First of all, though, we need to mention that we just got back from dropping our two majesties off with Bob Seelye at Cliffside Bird Dogs for the next nine weeks or so. The picture is from the hotel this morning. Such snuggle monsters.
We would never have thought about giving our dogs to a trainer, but (and to cut a slightly long story shorter) we will be out the country visiting the great Annie-bagsh in Mongolia in the back half of February and decided that we'd like the boys to do more, to be engaged more, than if they were just at a boarding kennel. Momo is hopefully going to learn a retrieve to round out his skill-set and Jozsi is going to get polished.
And as good as Momo is, Bob watched Jozsi work one his backfields and saw the streak of (evil) genius that we love in him, too. We'll need to start thinking about the spring hunt test season!
But having broken the news that I actually love music, I thought I would offer a few musical highlights from 2007.
Newies and Oldies
1) Vieux Farka Touré, Vieux Farka Touré -- this is the son of famed Malian guitar player, Ali Farka Touré (and the recording features a few tracks he was able to record with his father before he died).
2) Gaudi and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Dub Qawwali -- this was a collaboration I thought I'd think was cool, a little weird, but would ultimately gather dust. I was wrong. Gaudi is an Italian DJ and producer who was given access to several original recording masters by the late, great qawwali singer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
3) Slayer, Christ Illusion -- the original line-up of Slayer featuring, most importantly, Dave Lombardo on drums. This is their new album. I still can't quite tell if Tom Araya is really great as a vocalist or not, but he is as much a part of the Slayer sound as Dave Lombardo's incredible double-bass drumming. If Jozsi had an album, it might be this.
4) If Momo had an album it might be this one -- Black Water by Kris Drever. We were sent this as a present by my uncle and aunt who saw Kris in concert back home in Scotland. The highlight of this album is his version of the Scottish ballad, 'Sir Patrick Spence.' For some reason, we always seemed to play it in the car when Momo and I would go hunt.
5) Ojos de Brujo, Téchari -- 'jip jop flamenkillo'. Makes me wish I could dance... like Helio Castroneves.
I got to see Gilberto Gil play a solo concert at Carnegie Hall back in March. His acoustic album, Acoustic, is one of my all-time, favorite albums and, at least in my mind, is one the best live albums ever recorded. Gil is unusual in that, as a young man in the 1960s, he was one of the originators of Tropicalismo, a counterculture movement that conjoined an interest in reviving native Brazilian music and stirring avant-garde politics (and for his part in this Gil was arrested and then fled to Britain). He is now the Brazilian Minister of Culture.
Meg and I also got to see Jordi Savall play a solo show at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie on Halloween. This is a great little venue with maybe 180 seats. Jordi is best known for his performance on the soundtrack for the wonderful film, Tous Les Matins du Monde. Arguably, he is the preeminent performer on the viola da gamba -- and his performance at Weil was incredible. You can actually find most of the program on Les Voix Humanes.