@RobDrabkin @nhso @ripple100 @andreayap @AmyDesmarais @jwierin @shesosocial @JaymesGrace @timtracey @followcb @MatthewBrowning
It may seem strange to include @RobDrakin, an obscure rock musician from Denver Colorado and the New Haven Symphony Orchestra which has been performing in New Haven for over a century, but there is actually an important theme.
Recently, I wrote a blog post entitled High Speed Social Fiber. It was about New Haven’s efforts to be a test bed for Google’s High Speed Fiber project. I mentioned how @andreayap and @ripple100 have been working with others to promote New Haven using social media. I suggested it is strengthening the social fiber of New Haven, whether or not New Haven gains the benefits of Google’s Fiber.
Thanks to Andre and Ripple100, a group of people interested in the use of social media to strengthen the fiber of communities attended last night’s performance by the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. It was a great performance.
As I listened to the majesty of Beethoven’s Eighth and Ninth Symphonies, I thought of the themes running together; starting in the violins, echoed in the basses, taken up by the horns. It reflected, for me, the nature of social media. While there is something beautiful about a solo violin, or a single message online, there is also great beauty achieved when the message or theme is repeated and moves from section to section. It applies to a symphony of social media as well as it does to a classical symphony. The folks that Andrea and Ripple100 gathered for the symphony last night are some of the best performers in the social media space.
So, what does this have to do with Rob? He, like Katie Garibaldi whom I mentioned last week, is a young musician who is using Twitter to promote his music. Will he join with other online musicians to create some sort of new symphony of social media? I hope so.
The first group that I want to highlight as part of my new Music Monday Orient Lodge Music Review is The Sweet Colleens, but before I get into talking much about them, I want to talk a little bit more about what I am doing with The Orient Lodge Music Review.
Orient Lodge is a blog that I’ve been writing since 2004. I’ve been getting around 15,000 page views a month as I write about an eclectic mix of topics. Recently, I decided to do a lot more music reviews here, and my goal is to pick one group a week to highlight. Some weeks, I might not get around to it. Other weeks, there might be a couple groups that I want to highlight at the same time.
I am accepting submissions on the Orient Lodge Sonic Bids page. For the first three months, I’ve committed to highlighting at least five groups, but I expect the number will be closer to twelve. In the first few days, I’ve received around thirty submissions. I’ve listened to all the songs for on the majority of submissions so far, and I’m building a list of who I intend to highlight on a week by week basis. This list will shift as I get new submissions.
It won’t be a typical music review. I’m more interested in talking about personal reactions to the music and to the intersection of the music, the performers, and our own experiences.
With that, let me talk a little bit about The Sweet Colleens. The first song in their Electronic Press Kit (EPK) on Sonicbids, is Wraggle Taggle, featuring Michael Doucet, from their CD Half a Mile From Home.
It is also known as “The Gypsy Laddie” and can be found as ballad 200 in the Child Collection. The Child Collection was published in the end of the nineteenth century and contained three hundred and five ballads from England and Scotland.
The first Child Ballad I remember hearing about was “The Great Silkie”, Child #113. If I recall properly, it was mentioned in the book Drifters, by James Michner. One of the drifters was a folk singer who sang that song. Prior to that, I had often heard the song Barbara Allen, which is Child #84, but I didn’t know it was from the Child collection
The Sweet Colleens rendition of The Gypsy Laddie has a special touch, with Michael Doucet of BeauSoliel playing on it. I’ve long enjoyed BeauSoliel’s music, and a touch of Cajan added to a great border ballad works really well.
Another song that The Sweet Colleens has in their EPK, also from the “Half Mile from Home” CD is “Wild Mountain Thyme”. This song was written by Francis McPeake and has been a long time favorite of mine, with many great folk musicians having performed it. They have a wonderful rendition of it.
On the same CD they also have their version of “The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore” by Jean Ritchie. This is a song about the woes of coal miners that has been covered by musicians from Johnny Cash to Michele Shocked. After the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, folk songs about the woes of coal miners are coming again to the forefront.
In January, they came out with a new kids CD, The Monkey Dance. The music is good, but I’ll leave the reviewing of those songs to my youngest kid.
So, I’m pleased to start off my new series by highlighting a really fun group that digs back to early English and Scottish ballads and presents it, along with more recent music, in a way that is truly enjoyable. Check out their CD. If you live in Minnesota, check them out at Kieran’s Irish Pub. Then, come back next week to see who I highlight next.
@katiegaribaldi @viennateng @aidenjamestour @iHobo @songsalive
I’ve been busy with a collection of technology and music issues during the day, and haven’t really gotten a good chance to write a long blog post. So, I’m doing a simple Follow Friday blog post talking about some musicians on Twitter.
Recently, I entered an agreement with Sonicbids to review emerging artists that submit their electronic press kits for me to review. Typically, there is a page with a brief biography, and perhaps a few links, a page with half a dozen songs, and a few other related pages. Often people include links to other pages they have online. MySpace and ReverbNation tend to top the list. Every once in a while, I find a link to Twitter or Facebook.
The first person to submit their music to me was Katie Garibaldi. Since she submitted her music, I’ve received about two dozen other submissions, so I’m still going through them and trying to decide who I’ll highlight on Monday. However, besides being first, Katie also has links to her twitter account, @katiegaribaldi and her Facebook Fan Page. I’ve followed her in both places and encourage others to do the same.
Her bio also mentions that she “volunteers as the San Francisco chapter coordinator of the non-profit organization that supports artists and songwriters, Songsalive”. (@songsalive)
With this as a starting point, I thought I would highlight a few other musicians whom I like that are on Twitter. They are all musicians that I heard at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. They include @viennateng, @aidenjamestour and @iHobo. I’ve added all of these into my music list on Twitter.
Check out these fine musicians, and if you follow other good musicians I should follow on Twitter, let me know.
I haven’t been a regular participant in the Music Monday meme, but over the weekend, I attended a production of Les Miserable at our local high school (a href=http://www.orient-lodge.com/node/4064>review). As I researched my blog post, I started finding more and more information about just how talented the students at Amity High School really are.
With that, even though Country is not my favorite genre, I figure it is good to highlight Marla’s music on this Music Monday.
Perhaps the pinnacle of theatrical experiences is when we become so immersed in a production that we are watching that we forget the theatre we are sitting in, and willing suspend any disbelief that we have somehow been transported to some fantastic other world taking place on the stage. For me, Amity High School’s production of Les Miserable failed to reach that pinnacle. I was all too aware that I was sitting in the high school theatre, next to my eight year old daughter, about whom I worried if she would be able to make it through a three hour production well past her bed time. Also sitting next to me was my wife, decompressing after a long drive home from Hartford after a vehicle fire had closed I-91. Beyond them was my mother-in-law, my priest and his wife, my daughter’s school bus driver, and many friends from about town gathered for this important social event. This suspension of disbelief was further challenged when the smoke machines set off the fire alarms during Act II.
Beyond this, was the music of Les Miserable; much of which I knew by heart, and somehow, a 19th century France where the only communication is by people singing in English makes a suspension of disbelief more difficult. As the musical started, my mind wandered to political implications. In the opening scene Jean Valjean learns that his criminal background prevents him from finding gainful employment. Of course this was two hundred years ago, and we don’t have issues like that in twenty first century Connecticut, right? This year’s “Ban the Box” bill which would made it illegal for the state and businesses that contract with the state to ask applicants if they’ve been convicted of a crime during the first round of review, failed to make it out of committee.
Yet there was, perhaps, a more important willingness to suspend disbelief taking place at Amity High School last night. While the production failed to completely transport me to 19th century France, I did forget that I was not at a professional production. Early on when Marla Morris, in the role of Fantine, sang “I dreamed a dream”, my mind wandered to the sensation Susan Boyle created when she sang that song on “Britain’s Got Talent”. Yes, Simon Cowell might have some snide comment Marla Morris’ performance, but you won’t find comments like that from me. I thought her performance was stellar. It set the stage for high expectations for the rest of the night.
With this, I wondered how well Dalia Medovnikov would be able to carry off the great song “Castle in the Cloud”, in her role as the young Cosette. I was not disappointed and instead look forward to seeing her perform in a starring role at Amity High School when she is older.
Of course, the real star of the show was John Jorge in the role of Jean Valjean. After his performance as Roger Davis in last year’s production of Rent, there was little doubt that he would make an excellent Jean Valjean. This role demanded much more versatility as we followed Valjean through the years, and Davis carried it off with exceptional talent.
Ken Adair, after his success as Benjamin Coffin III in Rent last year, turned in another great performance as Valjean’s nemesis, Javert. Likewise, Connor Deane, after his success as Tom Collins in Rent last year, provided another strong performance, this time as Marius, and it was great to see Alli Kramer in her role as Eponine.
It has often been said that many standing ovations are caused by people wishing to get to the parking lot and head home, and it could easily be imagined that after a three hour performance, some people might stand for that reason. Yet that was not the case at opening night. Instead, the audience stood and clapped and did not move. Even after the house lights came up, there was no rush to leave. My eight year old daughter, barely still awake reveled in the experience, telling friends that she liked it even more than Mama Mia which she had seen at the Bushnell in Hartford.
No, the Amity High School production of Les Miserable did not transport me to nineteenth century France. Instead, it transported me to a small community in Connecticut that values the arts and has high school musicians delivering performances that exceeded many professional performances that I’ve seen. That is a place I’m much happier to have been transported to.
Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes
(Cross posted at the Woodbridge Citizen.)