tealin: (Default)
I've been alternating between Radio-Canada and seeing what YouTube autoplays when I look up songs I hear on there. Here are a few of my favourites ... and I think I have found a new beloved band in Les Cowboys Fringants. They have an album called L'Expédition, for crying out loud.

Videos behind the cut for tidiness... )

How much this helps me learn the language is anyone's guess. My comprehension even of sung English is pretty pathetic; I've been listening to non-English songs as long as I can remember, enjoying them for their musicality without the pressure of processing the words, so they're in one ear and out the other. And while learning to sing songs in another language might be a good practice generally, whoever suggests that has little experience with how many syllables a French Canadian can cram into one line holy cow.

(On the other hand, it might give a genetic excuse for my speech being excessively fast and inarticulate? Can't help it, I've got 400 years of Joual to overcome ...)
tealin: (introspect)
Another year, another Québecois song leaps out from the bush and flattens me. This one is ... basically my family history but written by complete strangers??

Video behind cut as the sample image is obnoxiously spoilery... )

Paroles en français )

English lyrics )

So I guess I'm not the only one, then.

(Definitely more on the lopin de terre side than entourée d'enfants, though – happy to leave that much behind.)
tealin: (introspect)
You can build a new heart
And a new house
Gonna take some time, but
When you come out
So much of everything will be waiting for you.

I've had those lines running through my head for four days now, so ... OK, maybe her new album does have something to tell me.
tealin: (introspect)
Disclaimer: I am writing this between long, decongestant-ridden naps. I cannot pretend it will be coherent or, or, anything. So there you are.

Sarah Slean's new album is out at last, and you can listen to it streaming here:

CBC Music First Play: Metaphysics

... until April 7th, when it comes available to buy. (I have already bought it.)

It was ten years ago almost exactly that I heard Slean for the first time on one of the CBC's Saturday morning shows, singing "Lucky Me", prompting me to find her Myspace page (MySpace!) and listen to it on repeat for literally the rest of the day. 2007 was a pivotal year for me, and the refrain of that song played no small part in my taking the opportunities that arose in it:
And you're sad, and you're sorry,
Let it all out – what are you running for?
This is your chance, be ready –
I'm taking my seat ... Oh, lucky me!
Bla bla blah ... )
tealin: (catharsis)
And life is but a dream for those whose eyes are always cast
On things around them with a ray turned ever back upon the past

Hmm, a bunch of whimsical minor key songs describing a life marked by tragedy, while paying joyous homage to its source material ... can't think what draws me to this show at all.
tealin: (CBC)
Since the middle of July, I've been starting lists of radio links and abandoning them until the shows expire. It's not that there hasn't been good stuff, I've just been doing work that occupies more languagey parts of my brain than usual, so I haven't been able to listen to as much radio, and therefore can't assemble a list of any length worth bothering with.

In recent weeks I've been falling back in love with the CBC, so I thought I'd share some of their most stand-out shows with you, which have the benefit of remaining online for quite a long time ...

A weeknightly documentary series that covers just about anything so long as it makes your brain fizz. You can browse available podcasts for yourself, but my particular recent favourites as are follows:
The Discovery of Human Rights - In this age of online activism it's easy to assume the idea that all people are entitled to a certain level of respect and legal status is as 'self-evident' as Jefferson stated it to be. But it is a fairly recent development in human culture, and its progress isn't finished yet.
Coyotl's Song - The Coyote has been a part of North American folklore from time immemorial, from a First Nations trickster to the cat-snatching bugbear of modern cities. This episode contains a quick lesson in How To Speak Basic Coyote.
Wise Guys - If you like your urban wildlife of a darker and more airborne variety, this is an excellent documentary on the intelligence, success, and appeal of crows.
The Dream of Brother XII - I came for the name Edward Wilson; I stayed for a fascinating look at utopian initiatives in British Columbia, a peculiar bit of history relating to an area I know quite well, and a broader look at millennial theosophy, which has a longer history than I expected.
The Shape of Things to Come - T.E. Lawrence ("of Arabia") was an Oxford-trained archaeologist who ended up leading an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. His background knowledge of history, experience on the ground with the people and cultures of the Middle East, and relationship with British high command gave him unique insight into the region and what was to follow, and is still following – though would anyone listen to him? Of course not.
Undoing Forever - A look at the prospect – and attempts – of bringing extinct species, from Woolly Mammoths to Passenger Pigeons, back to life.
Vestigial Tale - Evolutionary psychologists take a look at the human propensity for storytelling, from a scientific perspective. Episode 1, linked above, is about the act of constructing and conveying information in narrative form; Episode 2 is about fiction and the value of telling each other things that we know are untrue.
The Sorrows of Empire - The American Empire has been called everything from a "reluctant empire" to "a colossus with attention deficit disorder". The enormous cost of foreign wars and other interventions has led to imperial overstretch. This one's next on my plate and I'm really looking forward to it ...

Speaking of history and tantalising brain porn, check out this year's Massey Lectures: The Return of History – if you're lucky enough to be in any of the cities where they're recording, it looks like you can still buy tickets; the rest of us will have to wait – somehow – until the end of October.

Sort of like if you crossed a current affairs magazine with The Onion, but on the radio and with that certain Canadian leg-pulling tongue-in-cheekiness; its only fault is being sometimes a little too close to the truth. You can listen straight through the whole podcast list, but I'd particularly like to direct your attention to people-smuggling into Canada from the US. Ahh, satire.

Having lived in the US during two "normal" election years, I can only imagine what a nightmare it is for Americans to follow the news right now. Luckily for you, the CBC covers American news better than any US media outlet I know, and one of the best programmes for insight-to-time-investment ratio is the Saturday magazine show Day 6. There's not much point linking to past episodes as news doesn't keep, but if you're interested in their interviews and analysis you are welcome to browse the archive at your leisure. (There is also non-American news on that show, but I promise, it doesn't hurt.)

If you like this taster of CBC goodness, I recommend getting the CBC Radio App for your mobile device – it's available for most common platforms from whatever your OS App Store is. The splash page is a little bewildering if you're looking for something you already have in mind, but you can easily add your favourite shows to a sub-page which saves searching, and browse for new things to listen to.

A good and reliable friend has brought to my attention this week the soundtrack to a musical about the life of Edgar Allan Poe, devised by a bunch of Canucks and mainly performed north of the border (after all, what is more Canadian than Poe?), which is now available to purchase on iTunes and Amazon. I've been listening to it on repeat for two days and will likely resume doing so after this next thing I need to concentrate on. Attention to meter and rhyme, with a preponderance of minor-key waltzes, and I'm hooked.
tealin: (4addict)
It's been a stressful week. To wind down, have a Shipping Forecast read by Neil Nunes. Mmmmm, soothing. Nevermind the gale warnings. 'S fine.

This was the week of the 'we recorded this before Paris' disclaimer. It's actually a little astonishing how relevant much of the pre-planned programming was, and a lot of it was very good with or without its inadvertent timeliness, so I'm throwing it into its own section:

Start the Week: France Special - In which the definitive works of Emile Zola, the legacy of the Resistance in WWII, and the everyday reality of those infamous suburbs are brought to bear on our understanding of modern France.
Analysis - Examining the very real potential to reconcile groups in conflict, looking at past successes and psychological factors. Please listen to this, it's important and fascinating.
In Our Time: The Battle of Lepanto - Historically sold as Christendom vs Islam, it's more accurately the uneasy alliance of religiously fragmented European nations vs the expansionist Ottoman Empire. Aside from its modern resonances, it was recent history when Othello was written, which answers 'why Cyprus?'
The Current - The CBC outdoes everyone in the analysis department and this is no exception; here they talk to a French sociologist who specialises in violence and terrorism, and to someone who's just written a book about ISIS. (Not part of the BBC's accidental relevancy, but it bears a listen and belongs in this section.)

Well, that's a drag, let's have some

The Horne Section - I wondered how to describe it and thought "like a children's show, but for grownups" was close ... then I heard this week's episode.
Tim Key's Late Night Poetry Programme - It's like Mark Watson Makes the World Substantially Better but minus the structure or adult moderating influence of Mark Watson.
Hot Desk - I haven't heard it yet and I already know the last episode of John Finnemore's Double Acts will be worth listening to. (Update: It totally was. I told you.)
Concrete Cow - Always a delight; we've got work experience at NASA in that one and another entry for the Scott Comedy Club in this.
Creme de la Crime - Steve Punt did this spoof whodunit series years before doing a actual mystery-solving series, which makes the latter difficult for me to take seriously. Anyway this is the funny one. Funnier one.

Day of the Locust - Written in 1938, it's one of those so-real-it-hurts depictions of LA; give everyone an iPhone and it could happen today.
Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk - Once again I link to somethink I didn't finish, myself; I personally didn't care much for the characters, but it's a good production and a classic piece of literature, so someone out there might be interested.

The documentary about Day of the Locust is even more interesting than the play as it juxtaposes the societal observations of the 1930s book with the social currents that brought California's two presidents, Nixon and Reagan, into power.
The Last Post - The history and broadening legacy of the bugle call played every Remembrance Day.
Smash Hit of 1453 - I have long said that the 13th century was the rockingest century, but musical comedian Rainer Hirsch argues well for the 15th century's long-running hit single 'L'homme armé' (The Armed Man). This is the track that got him hooked, just as resonant now as it was in 2010, or 1453:

tealin: (nerd)
600 Years since the Battle of Agincourt! It may have been a historical dead-end, but it spawned a kickass tune, so we can rock out to it even now.

Also there was, like, something about Shakespeare or I dunno. [shrug]
tealin: (Default)
Brain: I notice that last time you were working on this thing, you were listening to this album.
Me: Yes I was, but I listened to it all day for three days and am tired of it now.
Brain: If you like I can hum it for you...
Me: No thanks, I'm tired of it now.
Brain: I think you left off on this song: Mmmm hmm hmm hmmmm, mmhmhm hmmmmm...
Me: Stop it!
Brain: Mm hmm hmmmmhmhmhm hmmmm hmhm hmhm hm hmmmm ...
Me: I'm putting on something else!

[duration of alternate album]

[music stops]

Brain: I notice that last time you were working on this thing, you were listening to this album. I can hum it for you! Last time I was humming it for you I left off here: Mm hmm hmmmmhmhmhm hmmmm hmhm hmhm hm hmmmm ...
Me: Aaaaahh fine I'll just listen to it, if that'll make you stop!

tealin: (Default)
For the first time in a very long time we have the joy of a new Decemberists album. My own joy is a little tempered with alarm, though, as one of the songs strongly suggests Colin Meloy was spying on me for the better part of 2013. Uncanny doesn't begin to describe it.

It does explain the moustache, though ... I am a fool for moustaches like the residents of Metropolis are for glasses.

It's a good album, though, and fortuitously comes along when I'm kind of desperate for new music. This'll do me for about a week, but I'll need more. Anyone have any suggestions?
tealin: (think)
And so, starting tomorrow, we begin officially commemorating the centenary of WWI, as our own modern world is itself slipping into a new darkness. I wouldn't say this song is a comfort, necessarily, but it gives some hope that humanity can rise out of its rut if only we could keep the bigger picture in our little minds.

(Also ...)
tealin: (Default)

Last week I was emailed by a lovely childcare worker who thanked me for helping to make Frozen. After the initial pang of being reminded of that time, what I first wanted to say was 'I really don't deserve any credit for the film as I hardly contributed to it at all' – which is true; to this day I don't know if any of my work made it down the pipeline, or what use it may have been to anyone if it had. But instead I thanked her for her email, and told her it had been a very difficult film for a lot of the crew, and the fact it turned out to be valued by people is nice to hear.

What I didn't tell her was that I have gone out of my way not to see the film. I thought I was getting over it, but that pang when I read her email signified otherwise.

Tealin's Demon Theatre: Monsters' Ball )

"Society Song" is my "Let it Go." It's the song of an intelligent, independent woman who sees through the bullshit around her but rises above it instead of getting suckered in or kicking it in the nads and running away. It's poetic, meaningful, musically and lyrically sophisticated, and charismatic, and it gave me a defiant theme song around which my frustration and spirit could crystallize in a positive, constructive way. I did have riches they could never see, and something better up my sleeve, because four years previously I'd been set free by being given a story that made everything happening at Disney inconsequential, and knew I could leave at any time for a perfectly happy life back in BC. They were trying to manipulate me by assuming that I, as so many others, lived for Disney and would do anything to save my job there, but I was past that, and that was something I needed to hold onto. Another important thing to remember is that vengeance is rarely worth the trouble, and often the best way to get back at those giving you a hard time is to have your own priorities that have nothing to do with them.

I can't say "Society Song" made me leave Disney, the way "Lucky Me" turned my life around in 2007, but it certainly was never far from my mind or my headphones, and its validating effect reset and strengthened my inner compass. It certainly got me through the end of my time on Frozen, and while other trials awaited me, that one didn't bring me down. So, thank you, Sarah Slean, yet again my Angel of Music.

I am a little bit in love with the video for the song but I recommend you listen to it for the first time without watching – it imposes a narrative on what are basically abstract lyrics, so limits one's perception. Then watch the video, because it's fab.

tealin: (Default)
Earlier this year, my faithful companion and beloved entertainer passed into disability: the first-generation iPod Nano which I'd received for Christmas in 2006 stopped talking to my computer. Tried changing the USB port, and the USB cable, to no avail ... I've replaced it with a slightly newer one which is doing well, but the old one is still functioning perfectly aside from the inability to update it, and has a lot of good stuff on it, so I'm reluctant to throw it away, and that gave me the idea of The Wandering iPod.

Here's how it would work. If you'd like to listen to the 4GB of quality audio, either comment or send me your email address. I will make a list, contact Person 1 to get a mailing address, and send the dear little thing in the mail; when Person 1 is done with it s/he lets me know and I get them in touch with Person 2, to whom they send it on, and so on. Now, this would all be on the honour system because I have no way of policing the participants, and it would be dependent on each person to hand off the iPod instead of, say, losing it at the back of a drawer somewhere, but if we could get it rolling this could be a really fun thing and an interesting permutation of the 'sharing economy' or whatever they're calling it.

The contents of the iPod are behind this cut: )

As I said, the iPod functions well – it plays everything it's got, the buttons all work, and I'd swear it holds a charge better than my new one – but there is a fault on the screen which looks like some liquid crystal cells got crushed and then leaked in either direction. It's smaller than I drew it and the menus are still readable (in fact, being so used to it, I often don't even see it) but it is a flaw. I will send it with its magnetically closing leather case so it won't suffer any more damage.

Comment here or email twirly noodle at gmail if you're interested in joining in!
tealin: (catharsis)
As any reasonably long-term reader of this blog will know, I am head-over-heels in love with the ISC's production of Hamlet, and as anyone who's known me in person will know, I never tire of writhing over how good it was. (It was so good.) Perhaps someday I will finally get to writing down everything so fantastic about it, and my Pixar Story Notes on Hamlet, which are not what you think. But that day is not today.

The topic came up again when I found out that, this week, Radio 4 is finally airing the Hamlet they recorded a while back. I resigned myself, that frigid August night at the back of the crowd in Griffith Park when I saw the ISC the first time, to the fact I would never enjoy another Hamlet again: despite forcing myself to 'just try it' a couple times since then my conclusion has been correct. But I'll give this one a go because it was directed by Marc Beeby and has Carl Prekopp in it, which are both good indicators of a quality radio production.*

In the spirit of the occasion I thought I'd share the Hamlet playlist I put together in the depths of my infatuation in 2012 ... It's a combination of music that evokes the atmosphere of the play and songs Hamlet might have on his iPod.


Well great, now I'm all hopped up on Hamlet again, how am I supposed to sleep?

*Sadly Mr Prekopp is not playing the title role. It's everyone's loss, really.
**To be frank, this is mainly on my playlist because in the film of Copenhagen, it features prominently in the scene which concludes with the line 'The whole appearance of Elsinore, you said, was changed by knowing that Hamlet had lived there ... every dark corner there reminds us of the darkness in the human soul.' But I think it works all the same.
tealin: (think)
When I was growing up, we had our handful of family Christmas recordings, but the one which was Christmas was a little black cassette tape with 'XMAS' written on a white label in red felt-tip pen. My parents had recorded it before I could remember; it was essentially a mixtape of favourite pieces from friends' and relations' Christmas albums, and was a mix of traditional carols and early music, which bore no resemblance to anything recognizably 'Christmas' but picked up the association by context. Mannheim Steamroller and Celine Dion entered our house down the line, and Janice's harp CD took over as my mum's favourite thing to put on when she was feeling seasonal, but childhood imprinting dies hard and this tape still reigned supreme in my personal Christmas canon.

A few years after I left for college my dad converted the tape into MP3s and burned a CD for me. I ripped it and spent a couple days learning the noise reduction tool in Audacity to cure the tracks of tape hiss, and patched that bit in 'The First Noel' which was swapped with the other side of the tape. The playlist (never shuffled, of course, because these songs have an order) has been on my iPod every Christmas since. I never thought I'd ever be able to track down the original recordings because there was no surviving record of what they were ... but I have just discovered a pristine digital copy* of my favourite track, which I listened to so many times I knew exactly how long to press 'rewind' to hit the beginning of it again:

One down, thirty to go. Actually, less than that now, this album has at least four of the pieces on the tape. Score!

Needless to say, I've never seen the point of modern Christmas music and find most of it really annoying, nevermind 'Christmassy.' Thanks, little black tape, for yet another disconnect from society! I don't know the words to 'Frosty the Snowman' but I can hum 'Conditor alme siderum' like nobody's business.

*as opposed to seventh-generation LP > cassette > MP3 > CD > MP3 > noise reduction filter > MP3
tealin: (Default)
Looking for something to listen to this Halloween? Something folksy and spooky and a little twisted?

Try Fitcher's Bird by Forest Mountain Hymnal.

It's definitely my favourite Halloweeny music, and one I frequently listen to at other times of year when the mood strikes me. I had been planning to post a drawing from one of the songs today, but the cold scuppered my attempts at punctuality, so ... stay tuned for that.


Aug. 8th, 2013 10:41 pm
tealin: (introspect)

One path grows in the distance
One path now overgrown
It can seem too rough for the walking
But you'll never walk alone

I've made the video go away on this because I find it distracts from the words, but for the less visually preoccupied, it's really lovely in its own right, and can be found here.


Feb. 1st, 2013 11:20 am
tealin: (catharsis)
If you are looking out for the next totally addictive musical soundtrack ...

You can help make it into a real thing that you can play on your very own music-playback device! It's sort of like a Kickstarter but with a different name! Did I mention this play and the Independent Shakespeare Company are awesome!! (The video doesn't really do it justice, as there is no substitute for being there, but it is a glimpse!)

Have some more exclamation marks!

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

You can hear two sample songs here!
tealin: (CBC)
J'ai écouté à Radio-Canada ces semaines pour obtenir un sens(?) pour le français, avant Noël avec ma famille Québecoise, et heureusement j'ai assez de la langue pour retrouver ce chanson:
Watch me struggle with translation! )

And on the English side:
So the world's ending on Friday, right? Right? There's an Ideas program for that. Specifically, everything you need to know – and lots of stuff you probably had no idea about but is pretty darn interesting – about the Mayan calendar, its uses, cycles, applications, history, etc. Give it a listen while you still have a chance!

(Har har)
tealin: (faci-glee)
Sarah Slean is going on tour! And the tour (hypothetically, at this point) includes the US and Europe!

ATTENTION FRIENDS AND FAMILY: I will be scheduling 2013 around when I might be able to see her perform.

I still haven't forgotten that she recorded some of Orphan Music literally across the street from where I was living at the time, a few months before I found out about her. NEVER AGAIN.


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