Poem-A-Day: Ani diFranco (again)

Here’s another poem-set-to-music by Ani diFranco. This one is from a live performance, possibly the same version as on her live double album Living In Clip (which is one of those take-with-me-if-I’m-stranded-on-a-deserted-island albums, by the way, so definitely check it out if you’re interested in hearing more of her music).

In “Not So Soft,” Ani takes on inequity.

Poem-A-Day: Ani diFranco

So, the connection and crossover between poetry and song is storied and long. I think it was Paul Otremba, in a poetry workshop I was taking, who once suggested (and I’m paraphrasing) that if the song lyrics could stand on their own, if they didn’t need the experience of the music behind them to be meaningful or have an impact, they were probably also poetry. This seems like as wonderful an explanation as any I’ve ever heard about where these two forms overlap.

One of my favorite artists, without question, is the incomparable Ani diFranco. I love her work. Sometimes her albums (and her concerts) offer us a bit of spoken-word poetry, and because I’m keen to demonstrate that poetry comes to us in sometimes unexpected places and unexpected ways, tonight I’m sharing this song/poem of hers.

“Tamburitza Lingua” appears on the Reveling/Reckoning double album. It captures, adeptly, the existential angst of life in America at the apprehensive end of the last century and precarious dawning of this one, intertwined with the existential angst also of being a human of a particular mindset, age, and consciousness. I think you’ll understand this as you listen to the words, which are backed up deftly with a minimalist score that increases the feelings in the poem in an unexpectedly catchy, but never kitschy, way. (As a side note, a “tamburitza” is a mandolin-like instrument played in Slavic regions, and “lingua” means resembling or a part of a tongue.)

There are other videos of this song which are perhaps more interesting to watch, but I’m not really focused on that. This is a beautiful image, the lyrics show up like a moving poem over it, and the audio is good. Please to enjoy.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=tamburitza+lingua&qpvt=tamburitza+lingua&view=detail&mid=608041E006FCCCF07D49608041E006FCCCF07D49&FORM=VRDGAR

12 Days of Christmas Music to Improve Your Playlist (Day 11)

I confess that chief among the Christmas songs I cannot stand is “Little Drummer Boy.”

It would be easy to blame this on the fact that I had to sing it for my grade school’s Christmas program in sixth grade, but that’s probably not it. I think it’s more that nearly every single version of this song I’ve ever heard — and dear gods, there are many — is so unutterably dispiriting. How many different ways can you make a song sound like it’s marching dejectedly into a coma?

Lots, apparently.

And yet…

You know, if you’ve seen my Christmas music posts the last couple of years, that one of my favorite holiday albums is the one by Bad Religion. Their version of “Little Drummer Boy” actually does not suck. Sure, it’s a little martial, but it has energy and verve and sounds like that little drummer boy is playing his effing heart for the Baby Jesus. Way to go.

 

12 Days of Christmas Music to Improve Your Playlist (Day 10)

I know that some of my readers are not excited about pop songs. That’s okay. I kind of like them, sometimes. Houston’s Christmas Music Station plays them quite a bit all year, including during their Christmas Music Season, and this year they started playing a new one that is either incredibly catchy enough for me to like it, or is just such a relief from the crap they mostly play that by comparison I thought the first time I heard it that it was great. Either way, I’m sharing it with you. This is Colbie Caillat’s “Christmas in the Sand.” The video is only a little questionable. Feel free to ignore its kitschiness if you choose. I’ll post something really different tomorrow.

 

12 Days of Christmas Music to Improve Your Playlist (Day 9)

Today is the day for requests. (Okay, actually, there are several requests of this series each year, which I kinda like, but today I’m indulging two of them.)

Day 9 features a fantastic song that has been suggested to me many times by multiple people, and this year it made the primary list. It’s “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues, featuring Kirsty MacColl.

Please also click here to see a bonus song suggested by Marie Marshall, who mentioned it in the comments to an earlier day’s post. It’s a marvelous jazz rendition of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” that reminds me of the old Pink Panther cartoons in the best way, although that doesn’t really describe it well enough. Just give it a listen; it’s fun.

 

12 Days of Christmas Music to Improve Your Playlist (Day 8)

I didn’t post yesterday because I was on a day trip. My daughter and I went to the hill country to visit some friends, and we listened to a lot of Christmas music in the car. This is one I’ve posted before, but it’s a good one and one of her favorites, so please to enjoy it again. This video is of the live version, which is great, although it’s missing Michael Bublé, who does sing on the album track. (Might be Bublé’s best work.)