Elen sila lumenn omentielvo!

Friday, December 09, 2016

Your Daily Dose of Christmas!

Military music groups at Christmastime! What could be better?

Bad Joke Friday

This one may be too bad for this feature, but....

Who delivers presents to baby sharks at Christmas?

Santa Jaws!

No no, stay seated, I'll show myself out.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Something for Thursday (John Glenn edition)

Former astronaut and politician John Glenn has died. Here is the NASA film commemorating his orbital flight around the Earth (previously featured here).

Glenn was 95. Wouldn't it be nice if we could get back to the astronauts being our heroes, and less so our business people?

Your Daily Dose of Christmas!

How about a visit to the wonderful world of K-Pop!!!

(What's K-Pop, you ask? Quoting from Wikipedia:

K-pop (an abbreviation of Korean pop; Hangul: 케이팝) is a musical genre originating in South Korea that is characterized by a wide variety of audiovisual elements. Although it comprises all genres of "popular music" within South Korea, the term is more often used in a narrower sense to describe a modern form of South Korean pop music covering a range of styles including dance-pop, pop ballad, electropop, R&B and hip-hop music. The genre emerged with one of the earliest K-pop groups, Seo Taiji and Boys, forming in 1992. Their experimentation with different styles of music "reshaped Korea's music scene". As a result, the integration of foreign musical elements has now become common practice in the K-pop industry.

K-pop entered the Japanese market at the turn of the 21st century and rapidly grew into a subculture among teenagers and young adults of East and Southeast Asia. With the advent of online social networking services, the current global spread of K-pop and Korean entertainment known as the Korean Wave is seen in Latin America, India, North Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere in the Western world.

So there we go!)

I pretty much chose these at random. Do a YouTube search of "Kpop Christmas", and you turn up a lot of stuff, and that makes sense -- this is an enormous genre, and yet I'd bet that most Americans have no idea about it!

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Your Daily Dose of Christmas (and Tone Poem Tuesday!)

It's pretty clear that in this series I've stretched the definition of "Tone Poem" to "Any orchestral work that isn't actually a symphony", and hey, I can do that because it's my blog. So here's an orchestral suite of extracts from Rimsky-Korsakov's opera Christmas Eve. This music has nothing at all to do with any traditional Christmas music that we've all come to know, but hearing something new is always good, right? Rimsky-Korsakov's operas are almost completely unknown in the West today, which is a shame. They all deal -- like Christmas Eve -- with Russian folk stories and legends, which tend to be likewise less than well-known in our land.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Your Daily Dose of Christmas!

I saw this song mentioned yesterday on a list of "Christmas songs that aren't actually about Christmas". The notion regarding "We Need a Little Christmas" is that the song, from the Broadway show Mame, actually takes place at a time when it's nowhere near Christmastime, and the song is kind of a desperate grasping-at-straws search for superficial happiness by a heroine who is down in the dumps for whatever reason. (Aside from this song, I'm completely unfamiliar with the show.) I suppose I get the point of the article, but it really does always strike me as unfortunate that so many people are so militant about relegating the good cheer of Christmas -- or what should be the good cheer of Christmas -- to the confines of one specific time period on the calendar, with some people being very rigid about how the good cheer is parceled out (starting on the day after Thanksgiving and coming down on December 26).

Since we always seem so intent on packing Christmas and all its joy into as tight and concise a package as possible, this song seems to be pretty indicative of our approach.

(Side note: It's a shame that my main impression of Angela Lansbury is from Murder She Wrote, which wasn't awful but...well, looking back, I think she got to phone it in a lot on that show.)

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Your Daily Dose of Christmas

I'd never heard this sad and melancholy song before today, when someone mentioned it in a Facebook thread. The term "Hard candy Christmas" refers to a Christmas in which money is so tight that all the stockings can be filled with is cheap hard candy. There is always a sadness to this season, isn't there? We should always try to remember that.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Your Daily Dose of Christmas

You don't really hear "Good King Wenceslas" a whole lot, do you? It's one of those Christmas songs that you have to look for if you want to hear it. It's an interesting song, full of details that I suppose aren't nearly as familiar now as they once were. Modern audiences likely have little idea what the Feast of Stephen is (admission: I had to look it up myself), and I likewise didn't know until I looked it up that Wenceslas was a real historical figure in Czech history. Wenceslas is clearly a Latin-sounding name, but what I didn't know is that it's a Latinized version of the Czech name Vaclav. The things you learn!

Anyhow, I've always had a bit of fondness for "Good King Wenceslas", with its archaic-sounding lyrics and its melody that traces all the way back to the 13th century. It's one of those carols that is part of the very, very long Christmas tradition.

Here are the Irish Rovers with "Good King Wenceslas".

Friday, December 02, 2016

Bad Joke Friday

I might have used this already...I forgot I had saved it. But it's still funny.

Your Daily Dose of Christmas!

Just about every musical artist or act that sticks around for any length of time has some sort of Christmas recording out there somewhere, even if it's a performance or two from a variety show or something. Every year for this feature I try to think up some now-obscure acts that aren't well remembered at all beyond their likely singular hit and then I see if they did any Christmas stuff. This usually turns up an interesting little gem or two, like this: the Starland Vocal Band, performing "The First Noel".

Funny thing: the person who posted this to YouTube apologizes for the little "nik" sound that is heard a bit at the beginning of the song. He doesn't seem to know what that sound is...but those of us who grew up with vinyl records know, don't we!

And if you find yourself wondering, "Who the hell is the 'Starland Vocal Band', anyway?!" Well, here you go.