Daniela Binderová

Daniela Binderová

Daniela is one of the founders and a continuous active member of The False Fellowship. She is the author of many songs, member of SPDPJRTT, and one of the most  noticable people in the world of Czech Tolkien music. She played a key part in creating the wonderful songbook "The Songs of Middle-earth", being the initiator of the whole project.

Well, let´s give her the word now...

A word about myself.

 As far as the music is concerned, I´m a total self-learner. I´ve never attended a music school and I don´t play any musical instrument (with the exception of occasional non-rhythmic strumming  the guitar strings in order to find the suitable chords for accompaniment). At the secondary school I tried a choir singing, first in the school choir and later in the church choir, where we sing nearly everything, from the early music to the contemporary authors. It has been a great school for me, not just in the sense of acquiring the feel for music and a sort of musical thinking, but also from the practical point of view - reading and writing down the scores, working with my own voice and  gaining the ability to hear other people´s flaws (I can hear my own flaws, too, but lately I made the discovery that no-one including yourself is going to be as frank with you as the recording machine).

I came across the Tolkien´s books as everybody else at that time; it was shortly after the Revolution and certain books which couldn´t have been published earlier, started to come out. When I lay my hands on the Fellowship of the Ring, I devoured it and then mourned for half a year, waiting for the second volume to be published. It was a love at first sight that hasn´t faded yet, not even after twenty years. Tolkien´s view of his world has become so close to mine that I can hardly imagine the emptiness of my life without it.

In 1992 I became the member of Czech Tolkien Society (SPDPJRRT) and met many people with the same feeling.  When the first Czech Tolkien-inspired music band – Poetické společenstvo (The Poetic Fellowship) - was formed in 1994, I was just spending the summer abroad and thus I did not participate, although I received the invitation to Petr Bohdan´s cottage as well. For years to follow I watched the band quietly from distance, visiting their performances and feeling a little bit envious.

When The Poetic Fellowship faded away at the end of 90´s, I was quite sad, and I was not alone. There was one homemade cassette and a song-book produced, but these didn´t contain half of their work, not even my most favourite pieces. So in 2001 some of us met in Šlapanice at the house of Jitka Žídková (Crhová  - not married at that time yet), who was a previous member of Poetic Fellowship, and we founded another band, determining our aim  to preserve the songs of Poetic Fellowship and keep them within the public awareness. Our musical skills weren´t by any means reaching the level of our forebears, so it was logical that we named ourselves (with a great deal of irony) The False Fellowship.

Our endeavour bore some fruit before long. First, we took all the songs of the Poetical Fellowship that we could muster, wrote them down into scores and set them in type, so that they could be published in the form of a songbook called The songs of Middle-Earth, by Michael Bronec.

Later we started to create our own songs, which we organised into thematic series.Thanks to the organisators of Tolkiencon we could perform these combined musical-dramatical series at this annual event, which gave us a feel of home and lot of fans, too.

Hmm, I´m supposed to say something about myself as well, though I think it´s quite boring. Well, I deal in regional planning. It may be an interesting job that brings some satisfaction, but little joy. Music, Tolkien´s world and the people around are like a home, where I can always return to, and sometimes they seem to me more real then the "real" world outside.

About creating the songs

Everyone has his own method and his own reasons why he writes a song.

Somebody just have the urgency to create something, he sits at the piano or guitare and enjoys the process of making without much regard for the outcome. The time will show, if the product survives or ends up burried in the historical sediment.

Somebody feels the need of telling a deep story or wisdom and then he struggles with the form and the contents, still not satisfied he´s brushing the lyrics and re-writing the lines over and over again and if the Muse is gracious, one day the song shall be finished.

Someone can write a song on demand and each new piece is more a routiny then a new-born baby to him.

It´s still a bit more difficult with me. In my world, the songs exist independently on my will, they live in some paralel space, flying to and fro and looking forward someone to hunt them down and tame them.  And I´m the hunter, who sets out for them but never knows what sort of prey he´s going to bring home. Usually, when I plan to catch a big, exemplary specimen, I begin to stumble over sprightly and restless younglings, the consequence being that in my nets usually end up some heavy and serious piece together with a merry, unlooked-for bonus. This was the case of Glory of Númenor, which was accompanied by the Gandalf´s Buisness Archievements, the Tapestry of Valinor gave life to the Nanny´s Troubles and during the tough fight with the Foggy Road and other songs from the Rohan series, the Fram´s Adventures (which I consider to be my best comic song so far) just emerged out of nowhere.

That´s the trouble with the big pieces. Their motif is usually rather outstanding, impossible to overlook and totally self-confident - such an elephant as the Glory of Númenor doesn´t need to hide; it is sure that even though I tie a rope all around its trunk and legs, I won´t be strong enough to drag it back to our world and squeeze it into the words and chords. And so we keep fighting each other, me pulling one way, he pulling the other way and the final result still nowhere in sight.

Somewhere on a half-way between the big and small pieces live a herd of decent, occassional songs that were composed for a certain event, sometimes for a certain singer. Such a song comes into being via combination of the above mentioned methods; I lure it with a carrot and other sweets, soflty pulling, softly pushing, slightly threatening; then I lock the lid of a cage of words and notes and leave it alone; in a week it usually becomes tame and allows me to brush its fur and polish the claws.

You may have noticed several things in common about my songs. Of course they aren´t typical just for my songs, but they happen quite often with them.

Inspirative sentence. At the begining of my song-writing career, the new song usually emerged from a particular sentence or a phrase from Tolkien. In my later songs it is an independent sentence that already carries the rhythm of the words, thoughts and feelings which enfold the whole meaning; a sentence that just popps into my head, a seed from which the song can sprout and grow. Often it re-appears in slightly modified versions in the chorus or the key part of the song.

Monologues and dialogues.  Many songs, which I made during the existence of the False Fellowship since the 2001, are actually a direct speech of one person (Ship of the Birch Bark, The Elrond´s Lament, Gandalf´s Buisness Archievements, The King´s Standard, Foggy Road, Tapestry of Valinor, Smaug the Golden) or a dialogue of two people (Lord Imrahil, Fate of the House of Hador, Happy Meeting), or rarely a conversation of more people (Fram´s Adventures, Nanny´s Troubles). This is given by the partly musical ambitions of our ensemble  - the song in direct speech gives the performer chance to show his acting as well.

The personal account of a character. Another, maybe even more important part of a direct speech for me is that it gives opportunity for a renown (or less renown) inhabitants of Arda to express their own opinion on themselves or the world they live in.  What I learn from them (and about them) should perhaps remained hidden and forgotten for the peace of Arda and all of us, yet I cannot restrain them,when they seek the understanding at me!       I´m usually surprised, that their account doesn´t quite fit in what the official history says about them. Sometimes I´m amused, sometimes moved, sometimes they make me pretty angry, but as far as I know, the only guys who would pass in the eyes of the old professor, are the Merry and Pippin in the Happy Meeting.

Mirroring.  Another technique frequently used in my songs is something I would call a mirrorring.  Part of the lyrics with a certain structure filled with some words is repeated several times throuhgout the song with some modifications to the lyrics, so that meaning of the whole phrase is changed. For example, in the Ship of the Birch Bark Aredhel describes her situation before she recieves permission ot leave the mountain city of Gondolin through the words "protěže, stříbrné okovy" (edelweiss, the silver bonds...), which is afterwards, when she´s already mounting her horse, changed  to "otěže, stříbrné podkovy" (reins, the silver hoofs...). The Glory of Númenor is based completely on this trick.

Length of th songs. An ideal song fits within 3-4 minutes. Sometimes, if I´m not careful enough, it overflows up to 6 minutes. The record, however, goes to the very first song I made for the False Fellowship, the Troubles of Mr. Fredegar Bolger With A Cheese, which is - provided that all repetitions are carried on - about 25 minutes long. I strongly dissuade from performing on empty stomach before dinner! 

Experiments. As I grow older, I´m more and more tempted to experiment with the harmony, rhythm and the common sense of the listeners. Many of my experiments were carried on without me being stoned to death by the audience only thanks to the kindness of my fellow mates from the False Fellowship. This way I would like to thank both the former and the latter for their enormous patience!