The erhu is a stringed instrument played in China, as Wikipedia explains:
The erhu (二胡; pinyin: èrhú, [êɻxǔ]) is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument, more specifically a spike fiddle, which may also be called a “southern fiddle”, and sometimes known in the Western world as the “Chinese violin” or a “Chinese two-stringed fiddle”. It is used as a solo instrument as well as in small ensembles and large orchestras. It is the most popular of the huqin family of traditional bowed string instruments used by various ethnic groups of China. A very versatile instrument, the erhu is used in both traditional and contemporary music arrangements, such as in pop, rock, jazz, etc. (Continue Reading…)
Yu Hong Mei is a leading erhu player. Here is her Facebook page and a profile at Pro Musicis:
YU Hongmei was selected for the Pro Musicis International Award in 2001, the very first erhuist to achieve this distinction. Currently she is a Professor at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and master solo performer of erhu music. She has been performing on the erhu since the age of eight and has earned international recognition for her mature artistry. She performed her New York solo debut recital in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall under the auspices of Pro Musicis. (Continue Reading…)
The music is quite beautiful. The piece below, strangely, reminds me of Aaron Copland.by
I don’t have too much to say about Damien Saez because I don’t speak French. I notice that when I watch a sporting event with the sound off I notice more and enjoy it in a different way. It’s the same with music, though the variable in this case is language, not volume. These are great videos, though I only have a general idea of what Saez is getting at. Whatever the specifics are, it clearly isn’t complimentary to capitalism.
Obviously there is a lot of social commentary in each of the videos. On a Pas la Thune (above) is particularly haunting, with the lyrics–whatever they are–playing over what in essence are home movies of a desperately poor but loving family. You don’t have to speak French to know what Saez is saying once you see the last few seconds. The sheer video making of J’accuse, below is impressive.
Here is AllMusic’s bio on Saez:
Damien Saez was a French singer/songwriter who first studied music — piano — at the Conservatoire National de Région de Dijon before signing to Island/Universal in 1999. Influenced by classic rock artists such as Led Zeppelin, the Sex Pistols, and U2, as well as ’90s giants Jeff Buckley, Blur, and Radiohead, Saez — born in Savoy, France on August 1, 1977 — recorded and released his first album, Jours Étranges, late in 1999, and the collection sold well and earned him quite a good number of plaudits. 2001 saw the release of his first collection of poems, À Ton Nom, and in 2002, he released album number two, God Blesse — which was meant to be a companion to the online experimental instrumental album Katagena available as a free for download and contained the highly controversial single “Sexe.” His 2004 album, Debbie, was his last for Island/Universal. In April of 2008, he released his fourth album, Killing the Lamb. (Continue Reading…)
A previous post containing a clip of Shankar on The Dick Cavett Show — in which the fact that Shankar’s daughter is Norah Jones is discussed — may have gotten the most traffic this site has even gotten. Above, Shankar plays an unnamed song with daughter Anoushka and Tanmoy Bose on tabla in Santa Cruz in 2007, according to the notes.by
The two clips here — Op een Gopp above and A Chassid in Amsterdam below — are from the same concert. The show was part of this year’s Sziget Festival which is held annually on the island of Óbudai-sziget in Budapest, Hungary. I usually don’t do that, but the performance is so good and the electricity level so high that it was an easy choice. Here is a definition of klezmer:
Klezmer (Yiddish כליזמר or קלעזמער, pl כליזמר,כליזמרים, from Hebrew כלי זמר — instruments of music) is a musical tradition of the Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern Europe. Played by professional musicians called klezmorim, the genre originally consisted largely of dance tunes and instrumental display pieces for weddings and other celebrations. Continue Reading…
This site offers a more extensive explanation.
The Amersterdam Klezmer Band seems to add elements of hip-hop to klezmer. That sounds odd. But the last half of A Chassid in Amsterdam shows that it makes sense. On a side note, the singer makes me think of Rocky Balboa’s brother-in-law Paulie.
The band’s story:
The Amsterdam Klezmer Band story started in 1996. A few boys from Amsterdam with a Jewish background got inspired by the catchy sounds of Klezmer and Balkan music and started busking. Since that time the band has evolved into a seven-member band now representing the finest amongst the Klezmer and Balkan music scene in Europe. Continue Reading…
Something had been missing from this site. I finally figured out what it was: Falco. Here are the words of Der Kommissar in English. See if you can make sense of it.by
This is intended as a Ladysmith Black Mambazo post, not one on Paul Simon. Initially, I was going to use the beautiful rendition of The Lion Sleeps Tonight that the band did with The Mint Juleps, but decided to feature this terrific version of You Can Call Me Al from the landmark Graceland album that Simon and band did in a 1987 concert in Zimbabwe.by
For Columbus Day, here is a look at some folks who came to America and thrived. Black 47 has been playing around New York City for years. Here is a bit of its profile at Last.fm:
If anyone is left standing, it’ll be Black 47. The band is celebrating an astonishing 20 years of rocking the world with the Celtic-influenced genre it pioneered, not to mention championing various political and social issues. Known for its partying as much as its politics, Black 47 has released 13 albums on major and indie labels, toured the world and blown the genre of Celtic rock wide open for many a band to follow.
Other Black 47 songs:by