Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Brazilian Choro and Manouche music

I just found this youtube channel that has Brazilian choro music on the violin - it's so happy - it cheers me up when mini eggs arent quite enough on these dark January days.

Brazilian party with the same guy - it's quite sedate compared with Brazilian parties in my imagination but the violin playing is just lovely.


This is also the perfect music to brighten winter days:

Guappecarto, as introduced to me by my friend Melissa. One day I will see these guys live.... somewhere in Europe.

Busking in France. I hope to do some busking myself this summer but I will certainly not be as good as these fantastic musicians.

I guess I should not get into the habit of these YouTube posts as who has time to go through watching a load of videos on a blog? No one.. but, as disclaimer, I will say now - I will only post videos I've watched many times and absolutely ADORE, so if you share my taste you should appreciate a few of them.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

St Quentin's Castle

St Quentin's stands on a hill just outside the small market town of Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan. We discovered the castle on a quiet and clear January weekend as the winter evening was drawing across the grassy courtyard.

  The remains are mainly from the 14th Century.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sidney H Sime

A failed miner from Manchester, Sidney H Sime was a late Victorian artist whose slightly macabre and fantastical art I am really drawn to. 

I am a big fan of the entire 'Golden Age' period, as anyone who has ever walked into my living room and remarked on the headless Jokanaan Beardsley print can attest. And there is something about monocrome in art that I have never been able to resist. 

I have always felt, if there is something worth drawing, within your imagination or without, to be able to share it successfully in only black & white is a marker of real artistic talent.

When I used to draw I would draw with black ink only, which in retrospect means I must have modestly considered myself to have real artistic talent (sadly untrue).

I wish I knew more about the following illustrations which I have collected shamelessly from the internet, this website has far better, different, images.

Grim Humour                                    High Trapeze

Hoard of Gibbelins                                   Incubus

 Orion Hunts the Unicorn                                Map

Pegana                                                    Skirt

Ton Ton Tarrup                                         Dreams, Idle Dreams

Hish, Lord of Silence, 1905
for The Idler magazine

Friday, January 13, 2012

My favourite fiddlers

Since I became interested in playing traditional Irish fiddle music I have found several fiddlers who really speak to me and who I have struggled to emulate with varying degrees of success.

Here is Cathal Hayden with Arty McGlynn blowing the mind of a microwave in someone's kitchen in the early 90s. Absolutely deadly and brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.

Martin Hayes - a County Clare fiddler who I aspire to be, right down to the hair. I have learned so many of his tunes by ear, I have him to thank for my new ability to learn tunes without the sheet music. "In its purest form, Irish traditional music speaks a universal language."

A young Ciaran Tourish - when I heard this video I spent many days learning these tunes - I just love how he pulls this off, I would be pretty nervous having to play in front of all those severe elderly Irish music aficionados wearing suits. This video never fails to cheer me up.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Jordi Savall & Istanbul: Dimitrie Cantemir: "The Book of Science of Music"

My mum has a thing about Gérard Depardieu so when I was little we watched a lot of Tout Les Matins du Monde and other such films.

Appreciate the beauty of poor Guillaume (Depardieu's late son), ignore his frankly embarrassing miming and listen to this music.

The soundtrack to Tout Les Matins du Monde made a huge impression on me when I was little, although I didn't research who it was by until later in life.

It turned out to be Jordi Savall, a Catalan composer & musician credited for being largely responsible for bringing the viola de gamba back to 'the stage'.

The viol is a six stringed Renaissance/Baroque instrument that is the precursor to the violin. It is played like the cello but has the sloped neck of modern violins and an entirely different sound due to the the gut strings.

This is Jordi Savall and the group he formed, Hespèrion XXI. This piece of music was written in 1490.

Anyhow the point of this post is that I have just discovered one particularly incredible Jordi Savall album from that I want to share. I can't describe how I feel about this music so I urge you to buy the mp3's off Amazon.

It's the kind of music that transports you to back to a time you were never even alive.

"Following up on the huge success of Orient-Occident and Jerusalem, prepare yourself to cross borders. This new release is mainly based on 'The Book of Science of Music,' published in 1710 by the Moldavian prince Dimitrie Cantemir, after many years spent in Istanbul. This unique manuscript enables us to discover rare jewels of Turkish traditional music. Jordi Savall already included some of the pieces from this collection in his album Orient-Occident, but he decided to explore it further in order to reveal the magic of the incredible city of Istanbul. This city portrait wouldn't have been complete without selections from the fascinating Armenian and Sephardic repertoire that was also familiar in Istanbul during this time. Once again, Maestro Savall sheds new light on a Golden Age of cultural dialogue, with the help of Hesperion XXI and outstanding Turkish and Armenian guest musicians."