Sunday morning music

Here’s something rather different, courtesy of Australian reader Snoggeramus.  It’s the famous “Largo al factotum” from Rossini’s opera “The Barber of Seville” . . . played on a rubber chicken! So help me, I’ll never be able to get my hair cut again with a straight face . . . Peter

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Sunday morning music

I’d never heard of Canadian rock group Big Wreck until I read this article in The Week a – well, a few weeks ago!  The author wrote: Contemporary pop music sounds impeccable, but less because musicianship has improved than because advances in digital recording technology have made it possible to eliminate imperfections and achieve inhuman standards of flawlessness in every vocal line, drum fill, and guitar solo. The result is pristine. But also antiseptic. Bloodless. Songwriting, meanwhile, has reverted to an updated version of the pre-rock Brill Building model, with committees of pros called in to collaborate on sugary confections packed full of hooks

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Sunday morning music

Newfoundland and Labrador, Canadia’s easternmost province on the Atlantic Ocean, has produced some outstanding folk and historical music groups.  We’ve met some of them in these pages before, such as Figgy Duff and Great Big Sea.  Here’s another one:  The Irish Descendants.  As their name suggests, they’re heavily into Celtic and Irish music, but being from the Atlantic coast, the sea is a primary theme in their songs. Let’s start with “Rocky Road to Dublin”.  For this and other songs, if you need the lyrics, most may be found at the songs’ YouTube pages, just below the videos. Now a slower, more meditative tune,

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Sunday morning music

I’m not a big fan of jazz music.  I’ll listen to a little, and tolerate a little more, but it soon palls on me, and I’ll go looking for something more tuneful and melodious. Nevertheless, I had to do a double-take when my wife sent me a link to jazz artist Gunhild Carling performing live, with bagpipes.  Bagpipes as a jazz instrument?  This I had to hear! She’s also noted for playing up to three trumpets simultaneously. For those who enjoy jazz more than I do, here’s a complete performance with her own band and the Harlem Hotshots. Hope you enjoyed it, jazz fans! Peter

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Sunday morning music

Here’s a group guaranteed to get your toes tappin’ and your fingers slappin’.  It’s a Belorussian medieval folk group, Stary Olsa.  They’ve been around for 20 years, and have established quite the following in Europe. Here’s a studio recording of one of their songs, “Vitaut” (which Google Translate doesn’t recognize, so I can’t tell you what it means, but the video theme suggests it’s a martial number). Where the group shines is in live performances, where they string together several songs or instrumental numbers into a medley.  Here are two such lengthy pieces. Last, but by no means least, the group

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Sunday morning music

Last week I put up half a dozen songs that were iconic, representative of their performers, in a way that makes the one forever identified with the other.  It’s a symbiotic relationship.  I invited readers to contribute their own suggestions for pieces like that, and several of you responded.  Rather than continue with my own selections today, I thought I’d pick half a dozen of your choices that I also like, and put them up instead. From 1973, here’s Strawbs, one of my favorite rock groups of all time, with their three-part masterpiece “Autumn“, one of my favorite progressive rock pieces of

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Sunday morning music

There are some songs, or musical works in general, that have come to define their composers and/or performers, rather than the other way around.  When we hear the music, we instantly think of the performer – it’s indelibly associated with them, and no amount of performances by other artists can break the mental link between “this song” and “that performer”.  They define each other, as it were. I thought that today, I’d pick half a dozen of those pieces that are fixed in my memory from the days of my distant youth.  I can’t hear them without thinking of their

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Sunday morning music

I’m going to try an experiment this morning, and I’d appreciate it if you, dear readers, would please let me know whether you like it.  I’ll decide whether to continue this in future posts based on your responses. I’ve long enjoyed foreign-language singers and songs, even if I don’t always understand their lyrics.  Having learned French at school and as a student with Alliance Française, I listened to French folk and popular singers in my younger years.  I still do so from time to time.  One of them was a young lady named Marie Laforêt.  Her heyday was in the 1960’s, contemporaneous

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