Towards Better Democracy

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Dhafer Youssef- Blending Souls and Shades (to Shiraz) – Birds Requiem


Dhafer Youssef- Blending Souls and Shades (to Shiraz) – Birds Requiem

Dhafer Youssef Oud
Eivind Aarset Guitare électrique
Kristjian Randalu Piano
Phil Donkin Contrebasse
Chander Sardjoe Batterie

composed and arranged by Dhafer Youssef
Recorded at Nilento studio
copyright: 2013 Dhafer Youssef
publishing: Dhafer youssef 2013, under exclusive license to okeh recordings
distributed by sony music entertaiment

Live @ Ahmed Adnan Saygun Sanat Merkezi Izmir, Turkey
Octobre 2013
Vidéo by Shiraz Fradi

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 14 August, 2017

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Filed under: Arts, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories

Saadi Shiraz: Manner Of Kings


f the king eats one apple from the garden of a subject
His slaves will pull him up the tree from the roots.
For five eggs which the sultan allows to be taken by force
The people belonging to his army will put a thousand fowls on the spit.
A tyrant does not remain in the world
But the curse on him abides for ever

Saadi Shiraz

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 14 August, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories

Saadi Shiraz: Of one Essence


At the entrance to the Hall of Nations in New York, the following verse by Saadi can be read – a call for breaking all barriers:

Of one Essence is the human race
Thusly has Creation put the Base
One Limb impacted is sufficient
For all Others to feel the Mace

Malcolm D B Munro
Modany 14 August, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories

Dhafer Youssef Birds Requiem Quartet – Whirling Birds Ceremony “Birds Requiem” Suite


Dhafer Youssef Birds Requiem Quartet – Whirling Birds Ceremony “Birds Requiem” Suite

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 14 August, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories

Dhafer Youssef’s Full Live concert at ASSM Izmir-Turkey 2013


Dhafer Youssef’s Full Live concert at ASSM Izmir-Turkey 2013

Dhafer Youssef Oud, Vocal
Eivind Aarset Guitar
Husnu Senlendirici Clarinet
Aytaç Dogan Kanun
Kristjan Randalu Piano
Phill Donkin Bass
Chander Sardjoe Drums

Director/video production
Shiraz Fradi

Sound
Christian Ulbrich

00:00 Blending Souls & Shades (To Shiraz) – “Birds requiem Album”;
10:46 Sabaa (Hayastan Dance) – “Abu Nawas Rhapsody Album”;
18:17 Sura – “Abu Nawas Rhapsody” Album;
26:03 39th Gülay (To Istanbul) – Birds requiem Album;
34:20 Louage (Odd Elegy) – “Abu Nawas Rhapsody Album”;
41:51 Khira (Indicium Divinum) – “Birds requiem Album”;
45:51 Un Soupir Eternel (To A Norwegian Girl, Karen Steen Aarset 1931 – 2004) – “Divine Shadows Album”;
48:30 Fuga Hirundinum “Birds Requiem Album;
55:55 Khamsa – Abu Nawas Rhapsody Album”;
1:05:11 Odd Poetry – “Divine Shadows Album”

Filed under: Arts, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories

Great Masters of the Oud – A tribute to Nasser Shamma نصير شمة


Great Masters of the Oud – A tribute to Nasser Shamma نصير شمة

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 14 August, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories

Simon Shaheen – taqsim arabic oud music – سهرة مع تقاسيم عزف عود


Simon Shaheen – taqsim arabic oud music – سهرة مع تقاسيم عزف عود

arabic guitar oud nahwand taksim
Malcolm D B Munro
MOdany 14 August, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories

Turkish Musical Instrument – Oud


Turkish Musical Instrument – Oud

The ud is the most important musical instrument in Middle Eastern music: it is called the ‘sultan of the instruments’.
Its name derives from the Arabic for ‘wood’, and this refers to the strips of wood used to make its rounded body.

The neck of the ud, which is short in comparison to the body, has no frets and this contributes to its unique sound.

The poster, Halk Eğitim Merkezi Yalova, does not identify the piece being played.

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 14 August, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories

Mastering a craft


I thought to share my musical journey within the pages of this blog. I can’t say that I shall do this regularly; I strikes me in doing so that several stones are killed with one bird. I get to develop my writings skills, it helps reinforce what I am learning, doing; it makes real the process itself, and, who knows, may inspire or encourage others. And, as the title of the post notes, I don’t think this is restricted to music, for those of you who look for relevance in them, the posts, which will be the topic of these posts.

I cannot promise that I will not be repetitive, redundant. Nowhere, I tell people around me, does it say in my contract as a human being that I have to be perfect, nor will I even try. Rather, the effort is to master the craft. Besides, few readers will have, or will follow every post on this subject. And so such imperfections will help bridge the gap between one of their readings and another. Or they might.

Again, the detectives among you who have, with eye glass in hand, followed with patience the strivings of this writer to write with clarity and precision, and often failing along the way, will recall that in South Africa, where I lived from January 1973, actually the first, until May of 1984 at which point I came to this benighted country to join a brother, that I studies music in its various forms; piano, singing, theory, history, at a time in my life when I was deeply depressed. This meant, as previously noted, that I failed to make any progress. 

But, and here is the rub. I retain all I learnt. Naturally, the knowledge and skills lie within me and have to be brought out of the closet and practiced brushed up.

To that end I am studying How to … Read Music by Mark Phillips. I have gobbled up the contents. it is all of 77 pages. I have Rudiments of Music on order from Brazos, my favourite bookshop, but that will take some time to arrive.

I never, ever make notes in the books I read – a story as to why told perhaps at another time. But with this book I am scribbling all over it. At a furious pace.

So I thought to share with you what I wrote on the title page inside a box I drew there. Actually I wandered out of the box, but that is the nature of the artist is it not.

What I wrote is:

At the end of the day, or its beginning, it is the  bond that is formed between the keyboard and the player that matters most, No knowledge or playing ability is a substitute for this. Without this bond, the playing will be lifeless and ultimately unlistenable to.

It follows, therefore, that bad playing, missed notes, hesitations in rhythm, will be forgiven and might even add charm to the performance. No audience for whatever form of music wishes it to be perfect. What, I think matters to them, is the passion and concentration the player brings to the playing, and a deep feeling for the music being played. That surely will have the audience leave having enjoyed the perromance and feeling that the concert or performance was well worthwhile attending. And might even have them wish to attend at a future date a performance by the same player.

Now, as I have previously said elsewhere, I have no pretentious of being a performer. To think for one moment that I can master the requirements of playing the piano, my preferred and favourite instrument, is beyond any realistic goal. The practice alone removes any possibility of that. And that is not what I am pursuing; my pursuit rather is to master the craft and gain more than enough knowledge required to compose in a manner sufficient at least to allow those who review my work and pronounce on it, and those who are tasked or choose to perform it, to understand the Dickens it is that I am saying in musical form.

And all these words, all this knowledge gained ,will be utterly useless should I not have the musical ability to at least match my ambitions. But such a thing is in God’s hand. I come with as little or as much as I have. It is for me to turn that ability into something which gives others pleasure. It matters not whether the results be simple or highly acclamed. Simple is what most people remember best of a piece of music. Complex, it seems to me, is reserved for resident composers on a sinecure at some campus somewhere.

Going back to the question of the relationship of the performer to the keyboard, and the audiences tolerance for infelicities, there is no substitute for rehearsal. For you had better know what you are doing. You cannot mix a cake in front of an audience, when you have promised, and they have paid, to watch you bake it.

So it is with a composer. It surely behoves the composer to present his work in a sufficiently form that the intended plays understand what it is he or she is trying to convey. That is the rehearsal required of those who step onto this path. The finished score must be what these pages are not,  letter perfect.

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 14 August, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Media, Memoir, Music, poetry, songs, stories

Dean Village then


The Dean Village does not resemble the Dean Village of my youth. Youth? Well, when I was five or six.

There was a channel sluced from the Waters of Leith, the port to the north of Edinburgh, on the coast of the wide Firth of Forth. The channel supplied water to a tannery to the back of the hollow in which the village still sits. The tannery was comprised of a three or four story warehouse, or workplace, with windows with no glass in them. An opening in the face of it had a rope hoist to lower the completed leather to some transport to take it away below. I never saw a horse or truck do this but I suppose they did or how else did they goods get to market, wherever that was. The sheep skins would arrive I don’t know by what means, and be scraped in the open. I suppose this was in the morning. I only was in the village after school. The tannery gave off a very particular smell though I am glad to have forgotten how it smelt,

The tanners wore long leather aprons and frowned in concentration of their work. Burly men they were as so befits hefty work. They ignored us children, flies upon the scape.

In front of the tannery, where we played, was a patch of earth, littered with broken bottles and other detritus of human waste. What purpose this land had served I never knew nor wondered.

A tenement rose to the north of this surly patch of land, across the cobbled road, the common surface for roads then in Edinburgh, properly called sets, from Aberdeen, no doubt, Granite City by nickname, Edinburgh’s was Auld Reeky, It is not that now, pristine in its stone faced buildings, the pride of any city to be so bequeathed.

The road ran down and up out of the village to join more major roads at either end. The road we used came to an end at the village’s lowest point. Alongside this road to its north  was a public bath building, Drumshugh Baths, which may be mentioned in a future post (don’t hold your breath) and to the south, a depository for the King’s Theatre, both of which feature, each in their own way, in my childhood growing up in Edinburgh. 

High above the theatre depository, which contained decades of sets never likely to be used again but kept just in case, ran Rothesay Terrace where my home at the time was.

On the other road, the one that goes in and out of the Dean Village, to its south, was the Dean School. This was my earliest school which, too, has for me its own memories. This is where I learn reading, writing and ‘arithmetic.

The centre of this story is, however, the what would be now referred to as a slum tenement. I never entered this building but befriended a girl who lived lived there with her sister whom I met but didn’t like. Margaret was the centre of my female attractions. Well, besides one other in the Dean Village but no mention of her will be made here.

I never met any others of Margaret’s family nor did she ever make any mention of them. I seem to remember a smaller brother. But likely he was too young an age for me to pay attention to.

On the naked patch of soil we, a group of riotous boys of age similar or older than me, would invent games and throw bottles at each other. or put squibs in them and run away. Squibs, for those who don’t know, are miniature sticks of dynamite which have a blue paper twist atop a cardboard cylinder in which the gunpowder was housed. Well, I think it was gunpowder, though, to me now that seems dangerous to the extreme. These implements of the greatest noise and least harm could be bought all year round at any  newspaper store – there were hundreds then in Edinburgh. The purpose of these otherwise lethal explosive weapons was to frighten wifeys, which they assuredly did. These worthy souls came out of the tenements to chase us away, with us running like hell, screaming with laughter. Such was the sport and play of our youth.

Margaret was a sullen beast with lowered eyes which, when raised, looked suspiciously around. For what I knew not. She was slovenly dressed in what today would be called rags. She was thin but was cheerful in my presence, and I much enjoyed her company and our conversation. You then did not play with girls and I was unusual as a boy to talk with girls, But may mates never teased me, I don’t know why. Margaret’s sister had a perpetual scowl on her face and never talked. Snot ran unheeded from her nose. Terrible green stuff the like of which I had not seen nor seen since. If this stuff got too far down her face she would, with a snort, suck it into to her mouth. Margaret seemed dainty by comparison.

At some point my parents must have learnt of my meanders and henceforth I was forbidden to go down to the village. I obeyed this stricture and went to Drumsheugh Baths instead, And there I befriended a girl from a very different class from that of Margaret’s.

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 14 August, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Current Events, Media, Memoir, Music, poetry, songs, stories

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