I'm taking piano lessons, in an effort to keep the Wurlitzer piano I inherited from my parents. My husband thinks it's a waste of space. "No one plays it,why should we have a piano?" So to keep it in the house, I've signed up for lessons. It'll get some use since I'll have to practice. I have a wee bit of knowlegde, having had piano lessons in the 3rd grade. Every good boy deserves fudge, and all that. I came across this helpful video on how to play chopsticks. Enjoy!
The American Islamic Congress is putting on a public lecture series in Boston on "Diversity in the Muslim World: Between Pluralism & Division." The events start Monday, March 16 and go through March 29, events are free and open to the public. Go here for details, press release here. Some of the events sound fascinating. From the AIC:
"Sponsored by the Boston Foundation, the series seeks to inform Bostonians - both Muslims and non-Muslims - about Muslim cultural diversity. The panels address distinct geographic regions of the Muslim world (Africa, Europe, Near East, South Asia, and Far East). Speakers and artistic performers include experts from Harvard, Tufts, Brown, and other local universities."
"We hope to shatter stereotypes about Muslim identity and offer a nuanced look at the Muslim world's complexity. Unusual communities spotlighted include Russian Tatars, Berber Shi'ites, Sufis who go on hajj to Senegal instead of Saudi Arabia, and Nigerian tribes featuring Muslims and Christians in the same nuclear family - plus a non-Muslim MIT professor who helped build a mosque in Cambodia."
The artists include Senegalese drummers a funk band, Pakistani and Bangladeshi poets, aPakistani singer, a Turkish classical music ensemble, and a Tunisian oud player. Pretty cool line-up of events.
Tea at Triannon has a nice post about St. John's Eve, which we celebrate today, while tomorrow is the Feast of the St. John the Baptist. As Marie Elena writes: "It was a tradition in the days of Christendom to have a bonfire in honor of the saint who was a 'burning and shining light.' (John 5:35) In some places, they still do; my father always had a bonfire in honor of the Birthday of the Baptist." Now there's an excellent tradition to bring back.
"Another interesting thing about the Feast of St. John: the Breviary's hymn for this day, Ut queant laxis -- the hymn sung or recited during the blessing of the bonfire -- is the source of our names of musical notes -- Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do. The hymn, attributed to Paulus Diaconus (Paul the Deacon, ca. A.D. 720-799), was noted by a monk to rise one note in the diatonic C-Scale with each verse. The syllables sung at each rise in pitch give us the names of our notes (the 'Ut' was later changed to 'Do' for easier pronunciation):
Ut queant laxis Resonare fibris Mira gestorum Famuli tuorum, Solve polluti Labii reatum, Sanc Te Ioannes:
"The words mean:
So that these your servants may, with all their voice, resound your marvelous exploits, clean the guilt from our stained lips, O Saint John.
"And the melody is as follows:
An alternate translation here, with further explanation of the musical notation:
O for thy Spirit, Holy John, to chasten, Lips sin-polluted, fettered tongues to loosen, So by thy children might thy deeds of wonder Meetly be chaunted
The rest of the verses can be found here, with Gregorian chant notation here.
From Britain's Got Talent, this is what angels sound like. I don't know how Andrew Johnson ultimately fared in the show.
It did bring tears and I don't even understand the Latin. A pure angelic voice.
Hat tip to Recovering Choir Director, who's got a good commentary on this piece (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s setting/adaptation of the Pie Jesu text from the Dies Irae sequence) and Andrew's heart-piercing rendition.
Talk a walk down memory lane - the memory lane of funk - over at Cobb's blog. He's got a survey of the 100 Greatest Funk Songs of All Time underway. While the survey itself looks too time-consuming for me to actually do, it's great fun just to review the tunes. My faves:
Your Love is Like the Holy Ghost - The Bar-Kays Get Up for the Down Stroke - Parliament Funky Stuff/Hollywood Swinging - Kool and the Gang Dazz - Brick Tell Me Something Good - Rufus/Chaka Khan More Bounce To The Ounce - Zapp & Roger Fire - Ohio Players Do You Wanna Get Funky with Me - Peter Brown
02.17.2007 - Saturday, 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM A.J. Gordon Memorial Chapel
Joined by the Gordon College Choir, Symphonic Chorale and soloists, the Gordon Symphony Orchestra will present Mozart's last work, Requiem. Also featured on the concert will be Finzi's Clarinet Concerto, featuring soloist William Kirkley. Preconcert lecture will be held at 7 p.m., led by Mozart-scholar Robert D. Levin.
Be still, my heart! From the Catholic Bishops conference last week comes a new direction in church music! Yeayyy! Even the bishops are understanding that a lot of contemporary Catholic music is dreck. And a change is gonna come:
"Acting under Vatican orders, they approved a plan to check the theological orthodoxy of all songs sung at Mass. They also agreed to compile a core repertoire of 60 to 100 songs to include in all Catholic hymnals, along with a variety of other songs approved by individual bishops....There are quarrels in the church between those who prefer contemporary music and those who advocate time-honored hymns and chant. Some traditionalists complain that modern songs are theologically and musically insipid."
To say the least. This is clearly the influence of Papa Ratzi, bless him! When he was in charge of defending the doctrinal teachings of the church, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote about the need for Church music to be connected to the liturgy and to honor the rich tradition of Catholic music. It's our heritage. Don't dumb down the music! As Sandro Magister wrote last December about bringing back Gregorian chant:
"But now there is a pope, Benedict XVI, who is highly competent in the area of sacred music, is severely critical of the degradation of music following the council, and has written on a number of occasions what he thinks and what he wants: to restore to the Catholic liturgy the great music that “from Gregorian chant passes through the music of the cathedrals and polyphony, the music of the Renaissance and the Baroque, to Bruckner and beyond.”
What a wonderful pope! Two songs were recommended for the core repertoire by one bishop, Holy God We Praise Thy Name and Silent Night. Miss Kelly further recommends:
Come Holy Ghost, Creator Blest
Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Adeste Fidelis
Now Thank We All Our God
How Great Thou Art
Angels We Have Heard on High
Jesus Christ is Risen Today
Readers, any suggestions to add to the core reportoire of Catholic hymns? What are your favorite ones?
Again! I was disgusted last week when Paris was sent home, with her jazzy, powerful voice and sweet personality. What a dynamo! Kareoke Taylor got to stay? So wrong!
This week was worse - Kareoke Taylor stays on again, as does Smiley Face McPhee. She's got a knock-out voice, but she overdoes everything. Dear, please get your hair out of your face. Instead, America sends home the real deal - the authentic, rumbly, soulful rocker Chris. Travesty travesty travesty. I do like Eliot Yamin's voice, he sounds a lot like Donny Hathaway. But somebody please put some decent clothes on that man.
I'm liking what I'm hearing from the Vatican these days:
"After backing calls by Muslims for respect for their religion in the Mohammad cartoons row, the Vatican is now urging Islamic countries to reciprocate by showing more tolerance toward their Christian minorities.....After criticizing both the cartoons and the violent protests in Muslim countries that followed, the Vatican this week linked the issue to its long-standing concern that the rights of other faiths are limited, sometimes severely, in Muslim countries.
Vatican prelates have been concerned by recent killings of two Catholic priests in Turkey and Nigeria. Turkish media linked the death there to the cartoons row. At least 146 Christians and Muslims have died in five days of religious riots in Nigeria.
"If we tell our people they have no right to offend, we have to tell the others they have no right to destroy us," Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican's Secretary of State (prime minister), told journalists in Rome.
"We must always stress our demand for reciprocity in political contacts with authorities in Islamic countries and, even more, in cultural contacts," Foreign Minister Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo told the daily Corriere della Sera.
The Vatican is sounding a lot different these days on Christian-Muslim relations and the plight of Christians in Muslim countries.
Bravo Pope Benedict!
Why can't our President or our State Department say things like that?