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Author Topic: The Music Thread That Isn't "Music We Love"  (Read 27650 times)
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« Reply To This #40 on: August 10, 2012, 09:53:02 PM »

For me, this was a fun and thought-provoking story.

…. like introducing an alien to the music of earth.

"... When Mozart’s Lacrimosa* came on, I was blown away by the beauty of it. At one point of the song, it sounded like angels singing and I suddenly realized that this was the first time I was able to appreciate music. Tears rolled down my face and I tried to hide it. But when I looked over I saw that there wasn’t a dry eye in the car."

Loved the part about how silence continues to be his favorite sound.  Sometimes, it's mine, too.  Still, all you music-lovers out there, try to imagine being given the gift of music that late in life.  It’d be like Christmas every day.


From another day and another place, the questions posed in this story may (may not) be fun for some of you to ponder and play with.

and, finally (I think),

The other day I came across another 60 Minutes segment on El Sistema, this one from the year, 2000,  called, The Orchestra,” that, incredibly, I’m pretty sure I’d never seen before.  Most of you, I’d guess, will probably have less than no interest in hearing anything more about this program you maybe never wanted to know anything about in the first place.  But for those one or two who might have a different reaction, you might find this video clip fun.  I did, especially because although there were a few scenes showing the youthful Gustavo Dudamel conducting in Venezuela before he became world-famous, at the time this segment was put together, he was still sufficiently unknown that they never even mentioned his name.

Not everyone sings El Sistema’s praises, neither here (obviously) or even in the music world.  And nor does everyone have to.  You can decide for yourselves whether you think it has value or not.

Simply because I like dressing up posts with pictures (and learning and sharing, too), I’m closing with a pic of a pretty neat-looking piano building in a place called Huanin City, China as well as a few other piano-related images.  Just because.

EDIT* From reading one of the first comments posted at youtube, it's obvious that I wasn't the only one curious to see whether I, too, might be able to experience the angels singing upon hearing that piece.  It's got a pretty neat sculpture from the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche to enhance the listening pleasure.

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« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 10:51:12 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #41 on: August 22, 2012, 10:38:39 AM »

Posting more than once about the women in the Pussy Riot band is not in any way to suggest that what has been happening to them, somehow, is more significant or more egregious than the repression, hurt, and indignities daily inflicted upon people the world over.  Not hardly.

Still, there’s something about their story that reminds me (and maybe will remind you) of the preciousness and the fragility, even in our own countries, of so many of the “rights,” the privileges that we, most of us, have had the luxury of being able to take for granted for most of our lives, simply because of the fortuity of the circumstances we were born into.

In this day and age where, even in the United States, the supposed bastion of freedom, the daily proliferating voter suppression laws and the inordinate influence that in the last few years, especially, the monied interests seem to have gained in determining the direction in which our country is going, (among a multitude of other warning signs) all might give us reason for pause.

I can’t remember either the wording or the source of the quote, but somewhere there’s an expression to the effect that those who are not vigilant about the protection of their rights are at risk of losing them.  

By some of us highlighting the stories of these women, of Ai Wei Wei in China, and of others in similar predicaments, I’m hoping it will help to prevent all of us from becoming too casual, too lackadaisical, in effect, too apathetic about the threats to freedom, our own, and that of our fellow/sister citizens of the world, that are daily looming.

Democracy's biggest hit is to Pussy Riot
What Pussy Riot Sounds Like

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« Last Edit: August 22, 2012, 06:52:42 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #42 on: October 18, 2012, 01:34:43 PM »

There’s a million different ways a person could react to the following story, and probably, most of them would be legitimate.  I happened on it almost immediately after I posted, this morning, in the 3 Cups of Tea thread about the state of education in the world, especially in Pakistan, so I had a fair number of those million different reactions, myself.  

This story had particular significance for me because of my memories from when I volunteered in my favorite teaching experience of my life, at B.F. Day Elementary School, in Fremont, Seattle, Washington.  This was a school I’d first learned about from reading a cover article about it in a Teaching Tolerance publication put out by the Southern Poverty Law Center. (I live in Washington, but I’d had to read a publication out of Montgomery, Alabama, to learn about a school in my own state!  It was an incredibly moving article.  I think nearly any one of you would have been tempted to volunteer there, too, if you’d had the chance to read what I’d read.  I tried to find it online, just now, but sorrowfully, couldn't).  

The reason the following story was so meaningful to me, apart from my lifelong love of music and my belief that we should try to give the gift of it to every child, was because of how important I saw the financially strapped music program at my school was to the kids, there.  Many of them were from poverty, themselves, but they were able to find a haven from the harsh realities of their daily lives at the school and joy and the freedom to be their little kid selves in the then, bi-weekly music hour that was, at the time, provided them.  I’m not completely certain about this, but I’m pretty sure that I’ve heard that the music program has long since been completely cut from B. F. Day as well as a number of other programs that we, obliviously, used to be able to take for granted when I was in school, myself.

In the story that I’m highlighting here, I, personally, could have done without the Ikea promotion and, for that matter, without what seemed like a spendthrift-y expenditure of funds on decorative items that might have been more usefully and musically directed.  Still, it was the idea that someone recognized and celebrated not only the value of this loving music teacher but the importance of music in kids’ lives- that, and the near palpable joy of the kids when immersed in the music- that I thought made this story worth highlighting.

« Last Edit: October 18, 2012, 01:35:52 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #43 on: October 26, 2012, 06:22:08 AM »

Trading in their Tai Chi for a Tad of Country Western Line Dance ?!?

That's a smile of a mind image,

especially if your imagination enables you to dress up these sweetly giggling Chinese American line dancers with cowboy hats and cowboy boots, maybe tossing in the odd spurs and rawhide chaps for the enhanced impossibly incongruous pleasure of it all.

This video is the best one I could quickly find.  It doesn’t come even close to the shindig I’d pictured in my mind’s (four in the morning bleary) eye, but it’s a happy hint of it.  And it has a nice Country Western tune to go along with (not…).

Ah!  Persistence rewards after all.  Check this one out:

Maybe you need, as I did, to have spent a fair amount of time in kind of time-frozen parts of the American West, (Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Western South Dakota) where they actually do (at least, a few decades ago, did) this kind of happy, another pitcher, please, thirst-inspiring synchronized Saturday night hoedowning.  Maybe you need to have seen the "real" (at least, the original) thing to find the same kind of pleasure in this "it doesn't quite compute" mental image that I experienced when I came across the Times article a little while ago.

EDIT:  As long as we’re on a dancing theme, anyway, you might as well have a look at the last pic in the post.  It’s from what I found to be a truly spectacular photo sequence of a Yellowstone fox putting all of us clod-hoppy humans to shame as it engages in its own version of (nature) dance, the ever-acrobatic Pouncy-Pounce.

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« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 01:27:35 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #44 on: February 14, 2013, 11:12:40 AM »

Valentine’s Day, 2013.  
The day the music died ?!? ***

*** Or, as happily is suggested in the story (with a deeply deeply moving video) about Dr. Sarnast’s Music School in Afghanistan, so long as there are caring beings with music singing in their souls, perhaps (and hopefully) die it never will.

…The film's narrative is driven by Ahmed's quest to establish Afghanistan's first national music institute and his determination to recruit street children and orphans as its students. Underpinning this essentially simple story, in a country where music had been banned, is the fact that what is at stake here is not simply just learning about music, but the freedom to express music as a basic human right….”

Sarmast said he had also set a quota that a third of students must be girls -- a gesture towards the plight of Afghan women, who still struggle for basic rights such as education after 30 years of war and harsh Taliban rule…

Turns out, according to the school's website, some of its students are this very minute on the "Historic First U.S. Tour by Ensembles of Afghanistan National Institute of Music" that's included concerts at Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and tonight, at the New England Conservatory of Music. Given the choice between the Talibans' druthers and this, well, welcome to the glorious land of No Brainer.


EDIT: Still speaking, well sort of still speaking about music, the following might be classified under the rubric of Music Almost Always Will Out or…. It Takes All Kinds:

And, speaking of it taking all kinds, sometimes the comments that people post, as is true of some of the comments posted with this video, are just about as funny or strange or noteworthy as the videos are, themselves.

EDIT #2: I’d never even heard of the Global Fest World Music Festival in New York up until a little while ago.  But I’ll tell you, if the three performances I sampled are at all representative, I sure wouldn’t mind checking it out live sometime, if the stars will line up right.

For me, New York, with all its culinary, musical, cultural and every other category of pleasure is a pretty unparalleled orgy of a stimulus overdose LIFE experience, anyway. Regaling in the music of the world in between indulging in the constant joyous eating marathon a person would be crazy not to indulge in while in the eating capital of the world….. well, it’d be hard for a person to do much better than that.

EDIT #3: The very last picture I’m posting this crazy-early morning is one, actually, I’d come across and posted somewhere here, already, quite awhile back. I just LOVED it. As I’d set about on a search to see if I could obtain a DVD hard copy of the video about Dr. Sarmast’s Music School that touches me the more I think about it, I discovered the neat-sounding organization that had selected this particular picture to adorn its website and to celebrate the joy of music that some of us are so graced to be able to feel.

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« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 06:28:20 AM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #45 on: February 16, 2013, 12:36:23 PM »

More on Dr. Sarmast’s Music School, the Afghan Youth Orchestra, the Afghan National Institute of Music and the perpetual choice between hope and despair.

NOTE: If somehow you are able to resist the kids shown playing in the following two super short videos, there probably will be no reason for you to read further.

Could any two little girls be cuter than these, Sapna and Aziza?

Then there’s the boy, Waheed, now a tenth grader, inexpressibly dear in the documentary, who’s shown here playing a pretty mean piano.

If you watched Dr. Sarmast’s Music School at the Al Jazeera link noted in the previous post, or, better yet, partook of the much expanded and even more engaging version* now available at i-Tunes, and fell in love, as I did, with the sweet and almost haunting tenderness of these beautiful hopeful kids, the caption accompanying the picture at this link can’t help but make your heart ache.

Wanting to close, though, on a more upbeat note, I offer you this clip of the kids experiencing some of the wonders of New York. I thought it was pretty dear.

*I really don’t know how anyone could watch this, especially the expanded version, and not be filled with the greatest of caring for Dr. Sarmast and his deeply loving, sacrificing, transplanted family in Australia, for the kind of geeky, goofy but so wonderfully affectionate American violin instructor-now-conductor of their youth orchestra, William Harvey, and above all for the kids, themselves, who are and who, by all rights, should be entitled to all the joy and opportunity that everybody quite naturally wants for their own kids.

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« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 12:40:14 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #46 on: February 22, 2013, 10:22:35 AM »

I’d never heard of Sister Rosetta Tharpe when I came across mention that a PBS American Masters program was going to feature her story this weekend.  The only thing that came to mind, predictably, when I saw her name was the Rosetta Stone.  Out of curiosity, I went to Google Images just to see what she looked like and was immediately captivated by her really animated face and infectious smile*.

So, then I decided I’d check out the trailer at PBS.

Looks fun.  
Am imagining/hoping that the show will be made available at the PBS American Masters website after this weekend for free online viewing.

EDIT: Check out and see if it won’t make you at least feel a smile inside if not actually grow one on you. I first learned about it here.

And then there was this one, which is pretty sweet, too.  

EDIT #2: And speaking of infectious smiles*, I loved these kids.
I loved their "kidness." I loved their obvious love of music.  And I especially loved their joy.  Resist them if you can.

EDIT #3: You’ll see from the expression on the face of this little natural-born ham of an entertainer the two times he beseeches, “PLEASE Love Me Do,” that he really really wants the object of his affections to Love Him Do.  Either that, or….. he’s shaking in-his-booties-terrified that she actually might!

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« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 07:04:18 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #47 on: March 04, 2013, 07:17:07 AM »

I actually feel genuinely lucky each time I serendipitously come across one of these music stories.  With a kind of wistfulness, I keep thinking I’ve tapped them all out, that I’ve already seen all the really good ones.  So, it becomes especially gratifying when I happen upon yet another one.  

I particularly loved the scenes when the kids riffed off one another.  It seemed like each one was responding to the other’s challenge with a musical
“Oh yeah?  So, you think you’re such hot stuff?!? Check this out, fool, and then go cryin' home to your mama!!”

Something Within Me

“St. Augustine's is a Catholic school in one of the poorest sections of the embattled South Bronx. In 1985, enrollment was so low that the school was about to close. Instead Father Robert Jeffers, the school's pastor, approached music teacher Tom Pilecki and together they decided to commit the school to a new curriculum - a curriculum in which the arts, and especially music, would be treated with the importance of any academic subject…”


EDIT: They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? - South Glens Falls High School- Style.  
Pretty amazing story here.  Got a kick out of the girl’s face in the super short embedded video as she told how she’d “… never been this happy in my life.”
See, also:

EDIT #2: Sadly, when indulging in the joy of dancing didn't prove quite so lucrative.

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« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 10:43:15 AM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #48 on: March 11, 2013, 09:04:26 AM »


“Live Art is a groundbreaking 20-week inclusive performing arts educational experience for children with and without developmental disabilities and hearing impairment, which culminated with these students performing on stage alongside some amazing professional musicians.”

This video goes with that one (the one, above).  It has a couple of really memorable lines in addition to the totally lovely laughter.
I was vacillating between being completely terrified and completely elated.
This is just going to get better and better.  It may get so better that we’re all going to explode by the end of the Spring."

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« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 08:29:02 AM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #49 on: April 06, 2013, 07:53:14 PM »

The movie, Quartet.
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