Mar 02 2013

You have to understand. I grew up in the 1950s and 60s. Activism was a part of my childhood, like Dora the Explorer instructs children today.

Radio and TV stations were independently owned and played whatever suited their style. And, what caught on and suited many AM styles were songs of social betterment. Rather than follow a marketing plan while singing kiddie songs to sell congruently marketed toys and brands, we children got behind spreading the word, the call to action. So, at camp we sang, “If I Had a Hammer” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” moving, pretty folk songs about making the world a better place. We raised our voices up as well as eight to ten years possibly can, hoping to convince people improvements needed to be made.

In the dawn of the 1950s, change began at a rapid pace.

While most people connect protests and activist language with the 1960s and 70s, such inspirations actually began in the 1950s, in many ways due to singer songwriter Woody Guthrie early on and then Pete Seeger. The magazine, “Sing Out!,” first begun in 1950, records its own history along with that of the folk song, activist movements. The magazine stills prides itself on “serving the common cause of humanity” and celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2000.

 

Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”

I remember a boy in my fourth grade class, named Tom Sawyer and yes, that was his real name. He was going to play his guitar on WWDC radio and sing along. What an incredibly big deal this was as we were encouraged by our teacher to listen when Tom was going to be on the radio live. He sang a song with a haunting beauty and powerful refrain, called, “Blowing in the Wind.”  The wind that was blowing affected all age groups, some individuals swaying with it and some offering resistance, but every person affected.

Priscilla Judd sings to protect our environment and its people.

I miss activist folk songs. Clever songwriters tipping us off to inequities that might otherwise go unnoticed. It doesn’t seem these songs are played on the radio much anymore. The music we hear today seems canned, repetitive and market driven. I guess that’s why finding Canadian singing activist Priscilla Judd on Twitter, then following up on her web site, was such a breath of fresh air. Thankfully, the Internet still pulses with musical activism. Music is the spoonful of sugar that promotes the medicine of social change.

Tomorrow: Canada’s Priscilla Judd, Singing Activist

Spoiler Alert! Canadian singer, Priscilla Judd is in a contest and would love some help to win!

 

Please VOTE at http://bit.ly/V4XtnU

The contest ends tomorrow, Sunday, March 4, 2013.


NaBloPoMo March 2013

March 2013
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Dec 20 2010

What a great e-mail video I received over the weekend. If you love animals and all of the love they give back, you also will love this spritely version of “Deck the Halls.” Imagine the work it took to get everyone to sing on cue. Here’s hoping this enhances your holidays.

Fa-La-La-La-LA  La-La-La-La!

Felted animals, made with wool roving and teased
into shape with a needle, are easy to make and
very appealing. If this interests you, hover your
mouse over the link below:

Little Felted Animals: Create 16 Irresistible Creatures with Simple Needle-Felting Techniques



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Nov 24 2010

 

December 2010

3rd- 7 pm
4th- 3 pm, 7 pm
5th- 1 pm, 5 pm
10th- 7 pm
11th- 1 pm, 5 pm
12th- 1 pm, 5 pm

 

Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center
Montgomery College, Rockville MD

 

For Tickets ($17-$22): call 240-567-5301
or click here
For More Information: call 301-762-1757



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Nov 02 2010

Lyrebirds are one of the unusual creatures found in Australia.

The lyrebird might as well be called the “Liar Bird” as it is accomplished in copying other bird calls and even sounds not found in nature like a buzz saw! As if its unusual tail feathers aren’t enough, the lyrebird gets plenty of attention by being an expert at imitation. The lyrebird can mimic the songs of other birds and successfully sound like a flock of birds by appearing to make a chatter of many bird calls all at once. In addition, the lyrebird can also create animal noises, the human voice, machinery, explosions and musical instruments. An array of lyrebird musings have been captured in the following video. To enjoy the exhibition, click play:

The range of this lyrebird is amazing. How amusing it would
be to be walking through all of this Australian vegetation
and hear these noises from the otherwise shy lyrebird.

If you have a little person in your life, they might enjoy the story of Silvertail, the lyrebird. If you think so and want to preview the book, just hover your mouse over the following link:  Silvertail, the story of a lyrebird



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Oct 08 2010

Luciano Pavarotti
(1935 – 2007) 

Remember when we were watching the video of Jill Burkee, the sculptress of marble? When Luciano Pavarotti was singing the Panic Angelicus? Well, when I went to YouTube to find Ms. Burkee’s video, I found this wonderful piece about Pavarotti where he takes us to his boyhood home and visits with his parents, singing with his father who was also a tenor. I just had to share it. If you have an interest, click play:

Pavarotti grew up in Modena, Italy where his father was a
baker and also a tenor, so that Pavarotti and his father
often sang together at church services.

Pavarotti was very famous because he could hit high “C” notes clearly, with force, and hold them for a long time. It is said that he was especially good at his High C’s when he was younger. Here is a video including his High Cs so you can listen to what everyone talks about, if you are not a fan already. To listen, click play:

Luciano Pavarotti sings
 La Figlia del Reggimento : “Amici Miei”

Pavarotti introduces Opera and
Jane Rosenberg’s Book to children

To preview this lovely book for children, hover your mouse over this link:

Sing Me a Story: The Metropolitan Opera’s Book of Opera Stories for Children



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Aug 20 2010

I have to begin the first post of my new blog and web site with a tribute to Jethro Tull, musicians of note from the 1970s when I was in college. With today’s “Auto Tune” music culture using synthesizers and electronic voice manipulation, Jethro Tull stands out as a legendary band of true musicians, actually singing with their own voices and making real music with real musical instruments.

When Songs from the Wood was released in 1977, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  The music was so inspirational to me; the wonders of natural settings was given a soulful tribute. As one reviewer says in the comments beneath the video below,

I was inroduced to Tull by me dad.

Everytime each song you are slapped in the face by the musicianship and dare I say it? the Englishness of it, when he is singing I can almost smell the wet grass of a summers day after a shower.

Genius!

How I love that image! He says he “can almost smell the wet grass of a summers day after a shower.” Yes! I can daydream on demand whenever I hear Songs from the Wood. If you are not a fan or familiar with the title cut, just click play on the video below, after you learn about Kitty’s choice in music.

 

Kitty prefers Jethro Tull and has every disk in her collection.

Lead Singer Ian Anderson with Jethro Tull performing Songs from the Wood in 1977.

If you like it as much as I do, then go the the group’s web site by clicking here and enjoy the rest of the albums.

To appreciate what the group Jethro Tull has accomplished by creating real music for five, yes FIVE, decades, this Nova special on Auto Tune voice enhancement will explain how most singers today, including Madonna, Celine Dion and Reba McIntyre are enhanced by Auto Tune.

Andy Hildebrand, an electrical engineer and the Inventor
of Auto Tune, gives a great demonstration on NOVA.

If you want to preview Songs of the Wood disk, just
hover your mouse over the link below:

Songs From the Wood



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