Tag Archives: music

Stanley Crouch Died…

…and the world just got a bit dumber. What a great mind, thinker, writer (I don’t even like jazz and yet I love to read his ideas about jazz), musician. We could use him now. I gather he wasn’t well enough in the past few months to comment on current headlines.

I love this reflection of his on education – we have, unfortunately, lost this attitude. The last time I worked in a traditional teaching venue any talk like this would get you fired:

Mr. Crouch said in an interview with The Times in 1990 that too many discussions of race were “simple-minded and overly influenced by the ideas of determinism — if you’re poor, you’re going to act a certain way” — a self-perpetuating path that, he said, his public-school teachers had stopped him from taking.

“These people were on a mission,” he said of his teachers. “They had a perfect philosophy: You will learn this. If you came in there and said, ‘I’m from a dysfunctional family and a single-parent household,’ they would say, ‘Boy, I’m going to ask you again, What is 8 times 8?’

“When I was coming up,” he continued, “there were no excuses except your house burned down and there was a murder in the family. Eight times eight was going to be 64 whether your family was dysfunctional or not. It’s something you needed to know!”

This New York Times obituary is surprisingly fair.

Sinatra will Save us Yet

One of the most delightful things on the internets these days is the trend of videos of (mostly) young African-Americans listening to music they have not previously heard. I was introduced to these by a friend and I warn you, they can take you down a rabbit hole, literally spending hours watching! It is so delightful and can actually bring tears to your eyes. Perhaps I am sentimental (ok, no perhaps about it) but I truly think these young people give me more hope for the future than any candlelight vigil/hand-holding peace/anti-racism march ever could. My three favourites (and it is hard to choose) are the twins, and Jamel (wears his heart on his sleeve – so lovely) hand – there aren’t a lot of women doing this, so far — K.S.O. (she is truly fun to watch!). FYI, there is a good piece about the twins at the New Yorker and while I largely agree with what she writes, I think she misses some points (she is probably being politically correct) and she also puts too much focus on modern music, as opposed to the clip I am about to leave y’all with – one of the twins (they don’t always appear together) listening to Sinatra sing Ol’ Man River. Unbelievably touching.

The Delight of Birds and Mozart

I have discovered something I probably already knew – that there was a great reason my cats used to keep their little noses pinned to the window when there was a bird in the vicinity. They are such a delight to behold (birds, I mean, though cats are, too)! We have a nest on our porch – will write more about it later, as until the babies have fledged, I shall not exhale. But in the meantime, enjoy this video of birds singing opera – oh yes, they are!

Honouring Holocaust Victims by Bringing their Music to Life

I first saw this report on 60 Minutes in December – the entire transcript with video clips is here. It tells the story of Francesco Lotoro, an Italian man who has dedicated his energy to discovering the music written by prisoners of Nazi death camps and bringing it to life. What a blessing he is, as is his wife.

Aided by his wife, Grazia, who works at the local post office to support the family, Lotoro has collected and catalogued more than 8,000 pieces of music, including symphonies, operas, folk songs, and Gypsy tunes scribbled on everything from food wrapping to telegrams, even potato sacks.

The couple have established a foundation to archive the music and their work in their native Barletta, in the Puglia region of Italy. When/if I am lucky enough to return to Italy, I will visit Barletta and the Lotoros’ foundation.