music


And if that’s not enough, how about this?

Tonight, while the boys were away for Pizza Rocket Day (I think I’ll save the explanation on that for another day), Kiki and I had a little dance-fest. Because who doesn’t love to dance with their favorite baby girl in the whole world? My only problem is that I’m so musically retarded that I have to scrounge from the depths of my adolescent years to come up with anything remotely danceable. I’m utterly ignorant of any and all new and currently popular music, so I’m sorry if these offend the senses, or take you back to 4th grade or anything. There is exactly one person who will be with me on these. You know who you are. And happy birthday last week, I’m so lame. I was gonna call you and I didn’t.

Who doesn’t love some good Chicago? I found a live recording of this song and was shocked at how bad it sucked. Don’t go searching for it, because your ears will bleed. Maybe this next one will be a little better? Wasn’t there a story about how Extreme got made fun of or accused of not being musicians and someone dared them to write a real song, and this was the result?

This next one is from 3rd grade P.E. class. I swear, they put us all in the gym, and this lady in a leotard and leg-warmers came in and made us do aerobics to this song. The visuals are not the traditional, but honestly, who sits around and makes random music videos with Spike in them? I gotta give them some credit for, I dunno, being some kind of weird that I just don’t understand.

And here’s some Jesus rock that maybe you haven’t become familiar with.

My very favorite album to dance to with my kids is The Sharpening Stone, by Kirkmount, a trio of brothers from Utah, but I don’t own it and it seems to be out of print or something, so if you have it, burn it for me. They played at my brother NungNung’s wedding, because everyone in my family has some sort of visceral reaction to their music. Also, the first time Derek ever told me he loved me was just after a Kirkmount concert we went to.

But back to the made-for-TV stuff I loved when I was 12, do you remember this? Do you remember how awesome it was in, what, 1987?

And who wasn’t in love with the Goblin King himself? Come on, you know you were. I even named my goldfish after him.

Turn back, Sarah! Turn back before it’s too late!

1. My brother NungNung called today, just to chat.

2. Zeeb has the most musical, delightful laugh in the universe. I can’t help myself from tickling him every singe day, because he’s so ticklish, and he’s guaranteed to rip out continuous, glittering, precious jewels of giggles. If I could bottle the sound, I could bring the world universal peace.

3. A funny doll I acquired while in Mexico in 1980. It’s a girl in traditional dress. My kids have discovered the doll, and love her, so I use it as an opportunity to teach them some Spanish, using funny voices and requiring responses.

4. Rugs. I’m so glad I bought a bunch of area rugs at Target when we moved into this apartment. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to explain why.

5. Sheila. She drove 6 hours to visit me this weekend, and we went to the farmer’s market, the Wool Gathering, and house hunting, while she prepared her syllabus for her American Lit class that started yesterday.

6. Farmer’s markets. The one we went to on Saturday was in Yellow Springs. I bought garlic, green beans, eggplant, tomatoes, watermelon, apples, parsley, basil, potatoes, chinese lantern peppers, and a purple cabbage. I don’t think I spent $20.

7. The Simpsons. Yes, I know I’m a bad parent, because what morally responsible parent plunks her kids in front of the TV and turns on the Simpsons? But honestly, I think it makes them smarter. That’s why I do it. That’s the real reason. I swear.

8. Sunglasses. I can’t believe how painful it is to walk outside into a bright, sunny day. I must be getting old.

9. Jem. I admit my preferences in popular music are quirky at best, infantile at worst, but I really like this album right now. My kids love to dance to it.

10. Maytag Blue. Cheese. So fantastically good with the farmer’s market green beans, some pecans sautéed in butter, and the cheese cut into small chunks and added while everything was still warm. Oh my heck.

I’ve tried to explain the problems with the music world for a long time, but I’ve never been well-read enough, nor eloquent enough to explain it. Luckily for me, my cousin Rachel did it on her blog.  Go read about corporate influence on Mass Culture Music.

If you’re LDS, and interested in the state of music in church, please go see this discussion at Exponent II. This is such an important topic to me. I think most of you know that I’m an organist, and that I have my degree in music. Yet I’m always afraid of offending people with my choice of prelude, postlude, and musical numbers. I want so badly for members of the church to broaden their horizons and accept the wonderful body of sacred music that is available, but it’s hard to know how to help without seeming (or being) overbearing, opinionated, and pushy. All of which I am.

I haven’t had this reaction for a long time. I was looking for links for my music meme post, and I found this one, and I started crying. There’s too much to explain, and it goes a long way back. But if you want to watch a real musician playing some real music, here it is. This is good stuff.

Here’s something a little different, but lovely. Lachrimae means tears. A pavan is a 16th century dance. John Dowland is a 16th century composer famous for his lute music.

If only my kids would stay away from the cd player. I got tagged by bon. I’m glad that’s all she stuck me with, since things don’t seem to going too well at her house. Anyway, here it is: List seven songs you are into right now…no matter what they are. BUT. They must be songs you are presently enjoying. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

Aaak! Do I really have to admit to the songs I’ve been listening to? First, I must explain my listening habits. I was never a big radio fan. Even in jr. high, I tried to listen to what everybody else was listening to, but I could never get into it. My best friend would always have the radio on, the tv on, be talking to me, and still be able to do her homework at the same time.

Me? If music is on, I’m actively listening to it. It’s not in the background. Sometimes it’s so distracting I get mad inside that I have to be subjected to it. Like in the grocery store? I HATE that. And in movies, if the music doesn’t seem appropriate to the mood or period, I can’t like the movie. Like Moulin Rouge. I couldn’t stand the movie, mostly because the music was such a hodge-podge of styles from too many eras. I also hate Ewan McGregor, and please, please never let him “sing” in another movie.

Also, I got my bachelor’s degree in music. I play the organ. I actually have organ music on cd, but I don’t listen to it. It’s for educational purposes. I also have lots of classical music, ditto.

So what am I enjoying right now? Well, I’ll have to include things I’ve listened to in the past 6 months, because I don’t switch very often. I’m trying not to be embarrased. Here they are:

1. I want you back – Jackson Five

2. Footloose – Kenny Loggins -OK, so it’s really the whole soundtrack

3. Nocturno – Frederico Moreno Torroba, played by John Williams

4. The Twa Corbies – Old Blind Dogs – I listen to this album more than anything else, but I think this is my favorite song on it.

5. Cold Day in July – Dixie Chicks

6. Serenity theme – Joss Whedon – this one’s from Firefly

7. And since it’s nearing Easter, the entire St. Matthew Passion by J. S. Bach, but my favorite song in it is the chorale Wer Hat Dich So Geschlagen?

And here’s the saddest part of my uncoolness. I don’t even know 7 other bloggers to tag. The only one who I would tag is the one who set me up.

For some people, breadmaking is a form of meditation. It is calming, and earthy. For me, I just really like fresh, home-made bread. I also like doing things that will in some way show my commitment to sustainability. By using my own steam, I am saving a microscopic amount of energy, keeping myself warm so I can feel better about having the thermostat low, and teaching my family that not everything has to come from a store. I like to make bread, but it is time consuming.

So, I like to listen to good music and get in a little dancing in the morning while I make my bread. My current favorite music for kneading is Close to the Bone, by Old Blind Dogs. They are a Scottish folk band with some modern influence. They are highly danceable. I especially like the ballad The Cruel Sister, and the instrumentals The Honeymoon reel/ Kings/ The Clayslaps reel, and The Universal Hall/ The Nuptial Knot/ The Barlinnie Highlander. The pipe tunes are so sweet, I can’t keep my feet still, and the rhythms are perfect for kneading, or for dancing with your baby. My kids also love this stuff. Calvin always sings along with the fa-la-las on The Cruel Sister. I’m sort of glad he can’t understand the words, though.

I also love Spanish Guitar Music, a collection by John Williams. He is so smooth, not at all distracting with crazy loose interpretation. Just the right kind of rhythmic. I hate listening to music where I can’t find the beat, or keep track of it. I listened to some Pablo Cassals the other day, and it nearly drove me crazy. He might be a master, but I like my Bach with a discernible beat. Not metronomic, just not so free that you can’t follow it. That’s how dear Pablo was. I couldn’t hang on to the melodies, I felt like I was in a small boat on the big ocean. Wave after wave was tossing me up and down. I might try that again someday, but definitely not for breadmaking.

Another good one is the soundtrack to Footloose. But that’s only if you’re really feeling hyper, and you have a jungle-gym to swing on in your kitchen.

I love The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart. This book has changed the way I think of bread, from the making all the way to the cutting and eating. I love bread, and I always will. Apprentice gives general instructions for all breads, and specific formulas for individual, and fantastic breads. The scientific section is so readable that I sat down and read it all the day I got the book. I have been accused of reading cookbooks, but this one was like a novel. I loved learning about yeast, the properties of flours, different kinds of heat, ovens, crazy places in Paris that I’ll probably never get to go to, and what to expect from a perfect loaf of bread. Also, it has a formula for the most intense and fantastical corn bread I’ve ever had. I made it the day after Thanksgiving for a big group, and it was a smash hit. Bacon. Yes, bacon.

Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible is similar to Apprentice, but has many more formulas. She seems to really like sweet things, breads with chocolate in them, etc. She is not a meditator. I found her introduction slightly off-putting, just because she so vehemently denied any spirituality in breadmaking. I just can’t think how one woman can tell anyone else that they can’t feel spiritual about any one thing. And I had already read Apprentice, which, to me, is much more welcoming and personal. It’s more about love. The Bread Bible has pretty pictures, and is very comprehensive. It has the same scientific info as Apprentice, so it really has what you need, and it has formulas for all those rich things like brioche and biscuits and chocolate bread. I just don’t like the tone as much. I feel like she thinks she knows everything, and is merely blessing us with her literary offerings. Granted, she does know a heck of a lot.

Another favorite is The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking, by Rick Curry. If you want something spiritual, here it is. He give recipes for seasonal breads, feast breads, and everyday breads. He also throws in some prayers, thoughts on meditation, beautiful stories of his breadmaking journey, and the joy he gets from sharing his bread. He makes bread every day, always some to give away. I love that. And the guy only has one arm. He makes his bread by hand, with one arm. I haven’t tried any of the recipes, because I only borrowed the book and had to give it back. But I think I’m going to buy it.

Before I had The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and The Bread Bible, I started with Secrets of a Jewish Baker, by George Greenstein. This is a good starter book. It does not go into detail about the science of bread, and the recipes sometimes have to be adjusted for your location (recipes are given in English measurements, not metric. I live in a very dry place, so flour is dryer and needs more moisture per cup to hydrate it fully. It is easier to weigh the flour and the water, rather than using a cup measure), and I also found more success with lower oven temperatures than the ones recommended. But the recipes are good, and uncomplicated. He give instructions for sponge and straight-dough methods, with hand mixing, food-processor mixing, and stand-mixer mixing. I think that’s helpful, especially for a beginning breadmaker.

But if you’re only going to get one book about bread, get The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.