mamamusings: music

elizabeth lane lawley's thoughts on technology, academia, family, and tangential topics

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

a dream coming true

Before you do anything else, watch this video. Trust me. It’s worth the seven minutes. (YouTube has disabled embedding, so you’ll have to click through.)

I literally can’t remember the last time a singer has brought me to tears. But I’ve watched that video three times now, and have cried each and every time.

Then read these two articles:

The Beauty That Matters Is On The Inside, by Collette Douglas Home:

Susan is a reminder that it’s time we all looked a little deeper. She has lived an obscure but important life. She has been a companionable and caring daughter. It’s people like her who are the unseen glue in society; the ones who day in and day out put themselves last. They make this country civilised and they deserve acknowledgement and respect.

‘Britain’s Got Talent’ breakout Susan Boyle: Why we watch…and weep

I’ll get back to pondering how Vin Diesel’s future might change with the success of Fast & Furious soon enough, but right now I’m pondering why the experience of watching and listening to Ms. Boyle makes so many viewers cry, me among them. And I think I’ve got a simple answer, at least for me: In our pop-minded culture so slavishly obsessed with packaging — the right face, the right clothes, the right attitudes, the right Facebook posts — the unpackaged artistic power of the unstyled, un-hip, un-kissed Ms. Boyle let me feel, for the duration of one blazing showstopping ballad, the meaning of human grace. She pierced my defenses. She reordered the measure of beauty. And I had no idea until tears sprang how desperately I need that corrective from time to time.
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categories: music

Friday, 17 October 2008

little feat at water street music hall tomorrow!

I forgot to post about this, but tomorrow night (Saturday, 10/18) Little Feat will be playing at Rochester’s Water Street Music Hall.

It hasn’t been well publicized, so ticket sales have been slow. The band is amazing, however, and if you’ve never heard them live I highly recommend going. I’d be there if I weren’t on the other side of the country…

Their recent album, Join the Band, is available DRM-free on Amazon, and has some great collaborations with artists ranging from Dave Matthews to Jimmy Buffet to Bela Fleck. Listen to some of the samples, and then head to show. You won’t regret it.

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categories: music

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

a little comic relief: alanis covers fergie

This music video totally made my day. I <3 Alanis.

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categories: music

Wednesday, 15 November 2006


No, that’s not misspelled. It’s the Spanish-language version of Enrique Iglesias’ song Hero (and how freaking cool are those Google music links? I’d never seen that before. Very useful.) I’ll admit that I really liked the English version when it came out, and bought the CD because of it. Hadn’t listened to it in ages, though.

Today, through the magic of Party Shuffle in iTunes, the Spanish version popped up while I was listening on headphones here at Panera (my favorite grading spot). And…wow. In Spanish, the emotional power is much greater. Yes, yes, it’s still a silly love song. But it made me happy to listen to it.

And now, back to grading projects. <sigh%gt;

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categories: music

Tuesday, 27 December 2005

rockin' around the menorah

Yesterday afternoon on NPR’s All Things Considered, I heard a short piece on the spelling of Hanukkah (or is that Chanukah?). It was a lovely little piece, which had a nice interview ith Rabbi Daniel Zemel. But the best part was the mention of a great duo called The LeeVees, who’ve done bunch of what they call “great, rockin’ Hanukah songs.”

You can listen to their music on the web site, and I heartily recommend it—song titles include “Goyim Friends,” “How Do You Spell Channukkahh,” and “Applesauce Vs Sourcream.”

Their album, “Hanukkah Rocks,”  is also available over iTunes…I’m buying it today, to add to my ever-expanding collection of holiday music, which the boys have noted is sadly lacking in “channukkahh” songs.

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categories: humor | music

Wednesday, 8 June 2005

now you know my abc's...

Via Alex Halavais, a quick little meme just right for a short break on a hot afternoon.

Alphabetize the songs in your current music rotation by title, then find the first song beginning with each letter of the alphabet—no artist doubles, though.

Here’s mine.

A Day Without Rain, by Enya
Baba Yaga by Mussorgsky, performed by Rotterdam Philharmonic)
C’est Pour Ça, by Edith Piaf
D-Boi (Interlude) by Outkast
E Luxo So, by Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz
Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa, by the Commitments
Galbi, by Abdi
Hack a ‘Tit Moreau, by Canray Fontenot /Ardoin*Bois Sec
I Am, by Jonny Lang
Jackson, by Lucinda Williams
Kalamazoo to Timbuktoo, by The Chenille Sisters
L is for Lover, by Al Jarreau
Mack the Knife, by Bobby Darin
Naked to the Eye, by Mary Chapin Carpenter
O Morro Nao Tem Vez, by Antonio Carlos Jobim
PC’s Jig, by Yo-Yo Ma, Mark O’Connor & Edgar Meyer
Quartet K.285 in D, Adagio, by James Galloway & the Tokyo String Quartet
Rag Mama Rag, by Little Feat
S’Wonderful, by Diana Krall
Tailor Made Baby, by Joe Williams
Unanswered Prayers, by Garth Brooks
V. Alcaniz (Festival), by Andrés Segovia
W.O.M.A.N., by Etta James
X-Tasy, by Missy Elliot
Ya Mama, by Fatboy Slim
Zodico Stomp, by Clifton Chenier

Funny how the french song titles bubble to the top of the lists, due to those contractions; I had to skip past several additional Edith Piaf songs after the first one to avoid doubles.

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categories: music

Tuesday, 25 January 2005

windows-based desktop player

One of my grad students has written a (free, as in beer) Windows desktop player for music streams, called myLastFM.


Why use it?

We use to stream music all day long. Sometimes the web interface from does not refresh correcty. Usually this is not a problem… unless a song that you do not care for comes on and you can’t skip it! myLastFM prevents that from happening by giving control of the music stream to a desktop player. Using myLastFM also helps take some of the load off of the webserver. The whole community benefits from a lesser load on the site. This makes it faster for new users to signup and for existing users to login and utilize the music community features.

From the screen shots, it looks lovely (not a surprise; this is someone who consistently does high-quality work).

(So, Eric, when are you writing the Cocoa-based version for your real computer? ;) )

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categories: music | technology

Sunday, 23 January 2005

rpo benefit concert for tsunami relief

My stepfather, who plays for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), helped to organize a benefit concert by the orchestra for tsunami victims. If you’re in the Rochester area, please consider attending and donating. (Our family will certainly be there!)

Here’s the press release, with details:

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is partnering with United Way of Greater Rochester for a concert to benefit United Way’s South Asia Response Fund. On Sunday, January 30th at 4:00 pm, Jeff Tyzik, Principal Pops Conductor, will lead the orchestra in an amazing performance dedicated to helping those across the globe affected by the Tsunami. The concert will be held at the Bethel Christian Fellowship, located at 321 East Avenue.

The performance for all ages will highlight reflective pieces from Copland, Beethoven, Barber, and others. The RPO will also be joined by a children’s choir from The Harley School, led by Jay Stetzer. Although the concert will not be ticketed, there is a suggested minimum donation of $10.00 per person, or $20.00 per family. All checks must be made to: United Way South Asia Response Fund, which was created to support long-term recovery efforts in affected areas.

“We are thankful the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra musicians and staff recognize the long-term impact of this disaster, and are willing to volunteer their time to help out,” said Joe Calabrese, United Way of Greater Rochester President and CEO. “During a time like this, it is vital for our community to continue to pull together for relief efforts.”

“We were moved to participate in the relief effort in the best way that we know, which is by joining together in our music-making,” said Joanna Bassett, flutist and chair of the RPO Orchestra Committee. “The music we’ve chosen will allow all of us to pause and reflect over the magnitude of the losses, and to be uplifted by the collective strength of the human spirit. We are pleased to be partnering with the United Way, which has both an important local and international presence. We applaud their focus on long-term community rebuilding efforts in South Asia, and are pleased to donate our time to such a worthy effort. We are also grateful for the use of Bethel’s sanctuary, and for the assistance of our RPO staff and volunteers.”

The concert program includes Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and “Simple Gifts” from Appalachian Spring, Barber’s Adagio, the finale from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and selections from Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. The choir from The Harley School will perform “A Gift of Love” and “The Magic Penny.”

For more information about the RPO Tsunami Relief concert, please visit or call the Box Office at 454-2100. To learn more about United Way’s South Asia Relief Fund, and long-term recovery, please log on to
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categories: Rochester | events | music

Sunday, 16 January 2005

aural history

I’m up late…too late…grading student projects tonight. I have iTunes on party shuffle, after having spent the past week or two loading up my library with a ton of CDs I haven’t listened to in ages.

A few moments ago, a song started playing that I haven’t heard in years. And suddenly I was flooded with memories of the first time I heard the song—in 1989, to be exact. I can remember the location (a bed-and-breakfast in West Virginia), the weather (crisply cold and sunny), the golden color of the wood in the sunlit high-beamed room I was in, the smoky smell from the fireplace, and the way the singer (Diane Schuur) blew me away with her voice. I bought the CD as soon as I got back to DC.

Very strange, how a song can do that. Send you tumbling backwards in time, back to a place that you didn’t know you even remembered.

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categories: music | unclassifiable

Tuesday, 21 December 2004 and audioscrobbler

I started to write about how I’ve discovered the joys of Profile Radio over on, but it drifted into musings about definition of social software, so I put it over on Many-to-Many instead.

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categories: music | social software

Tuesday, 12 October 2004

today's political propaganda

I am truly appalled by Sinclair Broadcasting’s plan to use their television stations nationwide to broadcast Bush campaign propaganda—under the guise of it being “news.” You should be, too. This kind of abuse of corporate power is a hallmark of the current adminstration, and it disgusts me.

Like many others, I plan to boycott advertisers on my local Sinclair station, Fox Rochester. And I’ll be calling the station, and its major advertisers, to tell them that.

On a lighter note, when I lived in Alabama I developed an unexpected taste for country music, and I particularly like this new song, Takin’ My Country Back. Worth a listen.

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categories: music | politics

Saturday, 26 June 2004

music that hath charms

Thanks to ecto, it only takes a click of a button to tell you that I’m currently listening to Ghost In This House from the album Live (Disc 1) by Alison Krauss + Union Station.

But that doesn’t quite communicate the sublime quality of Krauss’ voice, or the way her music transports me—in this case from a lonely hotel lobby to a small slice of paradise.

I think a lot of people avoid Allison Kraus and Union Station because they’re a bluegrass band, and not everyone’s a bluegrass fan (me included). But do yourself a favor and listen to her rendition of the song above, or to her version of Baby, Now That I’ve Found You, or When You Say Nothing At All.

And now I’m off to grab some food and catch a cab to the San Jose airport. Tomorrow morning I’ll be home again. And glad to be there, too.

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categories: music | travel

Friday, 2 April 2004

margaret cho on prince


Not only can she rock the house, she can write. Margaret Cho blogs the opening night of Prince’s new Musicology tour.

There was an overwhelming moment onstage during the acoustic portion of the show, where its just Prince, and he’s sitting on a stool playing guitar, and the crowd is unable to stop screaming. He just stopped for a moment. His eyes welled up with tears, as he looked out into the massive crowd of worshippers, kids who were now adults who had grown up with him, the purple light cutting into the blackness of the Staples Center. It seemed he hadn’t played a show like this in years, to so many fans, and possibly that he’d forgotten how much he was loved. Maybe Paisley Park is an isolated place where they practice and record and work and then leave for the day, and that he just didn’t remember, that it was Prince we all screamed for, and that love for him was a tidal wave of nostalgic bliss, and we loved him now as we always did and always will.
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categories: music
Liz sipping melange at Cafe Central in Vienna