here to read it) most Eastern Orthodox Christians will celebrate Christmas according to the Gregorian calendar, i.e. 7 January 2014, such as the Russian Orthodox Church, the eastern Coptic Church and many others. My late father's church, the Armenian Orthodox Church, celebrates Christmas on January 6th. However, in the US, some Eastern Orthodox Christians use the revised calendar and celebrate Christmas on December 25th - but there are exceptions among the 1.5 million Eastern Orthodox in North America. So I hope you had a nice Christmas, if you celebrated it, or will have a Merry Christmas with much fun, songs and dances if it is still forthcoming.
Anton F. Pieck, Dutch 1895-1987
My Christmas CDs have been put away. My cat Cody, as you can see in the heading picture, was helping me ... somewhat. My other cat, Mitsouko, was also helping but then they started a little fight. So I placed them both on a chair - Mitsouko, the grey Korat, gave me a funny look but I placed a soothing guitar CD in the Bose and they stopped fighting and settled down.
Whenever we take the cats in the car to go to the vet, or other places, they become agitated and make a lot of fuss As soon as some music is played through, they immediately stop and settle down. They like music. I think many cats enjoy music as I can prove it with some vintage postcards ...
"Il y a deux moyens d'oublier les tracas de la vie: la musique et les chats."
The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats.
- Albert Schweitzer, French musician and philosopher, 1875-1965
Since I was a wee child, I have been surrounded by music and will write more on a post sometime, but for now I will only mention music in 2013. I looked at my photos to remember some of the live music I listened to, in addition to all the music at home. On May 18, 2013, we drove to Calhoun, Georgia, to attend the service commemorating the 175th anniversary of the Cherokee Trail of Tears in New Echota, the former Cherokee capital.
In June we traveled to San Francisco. On the first Saturday there we went to the market at the Ferry Building and listened to a group playing near the market.
Still in San Francisco, we went several times by a Chinese band close to our hotel. In Fisherman Wharf there was a one-man band rocking the passersby. We stopped and watched both bands for a while.
In August we went to the Decatur Book Festival and listened to a young lady playing the guitar. On our way out of the festival we stopped and watched a group singing and dancing capoeira from Brazil (I wrote a post on it here.)
In early October we went to New Orleans via the train called the City of New Orleans. Much music can be heard in New Orleans just walking down the streets. As we were walking to a restaurant, the evening after we arrived, a marching band was walking down our street as well.
Later we listened to a musician while sipping cafe au lait at the Cafe du Monde and even later a small group sounding just like African music was along Decatur Street - but I did not take any pictures. The next day, there was a good young band playing near Jackson Square - a park built in 1721. Many people were watching and some were even dancing.
Another day as we were walking along the Mississippi, a traveling musician came on his bicycle, tied it against the gate, and started playing his guitar sitting on his suitcase. A passerby stopped to sing and dance.
On a week cruise we heard a variety of musical genres, as the one below.
Returning to Memphis, Tennessee, the blues capital of the world, we did not walk along Beale Street since we had done this last year (post will come on this.) Instead our daughter invited us to a concert at the Cannon Center in downtown Memphis to see Don Williams (born in Floydada, Texas in 1939,) one of the few country singers I really like. You could tell that all his fans attended as they were singing with him and knew all the lyrics. It was a great show.
With a daughter in Memphis and another in Nashville, Tennessee, they have many opportunities to listen to their favorite musicians. A couple of months ago they went to a concert by the American rock musician (and occasional actor) Chris Isaak. They saw him in a pre-event get together and were able to have a chat with him - and take some photos. Here they are with him below.
Unfortunately, I did not go with them. But I found a video of Chris Isaak in France, singing My Blueberry Hill at La Cigale in Paris (near where I used to live,) in a duo with French rock star Johnny Halliday.
While in Memphis though we did go to a music museum and saw some real collectors' items in the music field and listened to old records.
In November, in a small trip to New York City - we did not stay long but heard some good music: a superb violinist in a corridor of Grand Central Terminal. Another night we attended an opera given by a small company in the Upper West side. It was Giuseppe Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera - I'll write a post later on our New York visit.
Just like in New Orleans, one can hear good music on New York's streets, or even in the subway.
One evening we were fortunate to buy a couple of tickets to a jazz production which sounded very exciting and was. It was "After Midnight" a Harlem Cotton-Club inspired musical on Broadway. Fantasia Barrino was guest star. The Wynston Marsalis 17-musician Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra was on the stage too playing some of Duke Ellington's greatest music. The singers and dancers were outstanding. It was thrilling and I would love to see the show again.
Back in Georgia, we saw a Christmas show at a senior center. After a youth choir a group of lively senior ladies (most in their 70s and 80s) gave a dynamic performance, dancing and singing to Christmas music.
Then finally, just a few days ago, we went to the Cathedral of St Philip, in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, to listen to the Russian choir "The State Capella of Russia." This company of 45 singers was touring the US. This was one of the best choirs I have ever listened to. They gave a program of Russian Christmas music as well as western classic, old Russian songs and folk songs. I knew some of these songs as my father had many Russian friends coming to our home when I lived in Paris. They were called "White" Russians then as they were emigres or refugees from the revolution in their country. My father could speak some Russian and I am sure felt close to them because just as them, he had lost his original country, was exiled in Paris, and could not go back.
The State Capella of Russia gave a magnificent performance - their clear and deep voices resonated in the great historic cathedral. Afterwards at a reception the singers mingled with the audience and shared some champagne and hors-d'oeuvres. This certainly was a wonderful way to finish a year of music.
They sang one of my favorite Russian folk songs which is called Однозвучно гремит колокольчик or Odnozvuchno gremit kolokolchik or Monotonously Rings the Little Bell. I took Russian in Paris, but that was a long time ago ... it still helped when I visited St Petersburg though. I attach my document showing my approximate translation of the song in French then translated into English.
The little bell is on a troika - with three horses side by side in front of it. The little bell keeps on ringing and keeps the horses running. There is often the sound of bells in Russian music. It is a melancholy song - a song of remembrance. I found a video of this old folk song -
So the year 2013 is coming to an end. I am pleased to have listened to such a variety of live music, now I can listen to my CDs - my husband gave me some Russian CDs for Christmas.
I hope you will hear some good music in 2014 and wish you all a Happy New Year