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 normally 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!!