Category Archives: Music

Happy Music

Happy Music

Fanny Lu - singer and song writer
                                          Fanny Lu – Singer

Here is a song that I enjoy listening to. It’s by Fanny Lu, a tall, blond  singer/ song writer (and industrial engineer), and, like Shakira, she’s from Columbia.

In the song, her love has left. She doesn’t know where he’s gone, and she’s  lost track of the days. He doesn’t have to bring her flowers or chocolates. He doesn’t have to  explain. She just wants him back – to feel his heat, his caress, and to hear him say he loves her – and that “she’s the woman he most admires” [curious].  She feels sorry for him night after night with her. She knows she’s not perfect, but her love already has its owner and its price.

There is something about the song – particularly in the chorus that is playful, bubbly, and full of life, and the song is hopeful. She personalizes the song with “A-haa!” and “Ay Diosito” (like “baby God”), “Ay ya yay”, laughing, and “Viene! Viene!” (Come, Come!).  Even the accordion is right. My body moves to the rhythm and wants to get up and move or dance. I just can’t feel other than happy listening to it. I play it as a treat when I go walking.

Here’s the song. Hope you like it.

I Don’t Ask You for Flower (No Te Pido Flores) – Fanny Lu

 

Accordions and Mexican Music

Includes Accordion and don't forget the Tuba (talk about a heavy metal band!)
Includes Accordion and don’t forget the Tuba

Speaking of curious, have you ever listened to Mexican Music and thought that sounds like a polka and wondered “how did that get there”?
And why is the accordion so popular an instrument (kinda like Alabama’s song  – “…if you’re going to play in Monterrey, you’ve got to have an accordion in the band…”)?

250px-Emperador_Maximiliano_I_de_Mexico
Maximilian – Emperor for 3 years

Seems there were a lot of Austrian, German and Polish immigrants to Mexico in the later 1800’s (including aspiring Austrian invader Emperor Maximilian) who naturally brought their music with them. Many of these settlers located in Northern Mexico bringing instruments from home including the accordion.  One stream of this influence evolved into Norteño music which has become popular as far south as Columbia and Chile. So, if you’re listening to Mexican or Latin American music and it sounds like a polka, it is – Mexican style!

 

 

Dance with your heart

Wisdom from an old Serbian Farmer

A world traveler was talking about his trips, He would enter one country and make friends during his stay.  When it was time to go on the road again, they would tell him that their country was friendly, but to look out when he went into the neighboring country because they were of a different background and it was a dangerous place. He would enter the new country and again find new friends. As he was leaving that country, he smiled as his new friends, in turn, warned him about the people in the next country.

During these travels, he met an old Serbian farmer who told him something that I know from my heart to be wonderful advice:

“Dance with your heart, and
Smile with your eyes”

That’s an overwhelming combination. Hopefully, you have had the gift of knowing someone like that. More importantly, I hope you have the gift of being that person.

GoEuro.com

If you have any plans of going to Europe (I do), there is a new website that could help you get around. With GoEuro.com, you can enter your departure city, your destination city and date, and the site will respond  with the availability and price of the different travel modes available (rail, air, bus). For example, if you wanted to go from Madrid to Barcelona, Bus is the cheapest (and longest 12 hrs.) for $56. Rail is the fastest and most expensive $147. Air is a hair longer (2 minutes) but somewhat less expensive  at $112.  Couple that with AirBnB.com and Bon Voyage!

 

A Wedding, A Cello, A Tenor and A Song.

I was invited to a wedding down in Puerto Rico.  The ceremony was held in an old catholic church that was refreshed for the wedding. The bride was beautiful, her gown was perfect for her and truly complimented her. The groom was young and lively, also an engineer. They were a great couple. The selection of the musicians was also well done.  Two violins and a cello provided the music and then then during the ceremony, a young tenor began to sing. He hit the notes perfectly modulating between soft and strong, and sang with great feeling. The tenor and the strings filled the church with their music through the ceremony playing so exceptionally that, by the end, the two hundred families and friends were applauding both the new couple as well as the musicians – particularly the tenor, Carlos Feliciano.

One of the  songs  that he knocked out of the park, I wanted to hear again, but  didn’t know the name – it was in Italian and operatic in style. Searches of Puccini and Verdi were unsuccessfully. So, I called up my cousin, father of the bride, and found out the  piece was called Nessum Dorma for Puccini’s Turandot.

The story line is that a beautiful, icy (and dangerous) princess, Turandot,  daughter of a powerful king. She doesn’t wish to be married, but accedes to her father’s wishes with the condition of requiring that any suitor must answer three riddles to win her hand. If they answer incorrectly, they lose their heads.

The latest suitor is the Prince of Persia.Poster_Turandot But, he couldn’t answer the riddles and will have his head cut off at moon rise. In the crowd for that event is a young man named Calaf, the hero. He runs into an old man with a young slave woman, Liu, whom he recognizes as his father – a deposed Mongol king. The slave girl he recognized from his youth.

When the moon rises, the crowd pleas for the life of the Persian Prince, but Turandot appears and silently motions for the execution to proceed. Calaf sees the Princess for the first time and is overwhelmed by her beauty. After the execution, Calaf orders the gong sounded to announce he will be the next high risk suitor.

Calaf is presented the deadly riddles. The first is “what is born each night and dies at dawn?” He thinks and answers “Hope.” He is asked the second riddle – “What flickers red and warm like a flame, yet is not fire?” He thinks and then responds “Blood”. He is asked the final riddle – “What is like ice yet burns?” Calaf reflects on this and answers “Turandot” and survives the test.

Yet, the Princess refuses to marry him. So, in order to win her heart, Calaf offers her a challenge – if she can tell him what his name is by sunrise, he will forfeit his life.

Turandot accepts, but issues a proclamation that No One Shall Sleep (Nessum Dorma) until they find out the man’s name. If they don’t, she will have the entire city killed. Frantically, they try to find out his name. They figure out that the slave girl Liu knows the answer. As a young girl, Liu had fallen in love with Calaf, Turandot has her tortured with no result. She asks Liu how she can resist the torture and Liu says “Love”.  Turandot directs the soldiers to increase the torture and Liu grabs one of their knives and takes her own life, before she gives Calaf up.

As the sun rises, the Princess has run out of time and Calaf sings he has won (vincerò) and forcibly kisses her for her first time and begins to turn her heart.

Pav2Here is Luciano Pavarotti singing the same song from the wedding: Nessum Dorma – Calaf’s song of victory.

Yesterday, listening to my smorgasbord of stations on Pandora, a song started playing! Turns out it’s a fairly recent song – very melodic with a touch of wistfulness to it. There lyrics are even more so:

“There is no light if you are not here with me. Lands that I never shared with you, I shall experience with you on ships across seas that exist no more. With you, I will go. I know you are with me”.

Con Te Partiro by Andrea Bocelli

 

This was my first exposure to Bocelli and he too can hit the low as well as the high notes.  I think of him as an international  Frank Sinatra – only more mellow and with less brass. He also did a classic Spanish song that’s a mix of love, passion with a dash of the uncertainty , insecurity and ephemerality in relationships . It’s a great song for lovers to dance to:

Besame Mucho –Andrea Bocelli

 

Looking over his songs, there was a surprising discovery –  a duet cover of another classic Mexican love song “Somos Novios” sung by Bocelli and Christina Aguilera, who, although having a latin name, I have never heard sing in Spanish. (Shakira sings in English and Spanish, but her voice is most powerful in Spanish).

The words start:  “Somos novios,
Pues los dos sentimos mutuo amor profundo,
y con eso, ya ganamos lo mas grande de este mundo…”

“We’re a couple, we both feel profound mutual love,
and, with that, we have won the biggest thing in this world…”

So here are Andrea and Christina:

Somos Novios –   Bocelli and Aguilera

 

Speaking of Shakira. she was a judge on The Voice and had a thoughtful, soft approach. Though English may not even be her second language, she has an incredible English vocabulary to describe precisely what she’s feeling. In fact, they did a compilation of her comments over the season that was really impressive to listen to. She’s a polyglot speaking five languages!  In addition, she is reported to have an IQ of 140. (She gets more amazing the more I learn about her.) Her mom is Colombian and her dad is Lebanese, and she honors both musical traditions. Her name means “Thankful” in arabic and you can thank her paternal grandmother for introducing her to belly dancing. Here’s a short clip of her on The Voice and another while interviewed on-tour.

Shakira on “The Voice”.

Shakira Interviews On-Tour

 

Below is the song that I was thinking about in audio format.

Ojos Asi – Shakira (audio)

Ojos Asi – Video – The Mongoose Tour – Rotterdam

Shakira puts on a great show and selects a team of top musicians, stage and lighting designers and managers.

Petraeus and the “Terrrible, Horrible,  No     Good, Very Bad Day Year” 

David-Petraeus

One of my current reads is “All In”  about Soldier/ Scholar David Petraeus. He’s a man of amazing abilities, talents, intelligence, a leader by example, and he has his own weaknesses (which he, like everyone, also has to live with ).  Back in 2007, David Petraeus was transferred from the US and reassigned as the commander of the rapidly disintegrating situation in Iraq. Nothing was going his way, but stabilizing and turning it around was his challenge. In reflecting on the situation, he said:

” The situation …is dire, The stakes are high. There are no easy choices. The way ahead will be very hard…
But hard is not hopeless.”

He consistently did new, multiple, different things, took risks that exposed his troops and himself to danger, got involved with the local population and leaders, created security for them, won their trust and turned the situation around.

His philosophy, and practice,  is useful in life:   Hard is not hopeless.

Food for Thought – A nation that draws too broad a difference between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools. – Thucydides

Music for Walking with Swag

Music for walking with Attitude.

I am told one should get in 10,000 steps per day. Using a metronome, I found that a brisk walk runs around 120 – 130 beats per minute. However, by adding music at that pace, I forget about the exercise part of it. Leaning forward – with shoulders swinging and full-body tango strides (don’t knock it till you try it- click on picture  for more information –>) Elegantly dressed dancers on the beach - Life is Good.my full body gets into the rhythmic movement and it turns more into a dance than an exercise – and it’s definitely a lot more fun. I end up looking forward to it in the morning rather than thinking of it as a drudge task. Once I get going, it feels really good and I get a big smile on my face. The playlist below is a compilation of songs in that pace range and is shuffled so that there’s variety every time you load it.

The song rhythms vary, so you may have to shift gears and shorten, or lengthen, your steps to keep the beat and the movement. There’s around five hours of music which should carry you for as long or far as you want. Some of the songs I like were borderline in their tempo, so I edited them to include them. If you don’t have a computer near by or unlimited mobile data, work off a wifi connection.

In trying to start a habit, it helps to set a trigger to get you going – place your shoes by the bed,  or exercise before a meal, or when you get home – just pick an event, location or action that you’ll recognize every time and use that as a trigger to get you started. First day,  walk a few songs, maybe a block or whatever is comfortable. Next day, when you bump into your trigger again,  do a few more songs, walk an extra street and come back. The following day, walk an extra street or a block and build up. As with all good things in life, start out with small steps, and you’ll surprise yourself at how much you will be able to do.  The people who are in great shape or who can bench press 300 pounds didn’t start like that. Also, let me know what think about the playlist and any suggestions.

While you are walking, pay attention to the environment around you. Also, tune into your mood, and if it needs improvement, think of a few of the things that you truly enjoy that make you happy and “lift your vibe”. Today the sun is bright and warm in a beautiful blue sky with white puffy clouds with a wonderful breeze cooling off the early morning, A sleek, white breasted osprey glides in silent easy circles over the lake, and a small alligator floats enjoying the water and sun, and, with the music to pump it up – it’s just perfect.

Get Walkin’  & Enjoy.

 

 

Love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections

These Life / Music pages encompass good parts of life in general. It includes thoughts, quotes, lyrics, poetry, video, links to  interesting sites, and things that I find interesting or well done.

There have been a few songs recently that have spoken to me. The first is John Legend’s “All of Me”. Some of the lyrics are:

My head’s under water,

But I’m breathing fine
You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind
‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you, oh…
You’re my downfall, you’re my muse
My worst distraction, my rhythm and blues…
Cards on the table,
we’re both showing hearts Risking it all, though it’s hard…”

 

 

 

The second song I heard recently in a movie “About Time” which I liked a lot. This movie was similar to one of my favorites – “Ground Hog Day”, only this time, he has a choice.  The movie’s premise is that the men of this family are able to travel back it time. If something didn’t go as they desired, they could travel back and do something different to see how the outcome changed (repeat as needed) – with some funny improvements which I cheered. There were also some sad choices, too, but, overall, they mostly were improvements to their lives.
During the movie there was a spirited love song (usually they are slow) called “How Long Will I Love You” that is a celebration of love. Play the song and grab the person you love and dance with them. I include a link to the Youtube video of the song:

 

How Long Will I Love You by Boden, Sweeny & Coleman (audio)