Each Small Candle
The story of "Each Small Candle". A song by Roger Waters, 1999.
The first verse was not written by an unknown torture victim from Argentine, but by Danish poet/writer Halfdan Rasmussen! This page tells the story for the first time (Researched by Jacob Crawfurd).
Before performing the song for the first time Roger Waters explained some of the background to an impatient audience. The inspiration to the lyrics came from different sources, one of them believed at thee time to be a torture victim from Argentine. The following information were displayed at the official Roger Waters web site:
A few years ago, an Italian journalist from a Florentine newspaper, involved in the Iniziativa contro la tortura, which is the initiative against torture in Northern Italy, sent some lyrics written by a South American man who had been tortured. The English translation (which represents the first stanza of the song) proved to be very moving, and was set to music. The words remained untouched.. Until Kosovo.
The Pink Floyd HyperBase dug a little deeper and were able to find the actual source (see below). I contacted the management of Roger Waters and www.rogerwaters.com has now added the following information:
Each Small Candle: In The Flesh - Live 2000
Roger Waters and Halfdan Rasmussen did
not know each other, but human rights issues were important to both of
them. Halfdan Rasmussen were born in Copenhagen, Denmark January 29, 1915.
He was a resistance fighter during the German occupation of Denmark in
W.W.II and became a well known poet often writing about social issues
and human rights. Halfdan Rasmussen was also loved for his nonsense verses
written for children. Halfdan Rasmussen almost became a national-poet
of Denmark. He died in 87 years old on 2nd March 2002.
In 1979 Amnesty International (Denmark) published a small book with poems about Human Rights (ISBN: 87-980852-2-0). Among the best were a small poem from Halfdan Rasmussen titled "Ikke Bødlen". The original text of "Ikke Bødlen" is printed below. You will find that my direct English translation almost to the word matches the first verse of Each Small Candle (further down the page).
Each Small Candle - The lyrics
The history of the song goes back to July 22 1999 when Roger Waters was heard to play a new acoustic song during tour-rehearsals in Milwaukee (WI). The song was finally performed on the last gig of the tour in Kemper Arena, Kansas, August 28 1999. It has been played all through the second leg of Roger Waters' US-tour in 2000 and appears on the live album and DVD. On the 2002 world tour the last encore is either Each Small Candle or Flickering Flame. Each Small Candle can also be heard on the recent release from Roger Waters: Flickering Flame - The Solo Years vol.1.
Not the torturer will scare me
Lyrics: ©1999 Roger Waters Music Overseas Limited