Tuesday, November 30, 2010

OBT: Warren Pulich

Warren M. Pulich of Irving passed away peacefully on November 27, 2010
surrounded by his loving family. He was an only child and was born on
December 1, 1919 in Stockton, CA to Leonilda and Raymond Pulich.
Warren was married for almost 60 years to the love of his life, Anne
Marie, who died July 17, 2003. Warren is survived by his 4 children:
daughter Marcia Pulich of Irving; son Warren M. Pulich, Jr. and wife
Joyce of Austin with their children Michelle (Alex) Stewart, Mark
(Kate), and Jennifer; daughter Therese M. LeRoy and husband Russell of
Duncanville with their children Sara (Charlie) Schild, Rebecca (Jon)
Horton, and Tim; and daughter Nancy Bednarz and husband George of
Parker with their children Christopher (Kellie) Parrick, Samantha, and
Andrew. Warren was also a proud great-grandfather to Austin, Ryan,
Sidney, and Julia Anne LeRoy; Axel Stewart; and Sadie Schild. WWII
interrupted his college years at the University of California-Berkley
and stationed him at Luke Field, Phoenix, AZ as a technical aviation
mechanics instructor. There he met the “best thing that ever happened
to him in his life,” Anne Marie Doles, and they married in 1943. He
finished his BS degree at the University of Arizona-Tucson in 1948 and
his MS from Southern Methodist University, Dallas in 1958. He
completed all coursework towards his PhD. at the University of
Oklahoma in 1963.

He worked for the AZ Game Commission and then the US Fish and Wildlife
Service in AZ and NV until 1951 when he was transferred to Ft Worth.
He began his teaching career at Our Lady of Victory College in Ft.
Worth teaching nurses. He joined the newly-established University of
Dallas in Irving in its first year (1956) as a founding member of the
Biology Department, retiring as associate professor Emeritus after 50
years. He taught basic biology, pre-med, and environmental courses at
UD. He was especially proud that numerous successful nurses and
doctors were his former students. One in particular, Dr. Robert
Israel, was his personal primary care physician. He also mentored many
life sciences students who became successful researchers and biology
professors at various universities. He taught environmental science
courses before this discipline even had a name. Warren was primarily
recognized for his expertise in avian ecology and ornithology. He was
a life-time member of the American Ornithologists Union. He was the
first resident professional ornithologist in the north-central Texas
area. He conducted meticulous bird studies of the region resulting in
the books of Birds of Tarrant County, Texas (1961) and Birds of
North-Central Texas (1988). He published numerous articles on birds in
scientific journals and magazines such as Texas Parks and Wildlife. He
specialized in research on the endemic Golden-cheeked Warbler of the
Texas Hill country, culminating in a classic book on this unique
endangered species (published by Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept, 1976).
All books were illustrated by his talented wife Anne, making them a
renowned scientist-artist team. He donated 1000s of valuable museum
specimens of birds to the American Museum of Natural History in NY,
the Western Museum of Vertebrate Zoology in CA, and the University of
Dallas, most of which were migrating birds found dead at TV antenna
towers, or birds killed on roads. He was very interested in bringing
natural science to students and the general public. He mentored many
young people and sparked their love of science and the outdoors. He
started community natural history programs by first working at the Ft.
Worth Children’s Museum in the 1950s, and he continued to share his
knowledge with local Audubon societies and environmental groups. His
impact was felt by many through his outreach classes in bird study and
natural science which included his now-famous Whooping Crane bus trips
to the Texas coast. Many people helped Warren towards the end of his
life but we especially acknowledge the loving care of the Bethlemite
Sisters and community of St. Joseph’s Residence, Dallas. In addition,
the excellent dignified treatment by the staff at Vitas Hospice Care
in Irving is gratefully recognized. He will be dearly missed by his
immediate family, close friends, and the community. At the same time,
we also celebrate his wonderful life and take comfort in knowing that
he is now reunited with his beloved Anne. Visitation and rosary will
be held on Thursday, December 2, 6-8 p.m. at Ben F. Brown’s Memorial
Funeral Home at 707 North MacArthur Blvd, Irving, TX. Mass of
Christian burial will be held Friday December 3 at 10 a.m. at the
University of Dallas Chapel of the Incarnation, 1845 E. Northgate Dr.,
Irving. Following a reception, internment will take place at Calvary
Hill Cemetery, Dallas. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Warren’s
memory may be sent to the Warren M. Pulich Memorial Biology Fund,
University of Dallas, Advancement Office, 1845 E. Northgate Dr.,
Irving, TX 75062 or to a favorite charity.


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RIP Warren Pulich

World Music News Wire #32

Sufi Saints, Pop Praise, and Raw Devotion: Nagore Sessions Revels in South India’s Unexpected Songs and Crosscultural Currents


Nagore Sessions 04
On the verdant shores of the Bay of Bengal, a mosque, a temple, and a church sit side by side in Nagore near India’s southeastern tip. An unexpected and flourishing Sufi religious site, Nagore’s five-acre Sufi shrine or dargah is filled with pilgrims of diverse faiths, and with the poignant voices of men singing songs passed down for generations, yet infused with pop sensibilities.

This cultural crossroads inspired the catchy, striking collaboration behind Nagore Sessions. A trio of traditional Sufi dargah singers teams up with Middle Eastern frame drums, the resonant strings of the sarangi (bowed, short-necked string instrument), and Tibetan brass in pulsating, elevated tracks that ring with raw power and an uplifting, transcendent call to love and devotion.

NagoreAlbumCover The production team from EarthSync first came to Nagore in the wake of the tragic 2004 tsunami, as part of the Laya Project, a multimedia homage to the cultures and peoples affected by the devastation. “At that moment when disaster struck, pilgrims of all faiths in Nagore lost their lives. It was a microcosm, an emotional hotspot of sorts, reflecting what the tsunami was everywhere else,” explains EarthSync Director Sonya Mazumdar. “Everyone came and helped each other, regardless of religion, culture, or other differences. The mosque was opened for injured people, and to help bury the dead.”

Though EarthSync is based in the not-too-distant coastal city of Chennai, the team was awestruck by the rich and unique Sufi culture they discovered in Nagore, something unexpected for South India. “We had no idea there was this strong Sufi culture, and here was a whole community of singers,” enthuses Mazumdar. “We connected with this trio in particular.” The sonic chemistry is audible on “Ya Allah,” the first track with the dargah singers that the team crafted.

EarthSync music producer Patrick Sebag was so enthused with what he heard in Nagore, he soon invited the trio into the studio. The three singers—Abdul Ghani, Ajah Maideen, and Saburmaideen Babha Sabeer—are lifelong friends and collaborators, performing songs they learned from their fathers. The music is steeped in the centuries-old traditions surrounding the Nagore holy site and its revered 16th-century saint, Meeran Sahib. “Baghdad Guru,” for example, tells the tale of a wise seer from the Middle East, who came to Nagore and spread his teachings.

Yet Nagore’s Sufi songs depart from better known Sufi forms (like the qawwali popularized by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) in both language and in their arrangements. Sung primarily in Tamil, the lyrics are imbued with Sufi thought, but remain deeply emotional and highly accessible. “The words are very straightforward, and songs like ‘The Saint’ praise Sahib,” notes Mazumdar. “But they are touching because they are meant for the people, not to discuss philosophy or big theological concepts. They have a beautiful simplicity, expressing gratitude to God, love, and devotion.”

At weddings, festivals, and religious occasions where they are customarily invited to perform, dargah singers usually play accompanied by only a frame drum. And though their style reaches back more than four hundred years, they use commercial and popular music to draw in listeners. They borrow familiar melodies from South Indian pop music and Kollywood, the southern equivalent of the better-known Bollywood tunes.

This deep-rooted, yet open-minded musical outlook made transcultural collaboration a breeze. The dargah singers found common sonic ground instantly with Turkish-Israeli frame drum master Zohar Fresco. Sarangi virtuoso Murad Ali Khan skillfully interwove classical Indian sounds into the folksy, compelling mix, and Sebag boldly incorporated the sounds of the horns of the Tibetan Buddhist Tashi Lhunpo Monastery. The result remains as divine and urgent as a Sufi prayer, yet instantly enjoyable and infectious.

The delicate musical balance reflects the quiet message at the heart of Nagore, something the tsunami made tragically clear. “In Sufism, so much is about climbing above the hardline boundaries of religion to speak the common language of love,” Mazumdar muses. “That’s what these singers share with the world.”

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Boys found alive after 50 days at sea

For three boys from the Tokelau Islands the word miracle has a whole new meaning.

After going missing following a sporting event in October, and after several unsuccessful searches by New Zealand's air force, they were presumed dead. About 500 people on the island held a memorial service for them.

But for Samuel Perez and Filo Filo, both 15, and Edward Nasau, 14, this story ended in the most unbelievable way - being rescued by a tuna ship near Fiji after 50 days at sea, according to Radio New Zealand.

Since October 5, the three survived with limited supply. They shared a single raw seagull and drank a tiny bit of rainwater. They eventually resorted to drinking small amounts of sea water, Australia's Herald Sun reported.

On Wednesday afternoon, their saga finally came to an end when the tuna boat, the San Nikunau, saw their small aluminum boat floating in the middle of open waters. They were and 807 miles (1,300 km) away from where they went missing.

'We got to them in a miracle," the first mate, Tai Fredricsen, told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"They were in reasonably good spirits for how long they'd been adrift," Fredricsen told the Herald Sun. "They were very badly sunburnt. They were in the open during the day up in the tropics there. But really they just needed basic first aid."

Call it a miracle, or call it luck, but for these boys, it was a rescue that might not have happened if not for chance.

The tuna boat was fishing far from where it usually does, the crew told the Herald Sun. It was taking a shortcut home to New Zealand when it stumbled upon the boys.

The boys were being checked at a hospital but were ecstatic to finally be able to speak by phone to their families.

"They've got a lot of gusto, a lot of strong mental spirit," Fredricsen told the Morning Herald. "Physically they are very [distraught] but mentally they are very strong."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

World Music News Wire #31

The Golden Palace of Song: Burmese Tradition Rings True in International Collaboration on Voice Over the Bridge


VOB 05
For seven hundred years, serpentine songs of glorious kings, ancient wealth, and deep love have echoed at weddings and social occasions in Myanmar (Burma). Though steeped in musical and literary tradition, these songs, called the Maha Gita (which means “great song”), speak with a voice that transcends personal gain, political tension, economic hardship, or cultural difference.

This is what the producers of Voice Over the Bridge (EarthSync; October 12, 2010) heard when they first encountered two striking—yet strikingly humble—vocalists in one of the world’s least understood countries. Capturing the age-old melodies and striking yet delicate vocals, producers Patrick Sebag and Yotam Agam then reframed the songs with the help of talented international musicians, hoping to bridge the gap in understanding of both the music and the Burmese people.

VOB_albumcover “Our first meeting was a magical moment,” Sebag reminisces. “We heard them singing a traditional song from far away and went to find them.” They met Khing Zin Shwe and Shwe Shwe Khaing, two talented singers who made their living performing and teaching at a local university, and who wanted to be discreet about their contribution. Sebag, Agam, researcher Ernest Hariyanto and crew were searching Myanmar for musicians as part of the Laya Project, a multi-country, multimedia homage to the cultures affected by the 2004 Asian tsunami.

The young women they met and began to record have a subtle yet intense timbre to their voices, effortlessly evoking the palaces and teak trees, the heartbreak and desire these songs chronicle. “These classical Maha Gita songs are about the power and glory of the ancient kings, the prosperity of the cities, and the beauty of nature with jungles and forests,” notes vocalist Khing Zin Shwe. “It is also about the way of life of the people in the olden days, so we can learn about their beliefs and customs.”

Yet these songs do far more than simply retell past wonders and mores. They are meant to move, and it is the singer’s job to make sure these ancient strains still resonate. “When I sing, I do my best to have the right mood. For example, take a sentimental poem, a longing song,” Shwe Shwe Khaing explains. “To sing that song tastefully, you need to know what the composer actually had in mind and the vocalist needs to share it by having the right mood.”

Sebag and Yotam went searching for what they felt was a sonic essence, the precious treasure at the heart of the pieces that could form a bridge to carry the music to new ears. To find it, they found themselves taking some musical risks.

”Lots of Western musicians are afraid to deal with the music of Burma,” Sebag reflects. “African and Indian music, for example, lend themselves more easily to collaboration. It took us a long time to understand the structure of traditional Burmese music. Like looking for gold, you need to dig very deep.”

Though the singers’ voices weave like veins of gold through a meditative and ethereal accompaniment, neither Shwe nor Khaing wanted any credit for their work—or any obvious clues to their identity on the album or in the accompanying documentary short. Mazumdar says, “They told us, ‘We don’t want any credit; we just want the music to reach more people.’ They were concerned what some might think of their collaboration, but mostly just hoped the music would be enjoyed and preserved.”

The sensitive nature of working in Burma shaped the producers’ approach to the Maha Gita material. Not content to follow the official channels by which the government usually assigns performers, the EarthSync crew had to find impromptu spaces to record the two singers. Though the government in Myanmar is supportive of traditional arts, it was wise for the crew to keep a low profile. They opted to record the singers’ performances on site, then create a new musical frame for them outside of Burma.

“We had to collaborate remotely, as it’s not the easiest place to produce music or film,” recounts Sonya Mazumdar, EarthSync’s director. “Even finding a studio is difficult. But it was amazing how so many people went out of their way to help us record. They were so happy that a crew came who were really interested in the music and culture.”

This willingness to provide help and find happiness even in difficult situations made a lasting impression on the crew and eased them through what experienced cross-cultural collaborator Sebag calls “the most challenging project we have ever done.”

“Myanmar is a very poor country, and the unbelievable beauty and grace of the country and the people was something I never expected,” Mazumdar muses. “People had so much grace living very meagerly, even in the way they walked and talked. It’s very touching, the way they put Buddhism into practice. It’s not like anywhere else in the world and you can hear it in the music.”

Flowing from a place of peace and unexpected contentment, the voices echoing from Myanmar suggest a path to greater calm and deeper engagement. As singer Shwe gently puts it, “Whether or not we have material possessions, there is no issue which can make us troubled in mind. We are not rich, but we have peace of mind.”

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Friday, November 19, 2010

best of everything tonight to the Tivy Antlers and the Smithson Valley Rangers . . .

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

World Music News Wire #30

Spanglish Superheroes of Degeneracy: The Cuban Cowboys’ Racy Exile Rock


"On stage, I’m The Cuban Cowboy, a superhero of exile and degeneracy!” exclaims singer and songwriter Jorge Navarro. Spitfire Spanglish blazing, Navarro sends the perfect American icon colliding with a whole family’s worth of émigré tension, exile, tenderness and lust. “I turn on the accent, I come out of it; switching back and forth. ‘Is it real; is it parody?’ It takes people a minute to decide.”

But The Cuban Cowboys are no joke. Riding in on churning post-punk distortion and quicksilver Latin percussion, Navarro and posse turn sordid tales and fantastic foibles into serious rock Cubano on Diablo Mambo. And with devilish glee, Navarro channels misguided love gurus from the streets of Havana, horny window gazers in Brooklyn, and sings of lessons learned from living life in between two cultures and languages.

CubanCowboys_cover “There’s a ferocity and vibe to what we do that’s missing in milquetoast, or more mainstream Latin music,” Navarro reflects, explaining his hybrid approach. “As a first generation Cuban-American, I want to rock it. There’s something in rock and punk that’s just as hypnotic as the rhythms in Cuban music.

Navarro knows a lot about both. He grew up in Florida, in a family where nostalgia and bitter exile permeated everything. He recalls being too white-looking to be accepted as Latino, but too Cuban to feel completely Americano. Cuba loomed large in the family imagination, an almost mythical place inhabited by larger-than-life characters. “In many ways, the music is my way of making peace and meaning with my upbringing, as a son of Cuban exiles who, by the age of nine, had a thing for cowboy boots and Kiss.”

Men like Navarro’s grandfather, a driving force behind many of The Cuban Cowboy’s tales. He was a bookie-turned-presidential advisor—“a kind of Rahm Emmanuel,” Navarro notes—in pre-Castro Cuba, where shady dealings and official business sometimes overlapped. Navarro’s father was thrown into prison during the Cuban Revolution and only released when Navarro’s grandfather agreed to teach Che Guevara about the Cuban banking system. He, along with other exiles, went on to work secretly with the U.S. government, earning the nickname “Cuban Cowboys” from their C.I.A. colleagues.

“I feel like there’s this twisted sense of loyalty to my family and upbringing,” Navarro muses. “The stories were so powerful. My dad, granddad, mom–all my relatives and their Cuban neighbors–they all had a certain way of talking about Cuba and exile.”

Their stories and voices are often rough, edgy, darkly funny, and rich with ambivalence. Witness "Señor Balaban," about his granddad's acquaintance, a street-corner Don Juan in Havana who acted as an impromptu relationship guru, dispensing somewhat dubious advice about how to seduce women. On the song, Navarro connects this infamous figure with his granddad and dad’s encouragement of the teenage Jorge to lose his virginity to a woman of the night.

Or take "Cojones," when his grandfather, wielding a knife, demanded that 8 year-old Jorge never again hit his sister or risk losing his balls, Navarro had a powerful response. “I said, ‘If that’s true why did your son hit my mom?’ He let go of my throat. He said that was different and walked out. With machismo, there’s a dark side that belies so-called ‘Latin Lover’ mythology.”

There's a sweeter, sultrier side to The Cuban Cowboy’s world, too. "La Ventana" melts in a gravelly doowop swoon over the hot chick in the loft across the way (based on the true story of several Williamsburg loft-dwelling exhibitionists Navarro encountered).

"Liberace Afternoon" tells of the endearing annoyance of his piano-practicing grandma who played an instrument Navarro’s mother scrimped and saved for after coming to the U.S. A former teacher in Cuba, his grandmother played piano each afternoon for hours at a time. Much to the young Jorge's irritation, who was known to shoot off bottle rockets in the house to try to get her to stop, though now he credits her with inadvertently giving him a musical foundation.

Navarro built on this foundation at a Catholic seminary in Upstate New York, where he was studying for the priesthood and where he picked up the bass. He began to play the Beatles, Beach Boys, and Church-approved hits by a group called the St. Louis Jesuits.

After reconsidering his religious vocation, Jorge wound up in college and in the Gainesville, FL rock scene, where he played in an improv/art rock band that began to make a name for itself. “We were adopted by River Phoenix,” Navarro grins (and he watched Joaquin Phoenix grow up from little brother to scruffy actor). Imbued with post-punk aesthetics, he got back into his heritage and eventually started writing songs as The Cuban Cowboy as part of his graduate studies in bilingual education.

I started writing songs in Spanish and English, to present a positive image of bilingualism, for teachers preparing to work with Latino kids.” Navarro recalls. “I melded the two for a while, and that’s when I hit on The Cuban Cowboy, an American icon, singing in Spanglish, with rock and Cuban elements. And it just took off from there. I moved to New York City, and started playing open-mics wherever I could. ‘I built it and they came’ so to speak, as a band came together.”

After developing a following in the New York City club scene, The Cuban Cowboys relocated to San Francisco in 2005. A post-SXSW record deal went south, so the band moved west. Two years on the Bay Area scene brought Navarro and TCC to the attention of producer Greg Landau (Susana Baca, Maldita Vecindad, Patato Valdez, Sambada).

For Diablo Mambo, Navarro drew on his rock experience while being taken much deeper into Cuban music territory by Landau. "The Pixies, one group that really inspired me, are often loud soft loud. Our soft is Latin, but Greg really brought an edge and groove to it.” Landau —who first went to Cuba while his father filmed a documentary about Castro—calls tracks like “Cojones” “Perez Prado meets the Ramones.” Landau suggested new sounds like calypso ( “Oh Celia”) and doo-wop balladry (“La Ventana”) to add to The Cuban Cowboy’s mix, and Navarro has relished the collaboration. “I wanted to let listeners know, right off the bat, that this here's a different sort of take on Cuban music and rock. I wanted to shatter expectations, or at least modify them from the beginning.”

Yet there’s something still very Cuban about The Cuban Cowboys’ music, something Navarro found when he finally got a chance to visit the island earlier this year. “What Greg did to our sound makes so much more sense now,” Navarro smiles. “It was a thrill to take my music to Cuba, to play it live with Cuban musicians on the street, or to pop it into the CD player at my relatives’ house. Everyone grooved to it, saying things like “Pero eso es musica Cubana!” I took that as a very good sign.”

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cool . . . thanks Susan! . . . http://ping.fm/gPlRD

Monday, November 15, 2010

an email making the rounds:

SUBJECT: Trouble in Canada...

From The Manitoba Herald

by Clive Runnels

Canadians: "Build a Damn Fence!"

The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has
intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop
the illegal immigration. The recent actions of the Tea Party are prompting
an exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to
hunt, pray, and to agree with Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck.

Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology
professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at
night. "I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood
producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose
acreage borders North Dakota. The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry.
He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken.

When I said I didn't have any, he left before I even got a chance to show
him my screenplay, eh?"

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences,
but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared
Rush Limbaugh across the fields.

"Not real effective," he said. "The liberals still got through and Rush
annoyed the cows so much that they wouldn't give any milk."

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near
the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons and drive them
across the border where they are simply left to fend for themselves." A lot
of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions," an Ontario
border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a single bottle of
imported drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley Cabernet,

When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often
wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have
been circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where
liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR races.

In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the
border. Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy
cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans
in powdered wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping
buses and quizzing the supposed senior citizens about Perry Como and
Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the '50s. "If they can't
identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very
suspicious about their age" an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating
an organic-broccoli shortage and are renting all the Michael Moore movies.
"I really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just
can't support them." an Ottawa resident said. "How many art-history majors
does one country need?"

don't know how i missed this, but Stevie Cullinan won a National Championship this summer . . . Congrats Stevie!!! http://ping.fm/RB5A8

Friday, November 12, 2010

Texas Football.com playoff bracket predicts Tivy as State Champions . . . http://ping.fm/4EIsd

Smithson Valley 48, Uvalde 0 . . . TFND manana . . .

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Man U + Bojan Krkic! i like the sound of that . . .

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

World Music News Wire #29

The Garden of Sonic Delights: Paul Winter Consort Finds a Resonant Paradise in a Japanese Architectural Treasure



Paradise began as an enclosed garden but morphed into Shangri-la, a valley concealed and shimmering with peach blossoms. Now it echoes in a peaceable kingdom inside a mountain top, filled with resonant chambers and great treasures: the I. M. Pei-designed Miho Museum in the Shigaraki Mountains of Japan. This unique setting has inspired the Paul Winter Consort’s latest exploration of sound, spirit and space, Miho: Journey to the Mountain. There the Consort conjured the resonant frequencies of paradise with a tapestry of the Earth’s voices: sarangi and sax, taiko drums and rumbling elephants, Heckelphone and Japanese bush warbler.

Winter first rose to musical prominence in the early 1960s with an award-winning jazz sextet. A sojourn in Brazil, however, taught him that their brash bebop could be complemented by the gentle and soulful esthetic he found in the music there. Soon afterward in 1968, Winter founded the Consort, as a forum for all the voices, music, and sounds he had come to love. The Consort embraced natural sounds as music, and explored many of the planet’s musical cultures before the dawn of “world music.”

PWMiho_Cover To describe his often unclassifiable, genre-crossing work in a more accurate and satisfying way, Winter refers to it as “Earth Music.” The name reflects the source of the Consort’s inspiration and their “aspiration to celebrate the cultures and creatures of the whole Earth,” Winter explains.

As a part of Earth Music, Winter and his ensemble have honed their appreciation of resonance, and for making music in spaces of great reverberation. They have discovered these sonic temples by rafting into the Grand Canyon, playing in the world’s largest cathedral as artists-in-residence at St. John the Divine in New York, or methodically searching for the sweet spots around an alpine lake at 12,000 feet in the mountains of Colorado. The results garnered half a dozen Grammys™. Miho: Journey to the Mountain is another adventure in the lineage of Winter’s landmark albums: Icarus (1972), Common Ground (1978); Canyon (1986); Concert for the Earth (Live at the UN) (1984); EarthBeat (1988); Celtic Solstice (1997); Journey with the Sun (2001); Crestone (2007).

Acoustics, however, were just one part of the Miho Museum’s appeal. Inspired by the legend of Shangri-la, world renowned American architect I.M. Pei came out of retirement to design the mountain museum, reached by a soundproofed tunnel (meant to quiet the mind) that leads on to a graceful suspension bridge over a stunning gorge. It echoes the journey in an ancient legend of a Chinese fisherman, who follows a river farther into the mountains than he ever had before, only to come through a tunnel-like cavern into the ravishing valley of Shangri-la, filled with blooming peach trees.

The building itself—85% of which had to be built below ground due to the site’s status as a natural preserve—draws on the traditional form of the Japanese farmhouse, yet employs Pei’s signature glass roof and love of modern materials. To abide by the preserve’s regulations, Pei retained the original contour of the mountain that the Museum builders effectively moved and replaced to create the space.

Pei’s approach to designing the Museum had a musical side. The architect employs one simple shape, the triangle, repeated to yield complexity, inspired by the way J.S. Bach takes a simple theme and transforms it via complex variations. Winter honored this by featuring a three-note theme at various times throughout the album, including in a solo by the carillon in Pei’s great 193-foot bell tower, the only one of its kind in Japan.

Winter was asked by Shumei, a Japanese organization dedicated to beauty in the arts, natural agriculture, and spiritual healing, to create a musical celebration of the Museum. The celebration marked the 100th birthday of Mihoko Koyama, the woman who was their leader and whose name graces the Museum. He first explored the Museum’s spaces, improvising on his sax, communing with the antiquities and the unique acoustics. “By this time, I was completely smitten with the building, the landscape, the whole place,” remembers Winter. “It’s an extraordinary marriage of architecture and nature. I gradually came to appreciate the antiquities and resonate with the story they seem to tell.”

The artifacts from across Asia suggested both the instruments and voices Winter longed to hear, as well as the images and feelings that the pieces evoke. He began working with long-time collaborators like bansuri (Indian bamboo flute) player Steve Gorn, Armenian instrumentalist and soulful vocalist Arto Tuncboyaciyan, multifaceted percussionist Glen Velez, and double-reed master Paul McCandless. Winter also invited new musical acquaintances, like ethereal Tibetan singer Yangjin Lamu and a renowned player of the sarangi, Dhruba Ghosh, whose classical Indian bowed instrument has dozens of strings that are notoriously difficult to tune and play.

The Consort’s work subtly reflects the cultural breadth of the Museum and its emphasis on the journey of culture from Asia’s heart to its Pacific edge in Japan. A primary aspect of this Eastward cultural migration was the notion of paradise (the word “paradise” itself stems from an Old Persian root meaning ”walled garden”). Wherever paradise took root as an idea, it bore beautiful fruit: carpets, paintings, vases, even simple tea bowls.

“From spending time among the antiquities, I gradually got the idea that paradise was a central theme,” reflects Winter. “People for millennia have wondered about eternity, the afterlife, and have dealt with the reality of death and the hope that there might be something beyond. The stories or visions of wonderful heaven occur across human tradition.”

The first part of the journey, “Many Paths to Paradise,” gives solo or near-solo voice to the varied players and musicians, often connecting them with the Museum’s treasures. Thus, Velez’s resounding frame drum takes up the pulse from the Miho’s giant Sanguszko Carpet, depicting frolicking musicians in rich Persian colors.

The second half of the album, “Shangri-la,” tells interwoven tales of the legendary hidden valley and the Museum itself. In shaping these tales, Winter was particularly taken by the wistful portrayal of two great beasts on a screen by the 18th-century Japanese master Jakuchu, who shows an elephant trumpeting at a half-submerged spouting whale. The screen became the Jakuchu Suite and sparked performances both playful and contemplative, while fostering the kind of joyful transcultural (and trans-species) dialogue Winter delights in.

“Elephant Dance” emerged as Velez taught polyrhythms to the local taiko drumming ensemble, and the deep boom of the lowest and largest taiko drum meshes beautifully with the rumbling voices of Asian elephants. “Whale Raga” flowed from the discovery that Ghosh’s sarangi was in the same key as a recording Winter had of whale songs. Ghosh so enjoyed his duet with the whales, he asked to use their recordings as part of future concerts in India.

Interweaving with the Consort’s discoveries and Winter’s clear sax are the birdcalls, waterfall, and bells of the Miho’s realm. All serve to form a meditative and dynamic image of paradise found and reflected in the glass and steel of a great architect, in the warp and clay of ancient artisans. “These are the happy results that emerge when you have a creative crucible: inspired players in a heavenly realm,” Winter smiles.

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ATH: U-20’s Roster Announced

U-20’s Roster Announced

United States Under-20 National Team coach Thomas Rongen has called 21 players into the squad for the Torneo de las Americas that will run from November 21-29th at Georgia’s Kennesaw State University. The United will play Colombia at 3:30pm ET on November 26th and Mexico at 3:30pm on the 28th.

GK: Cody Cropper (Ipswich Town - Athens, GA), Eduardo Fernandez (Real Salt Lake AZ - Casa Grande, AZ)

DEF: Gale Agbossoumonde (GD Estoril Praia - Syracuse, NY), Bryan De La Fuente (Chivas USA - Bell, CA), Greg Garza (GD Estoril Praia, Grapevine, TX), Korey Veeder (Crystal Palace Baltimore - St. Petersburg, FL), Parker Walsh (Karlsrucher SC - Roanoke, Va.), TBD, TBD

MID: Sebastian Lletget (West Ham United - San Francisco, CA), Alex Molano (NK Dinamo Zagreb - Grapevine, TX), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union - Sacramento, CA), Moises Orozco (Tigres - Oxnard, CA), Conor Shanosky (DC United - Sterling, VA), Alex Zahavi (Maccabi Haifa FC - Lisbon, Portugal), Cesar Zamora (Chivas USA - Sylmar, CA)

FOR: Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls - Barnegat, NY), Tristan Bowen (Los Angeles Galaxy - Van Nuys, CA), Fuad Ibrahim (Toronto FC - Richfield, MN), Omar Salgado (Unaffiliated - El Paso, TX)

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ATH: Tivy plays Hays!

Tivy to face Buda Hays in first round
Sunday, November 7, 2010 11:17 pm
Sports Editor Joe Harrington

The Tivy football team is headed back on the field and back to the playoffs this year on Nov.13.

The Antlers (9-1 overall) faces District 27-4A foe Buda Hays (6-4 overall) at 7:30 p.m. at Lenhoff Stadium in Schertz.

The Antlers, who had their bye during the final week of the regular season, won the District 28-4A title over Boerne Champion on Oct. 29.

Meanwhile, Hays lost to Smithson Valley (9-0 overall), 40-0, Friday. However, a 4-2 district record put them in the playoffs along with the two other District 27-4A teams, Alamo Heights and New Braynfels Canyon.

The Antlers, who haven't lost in the first round since 2006, won last season's bi-district game against San Antonio Kennedy 65-2. Tivy went on to win its next three games before falling in the state semifinal game against Brenham.

Hays is led by running back Torrance Smith, who had nine touchdowns and 759 yards in 2010.

While the Rebels scored 35 touchdowns, Tivy senior quarterback Johnny Manziel finished with 31 more alone this season with 66 touchdowns so far this season.

Smith said the coin flip for the location was taken care of Thursday. The Antlers had a chance to play at home, but Lenhoff Stadium proved to be the most sound stadium in regards to capacity.

Smith, however, said location means little in the playoffs.

"You got to play somewhere," Tivy coach Mark Smith said with a laugh.

Tickets for the Antlers' playoff game will be available for $3 and $6 presale, and will be $7 at the gate.

If the Antlers advance out of the first round, they could face a possible rematch with the only team they've lost to this season, Lake Travis. The three-time defending Class 4A champion Cavaliers face Austin McCallum in the first round.

In September, the Antlers jumped ahead early against Lake Travis, but fell by four points, 37-33. Tivy responded by scoring at least 55 points in every District 28-4A game.

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Tivy's first round playoff game will be against Hays at Schertz Clemens on Friday; Smithson Valley's is against Uvalde at SA Farris Thursday

Lyle Lovett was the last performer ever in Studio 6A for Austin City Limits last night . . .

Monday, November 08, 2010

thanks to Andy Roddick for this . . . http://ping.fm/vhaYK

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Aggies? Really? Where has that been?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

World Music News Wire #28

A Voice in the Night, A Light in the Wilderness: Singer Susan McKeown Finds Melody in Melancholy on Singing in the Dark


Singer Susan McKeown has met the mad king forced to dwell with the birds in the treetops, and the witchy women and crazy ladies tearing through the night. Longing to counterbalance the persistent stigma of mental illness, McKeown turned to the poets, looking for the deep humanity, creative spark, and curious light that shines in even the blackest moments.

On Singing in the Dark, McKeown brings her fine-tuned sense for song to centuries of striking visions from across the Americas, Ireland and the British Isles, the perspectives of artists struggling with depression, mania, and substance abuse. Working with long-time friends (and fellow Grammy winners) Frank London and Lisa Gutkin of The Klezmatics, McKeown shaped the sometimes harrowing, sometimes circumspect words of everyone from 16th-century lutenist John Dowland to Pulitzer Prize winners Gwendolyn Brooks and Anne Sexton into quietly compelling windows into a misunderstood night.

SM_SITD_cover_ McKeown will celebrate the release with a New York concert at Symphony Space on Oct. 30, featuring guest appearances by bestselling author Kay Redfield Jamison and New York Public Library Director of Public Programs Paul Holdengräber. A North American tour will follow, hitting Portland, ME (Oct 16); Boston (Nov 13); Baltimore (Nov 18); Eugene, OR (Nov 26); Portland, OR (Nov 27); San Francisco; Denver (Dec 3); Taos (Dec 4) and Albuquerque (December 5).

The idea for the album began in a hospital meeting room, filled with dozens of the nervous siblings, spouses, partners, and parents of people suffering from mental illness—and from the social stigma attached to it. They spoke in hushed tones of helplessness and frustration, trying to find ways of comprehending and supporting troubled loved ones.

It was never a place McKeown expected to land, but it sparked a seven-year journey through the darkness that has haunted creative souls for millennia. This darkness made its mark on McKeown’s family and on her native land of Ireland, where young men have long faced one of the highest suicide rates in Europe, even during economic boom times.

“I was able to trace back a line of manic depression going through my father’s family,” she says, “And all those men married musicians. I began reading about mental illness and creativity and discovered they are linked. It’s just a fact.”

This link fascinated McKeown and sent her digging through poetry books and library collections, as well as turning to roots music in her home of New York and on her native shores. She looked for lyrics with “singability,” as well as powerful perspectives. She followed Anne Sexton, who urged, even in darkness, to tell it true, and whose eerie poem Her Kind became the album’s single “A Woman Like That” (release: October 4).

There’s “Mad Sweeney,” a traditional Irish legend first recorded in the 17th century, of a king gone wild, forced by illness to live like the birds and beasts. And John Dowland’s sorrowful chestnut “In Darkness Let Me Dwell,” refreshed by McKeown’s clear, firm voice.

“The Nameless One” uses words of 19th-century Irish poet James Clarence Mangan, written a year before his life was cut short due to alcohol abuse and his final writings were thrown away by a hospital orderly. The song links Mangan’s tragedy to the great exodus of desperate Irish to America during the Potato Famine, bringing in a banjo and an unexpectedly upbeat chorus reminiscent of Woody Guthrie.

“The song was made of the lyrics of a man, written during the worst years of famine in Ireland, the year before he died at 46,” explains McKeown. “America and Ireland have always had a close relationship, and as the song evolved, it took on more and more of an American feel, though the melody is Irish.”

“We’ll Go No More A-Roving” finds another cross-cultural tie, this time binding Lord Byron’s lyric to Irish traditional song and a melody with deep family implications. “Byron had episodes of depression and mania, and was inspired by an Irish song, one that’s still sung in another form,” McKeown notes. “The melody is also traditional: ‘After Aughrim,’ an old song about a battle in 1691, in a town where my father’s family were living at the time.”

McKeown felt drawn to more contemporary resonances as well. Drawing on Irish poet Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, “The Crack in the Stairs” is set to a challenging piano-accompanied score by modern Irish composer Elaine Agnew. “I was hungry for a challenge like that,” McKeown exclaims with a smile.

It was impossible to imagine an album trying to encompass the world of depression without one of Leonard Cohen’s songs: “If you search for music about depression at an online retailer,” recounts McKeown, “his name inevitably comes up.” Yet “Anthem,” one of Cohen’s later bittersweet synth ballads, is shot through with hope, one of the surprising moments often found in many of the poems McKeown explored.

“For me, hope has always been a guiding force,” she states. “When I read Theodore Rothke (“In a Dark Time”), I hear his faith in humanity and the love of nature he learned as a child growing up in his family’s greenhouses. He saw hope reflected in nature even though he suffered terribly. It helped him immensely to express it.” Hope also burns in Chilean artist and folk innovator Violetta Parra’s “Gracias a la vida,” which McKeown arranged to follow the joyful lead of Brazilian singer Elis Regina.

Hope springs not only from finding striking ways to talk and sing about depression and illness, but in finding community, solace, and treatment for individuals and their families. McKeown has partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Fountain House, actress Glenn Close’s Bring Change 2 Mind campaign, and the Mood Disorders Support Group, organizations who offer different support and comfort to those struggling with depression and who will receive a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Singing in the Dark.

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reminds me of Bullseye . . . RIP . . . http://ping.fm/OlHGK

photographer suing state of texas for copyright infringement - http://ping.fm/hSgTE

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

a picture may be worth a thousand words, but very rarely is it the thousands word i'm looking for . . .

RIP Andy Irons, Shannon Tavarez, Steve Denton

in today's obits: He is survived by seven cousins; Timothy, his not-located only child; several wives; a final devoted red-headed flame. . .

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

then he goes back to his job as an accountant http://ping.fm/nUNBs

Monday, November 01, 2010

OBT: Deb Vetter

Deborah Lindner Vetter
Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010 12:15 am

KERRVILLE - Deborah Lindner Vetter passed away at five minutes past midnight on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010.

Deborah was born in Watertown, S.D., May 19, 1950. As an infant, she and her family moved to Laurel, Mont. She grew up in Laurel and later, Billings. College for Deborah was Minot State in Minot, N.D. She graduated from Minot State College in 1975, with degrees in English and political science. In Minot, she met City Planning Director Larry Vetter. They were married on Jan. 29, 1977.

Graduating from Minot State and before marrying Larry, she began her teaching career in a rural consolidated school district in Makoti, N.D. There she taught English to all four high school grades. Added to that were responsibilities for teaching government, one- and three-act plays, speech, cheerleaders and the school annual. She lived in a duplex apartment provided by the school on the frozen, treeless prairies near the school.

After marrying and enduring three years of driving 50 miles a day, come blizzard or come sunshine, she followed Larry to the opposite end of Highway 83, in Laredo, Texas. Larry became City Planning Director of Laredo, and Deborah assumed the responsibilities of English Department Director at St. Augustine High School in that border city.

In 1984, the family, now consisting of son, Patrick, and daughter, Kristen, relocated to Kerrville, Texas. Larry was the city of Kerrville Planning Director, and Deborah was hired as an English and speech teacher at Tivy High School. She served in that capacity for eight years. Then she initiated the Tivy High School Media Technology Program, which she headed and led until 2008.

The Media Technology program, working with cameras and film editing, was Deborah's brainchild. It was innovative and challenging to all involved. The students often marched to some strange drumbeat, requiring Deborah to chase them down filming in locations not permitted, or teach them how to film a football game, when she herself was not sure which of the two teams, both sporting colors of blue, was our own Tivy Antlers. She, with camera on shoulder, would push herself through the football team to position the camera on the 50-yard line, all the while praying that the colorful language spoken on the sideline would pass muster for public TV viewing.

Deborah was forced into early retirement in 2008 by an injury that occurred on the job. Her health began to decline as an undiagnosed case of multiple sclerosis began to affect her life. This culminated in a massive heart attack suffered during the week of Oct. 18-22.

Typical of Deborah, she did not hit the deck, but kept on keeping on until she could no longer walk. Her strong constitution maintained her heartbeat until five minutes past the hour of midnight on Oct. 28, when at the age of 60 years and five months, she passed on to her next teaching assignment. They say that her new superintendent is quite a remarkable guy.

Deborah is survived by her husband, Larry; her son, Patrick; her daughter, Kristen; and a large family of relatives, friends and former students.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2, at Flat Rock Park across from the American Legion on Riverside Drive. All are welcome; please bring your own chair or blanket if you would like to sit.

The family invites you to send condolences at www.grimesfuneralchapels.com by selecting the "Send Condolences" link.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Grimes Funeral Chapels of Kerrville.

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my bud belting at the world series! http://ping.fm/AVT6I

RIP Ted Sorensen