Friday, July 31, 2009
Here is a neat sung version of the same piece, by a St. John's band called Tarahan:
And here is the tune I was looking for in the first place. Poss Slaney again, this time playing "I's the B'y." Somehow I get the feeling that it is very odd of me to not know this tune. . .but I didn't. Now I'm working on it.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
The best part about the river was the way the water rearranged itself around each snag. (Well, that and the fish, who didn't make it into the picture.)
The sun was too high and bright for some shots, such as landscapes, but it certainly did make nice, sharp shadows.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
That was what I was thinking as I was walking in the American River Parkway on Saturday; it was a little inaccurate, since I never saw the place before at all, let alone in the spring. Still, the place was terribly dry, as if just thinking the word "spark" might be too much for it. The dry margin of the riverbed, with a grove of eucalyptus trees growing out of a vast, alien plain of sunbaked rocks, was surreal. Impressive as the thirsty, forgotten borders of the river were, the river itself was a grand contrast. At the edge, where the current had slowed, tiny fish darted about in two or three inches of water.
Further out, the river was running with a good will. Raft after raft of boaters passed by swiftly, riding the current with little assistance from the oars. One group, which I didn't see, as I was behind the willows looking at the fish, was singing, "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," and they had plenty of breath for singing.
It was an interesting place to sit and watch for a bit. All of the bright rafts floating by made it look as though the American River was the latest and greatest place to be on a Saturday afternoon, but its history goes back much further than that. Part of the land across the river from me had been owned by John Sutter of gold rush fame--indeed, the discovery that touched off the gold rush happened on this same river. A sign in the park informed the passerby that bits of gold are still panned out of it at times. . .but until the weather cools, I think I myself would prefer to watch the fish.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
After the presentation the group was lead on a short walk around the nature center to see what we could see. A tiny child, with a fluff of fine blonde hair that made her look rather as though a hearty wind could blow her away like a milkweed seed, spotted the first bug--really a bug, I mean, something like this one, but after that, the pickings were rather slim. The naturalist in charge had thought ahead in case of such an emergency and knew where we were likely to find a few galls. Here are some on a black walnut leaf.Yes, they are a bit freakish, especially when you stop to consider that they are made from cells of the leaf itself. I'm not sure what sort of critter was responsible for these; it may have been a mite.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
A fish, if it is diadromous, spends its life running back and forth between
fresh water and salt water. Well, probably not running--even a diadromous
walking catfish probably couldn't run. . .I feel kind of like that
sometimes--migratory, I mean, not like a walking catfish. Going from one place
to another, but always knowing someday it will be time to pack up and leave
again. I do hate packing, and so would a walking catfish, diadromous (I still
can't spell that) or not, if it had any sense. . .
No doubt I could have added an extra sentence or two had I not had to take up time repeatedly to look up the spelling of diadromous, but there you have it. With cures like that, no wonder I let myself think I have trouble writing!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
MacDara Ó Conaola. . .well, for starters he should most decidedly go down in history for being the fellow who sings a terribly catchy lead on "Bímse Féin ag Iascaireacht"--make sure you hear it! Of course, it will probably make you want to stick around for a couple more. The mournful "Dun Aengus" is a bit too soft-rock for my taste, but that is by no means the sole tone of the songs offered; "The Love Token," is in English, with an unassuming fiddle complement, and "Caislean an t-Sleibhe" is your solid Irish piece. Unfortunately, MacDara only has the MySpace page, so what you hear there is all you get for today.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
And here's one more neat set, O'Carolan's "Planxty Drew," into the smashin' modern reel "Catharsis."
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Supposedly Emmanuel Hahn, who designed the picture on the back of the dime, based his depiction on three separate vessels. However, people tended to refer to the schooner as the Bluenose, after the Lunenburg, Nova Scotia vessel that had, by the time of the dime's first minting in 1937, won numerous titles in the International Fishermen's Race.
The Nova Scotia government has a good deal of material on the Bluenose on their website here, which is very interesting reading and includes a few 1920's pictures from the Fishermen's Race.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
So here's a year old (actually, I looked at the date--it's only 364 days old) picture from Cambria. It was late afternoon, and wonderfully foggy. I was standing on the cliff enjoying the sound and the smell of the ocean, and letting the old imagination out for a run about what might be out there in the fog. I didn't even notice the glimmer of the almost-hidden sun on the water until Chey pointed it out to me.
Monday, July 6, 2009
I was looking around to see if I could find any recordings of Gaelic music from eastern Canada, and I found this video. The singer/fiddler is Glenn Graham, and the video was taken at the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre in Judique, Nova Scotia.
One of my firmest beliefs (which you might gather from my inclination to post clips of mouth music) is that singing is an indispensable element of musicianship. I suppose I could label it neatly as "a good way to internalize music," but it's deeper than that--it's the most human way to approach music. Comparatively few people claim to be good singers, but a surprising amount of people do sing, to the radio, or to their favorite CDs while sighing all the while that they are not musical. One of the big disadvantages of the recording age (says I, from the top of my soapbox) is that a certain musical "sainthood," you might say, is bestowed on the people who manage to make it onto a recording, or onto the stage. They may have the fame, but it is a huge mistake to suppose that the purpose of music is fame or fortune (well, ha! I s'pose very few, even among the professionals have any delusions about fortune, but still. . .), or that it is an elite occupation. Music, if you sift back a few years, to the sea chanteys, the waulking songs, the spirituals of the South, or the ballads of the prairies, was very much the provenance of the common man. There is an undeniable delight in hearing a musician who is at the top of his game, and who can play or sing things that nobody else can play and sing, but appreciation of the same stems from the fact that music is a natural human expression. As such, it doesn't take years of training. It takes sitting down and singing.
P.S. I declare! Speaking of musicians, as I write this one of my neighbors is learning to play the trumpet. Still in the beginning stages; it sounds like he (?) is still working on training his lips to hold a note for more than a second or two. I for one, am quite delighted. . .those who endure the misery of learning an instrument which is rarely private (the pipes) can't help but love a little company!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
This is the outside of the chapel, facing the graveyard. The cracks in the mortar were full of flowers.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
He plays many different styles, but his Irish recordings are my runaway favorite. To that end, his best album is New Irish Harmonica; you can read more about it and hear a few samples by selecting it in the column on the left here.