Sunday, March 27, 2011

Eino Tulikari - Kantele

Here is one of the really nice folk music discoveries I've made. Eino Tulikari (1905-1977) played the kantele, an instrument that makes a very distinctive bell-like intonation. The kantele is the pride of Finnish culture - not that you hear it played very often, but it is mentioned in the Kalevala, the national epic of Finland, and so has mythic status.

The first time I heard this, I was transported to another time and place - for some reason, these tunes remind me especially of the 19th century. They seem so nostalgic of former times. I have this collection in my iPod shuffle playlist, and it always seems to fit in very well with the other music. So here's thanks to Tulikari, a masterful musician who shaped this music into superlative form.

Download here (no password):


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Irish Music - YouTube Playlist

Celebrating Irish music for St. Patrick's Day is fun even for us barely-even-5 %-Irish folk. The music is some of my favorite any day of the year, so let me share a few tunes from YouTube that I like, in a bunch of different styles.

The songs are set up as a playlist. Press the "Play all" button; then you'll see the advance and go back arrows toward the bottom of the screen on the left, so you can skip through. Here goes:

Have fun!


P.S.: I found an article by Niall Wall a few years ago that I think sums up why so many people like Irish music; let me share it with you...

Music from the Gods
By Niall Wall

Excerpt from Treoir Magazine
In Celebration of Fleadh 2000

Being surrounded by Traditional Irish Music, Song and Dance never fails to bring to mind, for me, the lines from Nikolai Zabolotsky's poem 'A Walk' -

'A weightless bird circles
In the deserted sky,
Its throat labouring
Over an ancient song.'

Our music is older than humankind. It comes from the Gods and our ancestors learned it not from sheets or manuscripts but from the birds in the trees, the wind whistling through lonely glens; to the beat of rain and with the pace of mountain streams in turn rushing headlong to the sea and swirling lazily over deep river pools. It comes down to us cherished by each generation, not classified and purged of emotion but as a living sense to which we belong more than it belongs to us.

We do not play our music; it pours from us as part of our collective consciousness, both past and present.

Through a sometimes turbulent and difficult history, traditional Irish Music, Song, and Dance have sought refuge in the hearts of the poor and dispossessed. Now, in more prosperous and confident times yes, for other reasons and in other ways no less difficult, the music will repay that trust and, as with previous generations, will fortify, enrich and sustain us.

Naturally occurring, our music does not threaten: it is positive, gentle and benign. Yet it is powerful in that it can arouse, touch and move the very soul. In lands far away, people have listened to this beautiful music, and thus touched, have become some part Irish without having been to Ireland or even having met an Irish native.

This music is our birthright, our heritage.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Good Alternate Chrome Logo

I have always disliked the original logo for Google's Chrome browser - looks too much like a plastic toy. The above design, which has been slightly modified without reinventing the wheel, can be found here:

Similar, but much cleaner. I like it this way. They're predicting it may look something like the new logo, as you can see from the URL. Who knows? Anyway, in order to use it in Windows, you'd have to convert it to an .ico file, which you can easily find out how to do online.

I started using Chrome as my default browser because the Firefox on my system got hit with a rerouting virus. So far, Chrome is working well. It's fast and handles most pages well, except for the playlist on this blog (see above). In Firefox, Opera, and Explorer, the playlist looks the way I intended - not so much in Chrome or Safari. Oh, well. Can't figure everything out.