We miss you, Celia. We miss your smile, your laughter, your love of life, your music, your inimitable voice, and your love of Cuba and her freedom. We miss your soul, your spirit and your AZUCAR!!!!
I just had to share this incredible video.
This little Peter Pan has his very own patient, attentive, and devoted “Nana”…
You can see an extended version of this interaction (without the music bed) between the little boy and the Golden Retriever here.
Recently there was the story of a lost 10 year old Down syndrome boy that was found by a mother dog looking for her pups. The puppies had huddled with the boy through the night, keeping each other warm. Around the same time a 4 year old Down Syndrome boy in New South Wales became lost in the bushlands with three of the family dogs. They too loyally stayed with him through the night, barking out when they heard the humans searching for the boy. Turnabout is fair play when a 7 year old girl with Down Syndrome saves a dog from drowning.
I am not sure if anyone at Babalu has covered this before, but I had no idea. I admit to being one of those who simply took for granted one of my all time favorite Christmas carols had been written a century or more ago in some chilly New England loft or a dusty European music room illuminated by candles. However, thanks to a very devout Catholic friend of mine I have been made aware of this stirring song’s origins written right here in the USA during the Cold War…
ALTHOUGH the names of Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne may not be familiar, they composed many popular songs together, including “Rain, Rain, Go Away,” recorded by Bobby Vinton.
Their masterpiece, however, is “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Many people mistakenly assume this Christmas classic has been around for years and that it is of European origin. But it was written in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis as a powerful plea for peace by a man who had experienced the horrors of war.
The song’s message of peace is as desperately needed today as it was then.
Of all their works, that simple Christmas song is the one that will continue to be treasured. Here is how it came to be:
In October 1962, the Soviet Union and the United States were involved in a crisis centered on missiles the Russians had installed in Cuba. The United States threatened military action if the missiles were not removed. The world trembled and prayed as these two nuclear powers stood eyeball-to-eyeball.
That October, as Noel Regney walked through the streets of New York, a sense of despair was in the air. No one smiled.
Regney had endured the horrors of war. He knew the fear and terror of being close to death. The safe and secure life he had built for himself in the United States was on the verge of ending.
Christmas, which was supposed to be a time of peace and goodwill, was approaching. Noel Regney had been asked by a record producer to write a holiday song.
“I had thought I’d never write a Christmas song,” he recalled. “Christmas had become so commercial. But this was the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the studio, the producer was listening to the radio to see if we had been obliterated.
“En route to my home, I saw two mothers with their babies in strollers. The little angels were looking at each other and smiling. All of a sudden, my mood was extraordinary.”
A glimpse of these babies filled Noel Regney’s heart with poetry. The little ones reminded him of newborn lambs. Thus, the song begins, “Said the night wind to the little lamb….”
As soon as Noel arrived home, he jotted down the lyrics. Then he asked Gloria to write the music to accompany his words. “While walking down the street in New York, my mother heard trumpets playing the melody in her head,” explains Gabrielle Regney.
“Noel wrote a beautiful song,” Gloria said later, “and I wrote the music. We couldn’t sing it, through; it broke us up. We cried. Our little song broke us up. You must realize there was a threat of nuclear war at that time.”
There have been over 100 versions of “Do You Hear What I Hear?,” including early recordings by Perry Como and the Harry Simeone Chorale. Gladys Knight and the Pips, Destiny’s Child and Vanessa Williams are among the artists who have made more recent recordings. Noel Regney’s personal favorite was a recording by Robert Goulet, who nearly shouted out the line, “Pray for peace, people, everywhere.”
But it was the Bing Crosby 1963 recording that brought Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne’s song of peace to the nation’s attention. In those days, Crosby’s recordings were often instant hits; his version sold more than a million copies.
“Do You Hear What I Hear?” carried a beautiful message close to people in all walks of life. It became a popular Christmas carol, “a song high above the tree, with a voice as big as the sea.” But the message of peace was lost on many people.
“I am amazed that people can think they know the song and not know it is a prayer for peace,” Noel Regney once told an interviewer. “But we are so bombarded by sounds and our attention spans are so short.”
Please read the whole article to understand the writers’ backgrounds and experiences, especially Noel Regney’s life in Europe during WWII.
I can credit the man who passed away today at 91, Dave Brubeck, with my discovery of jazz.
Born out of a post-adolescent loathing and hatred of all things disco, I discovered an album at my local record store that I still have to this day: “Adventures in Time,” a sort-of greatest hits two-record album with the Dave Brubeck Quartet that absolutely floored me when I listened to it. And listen to it I did, over and over again. Thanks to Maestro Brubeck and the amazing music he wrote, I discovered his amazing saxophonist, Paul Desmond, and subsequently Stan Getz, John Coltrane, Oscar Peterson, Joe Pass, Duke Ellington (one of America’s greatest composers, by the way), Count Basie, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, and the rest of the pantheon of jazz gods that I’ve come to love as much as my beloved classical music.
Thanks, Dave, for lighting the fire in me. Godspeed and may you rest in peace.
Dave Brubeck, the jazz pianist, composer and bandleader behind the legendary Dave Brubeck Quartet, has died at age 91.
The death of Brubeck, whose composition “Take Five” became a jazz standard and the bestselling jazz song of all time, was confirmed Wednesday by the Associated Press. Brubeck would have turned 92 Thursday.
According to the AP, Brubeck died of heart failure after being stricken while on the way to a cardiologist’s appointment in Connecticut.
Brubeck, born Dec. 6, 1920, in Concord, Calif., was the son of a cattle rancher. His mother was a classically trained pianist. Although he studied zoology at the College of the Pacific in Stockton, he came to love the music department. While serving in the Army during World War II, Brubeck formed the band the Wolfpack. After the war in the Bay Area he experimented with music groups and styles.
In 1951 he and alto saxophonist Paul Desmond created what would become one of the most popular acts of West Coast jazz, the Dave Brubeck Quartet. The quartet’s most famous song was “Take Five,” from the 1959 release “Time Out.
During his career, Brubeck also created standards such as “The Duke” and “In Your Own Sweet Way.”
In a 2010 article on the occasion of Brubeck’s 90th birthday, the Los Angeles Times interviewed the jazz legend and noted that although jazz may not occupy the center of the musical universe, even people who know little, if anything, about jazz know of Brubeck:
“Through more than 60 years of recordings and performances at colleges, concert halls, festivals and nightclubs all over the world, Brubeck put forth a body of work — as pianist, composer and bandleader — that is as accessible as it is ingenious, as stress-free as it is rhythmically emphatic, as open-hearted as it is wide-ranging.” […]
Indeed. Here are his two enduring classics:
Blue Rondo a la Turk
The Beatles’ audition tape famously rejected by a record executive in 1962 has finally been uncovered after 50 years.
The fledgling group were told “they had no future in showbusiness” as guitar groups were “on the way out” following the audition.
The decision by a Decca Records executive proved to be one of the worst made in music history.
Within months John, Paul, George and original drummer Pete Best had signed with EMI and went on to become the greatest band of all time.
Now the original safety master tape, a 10-track demo the group recorded at Decca’s London studios on New Year’s Day 1962, has come to public light for the first time.
It is thought the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein held on to the tape he had paid to make and later gave it to an executive associated with EMI.
He sold it in 2002 to a prolific buyer of music memorabilia. He is now selling it at auction with a pre-sale estimate of 30,000 pounds.
The recording has never been officially released and the sound quality on it is said to be pristine. […]
I was more of fan of The Doors, The Stones, and Hendrix than of the Beatles. Nevertheless, I’d love to hear this…
Concerned, but not dampened by Isaac, the RNC Convention has condensed the four days into three. This might just end up being a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say. Great speakers from Ann Romney, several women conservatives, strong GOP state governors and the candidates Romney/Ryan … ALL getting to the meat and bones of what really does concern the American people during this troubled economic time.
The music line-up for the republican week of various doings reads pretty damn sweet (nods to Henry). The list of music acts attending the 2012 RNC Convention in Tampa, FLA is pretty cool:
Kid Rock. The Eagle’s Don Felder. Better Than Ezra. OMG! Big Head Todd and The Monsters! Lynyrd Skynyrd! JOURNEY!! Blues Traveler. Camp Freddy (a rock cover-band supergroup featuring Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction), Matt Sorum (Guns N Roses), Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction), Billy Morrison (The Cult) and Donovan Leitch). But the bestest I can see is Gregg Allman … the ex-husband of has-been Cher whose career is now centered around making vile, revolting and mentally-ill ‘Tweets’ on Twitter.
And now the buzz of a “surprise” mystery speaker Thursday night at the convention itself…
Republican convention planners appear to have a surprise planned for those tuning in Thursday night.
Buried deep in the convention schedule released Monday is a vague reference to a mystery speaker scheduled for the event’s final evening. “To Be Announced” has a prime speaking slot late in the Thursday program.
By then, speakers from Mitt Romney’s church will have taken the stage that night. The co-founder of Staples office-supply chain will have spoken about working with Mr. Romney during his time at Bain Capital. State officials from Massachusetts will have talked about the former governor. Olympians will have already thanked the presidential candidate for leading the 2002 Winter Games.
The only other speakers to follow “To Be Announced” will be Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Mr. Romney himself, suggesting that the unnamed guest may appear during the 10 p.m. hour when the networks all will be broadcasting the convention.
Guesses??? Somebody commenting @ HotAir suggested, “A video montage of Andrew Breitbart”. That would be cool, only if his wife walked out to speak afterward. Another pondered, “Video montage of Barack Obama… in his own words”.
THAT would be great.
I am finding this a bit funny (funny, “ha-ha”). No doubt Vlad Putin is trying to bring Russia into some neo-Soviet system for a 21st century version of his beloved USSR. But the punk band, and it’s peers, are seemingly of a socialist/communist mind set as well. “Collective”? This looks more like a battle of old communists and new communists. However, the new raging generation of commies fail to recognize their own ideas do/will involve stifling and/or silencing dissent, much like our own OWS.
Two members of Russia’s anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot have fled the country to avoid prosecution for staging a protest against President Vladimir Putin at a church altar, the band said on Sunday.
A Moscow court sentenced three members of the all-female opposition band to two years in prison on August 17 for staging a “punk prayer” at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in February and calling on the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin.
The sentence drew sharp international criticism of the Russian government, while opposition groups at home have portrayed it as part of a Kremlin clampdown on dissent.
Police said earlier this week they were searching for other members of the band.
“In regard to the pursuit, two of our members have successfully fled the country! They are recruiting foreign feminists to prepare new actions!,” a Twitter account called Pussy Riot Group said.
Defence lawyers of the convicted Pussy Riot members – Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich – are expected to appeal against their sentences next week.
Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, told Reuters on Sunday that the two members of the group who have fled Russia had taken part in the cathedral protest along with his wife.
A toe-tapper from The Voters for the next couple months leading all the way up to the voting booth on November 6th … That’s November 2nd if you do exactly what you’re told to do by Michelle Obama…
Liberals may control the media, but we are taking the music BACK!!
OFFICIAL music video – Blame It On Bush, by The Voters. This is the 1st single from our album Electile Dysfunction. We are a completely independent, grass roots band trying to encourage people to truly get informed before they vote. Please help us spread the message in any way you can.
You can get more information on the song and the band at www.TheVotersMusic.com You can purchase the album from www.TheVotersMusic.com (via paypal), iTunes, Amazon and other retailers.
Our album is made of political and patriotic material and other songs are: Pelosi’s Jet, Distractions, Leading from Behind, Wife Of A Soldier, America Is Coming Back, Shining City Upon A Hill, Nobody Told Me and America- What Have We Done.
Thank you for your support. Let’s take America BACK!
Here is the band’s site. Some cool tunes there. Lyrics to “Blame It On Bush” below the fold…
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley
It must be so very difficult for leftist limo-lib artists in this country. They have to straddle a very narrow, tissue paper thin line between pumping their collectivist ideological fist of resentment, disdain and revolt of capitalism in solidarity with their beloved comrade heroes, and that of … well … wanting to hit it big by massively selling their music, selling out concert venues and TM merchandise, suing for boatloads more money, and winning the coveted glittery music awards to decorate their multi-million dollar mansions and slowly stroke their tender egos.
In the last couple decades politicians running for office have found that one pop culture song that seems to make a really great sounding theme song for their public campaign rallies to get the crowds fired-up. Bill Clinton completely ruined a certain Fleetwood Mac tune for me doing this. Four years ago we were formally introduced to feisty, outspoken, Gov. Sarah “Sarahcuda” Palin when Sen. John McCain picked her as his 2008 GOP running mate. The nickname stems back to Palin’s school days on the basketball team, but generally reflects her aggressive nature about everything she does. It was only natural to select Heart’s “Barracuda” as an intro for Palin at her rallies … until the aging Wilson sisters got their panties in a wad and lashed out with a “cease-and-desist” letter to the campaign. John McCain had his own song problems with old, rich, white guy Jackson Browne at the same time. For some reason these rich, successful, pampered, self-righteous music artists have a problem with being even remotely associated with conservative, republican, capitalist-minded politicians via one of their songs. The only thing worse than an armchair socialist is a snooty rich armchair socialist … with a lawyer. But they are living here in the selfish USA and it is their trivial intellectual property, so they can object and file “cease-and-desist” letters/lawsuits to stop the use of it by undesirables.
Earlier this week the band Silversun Pickups warned the Romney camp not to use their song, “Panic Switch” at events. I had never heard of them prior to the news blurb. Oh well, far better music out there for future Pres. Mitt Romney to use to energize and entertain his growing crowds. As soon as Mitt Romney named Rep. Paul Ryan as his 2012 VP running mate the social vetting of Ryan began. MSNBC’s Al Sharpton is aghast at Ryan’s intense physical workout ethic. And when it was discovered Ryan’s favorite rock band is “Rage Against The Machine”, well, all Morello hell broke loose. The band’s lead guitarist felt the need to strike out at the Congressman in an op-ed for a certain music magazine. I mean, how dare the conservative politician actually like his music! The nerve! Mind you, Ryan has not used not one note of RATM’s music in his political appearances. It is just the fact that the world (well, those giving a damn enough to actually follow the details of this election cycle) now knows the dastardly conservative republican enjoys his and his band’s socialist anarchist music, and he simply cannot have any blurring of the ideological lines for his fans and peers … Ryan is Hannibal (Lecter, I guess from the op-ed) incarnate, and the musician is, well, Clarice Starling. Whatever…
However, on the other side of this non-issue, there is the thought that Ryan’s musical taste, particularly in RATM, should somehow throw some sort of doubt about the candidate (for whatever perceived reason) because the band’s ideological and political views are in such drastic opposition to his own. If the other side (or even the RINO side of the GOP establishment) truly believes this needs to be some sort of a canceling factor to be trumpeted against Ryan … just WOW! I mean, I have even heard some this week trying to use Paul Ryan’s admiration of Ayn Rand against him (due to his Catholic faith vs. Rand’s objectivism), almost the way we use Saul Alinsky against Obama. Complete polar opposite ideas of freedom, democracy … and communism. Have at it. We have been living the full-throated Alinsky crap for the better part of four years. Rand is only just bubbling to the surface like a volcano ready to blow in November.
Award winning composer Marvin Hamlisch has passed away. His list of hit movie and Broadway tunes are considered old standards now in American pop culture. Hamlisch won three Academy Awards, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globes, but also wrote some of the most recognizable songs in modern entertainment history. When I heard on the news this afternoon that he had passed away, this came to mind…
I’m sure Gilda was the first to greet Marvin at the Pearly Gates when he arrived.
Duck because leftist/liberal heads are about to explode, and you don’t want to get any of it on you …
John Lennon was a closet Republican, who felt a little embarrassed by his former radicalism, at the time of his death – according to the tragic Beatles star’s last personal assistant.
Fred Seaman worked alongside the music legend from 1979 to Lennon’s death at the end of 1980 and he reveals the star was a Ronald Reagan fan who enjoyed arguing with left-wing radicals who reminded him of his former self.
In new documentary Beatles Stories, Seaman tells filmmaker Seth Swirsky Lennon wasn’t the peace-loving militant fans thought he was while he was his assistant.
He says, “John, basically, made it very clear that if he were an American he would vote for Reagan because he was really sour on (Democrat) Jimmy Carter.
“He’d met Reagan back, I think, in the 70s at some sporting event… Reagan was the guy who had ordered the National Guard, I believe, to go after the young (peace) demonstrators in Berkeley, so I think that John maybe forgot about that… He did express support for Reagan, which shocked me.
“I also saw John embark in some really brutal arguments with my uncle, who’s an old-time communist… He enjoyed really provoking my uncle… Maybe he was being provocative… but it was pretty obvious to me he had moved away from his earlier radicalism.
“He was a very different person back in 1979 and 80 than he’d been when he wrote Imagine. By 1979 he looked back on that guy and was embarrassed by that guy’s naivete.”
Imagine that …
Lennon and Reagan were at this Monday Night Football game December of 1974.
In a bit of Instant Karma, John Lennon was shot (assassinated) December 1980, and Pres. Reagan was shot in an assassination attempt in March 1981.
[…] In six wild months during 1980 and 1981, assassins took aim at the pop star, the president, and the pope. It seemed like the chaotic 1960s all over again, save for the fact that its symbol had been gunned down. […]
His musical comeback owed as much to the comeback of his personal life as it had to his renewed focus on rock ‘n’ roll to the exclusion of politics and drugs. Politics, Lennon concluded, had “almost ruined” his music. “It became journalism and not poetry. And I basically feel that I’m a poet — […]
He came to regret the early 1970s politicization of his art. “That radicalism was phony, really, because it was out of guilt,” Lennon recalled a few months before his assassination. “I’d always felt guilty that I made money, so I had to give it away or lose it. I don’t mean I was a hypocrite. When I believe, I believe right down to the roots. But being a chameleon, I became whoever I was with. When you stop and think: what the hell was I doing fighting with the American government just because Jerry Rubin couldn’t get what he always wanted — a nice cushy job?”
“Politics plays hell with your poetry,” revolutionary John Reed once concluded. Before he died on December 8, 1980, musical revolutionary John Lennon learned that lesson, too.
God rest you merry, Gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Saviour
Was born upon this Day.
To save poor souls from Satan’s power,
Which long time had gone astray.
Which brings tidings of comfort and joy.
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” was sung for hundreds of years before it was finally published in the nineteenth century. By that time—thanks in part to Queen Victoria’s love of carols—the song found favor in the Anglican Church. Soon even the protestant English clergy of the Victorian era were enthusiastically teaching “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” to their parishioners. Crossing the ocean to both Europe and America, the carol became a favorite throughout the Christian world and it is still sung in much the same way as it was five hundred years ago. The only problem is that few of today’s singers fully understand the beginning of each of the carol’s many verses. This is a result of the evolution of the English language.
When modern people say “Merry” Christmas, the word merry means happy. When “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” was written, merry had a very different meaning. Robin Hood’s “Merry Men” might have been happy, but the merry that described them meant great and mighty. Thus, in the Middle Ages, a strong army was a merry army, a great singer was a merry singer, and a mighty ruler was a merry ruler.
So when the English carolers of the Victorian era sang, “merry gentlemen,” they meant great or mighty men. Ye means you, but even when translated to “God rest you mighty gentlemen,” the song still makes very little sense. This is due to another word that has a much different meaning in today’s world and a lost punctuation mark.
The word rest in “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” simply means keep or make. Yet to completely uncover the final key to solving this mystery of meaning, a comma needs to be placed after the word “merry.” Therefore, in modern English, the first line of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” should read “God make you mighty, gentlemen.” Using this translation, the old carol suddenly makes perfect sense, as does the most common saying of the holidays, “Merry Christmas.” […]
From The Babalu community, May God bless our brave troops, and keep them strong …
And may they have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Here’s another great “El Manisero” video by way of Stan Kenton. I added it to this post I made awhile ago on the Cubanology Blog and which still gets many daily visitors. What an impact this great song has made on the world:
I still can’t get over the line, “SI TE QUIERES POR EL PICO DIVERTIR
CÓMPRATE UN CUCURUCHITO DE MANÍ” EXCELLENT!!!
Famous Cuban drummer Ignacio Berroa will have a free and open concert for kids in Newark Symphony Hall on Saturday 12:30P.M.
Here’s his bio:
Ignacio Berroa has been recognized by many as one of the greatest drummers of our times. His numerous contributions to the American music scene have earned him a place among a very selective group of artists known to have set new musical trends for the 20th century. Jazz Legend Dizzy Gillespie best defined Ignacio as:…”The only Latin drummer in the world, in the history of American music that intimately knows both worlds; his native Afro-Cuban music as well as Jazz…”Highly respected among his peers, Ignacio’s musicianship and versatility have enabled him to build a successful career by gaining the recognition of some of the most important artists in the business…..More