Salubrious Saturday: “Younger,” Seinabo Sey

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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.

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Modernism Monday: “Rainbow,” Robert Plant

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I’m as much of a Led Zeppelin fan as anyone, but I have always loved Robert Plant’s solo stuff.  His newest album, “Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar,” from which this song comes, is my favorite of his albums.  He’s such a pure musician, traveling everywhere for new ways to access the music that is always inside him.  He’s a lot like Paul Simon in that way, I think.  This track, in particular, is stunning.  For a super cool article with Plant, check out this piece on NPR.

Sacred Sunday: “Steal Away,” Mahalia Jackson and Nat King Cole

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Brains are weird things.  This song, for some reason, was going through my head last night as I lay in the dark dealing with both a migraine and food poisoning at the same time.  (How exciting!)  Then, after I finally fell asleep, this is why my fevered brain came up with as a dream.

I was in a bar/restaurant/liquor store and needed a strong drink to help me forget some recent heartache. I went up to the bar to order a single malt. The bartender was Elizabeth Warren. We got to talking and I discovered she owned the place. At the moment I complimented her on her excellent (and enormous) establishment, out of nowhere appeared Sam Waterston in a corduroy jacket and bow tie.  I recognized him as my traveling companion. Elizabeth offered us both a gift certificate to the restaurant plus a year of free drinks if we both agreed to seven years of indentured servitude. Even though it wasn’t clear what, exactly, that meant, Sam declined immediately, looked at me, shrugged, and walked off.  I, startled, said I needed to think about it, and left the bar/restaurant/liquor store to go to CVS, which was managed by, obviously, Shaquille O’Neal.

So, there you go.  Have some Mahalia Jackson and Nat King Cole to soothingly carry you through Sunday.

Salubrious Saturday: “Higher in the Sun,” Nora En Pure

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There’s a guy I sing with in my choir who is expecting his first child with his wife this October.  We had a baby shower for them today.  I remember their wedding shower a few years ago.  Continuity is a lovely thing, and it’s touching to be able to be a part of so many of one person’s milestones.

Modernism Monday: “Learn Me Right,” Birdy, Feat. Mumford & Sons

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When in the course of a human’s events it becomes necessary to assess the path one is on, and one finds that one is in a bit of limbo, it can be a bit disheartening.  A wise woman once wrote that, really, you should take heart during stages like this.  “What is happening is that your old self no longer fits with who are you are becoming. What seems to be a state of limbo, is, in actuality, a spiritual journey, and it can only be navigated by surrendering into the ‘not knowing.’ It’s about learning to be ok with vulnerability, letting go of control, and trusting your interior guide.”

Who has two thumbs and is really super bad at this?  Me!  Hooray!  But who has two thumbs and tremendous friends who know me well enough to keep me together?  Also me.  Suddenly, limbo doesn’t seem so bad.

WALK-UP WEEK! Throwback Thursday: “The Great Gate at Kiev,” Modest Mussorgsky

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You’ve been playing baseball since you were 20.  This is your last season before you retire; your knees and shoulder can’t take any more punishment.  Your team has finally made it into the World Series.  Tonight is the deciding game.  The bases are loaded.  You’re up.  You put on your helmet and walk to the plate.  This is your song.

Termagant Tuesday: “Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing),” Benny Goodman

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Oh it is so on right now.  Your plucky heroine is in full battle rattle* today (St. John’s knit sheath, 4″ snakeskin stilettos, graduated pearl necklace, eat it*).  I have a long-overdue throw-down with a local self-styled tough** and I’ve been waiting a mighty long time.  Yankette Smash!

*Yes, I know that’s a dated and lame phrase.

**Hey, Glass House, don’t you judge how I pump myself up.  At least it’s not Cheetos and Tang.

***I am fully aware this is one of those moments that Me In Twenty Years will look back on, and with a knowing chuckle, mutter, “God, I was so dramatic when I was a kid.”  Shut up, MITY.  No one cares.

Sacred Sunday: “Jisas Yu Holem Hand Blong Mi,” Melanesian Choirs

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This Melanesian song, used in the film, “The Thin Red Line,” is in Pidgin English (translation below) and is a beautiful hymn with (surprise!) a great rhythmic aspect. I love its sparseness.


Jesus hold my hand
Hear my cry when I call you
There is none like you,
I praise you Jesus
I come unto you now
Take me as I am
Jesus I come unto you
Take me as I am
I humbly come unto you
And say thank you for everything given to me
And I will be ready for your return Jesus
I come unto you now
Take me as I am
Jesus I come unto you
Take me as I am

Modernism Monday: “La Marseillaise,” Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle

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Happy Bastille Day, Tune-Up fans!  Joyeux Fête Nationale!  France’s National Day is known as the Fête de la Fédération and commemorates France’s transition from a monarchy to a republic.  The reason the day is colloquially known as “Bastille Day” is because it was following the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789, that the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was written, formally abolishing feudalism.  It’s a pretty awesome holiday and deserves an equally awesome anthem, which Rouget de Lisle certainly provided.  Written in 1792 and adopted as the French National Anthem in 1795, it evidently got its nickname from the volunteers from Marseille who marched through Paris, singing the song.

I do love the above version, but the scene in Casablanca when they start singing the Marseillaise is probably my favorite film scene of all time, so I’m exercising editor’s privilege and posting it, too.

Allons enfants de la patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L’etendard sanglant est levé
Entendez vous dans les campagnes,
Mugir ces feroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
Egorger nos fils, nos compagnes!

Refrain:

Aux armes, citoyens!
Formez vos bataillons!
Marchons! Marchons!
Qu’un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!

Amour sacr de la patrie,
Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs!
Libert, Libert cherie,
Combats avec tes defenseurs!
Sous nos drapeaux, que la victoire
Accoure tes males accents!
Que tes ennemis expirants
Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire!

Refrain

Nous entrerons dans la carrire
Quand nos ains n’y seront plus;
Nous y trouverons leur poussire
Et la trace de leurs vertus.
Bien moins jaloux de leur survivre
Que de partager leur cercueil,
Nous aurons le sublime orgueil
De les venger ou de les suivre!

Refrain

Arise, children of the fatherland,
The day of glory has arrived!
Against us tyranny’s
Bloody flag is raised! (repeat)
In the countryside, do you hear
The roaring of these fierce soldiers?
They come right to our arms
To slit the throats of our sons, our friends!

Refrain

Grab your weapons, citizens!
Form your batallions!
Let us march! Let us march!
May impure blood
Water our fields!

Sacred love of France,
Lead, support our avenging arms!
Liberty, beloved Liberty,
Fight with your defenders! (repeat)
Under our flags, let victory
Hasten to your manly tones!
May your dying enemies
See your triumph and our glory!

Refrain

We will enter the pit
When our elders are no longer there;
There, we will find their dust
And the traces of their virtues. (repeat)
Much less eager to outlive them
Than to share their casket,
We will have the sublime pride
Of avenging them or following them!

Refrain