Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ancient Heart by Tanita Takiram

I can remember that when I first saw this LP in the Salt Lake City Library I did not know the artist but I liked the picture on the album.  I was drawn to it.  I still don't know very much about her but apparently she is a British artist who was born in Germany.  Ancient Heart was Takiram's debut album and had some really excellent musicians playing on the album like Mark Isham, Rod Argent, and Rod Argent produced the album. 

Tanita Takiram had immediate success and her first album rose to number 3 in the UK. 

Track listing
All words and music by Tanita Tikaram.
  1. "Good Tradition" A kind of an up beat music with violin and brass.  The violin played by Helen O'Hara who was the violinist in Dexy's Midnight Runners The chorus is There's a good tradition of love and hate staying by the fireside
    There's a good tradition of love and hate staying by the fireside

    And though the rain may fall - your father's calling you
    You still feel safe inside
    And though your ma's too proud - your brother's ignoring you
    You still feel safe inside

    Oh, was this solo?
    Was this yesterday?
    Was this true for you?
    'Cos while all the rest have taken time
    This didn't do a lot for you
  2. "Cathedral Song"
You saw me from the cathedral
Well I'm an ancient heart
Yes, you saw me from the cathedral
Well here we are just falling apart

You catch me
I am tired
I want all that you are

3  Sighing Innocents"
And if you walk
I might just tag along
It only be shop talk, some
Well that's something to do

Or I might take a walk down
By the river, baby
But no I won't
No I won't be waiting for you

No, this ain't sighing innocents
This ain't sighing innocents
No this ain't sighing innocents
I'm just trying to follow you

4."I Love You"
I love you
I love you
I love you

But is it possible, possible, possible babe?
Is it possible for you and me?

Gold and waves and Betty Blue
Are the images that lead to the clues of why
I can't love you
I can't love you
I can't love you
It isn't possible

5,"World Outside Your Window" Rod Argent's organ work is so good. It reminds me of his work with the Zombies.
Tell me if, you want to see
A world outside your window
A world outside your window isn't free
And tell me if you wanna catch that feeling of redemption
That feeling of redemption doesn't do much for me

6. "For All These Years" Mark Isham plays flugelhorn on this track. Tanita was only 18 when she recorded this album.
 I was nearly 16 years old
You were only 17, life isn't so complicated
But then life isn't 'sposed to be
For all these years
For all these years

Could somebody tell them
To hurry on, hurry on down
Would somebody tell them to hurry on, hurry on down

7: "Twist in My Sobriety" was her second single from the album and was a big hit in Europe. The first line comes from the title of a book by Maya Angelou "All God's children need travelling shoes"
Look my eyes are just holograms
Look your love has drawn red from my hands
From my hands you know you'll never be
More than twist in my sobriety
More than twist in my sobriety
More than twist in my sobriety

8. "Poor Cow"
All the boys are weary now
listening to the family sing song
Family say so

Must carve, must carve poor cow
Slice her, slice her up, poor cow
Slice her, slice her up, poor cow
Slice her, slice her up, poor cow

9. "He Likes the Sun"
He likes the way I'm true
But I know inside
This is a real life sham - but that's okay
And this song can't be sued
I assume - you get up and renew yourself

He likes the sun
See the cornered clown
He likes the sun
Let us waste this town
And when it rains
You feel the click in his heart
And that's when the pain in mine will start
And that's when the pain in mine will start

10. "Valentine Heart" a plaintive song done with an excellent arrangement for a string quartet.
If I was a Londoner, rich with complaint
Would you take me back to your house
Which is sainted with lust and the listless shade
If I could have held you once more with that light
It's nothing to you, but it keeps me alive
Like a Valentine's Day, it's a Valentine's heart, anyway

The king and the ages, they fall by the plan
It's always the tired and the ordinary man
(It's the) challenge it's funny and such
I want to see you again
I want to see you again
It's so simple and plain
But I'll come back and see you again

11 "Preyed Upon"
Safe with us to serenade
To hang around your black scarf and black ways
I have "no idea" he said, "no idea of what I'll do"

And talking less - it chases home
It chases dreams - but I have really no reason, no goal and so
If you "wanna" play real basic
If you "wanna" help us make it
Don't forget you're alone
Unless it's all alone
Don't forget you're alone
Unless it's all alone

You get preyed upon
Ohh oh
Other than the first song and Valentine's heart a really forgettable album.  She was only eighteen.  According to some source she wrote this to relax as she prepared for exams.  Good relaxation material.   Some good musicians playing with her

Tanita Tikaram: Valentine Heart

Tanita Tikaram -Twist in my sobriety

Tanita Tikaram - Good Tradition (1988)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Callanish - part of the sequence form 'Standing with Stones' DVD

The Standing Stones of Callanish

The Standing Stones of Callanish is a tape done by Jon Mark who previously was with the band Mark-Almond.  In the 1980's he moved to New Zealand and began recording new age music.  According to he has ten albums available for purchase.  In his liner notes Mark writes,"In the misty Isle of Lewis, off the northwest coast of Scotland rise the Standing Stones of Callanish.  The megaliths were erected by the Celtic People between 2000 and 4000 years ago. "   He adds In our imaginations, we can walk in the land of youth "Tir nan Og."  Together with "Mag Meli" the bounteous plain,they formed the Isles of the Blest, the otherworld , a place of supreme happiness.  Legend says ordinary mortals could be invited to the Isles of the Blest by a girl who crried a magical apple branch with crystal flowers, the sound of which soothed grief and brought peaeful slumber.  There surrounded by streams and the greenwood, so beloved by the Celts, time no longer existed.  Days were spent with music and painting, dancing, games and lovemaking, in a land of no conflicts."    He added, "In spiritual terms "Tir nan Og" can be seen as a place of stillness within, symbolizing the death of the old self and the birth of the new on a journey that called for courage."
Mark then quotes the 6th century Celtic poet Taliesen from his poem called "The Battle of the Trees

 I have been in many shapes
  before I attained this form.
I have been a drop in the air.
I have been a shining star,
A bridge for passing over
  three scor rivers
I have journeyed as an eagle
A boat on the sea
I have been many things

I don't know what the fascination is with the stone circles of the prehistoric period.  I can only relate my feelings when I first saw Stonehenge.  Stonehenge as I recall sits on a green plain and as you drive to it you are struck by its magnificence as the stones are outlined against the green fields.  A great wesite

Here are the track listings. You can listen to the entire album on Rhapsody. 
Track Listings
1. Chloe's Day-begins with a beautiful mystical theme that you can just feel the mist covered island. A slight melody almot like a beautiful floats on top of a solid and slow chord progression.
2. Blessed Land.  The land of Scotland is beautiful and this piece is just so evocative of that landscape.  I remember seeing a photo of the Isle of Skye and wondering if the plce really existed but it does.

3. The Eye of the Hawks - you can almost imagine the hawks hovering over the landscape.
4. Mist on the Morning Hills -  Mist on the morning hills just as the sun rises.  How beautiful

5. The Standing Stones of Callanish. Oh I wish I could stand in the middle of them.  The silence I imagine is just a fantasy 
6. The Raven in the Oak Tree- a bell tolls and the raven flys and lands on an oak tree. Bells are magical.  I can remember being awoken every sunday by the sound of churchbells and birdsong. Possibly from a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

7. The Stag, the Running Stream and the Greenwood A wonderful peacful nature scene.  A stream in a green wood and a stag stopping to refresh itself. Animals in Celtic Mythology had mystical meaning.  The deer is linked to the arts, specifically poetry and music in ancient Celtic animal lore due to its graceful form. The Celts also believed that deer were associated with the fairie realm, and would lead troops of fairies - hundreds of them trailing behind them as the stag cut a path.  The stag or hart is also an emblem of purity and fleetness. The stag was associated with healing, for he knew which medicinal plants to take in order to shake off the hunter's arrow. The image of the Stag with the sun cupped in his antlers is a symbol of the masculine aspect of the Divine, the Great God.   Interestingly the stag comes up in a couple of my songs even though I did not know the significance. 

8. Coming of the North Wind. -the coming of snow, winter.  the North wind doth blow and we shall have snow.

9. Autumn Leaves Fall, One by One  Well this just reminds of the turning of colors and the time of the season.  A symbol of aging/
10. A Winter's Story by the Firelight Many stores over the cnetury have been told by Fire Light.

11. The Leaving With all arrivals there are leavings.  It is the cycle of things.

12. Soft Light, Still Water what could be better

13. Journey Across the Crystal Sea. The Crystal sea where biblically God's Thone is placed. 
14. Remembering I Remember my trips to the Scottidh Isles and this tape has allowed me to relive the feelings/


Jon Mark - Tintagel & Pictures from Iceland

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kingston Trio: 16 Greatest Hits

The Kingston Trio were a folk and pop music phenomena n the late fifties and early Sixties.  I first saw them on a ABC TV show called Hootenanny which highlighted folk music.  It was presented in a concert form in front of very well groomed college students.  It was here that I heard the first track on the tape, Tom Dooley .  According to Wikepedia, Tom Dooley" is an old North Carolina folk song based on the 1866 murder of a woman named Laura Foster in Wilkes County, North Carolina. It is best known today because of a hit version recorded in 1958 by The Kingston Trio. The history behind the song is that
Impoverished Confederate veteran Tom Dula (Dooley), Laura Foster's lover and probable fiancé, was convicted of her murder and hanged May 1, 1868.Foster was stabbed to death with a large knife; the brutality of the attack partly accounted for the widespread publicity the murder and subsequent trial received.
Dula had a second lover, Anne Melton. It was her comments that led to the discovery of Foster's body, but Melton was acquitted in a separate trial based on Dula's word. Dula's enigmatic statement on the gallows that he had not harmed Foster but still deserved his punishment led to press speculation that Melton was the actual killer and that Dula simply covered for her. Melton, who had once expressed jealousy of Dula's purported plans to marry Foster, died insane a few years after the homicide. Thanks to the efforts of newspapers such as The New York Times, and to the fact that former North Carolina governor Zebulon Vance represented Dula pro bono, Dula's murder trial and hanging were given widespread national publicity. A local poet, Thomas C. Land, wrote a popular song about Dula's tragedy after the hanging.
A man named "Grayson," mentioned in the song as pivotal in Dula's downfall, has sometimes been characterized as a romantic rival of Dula's or a vengeful sheriff who captured him and presided over his hanging. Some variant lyrics of the song portray Grayson in that light, and the spoken introduction to the Kingston Trio version did the same. Col. James Grayson was actually a Tennessee politician who had hired Dula on his farm when the young man fled North Carolina under suspicion and was using a false name. Grayson did help North Carolinians capture Dula and was involved in returning him to North Carolina, but otherwise played no role in the case.
Dula was tried in Statesville, because it was believed he could not get a fair trial in Wilkes County. He was given a new trial on appeal but he was again convicted, and hanged on May 1, 1868. His alleged accomplice, Jack Keaton, was set free. On the gallows, Dula reportedly stated, "Gentlemen, do you see this hand? I didn't harm a hair on the girl's head."
Dula's last name was pronounced "Dooley," leading to some confusion in spelling over the years. (The pronunciation of a final "a" like "y" is an old feature in Appalachian speech, as in the term "Grand Ole Opry").The confusion was probably compounded by the fact that Dr. Tom Dooley, an American physician known for international humanitarian work, was at the height of his fame in 1958, when the Kingston Trio version became a major hit.
The doleful ballad was probably first sung shortly after the execution and is still commonly sung in North Carolina.  See You tube video for the lyrics. 
The next song is attributed to Hoyt Axton called Greenback Dollar.  Axton also wrote a famous Three Dog Night song called Joy to the World.  His mother wrote some hits for Elvis Presley.
The next song called Tijuana Jail "So here we are in the Tijuana Jail, Ain't got no friends to go our our bail,  So here we'll stay cause we cant pay,  So send our mail to the Tijuana Jail."

One of the first folk songs I ever sang when I learned to play a guitar was Where Have All the Flowers Gone  by Pete Seeger According to Wikipedia, Seeger found inspiration for the song in October 1955, while on a plane bound for a concert in Ohio. Leafing through his notebook he saw the passage, "Where are the flowers, the girls have plucked them. Where are the girls, they've all taken husbands. Where are the men, they're all in the army." These lines were taken from the traditional Ukrainian folk song "Tovchu, tovchu mak", referenced in the Mikhail Sholokhov novel And Quiet Flows the Don (1934), which Seeger had read "at least a year or two before".Seeger adapted it to a tune, possibly a pre-existing folk song. With only three verses, he recorded it once in a medley on a Rainbow Quest album (Folkways LP FA 2454) and forgot about it. Joe Hickerson later added verses four and five, and a repeat of verse one, in May 1960 in Bloomington. The Kingston Trio recorded the song in 1961. Believing it to be a traditional song, they claimed authorship, although upon notice from Seeger they had their name removed and credited Seeger and Hickerson.  It is a simple song but as an idealistic young man it had such significance talking about the Vietnam war. 
Scotch and Soda is the ultimate bar song.  "Scotch and Soda, mud in your eye, Oh my do I feel high."

I first sang the next song at scout camp.  It was one of the ultimate camp songs. WimowehThe song also called the Lion Sleeps Tonight, according to wikipedia, was first written in 1939 "by Solomon Linda and performed by his group, the Evening Birds and became a hit throughout South Africa: it sold about 100,000 copies during the 1940s; and it lent its name to a style of African a cappella music which evolved into isicathamiya.

At Stewart Junior High School I sang in a chorus who sang the next song MTA This was in 1964. The chorus goes

Did he ever return?
No he never returned
And his fate is still unlearn'd
He may ride forever
'neath the streets of Boston
He's the man who never returned.
The Stewart school chorus also sang the big hits Hi Neighbor and They Call the Wind Maria.  We were so on the cutting edge.  The constant debate I had with my school peers was who would last the longest The Beach Boys or the Beatles.  Guess who was right!

A Woody Guthrie song Hard Travelling is next.  It talks about a person travelling through the US during the depression years going from job to job.

Early Morning Rain  is a song written by Canadian Gordon Lightfoot and has also been recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary.  Another song with hobo connotations.

Colours a song written by Donovan is the next track.  Donovan is a wonderful song writer and is often compared the Dylan.  I find Donovan much more interesting especially during his mystical period. 

Goodnight Irene is a well known folk song I first heard when performed by The Weavers .  The lyrics tell of the singer's troubled past with his love, Irene, and express his sadness and frustration. Several verses make explicit reference to suicidal fantasies, most famously in the line "sometimes I take a great notion to jump in the river and drown," which was the inspiration for the 1964 Ken Kesey novel Sometimes a Great Notion. Ain't love grand. 
Get Away John is the next track. See You tube video.  John Hardy, it appears, was an actual man, a rough one, who was sentenced to be hanged for murder in 1894. 

The ballad of the shape of things
Completely round is the perfect pearl the oyster manufactures.
Completely round is the steering wheel that leads to compound fractures
Completely round is the golden fruit that hangs from the o-o-orange tree
Yes the circle shape is quite renown
But sad to say it can be found
In the lowdown, dirty run-around
That my true love gave to me
That my true love gave to me

Completely square is the little box he said my ring would be in
Completely square is the envelope he said good-bye to me in
Completely square is the handkerchief I flourish constantly
As I dry my eyes of the tears I've shed,
And blow my nose which turns bright red
For a perfect square is my true love's head
He will not marry me, no
He will not marry me

Hard it Ain't Hard is another Woody Guthrie song and the tape ends with a Bob Dylan song Tomorrow is a long time.  It is a beautiful melody and one of my favorite female singers Sandy Denny also recorded it.

Good day.  .

Tomorrow Is A Long Time : Sandy Denny

John Hardy (Getaway John): The Kingston Trio


Lonnie Donegan - Hard Travelling

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Up Til Now

Ever since I saw Simon and Garfunkel in concert at the old Salt Palace on November 14 1969 I wanted to be Art Garfunkel.  His tone when singing is so pure and his range phenomenal.  During that concert I fiirst heard the classic Bridge Over Troubled Waters I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The sound was just pure. Just a couple of years I was web surfing and I happened upon Garfunkel's website and my desire to be him even increased more when on his site I came across a list of the books that he has read. I envy that he has been able to read so much.

Up til now is a "greatest hits" album from 1993 and contains some of the songs that were from previous albums.  Cryin in the Rain was originally written by Carole King and is a duet with James Taylor.  The harmonies are wonderful.  The Everly Brothers first had a hit with this song and the harmonies here on this version are I think just as good. 

One of my favorite Garfunkel songs is next, a song written by one of my favorite songwriters, Jimmy Webb   All I know    
The lyrics are great 

I bruise you, you bruise me
We both bruise too easily, too easily to let it show
I love you and that's all I know .
All my plans have fallin' through,
All my plans depend on you, depend on you to help them grow,
I love you and that's all I know.

The next song Just Across the Brooklyn Bridge was apparently the theme song for a TV Series Brooklyn Bridge and was written by Marvin Hamlsich and Marilyn and Alan Bergman.  The lyrics are so nostalgic

A world of its own,
The streets where we played,
The friends on every corner were the best we ever made.
The backyards, and the school yards
And the trees that watched us grow,
The days of love when dinner time was all you had to know.
Whenever I think of yesterday,
I close my eyes and see,
That place Just Over The Brooklyn Bridge
That will always be home to me.
It'll always be home to me.

I think that we can say that about anyplace we grew up.  I know I still consider Hyde my home.
Talk about nostalgia the next track is The Sound of Silence with Paul Simon which is followed by a comic track called The Breakup is Garfunkel acting as if he is making an announcement about Simon and Garfunkel being directed by Simon in the Recording board.     Simon and Garfunkel originally met in the sixth grade and according to some sources Simon only saw the possibilities of singing after he heard Garfunkel sing at a school performance.  The track talks about "singular commitment to separate pathways" and it's true but they seem to run parallel and come together at different times during their lives.
Another Jimmy Webb song is next Skywriter one source stated it was written for Art and is about his life in the 80's when he was suffering from depression after his partner Laurie Bird committed suicide in Garfunkel's apartment in 1979.  According to Garfunkel's Website, Skywriter," is a fine example of why Webb is considered one of the great ballad writers of the 20th Century. Art said at the time, "Jimmy wrote with my life in mind, so it's autobiographical.  I did it recently at the Royal Albert Hall (in London) and we recorded it there with Nicky Hopkins on piano and me, it's a really meaty new Jimmy Webb song, very romantic with a lot about some of my private pain."  It is the first track on any solo Garfunkel album to feature Art singing live.

Another collaboration with Webb is The Decree a musical retelling of the things preceding the Nativity and is accompanied by a children's choir. 

A 1958 hit for Tommy Edwards, It's All in The Game is the next track and is given a wonderful arrangement with I think a steel guitar and a fiddle accompaniment.

Stephen Bishop wrote the next one called One Less Holiday.  According to Garfunkel's Site, "One Less Holiday," an unreleased Stephen Bishop tune from the magnificent SCISSORS CUT sessions (1981), shows off Art's range with a soaring vocal opening."

Since I Don't Have You is Garfunkel's tribute to 50's Doo Wop Music and from a group called the
Skyliners    According to Wikipedia, Garfunkel recorded an album in 2007 The album was a dedicated celebration of pop standards of Garfunkel's childhood.

A Classic pop song contained on this album is Two Lonely People that he recorded for Penny Marshall 's film A League of Their Own .  According to Garfunkel, Garfunkel had a brief affair with actress Penny Marshall in the mid 1980's and credits her with helping him through his depression. Their friendship stayed strong even after the relationship's end. Garfunkel would later say of Marshall, "Everything changed. Penny is a sweet human being who can bring anybody down to earth. We had a lot of laughs, great sex and a ton of party nights".
The Song itself was written by Frank Loesser and Hoagy Carmichael 

Another of My favorite songs on this album is written by Mark Knopfler called Why Worry. 
The Lyrics are
Why Worry?
There should be laughter after pain,
There should be sunshine after rain,
These things have always been the same,
So Why Worry, now?
Why Worry, now?
It is such a truism. 

Another song by Jimmy Webb completes the album All My Love's Laughter. 

When I recorded this I tagged on another Garfunkel song taken from the sound track for As Good As It Gets The song was lifted from another film, a Monty Python film Life of Brian  and was written by
Eric Idle.  It is called    Always Look On the Bright Side of Life. 
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.
Some things in life are bad,
They can really make you mad,
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle,
Don't grumble, give a whistle,
This'll help things turn out for the best.
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.
Always look on the right side of life.
If life seems jolly-rotten,
There's something you've forgotten,
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing!
When you're feeling in the dumps,
Don't be silly, chumps,
Just purse your lips and whistle,
That's the thing!
So, always look on the bright side of death,
Just before you draw your terminal breath,
Life's a counterfeit,
And when you look at it,
Life's a laugh, and death's the joke,
It's true!
You see, it's all a show,
Keep them laughing as you go,
Just remember the last laugh is on you!
(Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.)
(Repeat and Fade) 

Good night.

Always look on the bright side of life - As good as it gets OST

Art Garfunkel - Why Worry

The Skyliners - Since I Don't Have You

Art Garfunkel - Skywriter

Crying in the Rain - Art Garfunkel

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Childhood Remembered

Another New Age Sampler with a theme by Narada.  The theme is about childhood and the magical time it is. It involves many  of the Narada New Age artists with selections that are aimed at portraying childhood. 

The Cello's Song is a piece written by a Russian musician Kostia and David Arkenstone.  In the Liner notes Kostia writes that the cello teaches us that "we must treasure nature and the gifts that it gives us, like wood for the cello."  I have never thought of the fact that nature not only produces music in the sense of the sounds of nature itself and the inspiration that writers have taken from it but also the raw materials that create the sounds. 
Tree in the Storm by Ralf Illenburger is a little more Jazz oriented but is written about nature and Ralf's hope that nature in its pristine form is still around for our children's children. 
Kostia performs the piece based on a old Russian fairy tale Maria Morevna a story about a prince and the pursuit of his beautiful wife Maria who had been captured by "Kaskev the Deathless" a dark character that the Prince, Igor, had let out of a "box room" which Maria had instructed him not to open. After he was let out Kaskev kidnapped Maria and the story outlines the pursuit and eventual reconciliation of Igor and Maria.  I have read a lot and Myths and their use in Jungian Psychology.  Myth and Fairy tales are used in Jung's thought as having deep psychological meaning.  I have attended Workshops by Marion Woodman and Robert Bly where they use the story of the Maiden King  to illustrate the concept of integration of the male and female.  Maria Morevna is a similar story, the journey of a man to integrate his anima
The next piece The Dragon's Daughter by David Lanz  and Paul Speer is based on a children's book Mei Ming and the Dragon's Daughter. It is a tale of a young Chinese woman who uses the singing voice to save her village.  Can music save things.  I know it can save lives and the sixties have shown it can change society.
Another fairy tale The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen  and presented in a Renaissance music style by Carol Nethen. I am reminded of how powerful the stories we read and experienced as youth are so important and how they are so magical. One of fondest memories was listening to the story of Wind in the Willows and the scene where Mr. Toad of Toad Hall falls in love with motorcars. 

Also Ratty and mole and the boat and the little house by the stream and the picnics.  Heaven for a kid learning to use his imagination.  It was read to us and it was magic.

So much for nostalgia. 

Trapezoid are the next artists and do a composition called Hawk based on a book Hawk I'm your brother.  It is a story of a Southwestern Native American who wants to learn how to fly and captures a hawk in hopes that the hawk can be his brother and teach him to fly but ends up freeing it and learns to appreciate the differences but appreciate flying vicariously through his adopted brother.  Honor your longings.  It is played on hammered dulcimers.

Another Children's book Crow and the Weasel is the inspiration for Tingstad and Rumbel to write a wonderful piece with Native American rhythms about the nature of childhood friendships. 

David Arkenstone returns with a composition The North Wind  inspired by the book by Mercer Mayer taken from a Norwegian folk tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon.  In his description of the piece, Arkenstone states, "Storytellers and composers share the same goal-to encourage people to take imaginary journeys.  For me, writing music is one of my favorite ways to travel."  I agree with him and I wonder in the plethora of ways to listen to music today has not allowed us to really sit and listen and be transported.  Music today often is just a soundtrack in out lives and not an experience of letting the music transports.  It is often the noise that alleviates the loneliness in the foreground.  Taking time with our imagination can be a wonderful experience.
Hiawatha's Song is the inspiration for Martin Kolbe. 

Hiawatha's Departure
from The Song of Hiawatha

By the shore of Gitchie Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
At the doorway of his wigwam,
In the pleasant Summer morning,
Hiawatha stood and waited.
All the air was full of freshness,
All the earth was bright and joyous,
And before him through the sunshine,
Westward toward the neighboring forest
Passed in golden swarms the Ahmo,
Passed the bees, the honey-makers,
Burning, singing in the sunshine.
Bright above him shown the heavens,
Level spread the lake before him;
From its bosom leaped the sturgeon,
Aparkling, flashing in the sunshine;
On its margin the great forest
Stood reflected in the water,
Every tree-top had its shadow,
Motionless beneath the water.
From the brow of Hiawatha
Gone was every trace of sorrow,
As the fog from off the water,
And the mist from off the meadow.
With a smile of joy and triumph,
With a look of exultation,
As of one who in a vision
Sees what is to be, but is not,
Stood and waited Hiawatha.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Richard Souther composed a piece based on another Hans Christian Andersen tale The Nightingale which outlines the morale that "outward appearances can easily cause us to overlook deeper intangible qualities that we should value much higher.  Souther writes, I'm reminded of the story of Christ blessing little children.  His disciples first turned away the children, but Christ welcomed them and taught that we reach our highest destiny only by living life with a childlike sense of innocence." 
Gwinna is another children's book that inspired Alasdair Fraser to compose a piece called First Flight.  According to the Author, Barbara Berger, Gwinna is a girl who has wings but does not know it. When she hears a mysterious song in the wind, she is filled with longing. Led by a small white owl, she sets out on a quest, finding her wings, her own power of flight, and at last the harp she longs for.
Wayne Gratz is the final artist on the album his contribution The Green Room based on a children's book called The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer about a boy finding a salamander in the forest and learning to take care of it and as Gratz stated, "Nature, I learned early in life, needs our respect.  The piece is wonderful with snippets of bird song in the background.  Lovely.

As I sit here finishing this blog, my oldest daughter is waiting to birth their first child and my fourth grand child, a boy.  I will be a grandad to four wonderful grandchildren, two girls and two boys.  I am humbled by the miracle of birth and pray everything goes well for my daughter and her husband.


Marion Woodman: Dancing in the Flames - 'Two Marions'

A Gathering of Men with Robert Bly Part1

The Cello's Song ~ David Arkenstone & Kostia

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Very Best of Welsh Choirs

My daughter Amy has been been urging me to watch a BBC America show called The Choir and finally I got some time to watch their current episodes about a community near Watford, UK.  It touched me a lot to see the people come together as a community through singing.  In some other episodes they profile an all boys school without a tradition of singing and how the director Gareth Malone was able to enlist boys to sing the choir and began a tradition in the school. 
If I had not had music and singing I probably would not have survived my teenage years.  It was the one thing that I felt somewhat accomplished.  Another of my memories have been the feelings that I get when listening to a Welsh Male chorus.  There is just something about the tradition and the timbre of the sound.  It always give me goosebumps.

According to some research, "Welsh male voice choirs appeared at around the turn of the 19th century when coal miners got together to give voice to their woes. Some became world famous, including the Treorchy Male Choir, the ­Morriston Orpheus Choir and the Cor Meibion Pontypridd Male Voice Choir. Others were based on rugby, including the Cardiff Arms Park Male Choir and the Morriston Rugby Choir, while the Pontarddulais Male Choir had its roots in a youth choir." 

A BBC site about the Welsh Choir Music Tradition discusses that as early as 1198, the Welsh were impressing their listeners.   It was said ""When they make music together, they sing their songs not in unison, as is done elsewhere, but in that in a crowd of would hear as many songs and different intervals as you could see heads; yet they all accord..."

The recording The Very Best of Welsh Choirs has collection of mostly live performances of the most well known Male Choirs
The Morriston Orpheus Choir is one of the most well known choirs and have many selections on the recording. One of my favorites is a song called Myfanwy.  Apparently the song is taken from a myth.
Another selection that the Choir does on the recording is We'll Keep a Welcome.

Anyway we'll keep a welcome here for you if your return.  Thanks for putting up with my compulsivity.

Stand By Me / Beautiful Girls - The Choir - BBC Two

Sense of Sound Choir: BBC 2 - The Choir: Boys Don't Sing

The Choir: Unsung Town - Episode 2 Highlight - Choir perform Hallelujah...

we'll keep a welcome in the hillside...

Morriston Orpheus Choir - Myfanwy

Friday, September 17, 2010

Gorécki - Symphonie No.3 - 2nd Movement

Samuel Barber - Adagio for Strings

Music for the Soul: A program for renchantment.

Today's selection is a CD of music chosen by Thomas Moore author of one of my favorite books Care of the Soul  and also another called
The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life which I highly recommend.

In the Re-Enchantment of Everyday life, Moore outlines three common themes that can lead to long-term happiness and joy.. He states that the first is "having a strong sense of place" in other words living in the place and space that you have a strong affinity with.  The second principle is "maintaining long term friendships", in essence friendships with a sense of history.  And finally, "Honoring your longings" those things that resonate in your soul and feel passion about.  Music is one of my longings.

In the Liner notes for the CD, Moore stated that he chose the music to appeal to what he calls "the lower shady place where the heart is profoundly affected."   He further states that he is "drawn to melancholy in music, to music that touches a particular place in the heart where the air is thick and the colors dark." 

Alma Redemptoris mater is sung by "angelic voices of children."  It is a chant that Moore describes as "a way of ennobling any emotion or passion it is meant to carry.  It has a timeless, restrained quality that stems from its subtle rhythms and gentle modal cadences." 

The next selection is Tu solus qui facis mirabilia written by Josquin Des Prez "known in his time as the Michelangelo of music, wrote motets and masses that always seem tied toe the deep elements of the heart."
Josquin des Prez was a friend of a philosophiser priest called Marsilio Ficino who taught, according to Moore, "that music has magical capacities, and, since it is conveyed in the same spirit that sustains the soul, it is powerful medicine for maladies of the heart."  Marsilio Ficino according to Moore, "practiced a gentle kind of music therapy, recommending a judicious use of music in accord with felt emotions and moods."  As a clinical practitioner I have used music and have created therapeutic exercises and presented on the use of music in psychotherapy.

The next piece is a beautiful and reflective piece called Old and Lost Rivers a piece written by Tobias Picker.

Tobias Picker wrote the piece about a "convergence of two bayous east of Houston, Texas, and he remarks that these waterways are sometimes dry and green with grass and sometimes filled with water." It is beautiful and evoking piece that transports me to a higher level.  There is spot in the piece that my heart just reaches into a soulful place that wants me to lift my hand up and touch God. 

Sergei Rachmaninoff is the composer that wrote the next piece Vespers-Ave Maria. 

Vespers are the evening prayers in the "Traditional Christian Divine Office" and are said near the end of the day and acknowledge the coming of the night.  The singing in the Russian Church uses as Moore puts it, a timbre that strikes those cords hi the heart that connects to the earth and complexities of life. 

The next piece written by Arvo Part a piece written  as a Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten. The Cantus was written as a memorial for Benjamin Britten
Britten was a Twentieth Century British composer whose music never appealed to me.  Britten is written about in a 2006 book called Britten's Children which outlines that Britten was sexually attracted to 13-year-old boys but never strayed over the bounds with them. 

Salve Regina is another piece written to honor the Virgin Mary.  It is written by Francis Poulenc a French Composer.  The words talk about the suffering that many Humans have.  I was talking yesterday to a woman who was having it appears was a miscarriage and she was having a difficult time.  It reminded me of the  first of the Buddha's four noble truths which is "There is Suffering Suffering is common to all."  Over time I have come to believe that and I believe if the world is about suffering that anything above suffering is truly a gift from God.  Even sufferings are a gift from God because they teach us so much.

Another piece by Part called Fratres.  Moore writes about the piece "Fratres means more than brothers, perhaps a deep sense of our commonality and interdependence."    About Part's music, he writes "I recognized a spirit in it that has deep echoes in my own past and in my approach to the arts, a spirit of the medieval and Renaissance period where mysteriously I seem to have a home, and the spirit of monasticism which has claimed me for most of my life.

Nuper Rosarum Flores a piece written by Guillaume Dufay for the consecration of the Florence Cathedral
Santa Maria Del Fiore
According to Wikipedia, Nuper Rosarum Flores or Recently Flowers of Roses/The Rose Blossoms Recently, is an isorhythmic motet composed by Guillaume Dufay for the 25 March 1436 consecration of the Florence cathedral, on the occasion of the completion of the dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi—although technically, the dome itself was not finished until five months later, at which time a separate consecration was celebrated by Benozzo Federighi, the bishop of Fiesole, substituting for the newly appointed archbishop of Florence, Cardinal Vitelleschi (Wright 1994, 396 n2). The motet is striking for its synthesis of the older isorhythmic style and the new contrapuntal style that Dufay himself would explore further in the coming decades, as would successors such as Ockeghem and Josquin des Prez. The title of the piece stems from the name of the cathedral itself: Santa Maria del Fiore, or St. Mary of the Flower. The opening lines of Dufay's text refers to Pope Eugene IV's gift to the cathedral, and to the city of Florence, of a golden rose to decorate the high altar—a gift made the week before the dedication (Wright 1994, 399). Enough details already!

The Next piece of music to me is one of the most exquisite compositions and rates as my most favorite piece of classical music ever written.  It is Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings.  The climax of this piece is so wonderfully inspiring and again leads you the celebration of the human spirit.   Barber is another composer I had not learned much about but he was the life partner of Gian Carlo Menotti who wrote the opera Ahmal and the Night Visitors that I remember seeing on television when I was a teenager.

Henryk Gorecki wrote the final selection and it is the Second Movement of his Symphony No. 3.  Of this piece Moore tells us "The composer tells us that this symphony is about lamentation, and indeed the entire piece is an extended weeping..

According to Wikipedia,  the Second Movement  contains a libretto formed from the prayer to the Virgin Mary inscribed by a young woman 18-year-old Helena Wanda Błażusiakówn on her cell wall in a Gestapo prison.  She was a highland woman incarcerated on 25 September, 1944. "The text  read "O Mamo nie płacz nie—Niebios Przeczysta Królowo Ty zawsze wspieraj mnie" (Oh Mamma do not cry—Immaculate Queen of Heaven support me always). The composer recalled, "I have to admit that I have always been irritated by grand words, by calls for revenge. Perhaps in the face of death I would shout out in this way. But the sentence I found is different, almost an apology or explanation for having got herself into such trouble; she is seeking comfort and support in simple, short but meaningful words". He later explained, "In prison, the whole wall was covered with inscriptions screaming out loud: 'I'm innocent', 'Murderers', 'Executioners', 'Free me', 'You have to save me'—it was all so loud, so banal. Adults were writing this, while here it is an eighteen-year-old girl, almost a child. And she is so different. She does not despair, does not cry, does not scream for revenge. She does not think about herself; whether she deserves her fate or not. Instead, she only thinks about her mother: because it is her mother who will experience true despair. This inscription was something extraordinary. And it really fascinated me"

I am really enjoying this process.  I know it seems like a lot of information but in my being committed to this blog and gaining information I learn so much and it adds to my appreciation for the music. 

I was telling somebody this morning that as a teenager I would just love putting on my headphones and putting on album and lying down on my bed and holding the album cover on my belly and reading the album liner notes or the lyrics as I listened to the music.  I fought buying CD's for a long time because I like the ritual of reading the notes and guess what you can hardly read the notes on CD's because it is just too small and you have this little piece of folded paper to unfold and refold when you have finished and good luck trying to get it to fit back in that little jewel case. 

I was telling the person.  That now there is a luxury listening to the music and having the Internet because you have such of volume of "liner notes" that you get from just doing a search on Google. I am in heaven.

Good day for now.


Thomas Moore: Longing

The Heroic Journey #3: Dark Night of the Soul

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rosalie Sorrels March 2010

Travelling Lady Rides again then came the children

Rosalie Sorrels was a sixties folk artist that lived in Salt Lake City in the first part of the sixties.  My sister Nancy was one of her son's David's friends.
The tape I listed to was one of two live albums she did.
The first was Then came the Children  which is a live album.
Release Date: 1985 (Re-release 1991 on CD)  Record label: Green Linnet (2099)Notes: Rosalie Sorrels with Bruce Carver recorded live at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre on February 26, 1984. Songs: - Then came the children—Bride 1945—Girls in our town—Rosie Jane—Mother's day song—Delia Rose—What was the colour—Song for daughters/mama—Rosalie you can't go home again.

Rosalie is a marvelous storyteller and the introduction to the second song about her mother and her neighbor Margaret is wonderful.  The lyrics are about women's and social issues but done in story form.  I miss those days when social activism and music joined together.  Rosalie was a friend of another Utah folkie by the name of Utah Phillips.  He is a fellow graduate of East High School in Salt Lake City.  I first was aware of him when he ran for the Senate in Utah in 1968. 

 The second  album is The Travelling Lady Rides Again. From Rosalie's web site, "One of my favorite things about the CDs I've made is the wonderful musicians I've been lucky enough to work with. Two of my favorite music albums are among those I'm offering. First, TRAVELING LADY RIDES AGAIN, released by Philo Records in 1976. I can't remember having more fun. I love all the songs and the music still hangs together.
"The first time I saw Rosalie, she was on the small stage of a quiet underground bistro in Aspen in an audience of ski-bums, fun-hogs, Okies, dolls in cute parkas, construction workers in ski-boots and the snow was falling to beat hell. It was something like twenty below and it made all those monsters drink in great smacks, arms slapped around, fingers in mugs swashbuckling ways of men downing drinks in slaps at the open mouths. Rosalie just kept singing quietly. She was anything but shy, it just happened to be a quiet song. Her face is skinny. She looks about nineteen from the side, but her songs sound like she's forty. Who knows? The main thing to remember is that it sounded true." - ALBUM NOTES... Oscar Zeta Acosta

  1. TRAVELING LADY (Rosalie Sorrels)
  2. I LIKE IT (Mayne Smith)
  3. WE WERE KINDA CRAZY THEN (Susanna Clark)
  4. TRUCKER'S CAFE (Sylvia Tyson)
  5. GOING AWAY (Bruce Phillips)
  6. I REMEMBER LOVING YOU (Bruce Phillips)
  7. TALKIN' WOLVERINE 14 (Bruce Phillips & Andy Cohen)
  8. FEATHER BEN (Peter Bowen)
  9. BAD GIRL'S LEMENT (Traditional)
  10. POST CARD FROM INDIA (Rosalie Sorrels)
Listening to these two albums have rekindled an old affinity to songs that say something about living life and tell a story. 

Another day, some wonderful music. 

Rosalie Sorrels - Rock Me To Sleep - Not a Singer Songwriter but so much...

U. Utah Phillips - 4 - Funniest Story Ever!?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010



Keith Bennett search ends

The Moors Murders

Arthur (Or the decline and fall of the British Empire

 Arthur is a tape made by the English band the Kinks as a score for a televison score for a Granada Television  program.  According to Wikipedia, the story is partially inspired by the Davies brothers' older sister Rose, who emigrated to Australia in 1964 with her husband Arthur Anning.[39] Her departure devastated Ray Davies, and it inspired him to write the song "Rosie Won't You Please Come Home", included on the 1966 album Face to Face.The lead character in the album, the fictional Arthur Morgan—modeled after Arthur Anning—is a carpet layer whose family's plight in the opportunity-poor setting of post-war England is depicted. Writer Julian Mitchell detailed the story line and characters in depth, explaining in the liner notes for the album's LP release:
"Arthur Morgan ... lives in a London suburb in a house called Shangri-La, with a garden and a car and a wife called Rose and a son called Derek who's married to Liz, and they have these two very nice kids, Terry and Marilyn. Derek and Liz and Terry and Marilyn are emigrating to Australia. Arthur did have another son, called Eddie. He was named for Arthur's brother, who was killed in the battle of the Somme. Arthur's Eddie was killed, too—in Korea. 
I can remember when many of my parent's friends began to emigrate to Australia.  On of my Mum's friends Marjorie went and I remember it really affecting my Mum.  I think used to work together at Redferns Factory in Hyde during the war. 

The Kinks wrote many satirical songs and this album is replete with them.
The first track Victoria is a song about the omparisons of the class system in Victorian Times  It is a tongue in cheek look at how the ppoor were duped into patriotism.

The next song Drivin concerns the obsession English people have with driving n the country.  It is the panacea for everything to go into the country and enjoy the nature. 

Brainwashed is a kind of indictment of the British Middle class who have been brainwashed and how the brainwashing is the equivalent of submission "down on your knees."

Australia sounds like many conversations I heard with my parent's friends when they looked to Australia as the paradise that England like a "sunny Christmas day" It was pressented as such a paradise because you could surf just like in the USA. 
The Next selection is Mr. Churchill
Of course Mr. Churchill is Winston Churchill the prime minister of England during World War II, Included in the song are references to other war time leaders like Lord Beaverbrook 
General Montgomery
and Lord Mountbatten all upper class heroes of the war and symbols of the war authority structure.  Again we see the satrical perspective of the working class

The next track is a wish for a child's Young and Innocent Days and sometimes I wish for those in innocent days right during the 50's where as a child I was allowed to roam around the Britsh countryside and not be afraid.  That all stopped in Hyde in 1964 when the Moor Murders happened happened, See video post.

The Moor Murders  happened in a housing project, a spillover from Manchester, which was about a mile from where I was living in 1963.  The murders were not found out until 1964 but after I came to this country we would get newspaper clippings of the the local papaer the North Cheshire Herald which contained the stories and it upset us because we were there when these murders were happening and I was the same age as some of the victims at the time.

The next song called Shangri-la is about the social upward movement by members of the working class where "Gone are the lavatories in the back yard "

The significance of the loss of a the outdoor privy in the back  may not mean to much to this generation. But growing up in a terraced house in the Northwest of England in the 1950's to have an inside lavatory was a luxury.

.Further respectful ribbing of the working classes and their social moblity is continued with She bought a hat like Princess Marina where the influence of the elite dictate to the masses. 
Nothing to Say is about the dissaffection that happens when childern grow up and they become different than their parents.  this ahppened a lot in England when children became educated and seeme to minimize the contributions of their parents as they moved around in different social classes.  They lost touch with the group that they grew up with. 
A good example of this is in the film Secrets and Lies where a sibling, a photographer, leads a completely different life that his working class sister who lives in the same terraced home they were both raised in.  A good film to recommend.
The final song Arthur sums up the entire plot of a working calss trying to change his position in the world. 
The theme of  australian emigration was a very big one in 1950's.  The Australain government encouraged it and advertised about the possibilities of Australia

War weary subjects of Britain were offered ten pounds passage to Australia meaning that adults only had to pay ten pounds sterling and their children traveled free.  Is it any wonder that many English people took the trip. 
Time to wrap it up.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Opera Sauvage

I woke up this morning looking through my window, as I do every morning,, at the Bountiful East Bench and a wonderful sunrise.  A couple of white clouds were reflecting the sun's rays and I thought I would listen to Vangelis' Opera Sauvage .  It is a piece written for a French Documentary Series called L'Opera sauvage which was about the relationship between man, music and animals around the world. 

The opening track is perfect for waking up and is called Hymne.  It just brings you into the world peacefully and with sanctity.   Vangelis is an amazing musician.  I first became acquainted with his music when his music was used in a PBS documentary presented by the late Carl Sagan called Cosmos .The piece I fell in love with was Heaven and Hell Part I and I just melted when I heard the piece the first time.  I immediately went and bought the LP, yes vinyl, and still have it today.

One of my all time favorite Vangelis pieces is on this tape it is called L'enfant and again became first acquainted with it when it was played in a film called The Year of Living Dangerously starring a young Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, and an amazing performance by Linda Hunt who plays a male role.

As I listened to the rest of the tape I could imagine how the music was used in the series.  There is something about soundtrack music that evokes emotion.  I am sure that is the point that the composer plans on.  I use soundtrack music in my practice to assist clients to verbalize emotion.  There is one exercise that I created where put a piece of music and have them do a story as they are listening to the music.  This assists those clients that have difficulty with an emotional vocabulary try to put words or a narrative using that part of the brain that contains emotional recall.  The last track Flamants Rose is perfect for this. 

It has been a good day and I am enjoying listening to my music.