Thursday, June 30, 2011

Music in the News

I was excited to see in the news last week that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir pulled off a flash mob activity. I love the concept of surprising people with good things. Life gives us way too many unhappy surprises, even without the influence of other people. The Tabernacle Choir is currently touring the Eastern seaboard. I missed my chance to see them this year (due to lack of liquidity). But how cool would that have been to be a tourist at Colonial Williamsburg when 300 members of your co-audience break out into song?

I hope a more polished video of this comes out. Part of the fun of watching a flash mob event is to see the reactions of the non-participants. For those of you not familiar with the flash mob phenomena I am including a post of one of my favorite flash mob videos below.

In other news, reader Ver shared with me a story of some singing Babushkas from Russia. Talk about your old lady band. The members in this group are in their 70's and 80's. It is nice to know that through all their hardships they have turned to music to lighten their load.

NPR's article on the singing Babushkas can be found here.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hot, Hot, Hot

St. George is HOT, HOT, HOT. So hot we held our last practice in Leeds which is cool, cool, cool -- and not just because of the temperature. I wish I had taken some pictures of the Old CCC Camp or the goats and the chickens. But I did get a couple videos of our practice.

A really easy song to teach beginning instrumentalists is America's "Horse With No Name." Like Jambalaya, it only has two chords. Unlike Jambalaya, however, the chords are incredibly easy on a variety of instruments. I've taught it to a lot of kids, mostly because it is an easy chord progression and lends it self well as a song where kids can focus on strumming over notes. But in the end, it is also a song I like to sing.

For those of you interested in trying it yourself, here are the tabs for ukulele and guitar. And if you scroll down a little bit further you can hear the Phretted Phillies' rendition. P.S. look how cute Jenna's pony tail looks all sketchy like.

Horse With No Name

We also worked on another one of my favorites "Spirit in the Sky". I get to play bass on that one which makes me look like I can play a bunch of different instruments, but most of the time I say, "Jenna, show me which notes to play." One thing about the bass, it makes you feel "cool" just playing it. I'm hoping to get a recording of Becky playing bass on "Last Kiss" (It has a much more difficult bass line)

I was going to leave with some cool jazz from Joe and Cameron -- just to keep us, you know cool -- but then I remembered it is Father's Day. I imagine Macey misses Father's Day here 'cause he won't get a Father's Day Primary gift from Naji. Naji totally gave his candy bar gift to Joe. I asked Naji if Joe was his new "Daddy." He said, "Yes, but only 'cause Sam is vegan and doesn't eat [milk] chocolate." takes a lot of sacrifice to be a dad, Sam.

In honor of Father's Day, I leave you with Macey singing a cover of Bad Religion's "Sorrow."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Good Morning Friday -- I hope you are good and awake!

The discussion on the anti-folk movement continues -- because the anti-folk movement is really about taking music back and embracing what the Smithsonian refers to as "folklife". Somewhere deep inside all of us lies our cultural memories and the sounds that touch our hearts.

I am thinking about you, NORWEGIA! Yes I know I've never been. But people I know have and are and were. There's a part of my heritagible soul that sours whenever I hear my favorite Norwegian Band -- So this one goes out to Barbara who has part of herself in Norway as well.

And since we're in Europe, lets swing by France for some good ol' French pop. After you are done checking out the great instrumentation, try to clap along. Me and the kids spent hours (I mean days) doing this -- which may explain why Judea is hobbling around on one lung.

Back to anti-folk, here is another one of my favorites -- sung by Macey

That was filmed at his "Not Farewell" house show -- but for those of you who want to see some good ol' Utah culture, here's another favorite :)

One of the nice things about this blog is that it gives me a reason to post videos on YouTube and I've created a pretty substantial playlist by now. It is comforting to me as I work and study to listen to my family and friend sing the soundtrack of our lives.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

You are Braver and Stronger - The Anti-Folk Movement

Mainstream. It is a word I have been hearing a lot of lately. According to the media -- the tempered acceptance of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman as presidential candidates indicates that "mormonism" is now mainstream. The adoption of the ukulele into Top 40 hits like Train's "Soul Sister" indicates that the ukulele is now mainstream. And yet on both accounts, I bristle to the term "mainstream" -- even though in this case I think "mainstream" is intended to denote "acceptance".

Acceptance. I suppose that's a good place to be, but I would still like to believe that I do what I do because it is what I want to do and not because it is acceptable in the eyes of the world. I believe whole-heartedly in freedom of expression. Music, for me, springs forth as a way to express my spirituality. Religion and music, for me, are intertwined. This grass-roots movement of freedom of expression is what fuels anti-folk.

Anti-folk. This is the type of music that circumvents convention and allows for all types of voices and expression and instrumentation as long as it is down to earth and "real". (Isn't "real" the concept that art chases round the world and through the centuries?) As I have been spending some time tabbing out some anti-folk songs, I thought I would share some tabs and videos that fall into that genre.

First off is a song by Madeleine Ava. The Ol' lady band (the Fretted Phillies) are working on this one.

Cheer Up Buttercup

Madeline Ava also wrote this little song we made a video for back when I worked in primary education :)

Another anti-folk song we made with in the Media Literacy Lab is Kimya Dawson's Tree Hugger.

As you can see, the anti-folk movement asserts that everyone can sing and make music. And I like that. I like when social norms don't hold us back from doing and making and creating and finding our own joie-de-vie!

I'm going to leave you with an anti-folk remake of an old folk standard (We'll talk more about melodicas in the blogs to come).