July-August 2007

By Linda Dewar

Believe it or not, one of the things I miss about life in America is the availability of Starbucks.  It's not the coffee-our little village here in Scotland actually has two outstanding coffee shops, and I'm quite happy to be getting my caffeine fix from independent merchants. It's the music I miss. I used to look forward to hearing whatever might be playing in my local Starbucks, and I bought some pretty amazing CDs there.

So I was really pleased to hear that Starbucks is extending the scope of its "Hear Music" program and launching their own label. Say what you will, someone in that big corporate office has a pretty keen ear for innovative sounds. It's just recently been announced that the first release on the new Starbucks label will be a studio album by Paul McCartney, which I'm sure will be a big seller, but let's hope that they will continue to seek out and present more unknown artists, too.

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Here are a few stories and creative answers to test questions which were collected from Missouri music educators:

 

Refrain means don't do it. A refrain in music is the part you better not try to sing.

 

Music sung by two people at the same time is called a duel.

 

Just about any animal skin can be stretched over a frame to make a pleasant sound once the animal is removed.

 

When electric currents go through them, guitars start making sounds. So would anybody.

 

Probably the most marvelous fugue was the one between the Hatfields and McCoys.

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Another legend of ethnic music has gone. This time, it's the venerable Don Ho, who was best known for luring boatloads of tourists to Hawaii. Born Donald Tai Loy Ho in Honolulu, Ho came from true Hawaiian melting-pot ancestry: He was of Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and German descent.

Although he was best known for his signature song, Tiny Bubbles, Ho was also the one who introduced the song I'll Remember You to Hawaiian audiences. His tenure as the Hawaiian crooner coincided with the renaissance of more traditional Hawaiian music that began in the 1970s. But in spite of stylistic differences, there was always a measure of respect between Ho and the traditionalists, and he admired their efforts greatly. Don Ho was 76 when he died in April.

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Monaco's national orchestra is bigger than its army.

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The singing voice of Lauren Bacall, in her screen debut, To Have and Have Not was dubbed by Andy Williams ... when he was a teenager.

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.In my last column, I reported on the folk, world and traditional musicians who had won Grammy awards. Unfortunately, I left out one very important item-the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Joan Baez. Throughout her career Baez has been not only a gifted musician, but an activist for peace and equality-and she even appeared in cartoon form in Doonesbury for awhile. My apology for the omission, and may her lifetime and her achievements continue for many years to come.

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Do you have your copy of the Chrysalid CD yet? This is an album that was originally produced in 2005 to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina. The musicians involved are from an assortment of countries and genres, and there are some real gems included. To purchase a copy, go to CD Baby at cdbaby.com/cd/chrysalid. Proceeds continue to be split evenly between Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross, to be used for Gulf Coast recovery efforts.

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A child sings before it speaks, dances almost before it walks. Music is in our hearts from the beginning. ~Pamela Brown

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Dance first. Think later. It's the natural order. ~Samuel Beckett

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When I dance, I cannot judge, I cannot hate, I cannot separate myself from life. I can only be joyful and whole, that is why I dance. ~Hans Bos

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An American now living in Scotland, Linda Dewar is a singer and a player of various instruments with strings and keys. She can be found performing Scottish and American folk music at gatherings on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as singing In the Aberfeldy and District Gaelic Choir. Visit her web site at www.lindadewar.com.

  

All Columns by Linda Dewar