Sunday, December 16, 2007

calms in the storm

Hiatus #1: The University of Michigan has a new football coach... at least it seems really likely. I'd hate to herbstreit things at this point, but it sure looks like Rich Rodriguez is leaving West Virginia for Ann Arbor. Bill Martin is still a buffoon, but at least Rodriguez is someone to get excited about.

Brian at MGoBlog has the whole rigmarole. The sad part is that I think both UM and West Virginia are going to lose in their bowl games. Nevertheless, GO BLUE!

Hiatus #2: I have been remiss in all things Central Asian again. And in the interests of full disclosure, the one thing I love but really don't write about on The Regal Vizsla is music. I love music. But I am a distinct amateur in the Victorian sense, one who loves music but has no professional ability, academic or performative. This is slightly embaressing for the son of a music teacher, but I think it makes my father chuckle when I try to get him to explain weird time signatures.

Nevertheless, as I went to work today on the subway, I was captivated by a song from Music of Central Asia Vol. 1: Tengir-Too Mountain Music of Kyrgyzstan. The song -- Küidüm Chok (I Burn, I Smoulder Like Charcoal) -- was sung by Zainidin Imanaliev. You can find more info about Imanaliev here (although this is him on the album cover doing his Hendrix impersonation). I hadn't known of the Smithsonian Folkways collection till yesterday when I heard about the release of the second trilogy of CDs in the series on my National Geographic World Music Profiles podcast. So I surfed the iTunes store and, while I didn't find all the volumes, I did find volume 1.

There is something very simple about the two- and three-stringed 'lutes' of Central Asia, the komuz of Kyrgyzstan and the dombra of Kazakhstan. When we were in Almaty not only were we able to visit the National Museum of Musical Instruments in Panfilov Park, our friend Patrick Francis also recounted the myth that one of the reasons that the dombra was actually a difficult instrument to learn and play well was because it only had two strings... and so there was nothing to hide behind.

I norm
ally listen to PRI's Global Hit podcast -- and there was a great back in January from Kazakhstan on the dombra. (If you click on this, you'll go directly to the mp3 download.) Anyways, sometimes you just find gems when you have no idea you'll find them. If you get a chance, even if you just listen to that one song, Küidüm Chok, you'll hear some incredible vocal technique, phrasing, and wonderful komuz playing.

Azamat: apologies for not visiting recently. If you have any other recommendations for Kyrgyz music, please post them here.

Hiatus #3: We've had a couple of icy days here which has been a pain for getting out and chasing birds, but it makes the boys even more snuggly. Here's a nice picture from the other day of all three of Meg's boys lying on the dog-bed in front of the radiator. Check out how big the Evil Boy Genius is! Zoiks!!


Ulaana said...

Tengir means "heaven" in Mongolian. I remember that national instrument museum of musical instruments! That's the one we walked into and the curator knew of Patrick's dombra playing skills. I think the whole Kazakh diaspora knows about Patrick Francis, his dombra playing, and his amazing Kazakh :)
Have you listened to The Lemons yet? It's not traditional, but there is something really cool about Mongol indy rock!

Andrew Campbell said...

Bagsh: it was a little weird to have a museum docent accompany us (on the dombra) around the whole museum and then try to sell us cassettes of him performing. We just got The Lemons... need to see if I can get that CD onto my iPod. Nice pics from Hovd: especially the wandering cow and the BK signs.

Rock on.

Rocket said...

Cute picture of the little evil genius. Rocket was going cabin fever stir crazy with the snow storm. I hope to post some snow pictures soon. This is Rockets first real snow so he was a rather comical nutjob upon getting sunk up to his elbows..... can you say snow kangaroo .... boing, boing, boing.

Patrick Francis said...

Wow, that Patrick Francis guy must know a LOT about music. How great to have him in your life!

Andrew Campbell said...

WWPFD? He'd find you on-line and make like a smart guy. Nice to hear from you, PF. Was actually going to e-mail you directly to ask how your dombra playing was going -- and whether you also had music recommendations. Still serving mouldy cheese to Mongolians?

Annie: got about three tracks into The Lemons, but then it futzed out on the iPod. Maybe iTunes can't read Cyrillic?! Will reload it again this evening.

Ulaana said...

Hmmm....I don't think the song titles are in cyrillic. I think they are in English.
I saw the Lemons play last night. They are so HOT!
just ask yerself What Would Patrick Francis Do? Then you'll figure it out