The occasional observations of Carolyn Kephart, writer

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Soul's Secrets

Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory. ~Shelley

Recently, a discussion board I frequent asked its members what sorts of music they had on their players. I looked over my Sandisk files and made a list, starting with what inspires me most.

World and ethnic: Milongas, taksims, kizombas, fados, cumbias, rumbas, reels. Klezmer, gitana, Griot, gidayu, sirtos, llanera. Gamelans, kotos, ouds, sitars. One of my most favorite songs is Baaba Maal's 'Lam Tooro,' that always makes me think of swaying camel-back on the Silk Road.

Baroque: Bach, Corelli, Couperin, Rameau, Purcell, Handel, Hayden, Lully, Monteverdi, Scarlatti, Telemann, Vivaldi. I'm wild about harpsichords.

Renaissance: Dowland, Frescobaldi, Machaut, Monteverdi, Gibbons, Praetorius, Gabrieli. I collect versions of Dowland's lute song "Can She Excuse My Wrongs."

Ambient: Air, Michael Hedges, Pierre Bensusan, Shadowfax, Enigma, Sasha and Digweed, Paco di Lucia, Ottmar Liebert, Strunz and Farah, Infected Mushroom, Jazzanova, Gotan Project, De Phazz.

Blues: King (Freddy, B. B., Albert), Musselwhite, Mayall, Clapton, Guy, Hammond, Hooker, Sumlin, Wells, Allison, Vaughn, Mahal, Mo'.

Jazz: Chet Baker, Charlie Mingus, Cal Tjader, Jack McDuff, Ponty, Corea, Metheny, Davis, Monk, Keith Jarrett when he isn't vocalizing.

Celtic: Altan, Lunasa, Celtic Nots, Liz Carroll, Natalie MacMaster, Slainte. I'm pretty picky with Celtic, and like it modal and traditional.

Classical and opera: Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Bartok, Dvorak, Satie, Debussy, Faure, de Falla, Tchaikosky, Schumann, Schubert, Puccini, Verdi; not much Mozart. I have a huge fondness for Beverly Sills and Joan Sutherland, and collect versions of favorite arias.

Bluegrass: Ranges from old (Bill Monroe, etc.) to new (String Cheese Incident, Bela Fleck). I collect versions of 'Salt Creek,' and my favorite so far is the guitar duet with Doc and Merle Watson.

Rock: Eighties alternative (stuff that never made it to the commercial airwaves, alas), Motown, Fifties classics, Sixties icons (Stones, Who, Hendrix, etc.), Seventies punk.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Art of Ending

As the old saying goes, "Great is the art of beginning, but still greater is the art of ending."

It's always good to know when to quit. In anticipation of winter, that clean, sere season, I'm paring down the superfluities in my life, striving for less junk in every form, and more time spent profitably; never getting too comfortable, and traveling as lightly as I can.

Still, as seriously as I take this life of mine--since we know not the day nor the hour when everything will fall apart forever--I never forget to have fun. At present I'm putting the finishing touches on a new short story, dedicated to Anne Braude who was more generally known as Talpianna, that wryly explores what happens after Happily Ever After. I'm sorry she won't be reading it.

CK