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I'm sitting here singing "All God's critters got a place in the choir" and suddenly I can't because I'm crying and I don't know why. I don't know what this song ever did to me.

My only association with it is that it was a favorite song of my kids and every institution they were connected with, despite their rather militant atheism. So am I having a bout of nostalgia? Could be, though this is the only symptom.

Sure is an optimistic little song, though. And also cute.
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These Ukrainian ladies singing a song together.

I suspect the (brand-new)headkerchiefs are donned for the purpose of the recording and the one in the middle with a universally-recognizable sprigged blouse and trousers is wearing the most contemporarily authentic clothing. But look at how they sit together, the way they look to each other as they sing. It's golden.

Also, these Bielorussian ladies.

I love both these kinds of polyphony, and I wish I had some old friends I could sing in harmony with.
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Last night and the night before I had almost a normal amount of sleep. I read somewhere that an important part of falling asleep is the body temperature dropping, and I had a moment of clarity. Post-surgical insomnia is quite possibly probably maybe at least partly a bit due to the body's temperature being a bit elevated for healing purposes! So I have added "sleep under only a single sheet" to my insomnia-fighting weapons. I can't swear that it is working, as the difference is really only about an hour more of sleep-- so like 5-6 hours at night instead of 4-5. But it's huge! I've gone from needing to lie down and doze a half hour out of every two hours to maybe sleeping ten to twenty minutes once or twice in a day. Normal range! (My normal normal is like seven hours of sleep)

I've also begun to be somewhat prouctive on the writing font. I forget whether I revealed here that I had recently figured out how to resolve one of the final confrontations in the not-Poland story. It does require a small but pervasive amount of revision in the earlier parts of the book so as to support and kind of foreshadow the events, but I needed to do some revision anyway. To that end I'm taking notes and also advancing the narrative. I need the notes. I have a cast of thousands to not make stupid errors about and I also have decided to change the fates of some soldiers, so that means I have to know where they met their current fates.  I'm also updating the appendices.

Yes, well. Appendices in a work of fiction. Well.

The thing is that the kind of person who likes to read the kind of book that The Drummer Boy is, also like to know how to pronounce the names, and they like to have a handle on the grography--maps and all that. So I thought I'd give them those things in appendices, so they don't have to read that matter unless they want to but they definitely can if they want to. Also, the kind of people who read this kind of book are definitely the kind of person  who will notice that there are a lot of name forms that look inconsistent, and they might be unhappy if I didn't give them a nice context in which to understand what I'm doing with that (the short answer is that Marezhkia is a polyglot country and the people use the forms they like--thus there is a Giurgu and a Yuri and a Yiri, and a Yanek and an Ivek, and so on and so on: and this fact is important to the actual plot, thank you).

I finally found the kind of real-Polish (that is to say, Polish in this world, not not-Polish which isn't Polish at all but I find it a convenient handle) folk music I could not find before. What I had found before was chorales that sounded like Midwestern a capella choirs singing church music, which I am going to just say I respect in the abstract but I would rather not listen to. I was sure that Poles had some music I would like, and given their position on the continent I had an idea what it would sound like.  But then I found a very large corpus of Polish groups who sing English sea shanties, which is charming, and I listened to that with some burbling enthusiasm. Then yesterday--on a whim I threw in Polish folkmusic to the search bar at youtube and found...Lipka Zielona (that's right, it even has a linden tree in it! and birds who are not birds). This is right up my alley-- that's one of the kinds of sounds I like the most, and when I translated the lyrics (using g. translate, my limited Czech vocabulary, and a common-sense feel for how song lyrics go) they were pleasing. Also I like contemplating the resonances the different aspects of the song and performance have with other European folk music. The instrumental elements I tend to call Hungarian though the Hungarians have no monoploy on them, and the vocal style which sounds a little more Russian to me though as soon as I say that I start arguing with myself about it, like that. That's fun.

There's another video of the same song on youtube which has an unbearable costume skit of peasantry whatever nationalist whatwhat, but whatever. If this song has nationalist implications I don't know about, well, I guess if you know it, tell me, and break my heart.

I started this to write about fooooooood. I can't get enough. I thought maybe I was going to get relief from endlessss huger today but it came back. I can't appease it. I thoguht at one point it was because I wasn't eating enough but now I'm eating more: three eggs cooked with potatoies, onion, salami and chard for breakfast, a chicken salad sandwich and a beet and a tomato for lunch, a goddamned bowl of sunflower seeds for a snack, and I'm sure other things, already today. Maybe I'm missing some nutrient and my body's protesting this?
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The Daily Bleed by Auntie Dave has an email service my father connected me to a million years ago. Every day it sends a list of birthdays, death days, other events, and cool quotations. I don't usually get around to reading it but today the subject line was "Citizen Kafka" and that was intriguing because I had never heard of kafka referred to that way and I was unaware of anything special about Kafka having to do with Marc 14. Citizen Kafka is not Franz Kafka though: he turns out to be Richard Shulberg, mong other things one of the geniuses behind The Secret Museum of the Air, a radio show that ran for a couple of years at the milennium. "Historic Landmarks of the first half-century of recorded music." The link leads to an archive page were you can bring up recordings of individual shows. I've just listened to the Puerto Rican show and now I'm listening to the Rebetika one. Of course.

Anyway, it's great stuff.
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I told myself that I would return to not-Poland in March, and I have, armed with the realization that there are several stories in there and I need tell only one or two of them in any particular volume.

Also: this morning I pitched an idea to a website for a "personal essay," which I think is a pretty likely subject. I am going to try to do more of those.

Truffle update: she had her 2nd followup visit Monday and the vet said her sutures look very good, and she could go back to eating normal food. But even though her appetite has returned in full glory, Truffle is amazingly picky just now, and will not eat any form of commercial dog food: for this reason, Dr. Hoban said "Go to the drive through and get her a plain hamburger with nothing on it but the bun." And so I did. And then I stopped at the grocery store for ground beef and potatoes, which she also recommended, and while I was there I got her fried chicken thighs (she has lost a lot of weight over the last year and a couple-few pounds the last week or two, and I think her refusal to eat anything but boiled chicken breast has given her a diet that is too lean, so that's why). Of course I fed those to her in little pieces to avoid bones and globs of fat. When we got home she explained to me that she was still quite hungry and no, boiled chicken breast was no longer very interesting, couldn't she have more more more of the rich stuff? With some trepidation I cooked her some of the beef and potatoes and she inhaled it and went to sleep, making the air around us quite fragrant.

Needless to say, I'm not indulging her to that degree every day. Particulary since I spent a half hour yeasterday cleaning up the evidence that it was too much. She got tuna and potato for last night's dinner and this morning's breakfast largely because yesterday she found my stash of cooked beef and potato when I was cleaning the refrigerator so there was nothing ready (the rest of the beef was frozen because I thought I had made enough to last for a bit). I would have let her have no supper because she had eaten so much but her argument that she was verrrrry hungry and neeeeded mooore fooood was quite compelling. This morning she appears to have decided that tuna is not delicious enough, or that she is not hungry enough.

Of course it is in my mind that when an animal is ready to die they generally stop eating but this is clearly not that. She'll still come running for a liver treat and she represents quite effectively that she is hungry: she's just picky.  She's always had her opinions about food, this is just more defined.

Lest you think I do nothing but dog stuff, I'm also working on the garden. I have hired a friend (Zack's ex actually) to help me with the stuff that requires more leg stability than I currently have (because we all know how well "I'll do that after I recover from surgery" works out), like pruning and so forth, and while she's here, I weed and plant and so on. I planted kale and radishes last week, and this week I planted some irises that somebody was giving away a while ago. I don't know what kind they are but I have rarely met an iris I didn't like. When I asked the person what kind of iris they were she said "They're real!" and also that they were blue and brown (by which I think she means maroon, but we'll see). I asked her if the petals looked like they had caterpillars on them and she didn't know what I was talking about. The leaves are kind of short and stocky for irises, and the corms are big and stout. So altogether it's a mystery.

Phenological observations: the Satsuma plum tree is in full bloom and the top half of it has leaves burst out but not completely unfurled. The Italian prune has buds only, but it is yet an infant.

A few days ago I made a cake of lemons, walnut flour and poppy seeds. I may not do the poppy seed part again: I have so much trouble getting them out of my teeth. I cut the cake into witsy-bitsy pieces, which is enjoyable, but now I am finding that my favorite way to eat them is with heavy cream poured on them. Not frosting: not sweetened whipped cream: just plain, unsweetened heavy cream.

Last night's musical discovery is "Lemonade Joe" (Limonadovy Joe), a Czech movie from 1964 which is an affectionate parody of the American Western. Cinematically it is interesting in the way it tints the film to match the content of the scene (mostly yellow--for sunshine, I think--and red for when the barmaid sings, and blue for when the bad guys gather) and the way that it uses deep focus and active cameras at the same time to set up Breughel-esque busy crowd scenes in the saloon and on the street. But musically! I'm actually shocked I have never run into that soundtrack before. Whoever wrote the music had a much more than passing familiarity with the standards of American popular and folk music, and also really, really loved every note of it. There would be just enough of a familiar tune to get your expectations in gear, and the next notes and chords would be totally unexpected and completely, perfectly right.  The exceptions would be the songs sung by the missionary girl: they sound sort of, well, Czech, to me. To add to the hilarity, the title character sings in word-salad English.

Oh, I should add: I owe this discovery to Kip Williams, who tweeted a mention of it in context of discovering that the movie has its own TV Tropes page. In the interest of public service, I am not linking to that: if you have a block of time you can sacrifice to TV Tropes, you can search it yourself.

Alas, the streaming version I was able to find has subtitles in Greek. I believe you can find subtitles in Russian and German also, and Kip has it in English. He says the dialog is priceless, and I believe I will soon discover that for myself. But I can attest to the fact that the movie makes quite as much sense as it needs to if you don't understand the dialog (I got "please," "thank you," "one,two, three," and a few other words. Yay for studying Czech inconsistently off and on for five years!)
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I'm listening to this recording of a late concert by the New Lost City Ramblers. There's a little raucous song called "Brown Skin Gal" and the commentary goes sort of lkike this: "You tell them about this song, Mike, because I don't understand it." And Mike Seeger says he doesn't know anythiung about it either except he got it off a man in California. And there's some banter about how old the song is or isn't, and whether it's a commercial recording. Mike says he believes it was recorded around 1950, and he says he believes the man he got the song from paid quite a bit for it. Which means he got the song from a record collector.

Mike Seeger and John Cohen both came to our house in the mid-late 50s to trade records with my father. Mike Seeger';s dead, my father's dead, and as far as I know the other record collectors in that circuit are all dead, so I'll never know whether "the man in California" that Mike Seeger got the song from was my father. It could have been Harry Smith, for that matter. He's dead too. Or it could have been this other fellow, a dealer mainly in discographies, who would show up at our house with his suitcase full of obscure treasures he was certain that everyone wanted to steal from him, yes he was bedbug-level crazy, but he also knew all the personnel and every date for a vast library of 78 rpm records he kept in his head. I can't remember his actual name, but my mother called him Joe Btfsplk after the "Lil Abner" character who brought his own private raincloud with him everywhere he went, because he always had stories of losing his precious papers in his travels. I can't swear to it, but though I know he had a car at least sometimes I have the impression he rode the blinds sometimes too.

By the way, as far as I can tell the vocals "Brown Skin Gal" consist mainly of appreciative whoops. Lately when I listen to old songs I'm braced for some terrible, terrible stuff in the words, so it's a relief whenever a song doesn't have a bomb in it. Especially a song that refers to race in the name!

oh, Happy New Year, too. the neighbors are setting off fireworks, naturally. They did it at ten o'clock too. Warm up or homage to a midwestern hometown? I'll never know.
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There's this shanty I have heard a few times. It has Mexico in it, and it's not "Away Santa Anna," or "The Plains of Mexico," or "Round the Bay of Mexico." It's beautiful. It's slow, kind of like those, or "Bound for the Rio Grande." (which apparently refers to Rio Grande del Sur in Brazil, not Rio Grande del Norte in Mexico -- which I thought was actually called Rio Bravo in Mexico anyway)

I can't find it. It's so frustrating! I know I heard it on Youtube, but no combination of search terms brings it up there or on google.

What I remember of the chorus is:

"It's hard on the [something], she moves so slow
Hard on the something, down to [in?] Mexico"

Meanwhile, all this searching has turned up some impossibly macho shanty singing outfits, and also, apparently, Polish people love the Anglophone shanty musical tradition and sing lots of them in different contexts, sometimes translated into Polish and sometimes not.

edit: also there is a person who has uploaded every tiny little obscure clip from every movie they can find where someone sings a bit of shanty.
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1. Tonight's favorite: Taraf de Haïdouks, Romani-Romanian band. I shouldn't have to tell you not to read the comments, but of course I did, and now I know thatr there are people who are unable to parse "Romani-Romanian" in four languages, and also that for some people the important thing about this music is that Romanians should actgually be called Vlachs (not actually true unless you are a loony, but why else would you be talking about this in youtube comments?).

2. Also, now I want to write a story in this setting, which is an urban neighborhood made of facades only, for police training exercises.

3. I just saw some people who said that a lifetime in the abolition movement means nothing because Susan B. Anthony said something stupid to Frederick Douglass once. This actually happened weeks ago, but I just saw it.

4. Also I saw somebody lie about what I said in the comments of one of James Nicoll's posts, but I'm not going to go say anything more because I don't want to argue with this person, who is so over the top in their second- and third- hand accusations that I don't put anything past them.  Then I saw in their comments that this person has at least one friend who thinks they are consistently bullshit-free.

5. I wonder how many stories I have to sell before it stops being an event of amazement and wonder that I have to tell all my friends about and starts being a routine part of my life?

6. Truffle likes having another dog in the house so much I wonder...
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1. Now I know what a musette de cour is. It is ridiculously cute and you can find them playing Vivaldi on Youtube. Also this painting of a dandy playing one, all clothed in velvet and silks (both the man and the musette).

2. I've been wondering for a month and a half how come the Slovenian bagpipe band at the Strakonice festival sounded more Hungarian than the Hungarians (which is a good thing when it comes to music but not politics), while the Slovenian folk music I find online is boring oompah music (as opposed to exciting oompah music, which is entirely possible and probably exists in the Slovenian folk corpus somewhere). I was so sure the sign at Strakonice said "Slovenian." I was damn sure it said "Slovensko," anyhow ... I'm sure a moment's thought will tell yhou where I'm going with this, "Slovensko" is in fact Slovakia, which really does trend Hungarian to the ear (musically, and I am afraid politically too). Slovenia is Slovinsko. How could I ever, ever confuse the two? They are nothing alike!

3. Looking at Youtube videos of the Strakonice festival, after having been there myself, is thrilling in a way that I couldn't have predicted. I think I need to do a lot more traveling, just so I can have the thrill of recognition when I encounter the places I've been in media somewhere. Yesterday I saw the chateau of Troja in a tumblr post and I was so excited because even before I read the caption I knew it could be no other place.

I am in bagpipe mind because the story I am writing is about digging in California dirt to arrive at fairyland. There are no bagpipes in the story, not even one. So therefore, bagpipe mind.
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I'm listening to Lead Belly this afternoon. I've found some songs I hadn't heard before and some that I had forgotten about or never knew the words to. I decided I wanted to examine the lyrics to "Whoa Back Buck." I had to search more than ten sites before I found the lyrics to the recording I was listening to. All the other sites had some combination of the same other set of lyrics, which I suspect are not from a different Lead Belly recording though they were labeled "Lead Belly." I suspect they are from someplace else entirely because they scan differently. And not because some of the verses (which were sometimes cut ou and sometimes presented as the only lyrics, go figure) are heavily scatalogical and the one I've been listening to isn't--it's not unusual for the recording sessions to have dirtier lyrics than the performance recordings. But they don't scan the same, so I think they're from a more different source than that. I don't know how they originally got to be associated with Lead Belly aside from the fact that he recorded the song at least once, but I do know how these other sites presented them that way: because on the internet, some people don't feel that it is necessary to compare their sources.

The hilarious moments are the sites that include Lead Belly's recording and also the clearly different lyrics right on the same page. Do they ever listen to the files they embed, or read the lines they paste in their sites?

using the "underrepresented mujsic" tag for reasons though I do not believe Lead Belly counts as truly underrepresented.

edit: Forgot to mention that the site that had the words I was looking for was French.
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The Ebony Hillbillies playing "Cluck Old Hen" to a bunch of children in a park.

edit: which eventually leads me back to Henry Thomas, of course.
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Monday night Frank took me to see the Berg Orchestra do a concert around the streets of the Clementinum. It's kind of hilarious, listening to modernist music in a Baroque chapel. The music itself is actually very nice. The soundwalk in the first part of the concert didn't work for me because I could not keep up with our leader, so we went back to the Clementinum to wait it out along with a young English man who had twisted his ankle and was having a disagreement with his Czech girlfriend who wanted him to put away his phone and come listen to things on the soundwalk. Frank was sure that one of the pieces was a 1940s tone poem but the earliest piece was from the 1970s. I am not sure they were played in the order they are listed at the link. We foolishly didn't buy a program, so I can't tell you what they did, but guessing based on looking things up online, I think they intercut the "Shaker Loops" piece with the "Pendulum" piece and the premiere of "La Ballade" was separate. I think. But I don't know whether "La Ballade" was first or third. But listening to the music without knowing what it was wasn't too much of a detriment, it was an interesting experience all the same. There was a mixture of strings -- sometimes played with exotic techniques -- recordings of industrial sounds, and feedback screeches produced by swinging microphones over their speakers (as ear piercing as but ten times more musical than it sounds). The soundwalk was to put the audience in mind of city sounds so that the music would be that much more evocative. I approve, though honestly, the musicians and the presenter were all so young and earnest that part of my response was just "you are so adorable!"

Earlier in the day I went off on my own as Frank and Hana had to go bash their heads against admistrative things. I went in a nearly-random direction. First I got off the Metro at Národní Třda and walked around taking a lot of pictures there. I also windowshopped at the mall there -- not an especially useful  t materials and wee notebooks). I also discovered that the season's colors for women seem to include the most unfortunate versions of neon-ish tangerine and the major texture appears to be coarse yarn knit and knotted into open fabric for shawls and sweaters that provide a screen but not cover or warmth. Well, in Prague at least, though the brands are all international.

Then I caught the number 9 streetcar and rode it all the way to the end of the line at Spořilov, which is a poorer neighborhood, with kind of decayed looking infrastructure and sad looking paneláks. I got frustrated trying to take pictures of a beetle on a flower: I simply could not figure out how to turn on the macro function which I used so easily last year. So I have like six fuzzy pictures of a red beetle on a purple vetchy flower.

Then I took the tram back a bit, hopped out, walked some blocks taking pictures, and hopped on again, and at some point found myself going in the wrong direction, so I had to take the metro from Hradčanská. By then I was pretty tired and achy. I stopped at the Anděl metro station and bought batteries and a rohlík s párkem (sausage in a roll), and then went home. All told I think I walked like three hours.

An aside about my camera batteries. Last year I was always in a panic to buy more batteries so this year I brought rechargeables and a charger . . . but it doesn't work. Somehow the current that comes out of the converter is not right? Hana had the same experience in the opposite direction when she tried to recharge batteries in Santa Cruz. So just a heads up about recharging AA batteries in Prague.

I had my first photography incident during this trip. I was taking pictures of an extremely cute casino with cats all over it and this man came up and started yelling at me. He was carrying a clipboard so I think he was the owner or manager. I know he was yelling at me about the camera because I heard the word "photography." I said "Nerozumím česky," (I don't understand Czech) and that just enraged him. He either said "It's not true that you don't understand Czech," or "I don't care that you don't understand Czech," or maybe just "don't bother me about how you don't understand Czech," and we both went on like this for a couple minutes till I switched to English and said "I don't speak Czech, I speak English, I'm from America," when he yelled at me one more time and stomped off into the casino.

So I don't know, Frank thinks the cute signage covering the front of the casino was probably a code violation. But code violations do not generally receive punishment in Prague.

Yesterday was rainy and I slept a lot. Tonight I am going with Hana to a ballet at the Estates Theater. Tomorrow we are going to a party thrown by the English-language magazine for students Hana and Frank contribute to.
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I quickly found a map which I ought to have taken a photo of for later reference. It was a big sign and had everything marked out on it except for a "You are here." So I had to study it and my surroundings for a while to figure out where I was on the map and where the other things were (the bus station I had come from and the castle, mainly). I guess most Czech towns have a Kosmonaut street if they did any expanding back in the Soviet days? But in Strakonice, there's a lot of "Dudacky" (bagpipe) naming action too. Of course, being Czechia, or probably just being Central Europe, there is a Bagpipe beer as well.

(why am I putting in these annoying links to the pictures instead of embedding them politely in the text? Because I don't have convenient access to my graphics editor so as to make the pictures a nice polite size and I don't want to bloat your browser)

a long dissertation that only touches on the smallest piece of the festival )
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In heading off for Strakonice for the last day of the bagpipe festival, I undertook a great adventure of the adventuring kind. The trip was under-planned and under-resourced (I should have printed out the program and maps of the town before I left California). Also, the bankomat gives out money in 1000 Kč bills, which is equivalent to about fifty dollars, and it's hard to buy things with them. I could have dressed warmer, but it wasn't super cold. But if you get inspired to go to the 2016 Strakonice bagpipe festival, remember that I told you that August in Southern Bohemia is almost autumnal. It sprinkles, so if you're afraid of the rain, prepare for it.

in which Ms. Magoo blunders towards Strakonice )
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This word: Меховое
I can find no meaning for it but "fur" but in context it can't mean that.

What else can it mean? The video translates to "Farewell to Fur" but it appears to be about folk traditions in a Russian village, mostly music, and there is no fur hunting and no fur processing in it anywhere. One section is called "fur-horn" and the fellow makes and plays a musical instrument from a hollowed stem and a cow horn.

On another front, I spent too many hours today exploring seapunk and now I am sad.
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Some of my friends here were also participants in the science fiction newsgroups in the past, or possibly still are. You might recall some political fights there, some involving the affable David Friedman demanding "free market" approaches to almost everything (he did allow as how some things were "natural monopolies" but he didn't allow that any of these ought to be considered utilities that ought to be provided at cost by governments). So for these friends, as well as for myself, this is interesting. David's son Patri is out there putting the loathesome theories of libertarianism into brutal practice, in Honduras, where judges who cannot be bought can be eliminated.


on another front, I was just trying to translate this Verbunk song, and I bumped into this cute kid performing it! I finally succeeded in translating it when I realized that two of the words were variants that the dictionary and online sources didn't know. One was sheer intuition: at first I thought the solider was proposing marriage to a knife sharpener, but I decided that sharp sword would make more sense, so I looked up the Czech for "saber" and I was right. Here's the words and my translation (which I contributed to google!)


Bude moja žena,

šabla nabrúšná,

/: ona ně vyseká,

dyž ně bude třeba :/

Neumru na zemi,

než umru na koni,

/: ej a dyž z koňa spadnu,

šabla mně zazvóní :/

She will be my wife, sharpened saber, /: she will not cut when it is not necessary :/ I will not die on the earth, nor die on a horse, /: Ej and when I fall from a horse, my saber rings for me :/

dyž = když , when

šabla =šavle, saber

This took some sleuthing and instinct! And it totally counts as research for not-Poland.

and finally, I totally failed to appreciate Meredith Monk this morning, but I did try.

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My autoharp arrived, broken.

Taking it to get fixed tomorrow. It looks very fixable.


And a further note: tonight I seem to have fallen in love with an Albanian wedding singer. I think he's exactly what that sounds like, but I like the music. At least the video with it doesn't feature double-headed eagles, men with rifles, and statues honoring ancient gangsters, like some other Albanian videos I've found. Yes, I'm aware the double-headed eagle is the national symbol, but all I can say about that is, if your national syumbol is a double-headed eagle, you should take a long look at that and think about whether you wish to continue on that path.

Anyway, this guy's name is Gramoz Tomorri, and he bends his voice very nicely. There's a thing that Albanian singers do -- singing way back in the throat, maybe? that makes their voices sound a little forced and rough, and it lends itself very nicely to modern touches and techno sort of influences.

Used to be in folk dance circles there were a lot of purists who would object to anything they thought wasn't traditional enough or which they thought wasn't characteristic enough of the region the dance was supposed to come from. Of course that was an untenable stance as most of the dances we know here were at least highly altered on their way over here and some were outright choreographed by the dance teachers. At least among the people I hang with it doesn't seem to be a very popular position anymore. We dance for fun, and while we are generally very excited to hear music and learn dancing that comes more recently from some hotbed of a particular dance style, it's not because we're worshipping at the altar of authenticity: it's because the people who come here with these songs and dances bring delicious stuff.

When Bela Bartok set out to study Hungarian folk music, he started out going deep, trying to get authenticity and trace the roots to their source. What he discovered over the years was that deep was not the only dimension to go: he ended up saying that to truly understand Hungarian music you would have to study music from Morocco all the way East.

The thing about this Albanian singer is, I was looking for a song we dance to, called "Valle Pogonishte." Last time I looked for it I found it, as well as an identical Greek song -- I mean identical, down to every little bent note and saxophone flourish, except the Greek one was in Greek and the Albanian one was in Albanian: and also I found a Greek fan stirring up shit in the comments on the Albanian song, claiming that the Greek song was the real one and the Albanian one was the copy, and I really don't know or care. My point, and I do have one, is that this time I found many Pogonishtes, including Gramoz Tomorri's "Vallja Pogonishte," but none of them is the one we dance to.

I did find a song called "Ali Pasha" which is the Turkish one that we dance to, but only after I listened to three or four mostly Albanian "Ali Pasha"s which were not what we dance to.

I wish my autoharp wasn't broken. I was looking forward to trying to play "Dedo mili zlatni" on it. It does mean my house has two broken autoharps in it at the moment, but the other one is more broken and is not worth fixing, especially since it has like seven chords.

When I took Truffle in for her pre-op stuff, I discovered I weighed maybe seven pounds less than I did a week and a half ago. She was so anxious before she went in that her teeth were chattering, which I've never seen before. But afterwards she was perfectly fine.
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One thing you can say about plants is they tend to be pretty optimistic. Stress them, and what do they do? Set seed.

It hasn't rained all season but a fraction of an inch back there in October, right? But the lemons are ripening on time and there's green stuff sticking up all over (where are they getting the water?) and my quince monster is covered in scarlet flowers. This is not, unfortunately, the eating kind of quince, but it makes the birds and the bees pretty happy.

I guess I'm an optimist too because yesterday I planted an Italian Prune tree, mainly for Zack because he likes them better than he does the Satsuma plums and you cannot buy them around here but by infinite cleverness and sweat. I also planted artichokes and oregano. Yes, I planted oregano again. I am having a lot of trouble finding the spot.

Yesterday I fetched my banjo back from upstairs at Union Grove and started trying to figure out a Macedonian dance song ("Dedo mili zlatni")on it. Why shouldn't I? Boundaries are antithetical to music. My banjo is very happy to be cleaned up and tended to. It holds a tuning very well now, too, which is a relief. I used to barely make it through a rendition of "Roving Gambler," which is not exactly a very long song. Tomorrow my new autoharp (excuse me, chromaharp) is supposed to arrive. I shelled out more money so I could have the 21-chord kind because it does make a difference in what songs you can squeeze on to it. I mean, "Wildwood Flower" is a very fine song, but there's more to life than that.

Spent a much longer time today than I should have daydreaming on the onlinbe fabric store sites. I have become such a consumer now that I have clothes.
ritaxis: (hat)
This is how cool I am.

When I get earworms, chances are they will be Tuvan throat songs or Albanian polyphonic epics.

That's how cool I am.

May 2017

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