Modernism Monday: “Echo,” Helen Jane Long



The author of a book I read years ago described jet lag as a soul, on a tether to the physical body, making its way back home after the body has traveled too far, too fast.  That may or may not explain why I’ve felt slightly catatonic all day today, and why this post is so late.  Another explanation is a deep sense of contented stability brought about from returning to a good life that I have worked hard to create.  Either/or.

Good night.


Sacred Sunday: Steve Reich, “Tehillim (Parts I and II)”


Tehillim, pronounced “the-hill-leem,” are psalms.  Reich wrote these pieces in 1981.  The words of part one are taken from Psalm 19:1-4: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheath his handiwork.  Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheath knowledge.”  The second part, which begins at 11:31, is Psalm 34:13-15, whose words are: “Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.  Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.  The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.”

These pieces just make me so very happy.  If you’d like to know more about this music, this is a really interesting interview with Reich about the Tehillim in which he talks about what it was that caused him to compose these pieces.  It’s wonderful.

Throwback Thursday: “A Lieta Vita,” Giovanni Gastoldi



Oh you think this is, “In dir est Freude?”  Oh aren’t you clever.  And yet – it isn’t!  Ha!  Fooled you!  Gosh, isn’t this blog fun.  This is a secular madrigal written in 16th century Italy by Giovanni Gastoldi to the tune of IDEF.  Lyrics and translation below.  Google Translate turned this into gibberish, but, as you can probably guess, since it’s a peppy secular song in Italian, it seems to be about love and happiness.  So that’s nice.


A lieta vita
amor c’in vita
Fa la la la la la fa la la la.
Chi gior brama
se di cor ama
donerá il core
a un tal signore.
Fa la la la la la fa la la la.
Hor lieta homai
scacciando i guai
Fa la la la la la fa la la la.
Quanto ci resta
viviamo in festa
e diam l’honore
a un tal signore.
Fa la la la la la fa la la la.
Chi a lui non crede
Privo è di fede.
Fa la la la la la fa la la la.
Onde haver merta
Contra se aperta
L’ira e’l furore
D’un tal Signore.
Fa la la la la la fa la la la.
Ne fuggir giova
Ch’ogli ognun trova:
Fa la la la la la fa la la la.
Veloci ha l’ali
E foco e strali.
Dunque s’adore
Un tal Signore.

Worldly Wednesday: “Hang ‘Em High,” Jackie Mittoo



Jackie Mittoo was a baller keyboardist from Jamaica.  This is my favorite song of his, and has been on heavy rotation today, seeing how I need continuous energy injections for this last leg and the last leg of this trip.

Sort of apropos of this song, I want to call your attention to an interesting story going on this week.  In a suburb of Denver, Colorado, this week, a group of high school students staged a walkout to protest changes to how American history is taught.  The local school board had voted to turn the dial down on certain portions of American history that, according to the school board, “encourage or condone civil disorder.”  I think these students are gutsy heroes.  Civil (emphasis on civil) disobedience is one of the highest forms of patriotism because it shows you are actively engaging with your country.  To read more, go see the good people at the Christian Science Monitor.


Termagant Tuesday: “The Autumn Leaves,” Edith Piaf



Okay, I’ll admit, I don’t really like this song.  Like, at all.  I think it’s maudlin and stupid.  (Also, who ever gets sunburned hands?  Seriously?  Anyway.)  But – Edith Piaf could sing an economics textbook and make it riveting.  And, since it’s the first day of autumn here in the northern hemisphere, I kind of had no choice.  No!  Really!  I didn’t!  What else was I going to post?  “Autumn in New York?”  I’m not in New York.  “California Dreamin’?”  The singer is taking a walk in winter.  Really, my hands were tied.  Unless you know of alternatives?  Tell me you know of alternatives.

Modernism Monday: “Money Made,” AC/DC



This is your intrepid Yankette, coming to you from lovely Los Angeles.  I managed to get a wicked cold in Hawaii so I’m more or less running on fumes, caffeine, and Tylenol this week.  But with the help of my buddies AC/DC, I’ll get it done.

Sacred Sunday: “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” Etta James



One more week.  One more week on the road.  One more week of living out of a suitcase.  One more week of hotels and hotel food and hotel smells and hotel lamps that are inexplicably hard to figure out how to turn on and hotel bathtubs that are pointlessly shallow.  Gotta get the blood up.  Can’t start flagging now.

Salubrious Saturday: “Younger,” Seinabo Sey


This has been a revelatory week.
– I am good very good at my job.
– I enjoy my job.
– I can do big, important things through excelling in my job.
– I am at my best when I am and feel independent.

None of this is truly “holy cow” revelatory, but they are reminders of things that are important to me, and things that, recently, I have forgotten. I am grateful for the reminder.

Throwback Thursday: “La Folia: Rodrigo Martinez,” Anonymous



This piece was written two years before Columbus “sailed the ocean blue” to “discover” “new worlds.”  (“In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus ran into land that already existed filled with people who had been living there for eons” doesn’t make as easy or memorable a rhyme.)  Regardless, it’s neat to hear music that was playing around that time.