Saturday, January 31, 2015


Young Artists, that is: Theo Lebow, Deborah Nansteel, Hunter Enoch

Deborah Nansteel was a Glimmerglass Young Artist, too, not long ago, and iirc did kind of a killer O don fatale at the Young Artists recital that year. She and Theo Lebow return to Seattle next month as part of the alternate cast for Semele, and we should probably all go.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Celtic Connections

Okay I promise to quit with the folkie stuff for a while but this was recorded yesterday and Norma Waterson is still boss.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Ian Bostridge has a piece on Winterreise in the Guardian. I like Ian Bostridge, and what he says here is mostly fine, I guess, whatever, except leaning on this old stereotype is about as weak as talking about opera singers by their excessive weight:

"The simple classical delivery of a folk song by a “trained” voice may sound uptight and artificial to an audience used to hearing “Barbara Allen” or “O Waly Waly” in the nasal twang that has become associated with an “authentic” folk voice."

Since he doesn't bother to illustrate this notorious folk twang on Waly Waly (and seriously, dude, are those the best trad songs you could come up with, or just the only?), we'll do that for him:

Perhaps if he'd asked someone, they might have told him that the problem is with the word "simple". Also, I get the whole Schubert/Dylan thing, but doesn't it sort of add insult to injury to make the other pole of this argument the guy famous for lifting tunes off those nasally folk singer records and recording his own even more nasally versions of them without any attribution whatsoever?

Meanwhile, here's a couple of unskilled Leiermänner droning on and on with another irritating folksy tune.

Somebody once asked in an internet forum how a beggar could afford to own a hurdy-gurdy, given how complicated the instruments are in construction, and thus how expensive. I put the question to a guy who owned the most kick-ass instrument I ever heard -- a simple box design made in Hungary out of what appeared to be old barn siding -- and he thought for a moment and said "Long winters." There's unskilled, and there's unskilled.

I guess this article has annoyed me more than I thought. So in closing here's a video for Child Owlet made by seven-year-olds. Barbara Allen, pfffff. Weak.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Thursday pronouncement from the Ministry of Noise

We take a moment from our regularly scheduled programming to announce that David Surette's version of Planxty Fanny Power is the best arrangement of a Carolan tune ever. Still.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I'd like to point out that really one of the best things about this track is the Nields in the background singing "Christians, Pagans, together, oohaaaaahhh...."

A happy and peaceful next few days, however you choose to spend them.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Child 170

In honor of my new downstairs neighbor, whom I haven't yet met but who was just singing an iteration of this song -- the Dáithí Sproule version, probably filtered (slightly anachronistically) through Inside Lewin Davis, but hey, we'll take it.