PRATIE PLACE

Sunday, September 23, 2012

In which Fanfare Ciocărlia delights us extremely.

Fanfare CiocarliaMonths ago I bought three tickets to the Romanian gypsy brass band  Fanfare Ciocărlia concert that blew us all away tonight. My son and my friend Mitzi and I squeezed into her chartreuse Volkswagen and stood in the happy line of customers at Duke Gardens until they let us through (with our folding chairs) to the back lawn at 5:30.

Not long after 6 pm, three guys in fedoras and trenchcoats, gigantic horns wrapped around them, climbed onstage and started shaking the universe with steady, LOUD, long low tones that rearranged our molecules as the harmonies pulsed sloowwlly through our bodies. One by one more members of the band came on stage and soon there were twelve of them and the pace was an infectiously pounding prestissimo. 

After the concert was over they did a couple encores and then came down off the stage and processed grandly onto the patio, playing all the while. We crowded around them and kept dancing as they kept playing, dollar bills plastered to their foreheads. This is probably more like what they were used to before they got famous - and evidently when they're at home in Romania they still play at all night weddings.

They took turns circulating in the crowd, passing the hat, which was actually adorable, because I got the idea the dollars they collected in the hat meant more to them than whatever the fee was that Duke was paying them.

They were loud, they were virtuosic, they were very proud of themselves, they got us all up dancing, we laughed and were dumbfounded.  If you get a chance - go see them.


New funny hanukkah songs: the music videos for Mrs. Maccabee's Kitchen

I don't see that we'll be performing the music from our new Hanukkah cd very soon, so in order to have music videos I decided to try animation. Plus, cartoons seem to suit the silly Chanukah songs I wrote.

There's a program attached to youtube called goanimation.com; for somebody who doesn't have  time to learn how to animate properly it's a pretty easy way to slap something together! It's dominated by young men who want to make movies of things blowing up, so there are lots of demented warriors and weapons available pre-made on the site - but if you want non-bellicose items you may have to make them yourself. For this video I made applesauce, sour cream, cooking spray, aunts bearing latkes, and flying tofu and vegetables.

As for the song, I googled "bad latkes" and sampled from many online conversations - people are very opinionated on the subject. I strung together many of the complaints I found and set them to a traditional wedding doina, a "kale bezetsn" (that means seating of the bride). You can hear it played properly, on the violin, by Itzhak Perlman on "The Fiddler's House." You can buy the song for a measly 80 cents here: Pawn Shop Menorah.

By the way, I realize it's a little presumptuous for me to call these Hanukkah songs funny. After all, it's just my sense of humor and maybe nobody else will agree. But if there's any advantage to getting old, it's that you don't have to care any more whether somebody else agrees...

 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mrs. Maccabee's Kitchen: New Hanukah Songs is finished!

Eighteen tracks of Hanukkah fun! There is nothing else like this, anywhere. We're pretty pleased with this Chanukah cd.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Coyotes in our back yards

coyotes in suburbiaOur local paper just had an article about the increase in coyote sightings not only in the suburbs (ie where we live) but even in downtown Carrboro. And some have gotten so used to people, they'll stalk your pets while you're walking them! I believe this is the cause of our recent chicken disaster.

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