I’m A Fan Fridays! (Saturday edition) Jardin D’hiver

Stacey-KentThere has never been a better time to be alive! I’ve said it before, and I don’t mind repeating myself when something this good happens.

In what other age could you be driving in a car, listening to the radio streaming through your phone, hear an artist who is brand new to you and someone you most likely would never have heard of otherwise, park at your destination and look that artist up on that same phone via this unlimited library of information in about ten seconds?

Only THIS age, I tell you!!

I’m so glad I found Stacey Kent.  Her voice is hypnotic and very special.  Enjoy this beautiful cover of a fantastic song!

 

 

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Follow Scott on Twitter– @scotylang

 

I’m A Fan Fridays! A little Red & White & Blue & Gold

aoife4I happened onto the marvelous voice and musicianship of Aoife O’Donovan a little over a year ago and have been a super-fan ever since.

For this edition of I’m A Fan Fridays! I’d like to share with you one of my favorite cuts off of her latest album, Fossils.  The song is called, “Red & White & Blue & Gold” and is just the right number to get you looking forward to that summer holiday relaxation mood.

Enjoy!

 

 

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I’m A Fan Fridays! A most brilliant lament

Sir_Nathaniel_Dance-Holland_-_The_Meeting_of_Dido_and_Aeneas_-_Google_Art_ProjectDido and Aeneas is one of the truly great early operas.  Written by the English composer Henry Purcell it had its world premiere in 1688. The piece tells the story of the love of Dido, Queen of Carthage, for the Trojan hero Aeneas, and her deep despair when he abandons her.

One of the most enduring mezzo-soprano arias of all time is Dido’s Lament which is sung by Dido to her sister/handmaiden Belinda.  She sings:

When I am laid in earth, may my wrongs create no trouble in thy breast.  Remember me, but ah, forget my fate!

It is such a moving piece, but through the absolutely mesmerizing artistry of British soprano Sarah Connolly this aria is nothing short of heart-stoppingly brilliant.

I would’ve liked to have shared with you a clip of her in a performance of the opera, but I couldn’t find one that shows the entire piece.  So, I bring you her 2009 performance from Royal Albert Hall in which she sings the full aria.  Her solo is then followed by the chorus, which sings the finale, “With drooping wings ye cupids come.”

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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I’m a fan Fridays! A Simple Song

4135698Good day to you all, and Happy Friday!  For this edition of I’m A Fan Fridays! I am thrilled to bring you a performance that I’ve loved for quite some time.

Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass” is a work which was commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy to be a part of the opening of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.  It had its premiere on September 8,1971.

This performance of A Simple Song from this great work remains my favorite, to this day.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you “A Simple Song” performed here by Joseph Kolinski.

Enjoy!

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I’m A Fan Fridays! — Fall In Love Easily

PJ-1222_1Just about every night as I attempt to wind down at the end of the day, I turn on my stereo and dial up my favorite Pandora radio station—Chet Baker Radio.

A few years back, I discovered the music and vocal stylings of one of the great jazz men of the mid twentieth century.  The late Chet Baker had a way of blowing his trumpet and singing the old standards that moves me like few other artists can.  His voice goes deep down inside me and hits the bulls-eyed mark on my heart with every simple, straightforward phrase.

He left us way too soon.  But thanks to the modern world of digital recording and YouTube, his artistry can be shared all around the world.

So, for this edition of I’m A Fan Fridays, I share with you my favorite rendition of one of my favorite songs of all time.

Ladies and Gentlemen… Mister Chet Baker.  Enjoy!

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Follow Scott on Twitter:  @scotylang

I’m A Fan Fridays! A little acoustic sunshine on a cloudy day

214 Tommy Emmanuel

My brother, Danny, introduced me to Tommy Emmanuel a few years ago via a YouTube clip, much like I’m about to do for you right now.  I can’t remember the exact piece my brother shared with me, but as soon as I experienced the one, I got lost down the rabbit hole of videos of Tommy that are on the site.

To get you started, here is one of my favorites.  It’s a brilliant arrangement of a couple of Beatles tunes that you might be familiar with.  I hope you enjoy this edition of I’m A Fan Fridays!  

Have a great weekend!  Enjoy!!

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Follow Scott on Twitter: @scotylang

I’m A Fan Fridays! Two minutes and twenty one seconds of pure happiness

illus11I’m A Fan Fridays was born out of my desire to share with the world a few of the things I think are simply out of this world–performances or works of art that have reached out and touched something deep within me, giving me pause to contemplate all of what life can truly be.

What an amazing time it is to be alive!  I will most likely never get the chance to meet Matthew Auerbach, the young man who gives this life affirming and joyous performance, but through the absolute magic of modern technology, I found this, it thrilled me, and I can now share it with all of you.  Enjoy!

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Follow Scott on Twitter: @scotylang

“I’m Him!”: Thoughts on being an example to children

04It never ceased to amaze me how many lessons I would learn from teaching young children. Not too many years ago, I discovered something quite fascinating about kids that I believe to be universal. I guess I should say, something occurred to me, because I’m sure I didn’t discover it.

Early in my career in public education, I was an elementary school music teacher. I enjoyed my job, traveling from room to room with my guitar in one of the inner city schools of Elizabeth, NJ. The students always greeted me with such enthusiasm, probably because they only saw me once a week, and I wanted to give them something new whenever I came to their room to teach. I wanted them to be exposed to as many experiences of music as they could get in the time we had together. I liked to change things up, and they were always game for something new.

One day, I was showing a video to my students in one of the first grade classes. It was a video with real human characters, as opposed to animated, and right from the get go, the kids, one by one, started to call out, “I’m him!” or “I’m her!”

That really struck me. The first thing they felt compelled to do was stake their claim on who they wanted everyone to see them as being. Every student wanted everyone else to identify them in some way, and that was how they articulated it.

I say they wanted everyone else to know because every declaration was out loud and quite clear.  Some, of course, made the same claim to a character as another, and that caused some difficulty before I could reel everyone in.

“I’m him!”

“NO! I’m him! You’re her!”

“I’m not a GIRL!  MR. SCOOOOOTTT!!”

“Whoa! Ok kids. Let’s chill. Relax. We can all just be ourselves today. How’s that sound?”

Children look to anyone, everyone and everything for some kind of guidance on how to be.  I realized that teachers are on the front lines on a daily basis.  Who do our children want to be?  Not “what” do they want to be, but “who” do they want to be?

Learning how to be is sort of like buying a pair of shoes: quite a few people wear your size, but you try on a pair that you think look good. If they feel good, you wear them and break them in with the way you, and you alone, walk. Then, after a while, they truly become yours. No one else can wear them because you’ve got them just the way you like them for your feet.

I thought to myself how it would be nice if my students would point to me and say, “I’m him!” I’ve just got to make sure that I’m as prepared as I can to be a worthy example. Whether I want it or not, kids may look at me and want to try me on for size.

I look at kids now and wonder: How would I fit? 

Follow Scott on Twitter- @scotylang

I’m A Fan Fridays!

rhiannon-giddens

A couple of different times I’ve shared with you a musical act that I found out about as a result of the Showtime special, Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis

There were so many acts on that wonderful concert.  I hope you got a chance to see it.  If you didn’t, it’s well worth your time to look it up.

While it’s hard to pick an absolute favorite act from the show (several numbers really blew me away!) all I have to say by way of introduction to this singer is, Good lord, Rhiannon Giddens…

 

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I’m A Fan, Fridays!

dawes5

Okay, so here’s a great example of why I think it’s an amazing time to be alive right now.  We are connected in ways we never dreamed we’d be 15- 20 years ago.  Facebook, Twitter, et al, have given us ways to share things that really have an impact on our lives–  news in an instant, pictures and video of family members and friends, and art, wonderful works of art.

I found this band completely by surprise while scrolling around my cousin’s Facebook page the other day.  This is a cousin I see once or twice a year and wish I knew better, but thanks to technology, I can catch a glimpse (a very small one and no substitute for actual face time, I know) of what she’s into and what’s going on with her.

So, thanks to Lisa and our connection through Facebook, I found this great song by a terrific band called, Dawes.  You’ve got some pretty good taste, kid!

Take some time and listen to the lyrics.  It’s some really great song writing in the classic tradition of Jackson Browne and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Have yourself a great Friday and enjoy!

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Follow Scott on Twitter: @scotylang