| "Record-ing" my thoughts (and studying up!)
| Culture Shlock
Von Cello wrote:
"It's funny, but growing up in Brooklyn, I can't even imagine a life where one hangs around the house and sometimes has a friend over who was driven by a parent. We pretty much lived on the street when we weren't in school or home studying or eating. I found it almost impossible to go home and do my homework while it was light out. There were just so many kids outside and so many things to do".
You see, this is why the guestbook here is so great. People from different parts of the country with different lifestyles talk about the things they love, and feel safe enough to talk about the things that rub them the wrong way. I feel less and less ignorant with every post!
But as for my trunk, it was not kept in the attic of my old house in Jericho, in fact, I never even ventured up into the attic. Our old house was built in 1820, so naturally I thought our attic was haunted. To this day I feel the same way about old buildings on the St. Michael's College campus.
| Celtar in the Attic
Don't ask me what that subject means. I'm still thinking about that "magic trunk". It sounds like one of those movies where you open up the trunk and put on outfits and suddenly find yourself back in time. It's funny, but growing up in Brooklyn, I can't even imagine a life where one hangs around the house and sometimes has a friend over who was driven by a parent. We pretty much lived on the street when we weren't in school or home studying or eating. I found it almost impossible to go home and do my homework while it was light out. There were just so many kids outside and so many things to do, whether it was stick ball, foot ball, tag, tops, skate hockey, snow ball fights, or just hangng out. Later on it became more about hanging out talking about girls and music, or "partying" at someones house or basement.
In fact, it was maybe due to this environment in which school was just this drag that you went to once in a while, that I went to the extreme opposite when I decided to become a cellist. Suddenly I just dropped out of the hang out scene. People thought i 'flipped out", but in a way, what I was trying to do was catch up to the people who already had whole childhoods of practicing their instuments and studying with professional musicians. It was very hard to make the transition. In fact I wrote a song called "The Transition" when I was 15. It's on one of the clips in the audio history section. In that song I said, "I'm gonna try, or I'm gonna die". And that is how I felt. I really felt that it was now or never for a musical career. And, in fact, I barely made it.
This week I'll be back in West Hartford, but this time we will have a female singer there to add vocals to the song, "Belly Button Ring". She is a Latina, and has a sultry voice that I think will add so much to this song. The new songs are almost like little plays. It's a theatrical CD. Maybe its like a trunk in the attic!
| Suff in the old trunk
Von Cello quoted from another site:
"Remember the games we played: streets cleared out for punch ball, stickball, kick the can, Ringalevio, Tag, Touch football (one hand touch and two-hand touch). In Tag and Ringaleveo, the guy (girls never played Ringaleveo), the guy who had to tag or find everyone was called "It" - nobody ever questioned what "It" meant; he was just "It" that was his name. Girls never played many of these games, never any games where physical contact was made; it was a different world. Catching and bottling the fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening. That was mean but it didn't occur to us then (the joys of youth). I apologize to all those fireflies".
Wow! How cool is that? Games like this (not to mention spending all night catching firelies), must be great fun when you have a lot of friends. Growing up I had friends, but I never really spent as much time with them as I should have, I was kind of a loner. (However, Jericho, VT is out in the country so when my friends and I were able to see eachother we both had to be driven a ways by our parents to have fun).
When my friends were over at my house we usually spent the day in wierd costumes brandishing toy swords and other soft weapons courtesy of an old trunk my parents had filled with various, wearable odds-and-ends; this trunk and these kodak moments possibly sealed my fate as an eventual college graduate with a BA in Fine Arts/Theater! (Who knew as well, that I would one day be listening to music from the 1960's avant-garde, extranagantly-clothed, freak-rockers The Mothers of Invention, and playing them on my own radio program)?
I remember I also had several begginner's toy instruments in that old trunk, including a triangular-shaped "Music Maker" plucked psaltry with children's songs sheet inserts (a faovirte of mine and they still mke them), a plastic, toy saxophone (but I don't remember if it actually played or not), a standard recorder in "B", and a pair of maracas, which continue to be my favorite instrument in the percussion family today (mainly becuase they're so easy to play). Man, I loved that trunk!
My mom had talked about getting piano lessons for me when I was younger, but that never happend. However, I would always find myself plunking away on a piano if we visited a house which had one. I played snare and bass drum (but not very well) in the sixth grade school band, and attended some African drumming workshops in high school and college. My latest musical persuits have been the jaw harp and xylophone, believe it or not. I play a simple part in a waltz pattern to the tune "Streets of Laredo" on an old, wooden xylophone (or marimba) in an original show my theater director wrote. I love it's sound, especially the low keys! So much so that I bought my own pair of mallets to play it with. (They're actually timpani mallets, but the drum shop owner personally reccomended them).
But anyway, I've always wondered why they call those little, end-blown flutes "recorders"? Recorders are associated with early music of the Middle Ages and the Rennaisance. Both periods, of course, were centuries before music play-back technology (i.e the tape recorder) was invented. (And centuries before Minsky's famous tapes).
| Yo, Brooklyn!
Thanks for reminding me about those "Famous Minsky Tapes". You know, I did most of the work for the website back around the turn of the century. (Ha, I finally got to use that phrase!) And I sometimes forget what's on there until someone mentions it. I would say that my take on hip hop has evolved, so to speak, since then. But it is still fun to hear that tape.
Ringalevio was an old Brooklyn street game. I guess when you come from a place with so many kids hanging out on the street, these games just kind of happen and get passed down through the generations. I have learned from web posts that many of these games actually go back to the 1950's or 1940'x or even earlier. Here is a post I just found on a Brooklyn reminiscing site:
Remember the games we played: streets cleared out for punch ball, stickball, kick the can, Ringalevio, Tag, Touch football (one hand touch and two-hand touch). In Tag and Ringaleveo, the guy (girls never played Ringaleveo), the guy who had to tag or find everyone was called "It" - nobody ever questioned what "It" meant; he was just "It" that was his name. Girls never played many of these games, never any games where physical contact was made; it was a different world. Catching and bottling the fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening. That was mean but it didn't occur to us then (the joys of youth). I apologize to all those fireflies.
And then there was that rough game, Johnny on the pony (and the call was "Johnny on the Pony 1,2,3; Johnny on the Pony 1,2,3"). There were the runners and there was the pony consisting of maybe four guys bent over and leaning with a tight grip against each other (shoulder against butt), the entire pony leaning against one chosen to be the "pillow" who in turn was standing against a pole or wall. The runners would (each runner in turn), run and jump onto this pony trying to crush it. I don't know why more backs weren't broken but they weren't (G-d does watch over children).
A lot of these games were rough and the girls settled for potsie, jacks, and I don't know what else. We would watch them spin around, get dizzy, fall down, and giggle. By the way, sneakers were just sneakers, only one style, they were mostly black, and ugly to look at. We also played box ball (using as many boxes as there were players); the boxes were the concrete divisions on the sidewalks or schoolyards. We also used those boxes for skellie (soda bottle tops filled with wax?).
Do you remember when decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-moe"? It's been cleaned up since, but those were different times. Remember "one potato, two potato, three potato, four" when eventually everyone know which one to start on in order to get the choice they wanted? And mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "Do Over" and "race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest. The worst embarrassment was to be chosen last in any game; that was me, and I got used to it. An odd number of players and last to be chosen, it was always, "All right, you can have Harold." So who said everything was fun and roses in old Brooklyn? Doesn't bother me now; I really laugh at it all.
| Famous New Jersey and words I do not know
My Uncle and Aunt lived in Brandywine, NJ for a time, now they're down in Florida.
And BTW, what is a "rigalevio"? Is it anything like a bialy?
And BTW BTW, I am currently listening to your "Famous Minsky Tape #1" from the audio section of the website. This reminds me when I used to tape the "Grateful Dead Hour" on WIZN 106.7-FM "The Wizard of Rock". What ever happened to cassette tapes anyway?
You make some good comments on early hip-hop (AKA rap).
| Jew Jersey
I was in New Jersey again yesterday, first playing at a church in Cranford, and then visiting friends in Manalapan. I happened to have my cello with me from the gig, and sure enough, they asked me to play.
I got a chance to drive around both towns a bit. It seems that a lot of people from Brooklyn and Staten Island have settled in Jersey. A lot of those people are Jewish and Italian. In some ways it seemed like the Manalapan area is the new Canarsie. Or course, a nicer Canarsie, in that there are a lot of trees, houses are bigger, single family, and not attached. The draw backs...no stoop ball, no rigalevio, no Ruby the Knish Man, and no going around the corner to meet 30 of your friends!
| No Soap Radio
Yeah, maybe burning TV's wouldn't work so well after all...I neglected to look at the science of this monumental task. (Which I don't naturally do anyway because I was a theater major).
Perhaps after the plastic has melted, you could take the left over metal parts to a junkyard to be crushed...better do the same with your remote control, too America! Take what I've said to heart or the British will win this time!
All this talk of TV's reminds of a Jeff Foxworthy routine:
"When I was young my parents had a 900- pound television on a dinky, little TV tray. My father would always say: "Let him drop it on his head a couple times, he'll learn"!
| Burn baby burn
Burning a television????? How would you do that? Wouldn't the plastic just start melting? And then you are stuck with all the metal inside. How do you burn that? No, I don't think burning a television is a good idea.
Throwing it out the window...now you're talking!
A man rushed into a busy doctor's office and shouted "Doctor! I think I'm shrinking!!" The doctor calmly responded, "You'll just have to be a little patient."
| Do you feel lucky, Charms? Do ya?
Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the cereal itself when I was a kid and who didn't? I'm just saying that The Lucky Charms cartoon character isn't doing alot for the respect of Irish people around the world, just as Simon Cowell isn't doing alot for the respect of British people. Cowell would seem to be a diabolical, acid-tounged, black-t-shirt-wearing, perpetuator of the notion that you have to kiss up to the coorporation to be an "idol". Cowell is the reason Americans should turn off their TV's. (And burn them if they so desire). There is nothing good on TV anymore, and The Simpsons, According to Jim, Everybody Loves Raymond, the King of Queens, Family Guy, Fraser, and Seinfeld are mostly all re-runs. To put it mildly, TV sucks. Burn your TV.
How's that for a bit of shocking controversy?
| The Lucky Charms leprechaun is a diabolical perpetuator
That sounds like the title of a death metal Irish punk rock tune. (Not that there really is such a genre, but today, there probably is a genre for everything.)
Today I was in Rumson, NJ playing for a fundraiser for cancer treatment at the Monmouth Medical Center. I brought a trio of flute, violin and cello. They had a big tent on someone's lawn, whose house was the size of a catering hall. There were 450 guests, mostly women. A few famous doctors spoke, most notably Dr. Oz. (And I kid you not, that is his name.) We played a mix including some Gershwin, Bach, Beatles, and even The Mamas and the Papas! (I think this is the first time in history that they have been mentioned in the guestbook!) We got a million compliments. It was for a good cause, and hopefully we will get some work down there by the Jersey shore.
I didn't see any diabolical perpetuators down there, but I did see a few green clovers...so you never know.
| And before I forget......
Von Cello wrote:
"A Druid? That's funny. You don't look Druish"!
Touche, my friend! Glad to see someone knows and appreciates their classic movies.
I thought you should know that the Druids were an ancient Celtic cult in England, though Stonehenge is fairly popular so you probably already knew that. I'm pretty sure that the Druid were only concentrated in England, though I could be wrong. So druids were English, who were also, of course, overall Celtic.
As I understand, there are still practicing druids among us who gather at Stonehenge at certain times of the year (mainly solstices and equinoxes) to worship the sun and moon.
(And we're not talkin' aboot those wee little marshmellow moons and suns sold in boxes O'Lucky Charms neither. The Lucky Charms leprechaun is a diabolical perpetuator of the American-Irish, sterotypical crap pille we call St. Patrick's Day paraphrenalia.
| Pink Floyd: "Is any body out there......."?
"Hey you/out there in the cold/won't ya be so brave and bold/can ya help me....?"
Where'd you go VC? Are you out trying to be Irish (which, of course, is always a good time), or are you working on "Celtar"...which is more than likely what you're doing.
Yes!!!! You've got it!!! By blarney, I think you've actually got it!
And now, I would have to say that I prefer Scottish music to Irish music any day. Sure, I love the jovial, happy, pub-ready sounds of "Finnegan's Wake", "The Night that Paddy Murphy Died" "Wild Rover", and "The Old Dun Cow", but those drinking songs can't hold a candle to the the mysterious, ancient, epic and highly melodic ballads of Scotland. I love the swirl of the pipes and the strum of the harp,(a major instrument in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales alike...all three countries shere the bagpiping tradtion as well), and the way scottish slang words sound when someone sings a Robert Burns song.
But to me Scottish music sounds so much more sophisticated and "exotic", than Irish music will ever be. Scottish groups I think are worth listening to can be found in the list below:
Old Blind Dogs
and folk/pop singer/accordionist Emily Smith. Her new album is "A Different Life", and it can be found on CDBaby.com along with a review from yours truely.
Here in the states we have Celtic fusion from bagpipe and percussion group the Wicked Tinkers from california, and a group with the same sort of setup from Huston, Texas who call themselves The Rogues. Both groups can be found on CDBaby.
Austin, Texas' own Brobdingnaian Bards play a fair bit o'Scottish music, and play it rather well, too. They also play Irish music, Americana, and original material. they have quite a pressence on the net, you can check out their music and their other projects at the sites below:
I would also suggest the group Emerald Rose, who plays mostly Irish music, but also throws in a great deal of orginal music.
Of course, if you want to get really Scottish, definately read up on the life and times (and works, of course), of 18th Century Scottish poet Robert Burns:
Happy surfing! This will also be on the quiz!
| Green Beer
Actually, in Canarsie, Brooklyn, where I grew up, the bagel store served green bagels on St. Patty's Day!
So, what you are saying, if I can read between the lines, is that what we in America think of as "Irish music" is really "Celtic music". We think of it as Irish due to Riverdance, St. Patty's Day, and other things that seem to emphasize the "Irishness" of it, but there are other groups, like the Scotts, who share the same music because it is really Celtic.
Did I finally get it?
Lost and Confused
(probably due to green beer and bagels)
| Celtic is a state of mind (and blood)
Well, I guess Irish music is generally more popular than Scottish, or English or Welsh music....especially here in america accompanied by images of leprechauns, rainbows, luck cahrms and green beer, and riots in the streets; hence the cheap, American version of St. Patrick's Day. Likewise, the whole Riverdance phenomenon served to make Irish music popular in the nineties, but Riverdance's main purpose was to mix the Celtic tradtions together, along with music from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. But since Michael Flatley is Irish, (and a physically-gifted dancer who leaves his shirts at home most of the time), people tend to think Riverdance is Irish. Flatley is definately an example of a dancing leprechaun...wouldnt be surprised if he was raised by leprechauns as well
But I don't think I've answered your questions yet....just remmeber: The Irish are Celtic on a whole, but their Irish by identity, as are the Scots for their identity, and the Welsh and the English. Canadians have a wee bit O'Irish and Scottish blood in them as well, especially in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where a large majority of Scots settled long ago. There is a great young folk/pop group called The Cottars based out of Cape Breton. Their debut album is "Forerunner", and Paddy Maloney of the Cheiftains admits he is a fan of their music.
| Bottom O'The Endpin
Of course, if you say, "Boittom o' the endpin to you", people might think you want to stab them...but that's another story.
I'd love to play the "Celltic Jig" for you up in Vermont. It's the first time I wrote a piece for publication with Oxford that used the "Celtar" technique. To play this opus, the cellist MUST hold the cello like a guitar and pluck it with a pick. Before this, I kept my Celtar music for the Von Cello side of things. But here, finally, a piece has been written down for study and performance by cellists around the world. And if the success of my Ten American Cello Etudes is any indication, this next set of Ten International Encores will be studied and performed all over the globe. This could be a major step in revolutionizing the playing of the cello, as thousands of cellists walk into guitar stores to buy picks! (Those pick makers are gonna owe me big time!)
What I'm trying to get at concerning Celtic is this: despite the reality that Celtic peoples lived in many places, isn't it true that when people today use the term Celtic music, they are generally referring to Irish music? And, if so, why don't they just call it Irish music?
"...And is it offensive to make a play on the world Celtic and the word Cello and call a piece a Celltic Jig"?
Well, cellos don't really loom large in the legend of Celtic music, but hey, neither did they in the history of rock music untill you came along and made them cool! If you want to call your peice "Celltic Jig", then go ahead my friend...though I had my heart set on "Bottom O'the Endpin". Of course, I'd probably need to hear your Celtic peice to come up with a better, more suitable title. Could you possibly play it when you and Scott come back up here to Vermont?
| What Am I? Chopped liver?
Von Cello wrote:
"That was a very educational post there. I almost forgot who was writing"!
Hey now! You forget, Aaron...I am college graduate! So, you see I can be very studious when I want to be...and if I just happen to be interested in the subject at hand.
But as for your other questions, "Irish" would be politically correct if you're talking about an Irish noun, the same goes for "Scottish" for Scottish nouns, "Welsh", for Welsh nouns, "English" for English nouns etc....As I said before, "Celtic" is the large, overll term which groups together the decsendents of the Ancient Celtic tribes.
In the world of music, all the Celtic peoples of the earth have rich, musical traditions, and they frequently overlap.
Umm....perhaps you could phrase your questions in a different way, Aaron...I'm not sure I know what you're asking here.
| Warm blooded non Celt seeks...
I have that warm blood thing going on too. I figure it was from all the years my family sojourned in Russia, Poland, and the like.
That was a very educational post there. I almost forgot who was writing! But the question I still have is why do I hear the word "Celtic" so much now, as opposed to Irish or Scottish, etc.? Like, when they say Celtic music, isn't it more or less Irish music? I don't think of France or Spain when I hear Celtic music.
And this goes to my other question. Is it just somehow more politically correct to use the word Celtic rather than Irish? Like, would it be more politically correct to call a piece a Celtic Jig, as opposed to an Irish Jig?
And is it offensive to make a play on the world Celtic and the word Cello and call a piece a Celltic Jig?
| Good evening, class. The lecture shall begin shortly....
The Irish people are just one of many peoples considered "Celtic" (referring to the Ancient Celtic tribes who emigrated to The British Isles and Western Europe from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Also under the "Celtic" spectrum, we have the Scots, the English, The Welsh (or Cornish), the Manx (Peoples from the Isle of Man in the North sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain) the French (from when France used to be "Gaul"), and even the Spanish are descendents of the Celtic tribes, especially Spaniards in North western Spain - Basque country it's typically called. Then there was that whole Potato Famine thing in the 1800;s so the Irish settled here in the US and in Canada. The Scots emigrated over here as well. So "Celtic" is a term to group all of these ethnically-and culturally-similar people together, though today Celtic is mostly used to refer to all people, places and things Irish or Scottish. Seems Wales, England, The Isle of Man, France and Spain just don't have "street cred" any more...maybe it's because they don't have Guinness or whiskey.
But Ireland was raided and occupied by the Vikings*** and other barbarian hordes before the English ever set their bloody feet upon our home sod. (Sorry for that overly-patriotic Irish comment, but the English have had a history of overstepping their boundaries, and literally and figuratively!)
(Wow, listen to me....I think this is the most studious I've ever been on this here guestbook).
***Related to Vikings, it has been argued recently in some circles that Scandinavian music (music from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland) is the "New" Celtic music.
I would have to say "Celtic" describes me pretty well. I have ancestry from Ireland, England, Spain, Sweden, and I was born in Vermont, lived here my whole life, so I think it's safe to say I have a bit of French and Native American in me as well. The French, of course, settled in Vermont before those saucy Brits did, and the Native Americans, well, this is their land we're living, eating,drinking, sleeping, working, relaxing and walking on here in the States. I'm not saying that my mom or Dad bred with a Native American or French person to have me, but it's down deep within my genes, as is the Celtic and Scandinavian heritage. (Maybe this is why I like to say I have warm blood...so I can stand up to the harsh Vermont winters).
| A Druid? That's funny. You don't look Druish!
So what's the deal with Celtic? I hear about Celtic music but generally not about Irish music. I think the Celts were the original people who lived in Ireland. Then what? Was it that the English took over? Or someone else? I know St. Patrick came from somewhere and got them to become Catholic. Sorry, the history is vague in my mind.
But then, why all this emphasis today on Celtic rather than Irish? Is it somehow more politically correct to use the word Celtic?
| and now for something else Irish.....
Here is an excerpt from that book I was talking about "Irish Wit and Wisdom", by Joan Larson Kelly:
"There are many kinds of faeries in Irish lore. Leprechauns are the working faeries. They are the tailors and cobblers. Often in the evening they can be found under a hedge stitching away at a garment, or pounding a wee hammer making a pair of shoes. Speak kindly to them if you meet one for they have the power to make you rich, providing you handle them right...."
Kelly goes on to explain this process:
"....First, grab the Leprechaun tightly by the scruff of his neck. be very careful not to take your eyes off him lest he dissapear. Promise to let him go if he leads you to a pot of gold. Since pots of gold are getting scarcer and scarcer these days he might arrange instead for you to win the Irish sweepstakes".
As Kelly quotes one Irishman on the subject of faeries (including leprechauns): "I don't believe in faeries, but they're there".
| Not Irish...but wiilling to learn...
This is indeed proving to be an educational excercise. Edward wrote:
"And those Saint Patrick's day e-cards only go to perpetuate the cheap, American vision of the stereotypical leprechaun -a stout, red-haired and bearded fellow wearing all green, and standing by a rainbow next to a wee, pot o'gold drunk on green beer."
Who knew that the portrayal of Leprechauns that we see on American television were not the same as what the Irish have? I guess I was misinformed by all those Lucky Charms commercials when I was a kid with that Leprechaun saying, "Green clovers, silver moons, yellow stars!" I figured that Leprechauns were these cute little funny guys who danced around rainbows which had pots of gold at the end of them.
Oxford didn't reject the piece of music. It is an amazing piece (if I may say so myself). It is like a wild Irish jig played celtar style with the cello held like a guitar and played with a pick. It is probably the first such piece in history ever written for the cello, and would be a landmark in cello publishing!
Oxford objected to the title, and now I am learning that the dancing, cute green Leprechuan is just another manifistation of the "ugly American". (I'm exaggerating for effect.) I guess to the Irish, the American portrayal is like this big mammoth taking a piece of your sacred culture and making it into a joke, or a funny commercial item to make money. No wonder they hate us in Europe!
The thing about Leprechuans not dancing came from an Irish friend of my wife. She asked her about the title and she said (in total seriousness), "Everyone knows Leprechauns don't dance!" (Which, I must admit, cracks me up!) First of all, has she met ALL the Leprechauns? Maybe there are a few who dance!!!!
I said to Karen, that maybe I am being insensitive. I said to her, "How would you like it is someone wrote a piece about a group of old Hassidic rabbis and called it The Dance of the Hassidic Rabbis?" She said, "But Hassidic rabbis dance!"
I guess from a Jewish point of view, everyone dances...or should dance. There are Jewish holidays, like Purim and Sukkos, where you are virtually commanded to dance! Certainly at a Jewish wedding, no matter how old and dignified you are, you are supposed to dance. It is in a sense a form of prayer, or more like a phyical demonstration of your faith...not unlike Sufi dancers. So, it is hard for me to understand why people would be offended by the idea of someone dancing, be he a rabbi or a leprechaun.
But that is why this is so interesting. Through writing this Ten International Cello Encores, it is bringing me into the dark recesses of cultures that I only have a surface understanding of.
By the way, Karen came up with, what I think is a brilliant idea. What about: