May-June 2008

Along with the tourists comes an increase in opportunities to hear and play traditional music. The annual music marathon session was held at the Taybank pub in Dunkeld a couple of weeks ago, and I managed to play along for about seven hours. I've been invited again this year to play at the weekly ceilidhs (informal music and dance nights) that are hosted by our local chapter of the Scottish Gaelic language society. And there's a new pub in town that's interested in hosting some sessions and possibly hiring traditional musicians.

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Are you annoyed by so-called "elevator music?" If so, then you're not alone. Check out this web site: www.pipedown.info/index.php?id=14&cmd=page , the home page of Pipe Down, the campaign for freedom from piped music. You can become a member, and even find a list of merchants who have pledged to be muzak-free.

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The world of Reggae has lost two of its brightest lights. Producer Joe Gibbs passed away in February, at the age of 65. In March, radio deejay and performer Mikey Dread lost his battle with a brain tumor. Both will be missed, but there's no doubt that their influence will remain.

We also lost Normal Waddleton in March. Not exactly a household name, but singer-songwriters owe him a large debt. Waddleton was the British patent attorney who coined the phrase and the concept of Intellectual Property.

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Real names of some famous musicians:

Billie Holiday was really Eleanora Fagan Gough

Cat Stephens had another name before he became Cat: Stephens: Demetre Georgiou

Conway Twitty started out as Harold Jenkins

Dusty Springfield was born Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien

Elvis Costello had a name almost as long as Dusty's: Declan Patrick Aloysius McManus

Gene Simmons was originally called Chaim Witz

Joni Mitchell was Roberta Joan Anderson

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Some things are just wrong. Folk music is meant to be folk music, but back in the sixties when the folk revival was, as they say, "sweeping the nation," everyone wanted to jump on the bandwagon and get a piece of the action. (OK, enough clichés!) Now, I love Debbie Reynolds-she features in quite a few of my favorite movie moments. But a folk singer she's not. So click on the following link for this column's YouTube treat and see what happens when folk goes a bit off its trolley. I particularly love the dancers. Here you go... www.youtube.com/watch?v=ng2Ls4OA2k4&feature=related

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"Music doesn't lie. If there's something to be changed in this world, it can only happen through music."

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will have peace"

Both of the above quotes are from Jimi Hendrix

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Several degrees of separation: OK, I'm not sure how all this fits together, but it does. Ever do Disneyland and hear that voice in the Haunted House that sounds so familiar? It belonged to a man called Thurl Ravenscroft. He was also one of the bird voices in the Tiki (tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki) Room, and the narrator on the Monorail. But Disney didn't have all of the rights to his voice; you may have grown up listening to him telling you that Frosted Flakes are "Grrrrrrreat!" as Tony the Tiger. And one of his most familiar musical endeavors was as the voice that sang You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch in the 1966 animated version of the Dr. Seuss classic.

Now, Dr. Seuss wrote the lyrics for that song, but the music was written by a fellow called Albert Hague. Seuss (who was really Theodore Geisel-are you still with me?) admired Hague so much that he created an animated look-alike of him that can be seen standing in a circle and singing along with all of the other Who's in Whoville at the end of the show.

He's easy to spot. Remember the 1980s television show Fame? Just look for a Who that resembles the piano teacher, Mr. Shorofsky. The resemblance is remarkable, but that's because Mr. Shorofsky way played by... yep, Albert Hague.

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In 1976 Rodrigo's Guitar Concierto de Aranjuez was No 1 in the UK for only three hours because of a computer error.

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George Anthiel composed film scores, but earlier in his life he had been an avant garde composer. In 1924 his Ballet mecanique was performed at Carnegie Hall. The work was scored for a fire siren, automobile horns, and an airplane propeller. After only a few minutes of this racket, an aging gentleman in the orchestra seats tied his handkerchief to his cane and began waving a white flag.


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