Saturday, February 21, 2015

My Playlist for Spanish Class

Not all of my play list choices will have lyrics, because so much of the great music of Spanish/Latino culture is instrumental.  Not all of it is even in Spanish, though the song that is not in Spanish is from the Mixtec people who are surrounded by Spanish language speakers and who probably are all fluent in Spanish as well themselves.

My first selection is Rodrigo y Gabriela.  They started out as Mexican heavy metal musicians but decided they wanted to compose their own music, which has evolved into a lively style of flamenco influenced instrumental music.  They did not gain a large following until they had spent some time playing on the streets and in restaurants in Ireland.  "Tamacun" is one of their best known pieces.

Next is Andrés Segovia, from Spain. one of the most famous classical guitarists of the past century. He performed well into his 80s. It is said that Segovia did much to promote the guitar as a serious musical instrument, worthy of concert hall performances.  "Asturias" is one of my favorites:

This is a Venezuelan version of  "La Partida", a South American waltz. Again no lyrics, just music to enjoy.  You can discover a multitude of other musical styles and performers by following up on YouTube's suggestions for related music after you listen to this one.

Finally, with some lyrics, is this music from a Chilean group, Inti Illimani, called Fiesta de San Benito. This music moves back and forth, then seems to pause, then moves forward, with the cadence of a street parade:

This song is most popular in Venezuela and has strong African influences.  The lyrics can be found here.

This next song is from another continent and another era. "Morena me llaman" originated from the Sephardic Jews in Renaissance Spain, and is sung in Ladino, which is close to, but not exactly, Spanish. The lyrics, and their English translation, can be found here.

Back across to the Americas, this is a song called Atahualpa. It is normally sung by Huayucaltia, a Los Angeles based group who sing Latin American "nueva cancion or trova" style songs, however the only version I was able to find was not sung by them; I believe they have requested their songs be taken off YouTube.  So I have here a non-native speaker of Spanish, performing in her living room.  But she sings slowly and clearly and both Spanish and English lyrics are provided in the YouTube notes.  The melody is haunting, as are the lyrics.

Next is Pasatono Orquesta's "Obertura maromera". I haven't been able to find the lyrics yet, but this article has a lot of information on the background to their musical traditions. This is a Oaxacan circus song:

A wealth of cultural images are shown in the video as the song is played in the background.

I confess that this next video, "Ama ka kui kundui Ñuu you"  strays completely away from Spanish!  It is in the Mixtec language, spoken by people native to the Oaxacan region of Mexico.  The performer, Leonidas Rojas, is also associated with Pasatono Orquesta and I have included it for another glimpse into the culture of one specific region of Mexico. So far I have only found a translation of the title as "Cuando salí de mi pueblo". I saw an English translation as "when I leave my people".


With so much of this music I feel like I am only coming in contact with the tip of a cultural iceberg, and there is much more exploration to be done.  Despite the amount of information on the internet, it can be difficult to find a lot of information on some of these songs and the traditions they represent.

Next, Ojos de Brujo's  "Tesoro" is a much more sophisticated sounding song.  Ojos de Brujo, or "Eyes of the Sorcerer" is from Barcelona and combines hip hop and flamenco in their music:

The lyrics can be found here. Or, another version here, if you want to have a good laugh over the attempted English translation.

The last song, Huepa Huepa, music from the Dominican Republic, performed by Daniel Indart, should get you out of your seats and off of the internet, where we all spend too much time.  Even if you aren't in the mood to dance, the lyrics promise to be spicy enough to wake you up:

Spanish lyrics found  are under the music on Youtube.

I know I am only scratching the surface.  Spanish language music and the music of Latin American countries (not always in Spanish) has a vast amount of influences and regional specific history.  I have been listening to enough lately that YouTube has decided to present me with ads in Spanish, which are rather less annoying than ads in English.

I have these songs in a collection on YouTube and will add more to the collection as I find them:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

And, after all that whining

I've settled into a semester that seems to have the right combination of sitting and activity, especially since I've fit the gym into my schedule for the first time in my life.  Off to it soon now, which is why this post will be brief.  Me gusta mucho mi clase de espanol (but don't know how to do diacritics in blogger yet, apologies, "enye").

I need to post pictures from Hawaii, and some digital quilts I've made from bits and pieces of those pictures.  I picked up GIMP after months away and am enjoying revisiting techniques I was using a couple of years ago.  Again I am glad for this blog because I have forgotten how to do certain things.

More anon....

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ah, yes, about that busyness

So I've told myself it's not a great idea to complain about things on Facebook because it causes people to either get tired of what you are saying or causes them to go to great lengths to try to cheer you up when really you just need to process things on your own for a while.

But I didn't promise myself not to gripe on my blog.  Because what else are blogs for?  :-)  Actually, I'm not really complaining, I'm just realizing that I do need to process some how busy do I really want to be with my life?  And the processing may just involve letting my life settle for a week, so that I understand just how much time my classes will actually take.  That's always an issue.....when you accomplish things you have to take time to do them, and when you do this for classes that last a semester you automatically limit the other things you can do.  Looking at multiple months that are no longer as "open" as I would wish them to be makes me feel rather restricted.  But I have to accept some sort of restrictions, I'm feeling, in order to give myself direction and to provide myself with measurable accomplishments at the end.

Ahhhh, such a First World Problem, poor poor me with enough time and money to take classes, or not take classes.  I could drop them all if I wanted.....I could choose to devote minimal time to them and get poor grades, who cares?  Which may be a bit of what is bugging me, as the beginning of an academic semester brings with it a lot of questions about goals: why are you taking this class? what do you see yourself doing in five years (I was asked this today by my Plant Propagation teacher....I really don't know!)?  what is your major?

Also I feel like I am straying away from art related things, though language could serve it, and plants are always a part of my life, art or not.  It's a bit strange to be retaking a class I took 30 some years ago.  A lot of things I know about plants I have known for so long they are instinctive.  Repotting root-bound plants: I did some things without anyone telling me to; perhaps they would have even asked me not to.  And people are randomly bossy to newcomers, it goes with the territory.

I just need to be in these new situations long enough to have something vested in them.  And I have two entire days off, and two afternoons off, so, except for Thursdays, I really have more time this semester than last.  But I'm wondering when it will be time to stop dabbling?  Or am I in the dabbling stage of my life up until the end.  And perhaps it's just the contemplation of that slippery slope that is getting to me.

Mommmmy, I'm bored, are we there yet?

I should not forget to do physical things, and contemplative things and creative things.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ode to Spring Semester, 2015

Busy busy busy: So I have around 4000 images from Hawaii to clean up and post and comment on, a bazillion images left over from Europe still, and I just started a Spanish class at BCC with a million online resources and start plant propagation classes tomorrow....if wealth is measured in business I will be a millionaire by the end of spring....all self-imposed business, btw.  I see what they meant about retirement..........  It does feel a little directionless or scattered, though there is much to be said for learning for the sake of learning.

Let's see now.....I will become proficient in Spanish so I can go to Spanish speaking countries and take and develop lots of photos of local crafts and plants and will then go home and create web-based guides to the regions and the crafts and start new tropical plants from seeds.....there, that should put all of my recent and current classes to use....Let's throw in a bit of swimming in hopes that my back gets stronger as well, maybe throw in some dance lessons for stamina...... Also need to keep working on fixing up my house, need to manage my money more accurately.... ok, now what?  :-)


 This is at the beginning of it all, when it all seems manageable and success is almost guaranteed. Let's revisit this at the end of the semester when I drop everything else to complete the classes and my allergies are acting up and my back is probably still hurting. Then ask me about how anticipatory I am feeling!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Germany Vacation: St. Peter's Church and Wernerkapelle, Bacharach

This was my first European church tour.....and a good starting place because this one was small and approachable, brightly colored and not filled with other tourists.

The original church was built in 1094, though it has been rebuilt several times since then.  It has certainly had a recent paint job and I love the intense, folky colors.  This church is in constant use for services and community events, so it doesn't seem like a dusty old relic.

 Rick Steves calls the style of these column details "Grotesque", the arches "Romanesque" and "Gothic". Interestingly enough, when I did a google search for images related to this church, I didn't come up with many interior details, even though they must exist.  It's cool to think some of these might end up in searches, even though they aren't all perfect shots. The church has been repainted in supposedly medieval colors.  I notice that some commentators on travel reviews found this too gaudy, but I'm all about color, so I quite liked it.  I want to combine those greens and oranges in a beading or embroidery project!

Yes, she's doing what you think she's doing, even though the photo is a bit blurry.

I think this is left over from a much earlier era:

Future Death Metal band shirt logo:

This is the tomb of Johann Friedrich von Wolfskehl, from 1609.  

awww, I cut off his beard while capturing the inscription above his head:

This is probably a dog, but it looks rather weasel-like:

Metalwork on the front door:

Inside of front door:

I hope I learn in the future to take more notes as I go along, so that I can place the photos I take in a better context, but honestly, much of this trip was spent taking as many pictures as I could during short visits to places with infinite details.

A brief break provided by Violet, who typed this while warming herself on my keyboard:


Now, back to our travelogue:

We first discovered Wernerkapelle while looking for the safest way down from Stahleck Castle in the dark.  It's pretty impressive, either in the dark or daylight, though it has a sad history.  A boy, Werner of Oberwesel (a nearby town) was found murdered here in 1287.  The good folks of the town decided that he had been murdered by Jews for Passover rituals (see "blood libel" in Wikipedia).  Jews were in turn killed via pograms and this building was begun in honor of Werner.  The building was never finished and was largely destroyed during one of the times that Stahleck was attacked.  A sort of religious cult sprang up around Werner, which was not fully removed from religious observation until the 1960s.  Ah, history.....

Postcards of Wernerkapelle, fading in a Bacharach store window:

It is lit for maximum Gothic effect during the evening.  This is an untouched photo:

And this is one with the exposure ramped up:

Zee with halo:

Zee and Logan with halos:

There is a plaque here that includes a quote from Pope John XXIII:

“We recognize today that many centuries of blindness have shrouded our eyes, so that we no longer saw the goodliness of Thy Chosen People and no longer recognized our firstborn brother’s traits. We discover now that a mark of Cain stands on our forehead. In the course of the centuries our brother Abel has lain in blood that we spilt, and he has wept tears that we brought forth, because we forgot Thy love. Forgive us the curse that we unrightfully affixed to the Jews’ name. Forgive us for nailing Thee in their flesh for a second time to the Cross. For we knew not what we did........."

In general, we saw a multitude of castles nearby, and each has its history of conquest and attempted conquest.  We think of violence on the streets of our towns as being the result of modern, corrupted society and poverty, but in reality humans have had no problems with offing each other throughout the centuries, in the name of religion, land conquest, what-have-you.  Some murders become glorified under a patina of history, but murder is still murder, death is still death....

More castles, and a deathly bout of hay fever, to come next....

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Germany Vacation: More Bacharach

More pictures from Germany travels: Zee picked out Hotel Kranenturm based on Rick Steves' recommendation (did I mention that we worship good ol' Rick in our household?  ). It was really a great, calming, introduction to 3 weeks of constant travel. The owners are really nice and friendly, even though they see thousands of tourists in a year, Kranenturm means crane tower and it's one of the older buildings in Bacharach. At one time the Rhine River ran closer to the edge of town and wine casks would be let down onto boats from this tower. We were on one of the top floors and had some inspiring views of the town from our windows. The 3 flights of worn wooden spiral stairs got me in practice for Amsterdam. More interesting pictures to come, this is just a bit of travelogue, that is, stuff I am posting because I like the memories it provokes, even though the photos aren't all that special to anyone but me..... 

Front entrance to the hotel. You reach the train station and the river front through the tunnel road on the right.  I loved the walkability of the whole thing.....from train to hotel, to town exploration and, at the end, back to the train and the next destination.

My first spiral staircase on this vacation.  The wooden stairs are warped and worn from years of use, but they are solid and feel like they will still be in use centuries from now.

The thick glass windows alongside the spiral stairs.  One day I will dust off my GIMP and have a lot of abstract fun with these....

Our little room up at the top of all those stairs:

 Even the laundry room was sunny and pleasant.  :-)

Fatima, one of the owners, loves plants and the real things, not plastic, are tucked away everywhere.  The outside dining area is surrounded by planter boxes.  I appreciate it more because in a town like this one doesn't just run to the local Home Depot for instant arrangements, these things must be protected during the cold season and perhaps propagated locally.

Overexposed moss on the rooftop; I need to revisit this one and adjust it a bit, because I'm sure it was green and not gray!

I love the curving slate roofs.

These black birds often gathered on the roof next door.  Not crows, they had a different call, but definitely relatives.

Views from the laundry room window, I believe:

View of Wernerkapelle from our hotel room window; more on this structure on my next post.

Here is where I started the beading project that would carry me through much of the vacation.  It was especially useful once my allergies discovered me and I was stuck inside part of the time.

OK, so these are rather cooing travel details....what can I say, the hotel was cute and the views great and the proprietors personable.....So, to make my advertisement complete, if you ever find yourself staying in Bacharach, be sure to stay at the Hotel Kranenturm, just don't claim that little room at the top on the same dates that I want it!  And I'll be sure to start complaining about things soon, like my massive allergy attack during our medieval castle visit, and lost luggage in Amsterdam, yes, then you will hear some proper whining!  :-)