Nterini – Fatoumata Diawara

This song speaks to me very deeply. I’ve loved Fatoumata’s voice and style in all the recordings I have heard of her and this one stands out. The music video is luscious of course, and I selected this upload for the fewer visual distractions from her song, and for its slightly different ending.

The uploader, Colors, posted a comment with lyrics in the original language, which are said in other comments to speak of a love who has gone away and is not communicating. The singer longs to know about how they are doing, and of course to be with them.
Despite the upbeat musical intro and the energy driving throughout, the tenderness and anguish in the song need no translation. I guess I’m a sucker for songs which are also prayers.

Can you point me to other examples?

‘No Hay Nadie Como Tú’ – Calle 13 ft. Café Tacuba

Earlier we witnessed a profound anthem for Latin America from the Puerto Rican Calle 13. It opened with a charango player introducing the singer in Quechua.

Here we have one of two acerbic parodies of romantic obsession from the same artist. The other is ‘Muerte en Hawaii’ – Death in Hawaii – and I will let you search for it because its overall presentation is more directly morbid than this one though the messages I get from them are similar. They both touch on the collective human impacts on the rest of the earth although this one more directly jabs at lust while the other one more at romantic heroism. Have fun feeling a perplexing mix of guilty and insignificant…


‘Aranjuez’ – Joaquín Rodrigo Vidre

Maybe you’ve heard this popular melody, from the world-famous concerto Aranjuez. I’ve heard so many renditions of it that I can’t begin to guess how many.

Also floating around the polyverse are two or three recordings of arrangements featuring Andean instruments.

And then I heard Espíritu de los Andes cover. On the album photo the name ‘John Herberman is visible, but as this is one of the few pieces I’ve brought you without having purchased or borrowed a physical copy of an album, I can’t say for sure any more details about the recording artist(s).

I’m not sure any of the previous versions I’ve encountered have done half so well in taking the listener on a musical journey as this one. How can this be when it doesn’t even feature an Oboe, let alone an English Horn?

If this piqued your interest in this album, try their take on ‘El Condor’ renamed to reflect their interpretation of the great spirit bird from its cave.

Also of note are a well-known Andean melody they’re calling ‘The Mission’ and a brilliant composition (which might be their own?) titled ‘Children Play/Los Chiquitos Tocan’ which I take to be a Spanish-as-second-language error (mistranslation of ‘play’ as ‘tocar’ when it should be ‘jugar’ although both end up back in English as ‘play’). Or is the title really meant to imply children playing the instruments? I take it as children at play, generally. At least in the Americas, that’s ‘jugar’. As a pedo, I find the idea of Chiquitos Tocan funny in a Freudian fashion.

Whoever produced this, they’re masters at mastering. Talk about good use of binaural separation with the Toyo! They also toss light Charango riffs into one side or another with excellent results.

I’ve heard other Andean groups do this, quite a lot, actually, and maybe when millions are reading my blog I’ll open a separate site just to handle the flood of recommendations of other music prompted by my sharing. I would love to rediscover the dozen or so finest examples of Andean recording artistry I’ve misplaced along the way, usually by giving or permanently lending the album while keeping a digital copy or two for ‘safe keeping’ — haha, Computers!

I don’t know who you are, John, but in the Zulu sense, I see you.

‘The Addams Family Goes To School’ (Full Episode) – MGM

While the musical bits of this clip may be brief, they are extraordinarily important for the message. For example, there’s nothing like Ted Cassidy as Lurch setting the mood or simulating rag-time on a virginal to punctuate a line like, “School! That’s for kids!”


There are so many acerbic digs directed at social norms in this, the pilot episode of a show I’d missed all my life until now. Brilliantly done, though Wednesday’s dubbed whimpering sadness over the death of the dragon leaves something to be desired in the believability department. I think whoever was directing her there let her down on that scene, since she’s clearly capable of better and if I were her I’d want to look back on that moment and say, ‘Damb, I did good,’ or whatever polite little monsters say when they’ve grown up.

Dad: “That settles it. No more school.”

Son: “Good thinking, Sir.”

and later…

Mama: “Children. You just never know what they’re thinking.”

Truant officer Hilliard: “I do.”

Dad: “Do you think he’ll convince the school board?”

Mama: “I don’t know, he’s such a weird little man.”

(Nice basoonery there on Hilliard’s exit too. See? The Addams Family totally belongs here in my music blogroll.)

Mama: “That was that nice Mr. Hilliard. He said the school board accepted our ideas enthusiastically.”

Dad: “Really! Well now Mr. Hilliard may be right. We may have saved the world!”

Mama: “Do you think we did the right thing?” [And I’m left wondering which she’s doubting the wisdom of… saving the world?–or putting their kids in school? Given how ugly the world and school can be, and how few families’ ‘normal’ is as loving as the Addams’, I guess both are fair game for questioning.]

Navajo Healing Song – Verdell Primeaux, Johnny Mike and Robert Attson

After doing some yoga and yoga coaching with the neighbors this evening, during which I’d put on some Gregorian chant in some unfamiliar-to-me Iberian dialect, I went back to the YouTube to find this song on top of my recommended videos.

Bingo. I will be adding it next time I have a playlist set for yoga or similar activities. On repeat (with a sleep timer of about 45 min) it might even help me sleep.

One commenter mentioned that it follows the same melodic pattern as southern African choral singing. Indeed it reminded me of a song from that area of the world, and if I locate it for a later post I will be sure to link back here.

‘A Madre de Jhesu-Cristo’ – Alfonso “El Sabio”: Cantigas de Santa Maria #302

Ok friends, frenemies, and random passers-by, take this with your Holiday Punch, if you’re still drinking at this hour … or with whatever concoction your man-about-the-house makes for a pick-me-up the next morning.

Warning: Rife with reverent irreverence and worse.

I have it on unassailable authority (a YouTube commenter going by the handle ‘Trompicavalas’ currently) that the lyrics of this song written down three quarters of a millennium ago are in a blend of languages that varied much from village to village, but were mutually intelligible to a degree their modern derivatives (Galician and Portuguese) are not.

Now for the embarrassing part: Everyone within earshot of my miniature speakers knows that this song is my new favorite Christmas carol. It has a kind of ‘Good King Wenceslas’ or ‘Drummer Boy’ energy to it. Both of those carols take more from lore than from the originating story of Nativity, and indeed this one I bring unto you today isn’t quite the carol I thought on first listening to it. I caught words related to sacred themes throughout, but entirely missed the point of the song.

It isn’t a carol sung to inspire good will or alms-giving after all. Instead it’s an enthusiastic appeal to another emotion (harnessed in the service of moralizing) popular at Christmastide and central especially to the Catholicism in the Iberian peninsula: Wonder.

… Specifically it endeavors to instill the wonder at miracles that people associate afterwards with the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Not having been raised Catholic, and only having lived in half a dozen New World republics, I still cannot grasp what leads people to make this association or how closely the myriad Marys that work miracles are linked in peoples minds to the one who ostensibly lived in Judea a while earlier and became pregnant without the usual fuss and bother.

Sometimes these miracles are not only dubiously connected to Mary, but as miracles they may leave something to be desired in the incredibility department. … i.e. the phenomena could be readily explained without resorting to magical thinking.

So here is my synopsis of the lyrical message in this one:

<<Here’s a church where Mary the mother of Jesus Christ won’ take none of that sass from no lowdown sinner men. For proof, just listen to me sing about a story some other believers told me. In their account two pilgrims (not necessarily the type that brought diseases and guns to Pocahontas) came by this church and spent the night (people used to do this, and still do when the next-door banana republic is shunting ordinary folks who for some reason don’t like the idea of being killed by gang hit-boys if they fail to cough up enough extortion fees to keep their lemonade stand or shoe factory open, but I digress again.) One of these two pilgrim types stole some money from the offerings and then in the morning was miraculously unable to leave to continue his journey until he’d stood up, Scarlet Letter style, to confess his malfeasance in front of a bunch of other folks. Oh, and lots of people witnessed this miracle, and it is definitely true, and miraculous, and the work of Mary who is up in heaven with God, because like I said, she in da house and she don’ take no miserable lowdown shit.>>

Below is a version with lyrics for your next karaoke event, as well as some of the story in fresco, sculpture, and description, though if you’re just reading the English it’s pared way down. (This video includes two songs, with the one I’m describing ending at around 5:55. The second song is in fact a Nativity song mentioning the visit of the Magi and so forth.)

Here’s one with an effect I love: a drone voice:

And here’s the version I first fell in love with, even before setting eyes on my Bluetooth-enabled phone and seeing that gorgeous girl behind and to the strumming-arm side of the lutenist. Yeah. That one:

The same recording is found below in the context of the whole concert. You might enjoy other delightful performances in there, like the bagpipe and shawm whirlwind that follows ‘A Madre de Jhesu-Cristo’, or the promising but off-pitch efforts of two of the soloist youngsters in the equally energetic ‘Cuncti simus concanentes’ from the following century’s efforts at promoting the Mary thing. And speaking of nubile females, the colleen singing ‘Mariam, matrem virginem, attolite’ is worthy of worship for that solo, though God and I would have rather started wooing a bit earlier had either of us noticed her virtues at the time. (God isn’t a pedo, or even a hebephile, in case anyone’s wondering. Or at least we’ve got to wait to hear it from God’s own mouth, since Him and Mary was a one-off thing, and that can happen to anyone. Pedos on the other hand experience that routinely. Well not the conception part, but the immaculacy.)

Here’s a copy/paste of a helpful comment with ‘track’ start points, though I’ve removed the time-stamp hyperlinks to clean up this page a bit:

01. O virgo splendens (Llibre Vermell, nº 1, s. XIV) 1:55

02. Laudemus Virginem (Llibre Vermell, nº 3, s. XIV) 8:05

03. Splendens ceptigera (Llibre Vermell, nº 4, s. XIV) 9:40

04. A Madre de Jhesu-Cristo (Cantiga de Santa María, nº 302, s. XIII) 12:05

05. Instrumental (Cantigas de Santa María, s. XIII): 17:00

– O que diz que servir ome, nº 311

– Des oge mais quer’eu trobar, nº 1

– Por razon tenno d’obedecer, nº 113

– Como somos per conssello, nº 119

06. Imperayritz de la ciutat joyosa (Llibre Vermell, nº 9, s. XIV) 22:40

07. Cuncti simus concanentes (Llibre Vermell, nº 6, s. XIV) 32:03

08. Mariam, matrem virginem, attolite (Llibre Vermell, nº 8, s. XIV) 35:55

09. Mui grandes noit e dia (Cantiga de Santa María, nº 57, s. XIII) 44:20

10. Los set gotxs (Llibre Vermell, nº 5, s. XIV) 48:40

11. Instrumental (Cantigas de Santa María, s. XIII): 53:20

– Tanto son da Groriosa, nº 48

– Mui gran Dereit e das bestias, nº 52

12. Polorum Regina (Llibre Vermell, nº 7, s. XIV) 57:40

13. Ad mortem festinamus (Llibre Vermell, nº 10, s. XIV) 1:03:43

14. Stella splendens (Llibre Vermell, nº 2, s. XIV) 1:10:35


Finally one for the road, with a suitably accelerated tempo:

…But Wait! There’s MORE! And this one is pretty much exactly what I would sound and look like if I joined the circus. Includes some impressive fingerwork from the drummer:

After hearing this entrancing song about 73 and 11/16ths times today, I’m pretty sure I still don’t believe in the miracle, unless we’re talking about the fundamental miracle of music and human life and emotion. But then, you have to wonder…

…why did I add a Gaelic Storm video onto the end of the longest post ever?