Monday 28 June 2004: Canberra Australia – It was an amazing concert, full of rhythm, dance and Cuban barrio atmosphere (cigars and all!) I had not intended to go, but a friend who was keen to seen them after seeing the video of the Buena Vista Social Club, then caught the flu, and asked if I would like to take her place at the concert. I agreed immediately – I too had seen the documentary of their return to fame. This is about a group of musicians from the 30s/40s whose ambition was one day to play at Carnegie Hall in the US. Cuban jazz musician Ry Cooder heard about them and set about making their dream come true – and these guys, aged between 70 and 90 finally had their big night – but that was just the start of a huge revival – and they are still touring!
Yes there are a mix of younger musicians and dancers, but there is real charm and style in the original performers – still so full of life – playing and salsa-ing the night away. It was truly spectacular – and well worth seeing if they are in your area 🙂
Well I needed to find some Scottish tunes for a dance, and off I went googling – actually the kick start was in the ‘related’ links as a helpful suggestion in my gmail box – good old context-sensitive targeted advertising. except only one was for a a pay service, the other was Hans’ ABC music page – a real wealth of material in abc format. And sure enough I found what I wanted in the Athole collection. Strange spelling though – I remember visiting Athol in the Scottish highlands a few years back – gorgeous picturesque place with a wonderful castle that is maintained and lived in by the Laird himself.
Using barfly (for mac) I was able to hear the tune over several times, and followed the music notation until it made sense. It’s a great way to learn. I found that if you edit the tempo (L:1/8) to read L:1/4 the tune is played at half the speed, making it much easier to pick up the thread of the tune. So now I can play a passable version of the Gay Gordon’s – a traditional Scottish Country dance tune.
Not a bad way to round off an excellent weekend
Making a firestaff and fire poi – fire dance equipment
I promised some time ago that I’d show you how to make a fire staff – and here it is.
Making a Firestaff
This method works for fire staffs and poi used for fire twirling/ fire dancing – please use fire responsibly and safely!
Now here is a bolt from the blue! We get offers of gigs in sometimes unusual situations and unusual places, but this one takes the cake. The email said in part: “here’s the situation: the Beijing Caledonian Society is holding their Annual Highland Ball…” The Beijing What??
Well it seems that there is indeed a dedicated group of Scottish highland dancers in China’s capital – and they need a live band. Who better than Full Circle? So it would seem we are destined to go away on tour to the land of the Red Dragon – in a few months. In the meantime this er… Irish/Celtic band will be learning some new Scottish repertoire. Yes we do play some Scottish numbers, but some of the dances will have specific tunes. Anyhow we have already been requested to play one song in particular… The Devil Went Down to a Small Country South of Russia… Now this sounds like fun!
Well I’m doing a happy dance tonight – I’m now the proud user of a gmail account – thanks to Mick of ToBlogOrNotToBlog – a fellow Canberra blogger – who had a few on offer for the asking.
I had my suspicions that the service was really a hoax as it was launched on April fools Day (1st april!) But I was wrong – The service offers one gigabyte of storage space so you can use it as an email archive. Of course there is a price – Google gets to run an ad-bot over the emails to provide discrete targeted ads – which are pretty unobtrusive. Privacy advocates are raising questions – but really, it’s not like humans are reading the mails for some strange voyeuristic kicks – and we get the benefit of Google’s search technology to be able to retrieve old mails.
The advantages for me well outweigh the disadvantages – when I travel I have web access to all my old mails, and the account is independent of my ISP – so if I change ISP my email address will remain the same.
So thanks again Mike!