Category Archives: music

Can Women Play Flamenco Guitar?

Before addressing that question, we may need a primer on what flamenco is

Flamenco is a complex art and culture with mysterious origins, but people agree somewhat upon the following: Its roots date to at least the 16th century. A fusion of Arab, Andalusian folkloric, and Gitano (gypsy) music with myriad influences, flamenco emerged as an outlet for the poor and oppressed. It consists of cante (song), baile (dance), toque (guitar), and percussive elements that include palmas (clapping), finger snapping, and shouts of encouragement (like “olé!”), plus a more esoteric layer known as duende, the dark emotion at the heart of everything—a concept popularized by the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca. The rest of the backstory is mostly the stuff of late-night, sherry-fueled debates.

Traditionally, only men played flamenco guitar. Why? Take a wild guess. But check out this article to get an eye opener.

And perhaps a reason to learn more about flamenco!


Next Up: A Micro Festival Summer!

Small is the new big

“Go small.” That’s the message trumpted by micro-festivals around the world. The definition of micro-festival varies—especially when it comes to size—the term generally refers to small, curated events focus on a specific type of music. Usually these are gatherings of fewer than 3,000 (some definitions put that cap at 20,000, still a far-cry from the hundreds of thousands at other festivals), and they often take place over two or three days. Micro-festivals aren’t packing their lineups with celebrity musicians, but the laid-back, intimate affairs foster a real sense of community. It’s not uncommon to rub elbows with off-the-clock headlining artists in the crowds, and you can expect to see lots of locals turning up for the afternoon; it really feels more like a very large wedding or family reunion than a typical music festival.

Remembering the Sixties – The Association

These days, people tend to think of the sixties in terms of the late sixties. In fact, a lot of stuff happened that led up to that last year or two. Here is a peek to a song that the Association made famous in 1966 !Along Comes Mary” (notice how the band is dressed) — errr, “Mary” may be marijuana! Just thought you might like to know.

An Evening Melody

Two words came to mind this evening. In fact, they did not just “come to mind”. They put on quite a show. They resonated in my mind. And that resonance had a strange effect. One moment, I had been in my dining room having a peaceful glass of wine. The next, I was transported back in time.

Not just to any time, but to certain moments many decades ago when I had felt similar sorts of resonance.s It was rather alarming to feel such a strong connection to things that had been long forgotten. But there you have it.  And there I was again, young and burdened with the powerful emotions that one feels in that time of life.

What kind of words could have that power? Strangely, I feel that just repeating them here will strip them of their power. Taken out of context, they seem like any of the other thousands of words we use and forget every day. But I will repeat them any way. They are sadness and sweetness. Two feelings that combined like a magic elixir to open my heart.

Where did those words come from? Quite by accident, I had bumped into an interview that James Taylor gave about his past. Among other things, he talked about how he wrote the song  “Fire and Rain”, one of his more famous songs It is a sad song, and it is a sweet song. A song about coming to terms with difficult feelings. . It just so happened, that the song had its own history in my life.

And I clicked up aYouTube video of Taylor singing that song many years ago. Here it is

Remembering Hugh Masekela

I didn’t know it at the time, but Hugh Masekela provided my introduction to African music. The song was “Grazing  in the Grass” and it hit the charts in 1968.

It was different than the other pop hits of that time. Relaxing rather than intense. Inviting and very smooth. Thanks Hugh!

I liked it and like it still. What about you?

Remembering Mel Tillis and Kenny Rogers

36 of Mel Tillis’s songs reached the top ten in country music charts. Not bad!. And one of his most well remembered is “Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town.”  The song is about love, so at least in one sense, it is pretty standard stuff for pop and country. But in every other way, it is way outside of pop tradition. It is not about super cool, ego maniacal youth. It is realistic and sad — about the need for love felt by a disabled vet. . So, why, you might think was Kenny Rogers signing it? Good question. But Rogers came out with the song in 1969 and made it a hit.

Mel just passed on, which presents us with a nice opportunity to look back on how Kenny Rogers sang his song. Watching it is a bit like stepping into a time machine. BTW, quick trivia question — what song did Kenny Rogers and the First Edition turn into a hit just before this? You might be surprised – it is the more drug related “I Just Checked in to See What Condition My Condition Was in” Remember that one? Enjoy!

Time to Put Morocco’s Oasis Festival on Your Calendar?

There is no shortage of music festivals around the world. Is there room for one more? Perhaps … if the venue is exotic, the creature comforts are extreme, and the music is inspiring. This is the promise of the Morocco Oasis Festival

(Founder Marjana Jaidi created a one-of-a-kind dance experience in the mountains of Marrakech that gives anyone who attends a chance to immerse themselves in the city’s rich culture, all while enjoying an incredible lineup. It’s the perfect balance between travel and music that will not disappoint.

The promo video at their website is awesome.

We just missed this year’s event. But it is on my calendar for consideration next year,

And you?