Music in My Kitchen

Dagmar from A Cat in the Kitchen tagged me with this meme, so here we go:

What is the total amount of music files on your computer?

None. Nada, zip, zero. For all that I blog, and have been an admin or mod on various online communities and bbs’s and suchlike critters, for all that I participated in Usenet way back in the day and even MUSHed for several years, I am not a computer geek. I am rather a bit of a technophobe, if the truth be told. I don’t adore each new technological gadget that comes along related to the computer. My own computer would probably keel over and die if I tried to download music onto it–I mostly use for my writing. It is woefully inadequate in the memory department, which is something I should remedy soon.

The CD you last bought?

Okay, it is time for another confession.

I seldom am the one who buys CD’s in this house. Though I do love music and sing and tweedle along with music all the time, and have at various times played guitar and bass (and am picking the guitar back up and relearning), Zak is the music maven in the household. He has a better knowledge of exactly what is in our huge CD library than I do, especially when it comes to esoterica like his five bazillion shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) CDs or the works of contemporary composter Steve Roach.

However, the last CD that I insisted we purchase is the soundtrack to the Zang Yimou film, The House of Flying Daggers. Composed by Shigeru Umebayashi, the music is sensitive, subtle and evokes the saturated colors of the film. The only part I dislike is the end theme, sung by Kathleen Battle who does have a lovely voice, but her over enunciation and operatic tremolo do not suit the simple melody of the love theme. (Okay, yeah, not only am I a food geek, but a music dweeb as well. And a film fangirl.)

What was the song you last listened to before reading this message?

I blush now to see what is in the CD player–the afformentioned soundtrack. I can’t compose anything seriously when there is music with lyrics that I can understand on–because I will sing with it, and thus all other words in my mind fly out of my ears. It is quite unproductive.

But that soundtrack is quite easy to write to.

Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.

I am listening to one of them now. Light things like this I can write when listening to songs with lyrics in languages I can understand. It is When I Go by Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer. I love most of the songs by these two fantastic folk musicians, but this one hit me in the heart and brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard it and it gives me shivers to this day. I would like to cover the song with Zak and some friends of mine, if we really do start a band after we move back to Athens.

Come, lonely hunter, chieftain and king
I will fly like the falcon when I go
Bear me my brother under your wing
I will strike fell like lightning when I go

I will bellow like the thunder drum, invoke the storm of war
A twisting pillar spun of dust and blood up from the prairie floor
I will sweep the foe before me like a gale out on the snow
And the wind will long recount the story, reverence and glory, when I go

Spring, spirit dancer, nimble and thin
I will leap like coyote when I go
Tireless entrancer, lend me your skin
I will run like the gray wolf when I go

I will climb the rise at daybreak, I will kiss the sky at noon
Raise my yearning voice at midnight to my mother in the moon
I will make the lay of long defeat and draw the chorus slow
I’ll send this message down the wire and hope that someone wise is listening when I go


Another one would be Sanvean by Lisa Gerrard, on her album, The Mirror Pool, her first solo album after being one half of the ideosyncratic duo, Dead Can Dance. There are no lyrics to share with you; Gerrard uses “vocables,” nonsense verbal sounds that give her song structure, but without lyrical content. It sounds like a language, but isn’t one, which allows the listener to attach meaning to the pure sound alone, without being hampered by words. This particular piece is my favorite of hers–its soaring melody is heartbreakingly romantic and beautiful in a tragic yet delicate way. It always makes me think of the epic power of love to both create and destroy, in the fashion of the goddesses of old who were both temptresses and warriors.

Kate Bush’s entire album, The Hounds of Love.

But, especially, The Jig of Life, because that is the song that Zak and I used to dance The Spiral Dance with our guests when we were married. It was my daughter, Morganna’s favorite song all through her childhood, which she called, “Big Music” before she knew its title. She’d demand I put it on the CD player and as the galloping rhythyms would catch her, she would whirl around the room, dancing on tiny feet, her eyes flashing with wild delight. The lyrics are part of a song cycle that describes life, death, rebirth and life again, and I cannot listen to them without thinking of the dance at our wedding, and the many dances with Morganna over the years.

Can’t you see where memories are kept bright?
Tripping on the water like a laughing girl.
Time in her eyes is spawning past life,
One with the ocean and the woman unfurled,
Holding all the love that waits for you here.
Catch us now for I am your future.
A kiss on the wind and we’ll make the land.
Come over here to where when lingers,
Waiting in this empty world,
Waiting for then, when the lifespray cools.
For now does ride in on the curl of the wave,
And you will dance with me in the sunlit pools.
We are of the going water and the gone.
We are of water in the holy land of water
And all that’s to come runs in
With the thrust on the strand.

It is hard to pick a single song by Loreena Mckinnett to mention, but I feel that I must say The Old Ways, from her album The Visit. It really is in a tie with the track All Soul’s Night, but the lyrics to the former song are a bit more poignant and laced with sorrow than the latter. Melancholic songs always tend to get to me.

As we cast our gaze on the tumbling sea
A vision came o’er me
Of thundering hooves and beating wings
In clouds above.
As you turned to go I heard you call my name,
You were like a bird in a cage spreading its wings to fly
The old ways are lost, you sang as you flew
And I wondered why.

I love Nick Cave’s work. He’s a hell of a songwriter and his resonant voice can go from languid to horrifying in a split second. I am very fond of his song, “Where the Wild Roses Grow,” which has all the hallmarks of a classic Applachian/Celtic ballad. He sings it with Kylie Minogue, and the first time I heard it, it planted a seed in my mind which came out as the first short story in what will hopefully be an anthology, called, “Wild Roses.” The tales will be a series of folktales set in a mythical turn of the century Applachia that never was–rather like the Brothers Grimm meet Eudora Welty and H. P. Lovecraft. (Did that hurt your head? I’m sorry if it did.)

There are many other musicians, bands and CD’s I didn’t mention. Garmarna, from Sweden, Gjallarhorn of Finland, I believe, are two of my favorite bands in all the world. However, it is hard for me to say which song is a favorite. In fact, I like a lot of Scandanavian folk music and folk-influenced musicians: Bukkene Bruse, Hedningarna and Loituma are three more favorites.

Other musicians I really like include Talvin Singh, Johnny Cash, Kodo, and Axiom of Choice.

And other favorite soundtracks include Howard Shore’s work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films, Basil Poledouris’ score for Conan the Barbarian and Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon soundtrack.

And of course the music of Zak. That is the soundtrack of my life–the music my husband and I make together. (Though we haven’t recorded together yet. Like many other things, it will have to wait until we move.)

There is a lot more I could list, but I will cease and desist for the nonce. You guys get the idea–I like a lot of music, from many different genres, styles and countries, and I will sing with all of them whether I know the words (or even if there are no words) or not.

I like to sing while I cook.

As for whom I shall tag–

Christina at The Thorngrove Table, because I want to know if she listens to medieval period music when she is cooking food of that time period.

My friends at Cracked Cauldron Spillings, because I bet that they listen to fun music while they cook up thier dreams.

And Alan at The Impetuous Epicure, because he such an intrepid experimenter and I want to know what kind of musical tastes he has.

3 Comments

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  1. I buy about 3 CDs a year and then about one of those gets lost. I love Lisa Gerard’s voice. One of my all time favorite CDs is Toward the Within, a live Dead Can Dance performance. An old boyfriend introduced me to them the night we met. He had the live video which was amazing. Now I have to get Gerard’s CD since I sampled it on Amazon.

    Comment by artcargirl — February 11, 2005 #

  2. Thank you for taking part! It’s really nice to get tips about music that you’ve never heard before. And I guess that I should be ashame of that I’ve never heard about Garmarna before… But you learn new things every day :-)

    Comment by kissekatten — February 11, 2005 #

  3. Hey, Artcarbabe!

    Lisa Gerrard is the reason I love Dead Can Dance. Whatshisname’s voice was way too Tony Bennetish for my taste. Way too lounge, but not in a cool way, in a sorta cheezy/sleazy/Las Vegas kind of way. But the musicianship of the group was great, and when the two of them sang together, it was good. It was just when he sang solo that I would skip the song entirely.

    Glad to help you find Garmarna, Dagmar. Emma’s (lead vocalist/fiddle player) voice is fantastic. I really don’t know what she sings about it, but it doesn’t matter. It is all good.

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — February 13, 2005 #

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