She was assisted here by ex-Focus Thijs van Leer (whom we featured in the masterpiece Pedal Point project earlier on these pages) and in my opinion said able assistance led to this being pushed over Mount Olympus to masterpiece level LP creation, despite the presence of some ho-hum cover songs along the lines of the stupid "Wintertime Love" (surely one of the worst Doors songs to select out of their great songbook).
Real Name: Rajna Gerardina Bojoura Cleuver - van Melzen
Profile: Bojoura was born at The Hague, Holland, on April 15, 1947. She is the daughter of Dany Zonewa, a well-known opera-singer and music-teacher of Bulgarian origin. Bojoura (the Bulgarian name for peony) was discovered by George Kooymans of Golden Earring in 1967. One of his songs (‘Everybody’s Day’) landed her on the local hit parade and made her an instant success: she has won the popularity polls ever since. During the 1967-68 season she became the hostess of the AVRO-TV programme “Vjoew” in which she interviewed The Supremes as well as Truman Capote. In the summer of 1968 an invitation followed to represent the Netherlands at the “Festival Orphée d’Or” in Burgas, Bulgaria. In 1969, her version of “Frank Mills” from the musical Hair hit the top of the local bestsellers lists. As a result of this success she has been making personal appearances with the Thijs van Leer trio and scored a hit with ‘The Letter’.
After her musical career, Bojoura married with Hans Cleuver, drummer of Focus who later became their manager. They got two daughters Laurie and Emilie and a son Jurriaan. Daughter Emilie is active at the drumming-school (like her father) at Scheveningen (The Hague). Bojoura studied several languages at master-level and ‘till today she is a teacher in foreign languages like English and Russian.
A great story I would say for an almost unbelievably beautiful woman. Surprising she only put out 2 LPs, one fewer than the number of kids, but a bunch of singles after the last LP (this one). Her earlier work called Night Flight was clearly inferior (mp3 included down below) with some really really ordinary pop renditions. I also tried to collect some of the singles in one really annoying batch for your curious perusal.
Here's the track list for this album:
A1 Black Sheep Child (Tim Hardin)
A2 Last Thing On My Mind (T. Paxton)
A3 The Wizard And The Girl (B. Cleuver, T. van Leer)
A4 Flora (Mezzetti, Travers, Stookey)
A5 The Swallow And The Calf (Trad., B. Cleuver, T. van Leer)
B1 Comes A Time (B. Cleuver, T. van Leer)
B2 Time It Goes By (B. Cleuver, E. Nober, T. van Leer)
B3 The Days Of Love (B. Cleuver, T. van Leer)
B4 Wintertime Love (The Doors)
B5 Back Street Girl (M. Jagger - K. Richards)
B6 Why Do They Go Back Home (B. Cleuver, J. Akkerman, T. van Leer)
It's important to note that the credit to Cleuver is Bojoura of course, who contributed the lyrics to 6 songs, with van Leer composing. (I'd go so far as to say the cover tunes are rather forgettable, esp. that atrocious Doors song.) Thijs wrote the liner notes on the back and mentions that he set poems of hers to music. Well, a sample line is "Time it moves fast, like a river to the sea," so that gives you an idea of her writing-- not quite also Made in Bulgaria's Radka Toneff and Sylvia Plath's Ariel poem or Giovanni. Btw her name is the Bulgarian word for Peony, you will learn. Interesting stuff.
For me the most heart-breaking arrangement (complete with bassoon and oboe) and composition, apparently from a traditional song, is the Swallow and the Calf:
For those who don't know this record, but, surprisingly are quite familiar with the stuff I posted on this blog, the closest similar album is the first from Carita Holmstrom. Her voice though sounds a lot like Mary Hopkin, the well-known discovery of Apple records who was, perhaps, ruined by the huge success of her song "Those were the days, my friend..." And she made a wonderfully unknown folk masterpiece called Earth Song subsequently.
--those were indeed the days, ladies!
What a shame their association ended after this record, though Thijs would go on to produce his masterpiece only few years later, Oh My Love, one of my all-time favourite records.