Category: Music

On musical apartheid -- John L. Bell

07/25/06 | by Steve [mail] | Categories: Religion, Music

The July 25 issue of The Christian Century includes an interview with John Bell of the Iona Community and the Wild Goose Resource Group. Bell is not only eminently singable, he's also eminently quotable. This statement (p. 21) speaks to me:

If the church in the Northern hemisphere does not in the next ten years use songs that come from Asia, South America and Africa, it'll be deemed racist. It will be seen as a case of musical apartheid. Most Christians in the world are black and poor. They're not white and affluent. If that's the body of Christ of which we are a member, then we have to share the joy and the pain of fellow members.

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Staines Lyrics

03/04/06 | by hirby [mail] | Categories: Music

Here are a couple of examples of Bill Staines lyrics that strike me as especially poetic.

From "Secret Garden":

Grasping at love is like holding a fistful of sand

The harder you squeeze, the less that you have in your hand

And the refrain from "Crossing the Water"

We are crossing the water our whole lives through
Making a passage that is straight and true

Every heart is a vessel, every dream is a light

Shining in the darkness of the blackest night

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Bill Staines Concert at Bubolz

03/04/06 | by hirby [mail] | Categories: Music

Jody called our attention to the Bill Staines concert last night, sponsored by the Green Apple Folk Music Society. We've listened enthusiastically to Bill's songs on "Simply Folk" for years ("Roseville Fair" has been a particular favorite), and then we heard him in concert last August at the Shawano Folk Music festival. Since then, we've put a bunch of his songs on our iPod and can't stop listening to them and singing along. So we knew we had to go!

As a venue, the nature center at Bubolz is great for audiences but less so for performers. Someone told us that Bill gives a concert there annually, so it can't have been a surprise to him that he'd have no green room or anything comparable. So he sat at a table in one room offering CDs and a few casettes for about half an hour before the concert. The 15-20 minute opening act gave him a chance to catch his breath, and then he started singing. During intermission he was back to the table, and following the concert as well.

There's a gracious, gentle spirit about the man, and he surely loves what he does. The audience of about 100 people responded warmly to his songs, singing along quietly until prompted -- and then enthusiastically! We could feel in the audience (and felt ourselves) a warm affection for the man and his music, and for the sentiments and values represented in them.

Seems he mostly drives himself to his concerts -- no road crew, no driver, no tour bus. Just a Jeep Cherokee with a back full of CDs. At 70,000 miles a year for more than 20 years, he has accumulated more than a million miles behind the wheel.

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Rudy -- The Be Good Tanyas

12/23/05 | by Steve [mail] | Categories: Music

"Rudy"

The Be Good Tanyas: A Winter's Night: A Nettwerk Christmas Album (November, 2003)

I just can't get this song (by Danny Dolinger) and these singers out of my head. First heard it on the NPR All Songs Considered podcast of December 14, a compilation of holiday songs. The soft, plaintive, gritty vocalizing, the open harmonies, and the blockbuster lyrics just won't let me go. See what I mean:

"Now Christmas has little meaning at all to people of greed and incredible waste

Who seek the deeper meaning in the shopping mall in a Yuletide spirit of impatience and haste..."

Now listen (Real format).

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