foto friday – inspiration

Internet

It often occurs to me that taking a good photograph is not necessarily hidden in the subject matter as much as it is what the photographer brings to it.

Blending a lifetime of experiences and inspiration together to bear on a single moment of understanding and expression is a wonderful experience and even more satisfying when it can be shared.

I will be away for the next couple of weeks (until November) and have decided to share some of the joy and celebration that has gone into my understanding of the world.

Through the years music has probably played a larger role in my life than any other factor. Looking back I know it informs me as much as anything I see and it’s my intention to share one piece per post until I return.

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wednesday – what is hip?

“The more the things change, the more they stay the same.  It may be a different age, but I’m on the same page. But there’s one thing that I’ve found.  I still be diggin’ on James Brown.”

I was a little shocked to find that these guys are still playing and are better than ever. I discovered the world of jazz with bands like this and they connected the past with the rest of the world and brought it into the present.

I am only jealous that I don’t live near Ft. Lauderdale where I could watch them play on April 20th at the Parker Playhouse. These giants of jazz have been behind so much music it’s incredible. From the San Francisco summer of love to Santana, they have underscored my life.

TowerOfPower_2017

tower-of-power-1967

wishful wednesday – Tshinanu

Listening to the radio is an experience that has been with me since I was a child.

For me, good radio has and always will be, the original and best blogging platform. That’s when it’s presented in competent hands. And while most of the world’s great broadcasters have  squandered and pissed away their culture and heritage; the national francophone radio station in Québec has been at the top of my list for over 10 years now, and always close for the last 30.

Like most of the important cultural fabric in our daily lives, radio in Québec is always under constant threat of assimilation and negation, which is what leads me to this post today.

Tshinanu, it’s who we are – all of us. And while this song has rattled around my head for a very long time, I never really connected to it beyond the music. Re-hearing it this week made me want to look at the visuals and it was only then that I began to really understand. It’s all of us.

darkroom notes -sunil ganguly

161023-sunil-gangulyOver the many years and countless hours of darkroom work, I was always accompanied by shortwave radio and music. The work being in parts demanding, tedious and time consuming; there was plenty of time to intently listen. And this meant that music that wasn’t very good was quickly discarded and music that stood the test was played over and over again. Some of it so deeply ingrained that I began to enjoy it outside the darkroom and it still accompanies me today.

The other aspect of having the time to listen at length and depth meant that exploration of a subject was a welcome affair. Given that music resources were not what they are today, the dross generally fell to the bottom  while good radio presenters, critics and liner notes often lead you down interesting and interwoven paths. The original resources being manageable, and roughly accessible to both listener and musician alike.

Amongst other things, I developed a lasting interest in film composers and arrangers. Two immensely creative areas that managed to have been washed out with the swelling tide of singer-stars and international commodification.

Bernard Herman, Quincy Jones, Henri Mancini, Lalo Schifrin and Ennio Morricone; they all became companions and friends. It was easy to search out their music and always a deep pleasure to hear.

I don’t really want to write about film music here as much as I would like to share. Because there is one album I return to again and again. And while rightfully Sunil Ganguly is not so much a composer, he was a masterful critic, arranger and musician.Not to mention my introduction to Indian film.

Not having grown up with Indian music I find it too vast a repertoire to know. But to roughly quote Duke Ellington, it comes down to the fact that there are two kinds of music in this world — music that is played well and music that is not; and the music that’s not played very well is generally the music that’s not very good.

Personally I would argue this makes Sunil Ganguly excellent. And why I’m leaving it for you too decide. A good listen change your week for the better as for decades it’s managed to benefit mine.

friends of distinction

friends-distinction

We don’t turn on the radio very often any more. In fact, recently I’ve encountered quite a few people who’ve never turned on a radio ..Much less heard a song like this one.

It’s a shame actually. For a brief period, popular music managed to cut across all sorts of boundaries and brought some needed fun into an ugly world.  We could do with more of this right now, but I don’t hear much music in public. It’s gone from stores, homes, buses and street along with the celebration of life it can be.

For a short time, hits like this were commonplace before music became an industry. And what’s gone missing is the genuine verve, sophistication and audacity of this music.

You might want to get outside, kick off your shoes and turn this one up ..jes sayin’.

 

 

 

eroica

beethoven-eroica

In my mind, there has always been a sense of something truly revolutionary flowing from the area between Leipzig and Prague. Over the years it has somehow become a comfortable and burnished home for much of my thought and served to deeply inspire me since my early years as an adult.

Never having been there, I have little desire to visit. I would rather it remain the collected wealth of cultural experience and inspiration that I have cobbled together over the years.

I have no idea why I feel so at home with Bach, Wagner, Schumann, Mahler, Weber, Goethe, or even Hus. But over time I have come to understand, just a little, the genius and revolutionary greatness of Beethoven.

The ability of any individual to tap deeply into their cultural surroundings and wrestle out a single work that presents them unsullied to the future, is a feat of astonishing brilliance and talent. Especially when that world is being torn apart and transformed in powerful and unimaginable ways.

The  sudden, forcefull, mass upheaval of ideology in Europe at the turn of the 19th century – with it’s pervasive repudiation of the known universe – set the stage for the world we inhabit today. Deeply complex, violent, and often incomprehensible in rational terms, it’s a world we’re still vainly trying to understand and tame.

Beethoven felt and understood the passion, torment and necessity behind the cries for freedom, equality and ability to gather together freely. A witness to the riotous birth of a new idea andexpression of a fervent hope, his Eroica Symphony captures this and more.

Eroica_Beethoven_title

I saw this film by accident nearly a decade ago and it has haunted me through the years. Especially the sound of the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique under Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

By the end – open jawed – I couldn’t believe what I’d just seen. I had no real idea how powerful this piece must have been when it was first played. And how contemporary and meaningful it could remain today.

“Released on an unsuspecting world in 1804” is an understatement.

I’ve been searching constantly over the last ten years in order to see it again. I only recently discovered it online and suspect it’s life here could be brief. Even though it’s long, I urge you to take a look before it disappears again. This may be the last and only chance you’ll get. There are no guarantees it’ll stick around, so I urge you to find a big screen and some quality sound before it disappears for good, and the ideas along with it.

shake the dust

shakethedust

Gaining and sharing a new perspective on the world is one of the blessings of mankind.

I believe it’s one of those fundamental things that allow us to flourish. Properly named, it could be art.

More important though is the culture from which it springs. Culture made from the not so special lives of very ordinary people going about their every day business. Surprisingly and more often than we think; many of these very ordinary people are capable of taking a talent for something they love and sharing it freely with those around them. Often managing to transcend their small personal situations and teaching us about freedom and the need for it’s expression.

This is the very best of culture. At heart it’s who and what we are and it’s this that deserves our protection and respect.

http://www.shakethedust.org/ for more info

What he thinks he’s doing.

vadar

It seems there’s been a lot of kidding about old people having fun recently, and having the perspective of youth makes it easy to do.

How we sense ourselves seems to constantly grow and change over time and unfortunately others don’t get to see this from the inside even at the best of times. So when things begin to bubble over the edges, it seems ridiculous.

But when you get to a place where you can produce things like this; it doesn’t matter what we think he’s doing

…we’ve been schooled.