Goldbug, was produced from 1919 through 1927, and during that time it was a very popular car among the celebrities. Jack Dempsey drove one, Douglas Fairbanks drove one, Greta Garbo drove one, Mary Pickford drove one. Even Amelia Earhart drove one. It was also featured in quite a few movies, and our favourite scene is in the short film Jonah Jones (1924). Apart from the car, we adore Dorothy Seastrom in the role of Margaret Morgan.

The below rendition of the Gold Bug is Jere’s handiwork, designed for an animated music video. We’ll tell you more about that in the future.

 

 

December 1st

So, Jere & Laura went to this wedding this summer. In the capacity of the Best Man, Jere also designed the cocktails for the reception, and so many Last Words were had at this particular party! The newlywed couple surprised us all by getting the absolutely amazing Atelieri O. Haapala to make sure the Steampunk themed event was properly documented for generations to come!

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Film Noir & French Cuisine!

Fabulous news for the Fall, Sweethearts!

Imagine an evening at your favourite French bistro, sitting down with an old friend, sipping champagne and pastis. Imagine your favourite band playing in the corner. Imagine closing your eyes, and opening them again at Café Americain, next to Hoagy, Bogey and Bacall. We did, and this is what happened:

We are happy to announce ‘Pastis goes Film Noir avec Café de Abejas’, a series of Show & Dinner evenings at Ravintola Pastis, Helsinki! With a special dinner menu by the chef, and two sets of golden era Hollywood music by yours truly, these are promising to be the wonderfullest tiny shows we’ve done so far! Of course the songs will be arranged for our peculiar tastes, and of course there will be some of our own Casablanca thrown into the mix as well.

The evenings are going to be very intimate, with only 30-odd seats reserved for each evening. The tickets are on sale as of this morning, and they are selling FAST! So Sweethearts, tout de suite, get your seats here: http://www.tiketti.fi/Pastis-goes-Film-Noir-avec-Cafe…/34126

Have a wonderful week, and see you at a gig, darling dolls!

Laura & Jere

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Lyrics and a New Video!

A lot of you Sweethearts have been asking us if we could put our lyrics up online. So, there is now a page titled lyrics under the music tab of these pages! The videos have also been moved under the same tab – and we just added a live video of “Waiting for the Roses” to the videos page! Enjoy!

Here’s a link to the lyrics!

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Four Stars in HS & La Lirio LIVE!

Helsingin Sanomat gave us four stars in their review! (That’s the largest newspaper in the Nordic countries, for you who were wondering.) They also said it’s a pity that you probably won’t hear our songs on the radio. We fully agree. Poor, poor radio, what is this illness that makes our heartwarming ballads too strange and wild for you?

And while we’re on the subject of ballads, we promised something yesterday – a song fresh from the album release concert for those you who couldn’t make it! Special thanks belong to our two brothers who filmed us, Roy Boswell who saved us from having to operate the lights ourselves (and look at all the beautiful drama he’s creating here!) – and, as always, our Dandy-Daddy Juha Reunanen for the sounds and everything else besides.

Oh, and we heard that a certain someone arranged a Film Noir get-together in Scotland to celebrate our album release. What a Super Sweetheart, this one’s for you!

-Laura

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Album Release and Preview

It’s been a week since the release party at Andorra, and we’re feeling absolutely exhilarated! The old movie theatre was packed, and we had a blast, and people were enjoying themselves, and the guys at the bar were short staffed but happy about the turn out and everything just went exceptionally well. And! We managed to get some decent video footage for a change, so expect to see a few live videos soon.

Andorra, album release party 2015. Photo by Timo Kirves

Andorra, album release party 2015. Photo by Timo Kirves.

So, the CD is out, yes it is! You can listen to the album below (the whole thing of course!) and buy a download or a CD at our BOUTIQUE. The album will also be available at the precious few CD stores left in Helsinki, and is hitting Spotify, iTunes and Deezer this week. For international orders, order through the BOUTIQUE or contact us directly.

Oh! A few darling bloggers already got whiff of our shenanigans! Kujerruksia went to the album release party and loved it (In Finnish). Glue wants you to listen to Zaza (In English).

That’s all, folks! – for now.

Cheerfully yours,

– Laura, Jere, Ilari & Saara

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Welcome to Casablanca!

Dear broads and bos, Welcome to Casablanca!

The album release party for Is This Casablanca? is getting close, and the release date is set for 6th of February, 2015. The album will be available as a CD or a digital download from our Bandcamp page and through iTunes, Spotify and Deezer. In Finland the CD can be bought from the few independent record stores still left in Helsinki, starting from the end of February. You can also get it from one of our shows, signed and doodled on by the whole mob. For international orders of the CD, please contact us via e-mail, contact[at]cafedeabejas.com.

Here are a few tracks from the new album for you to savor, Sweethearts. The first one is called Go Gently, a song on the chanson side of things. The second, Zaza, gives a feel for our penchant for all things cabaret. Please enjoy responsibly, and take a look at the photos below to really get in the mood!

The delightful Armi Von Vepp.

The delightful Armi Von Vep.

-Jere

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