The Day of Silence and Other New Years Day Celebrations from around the World

All over the globe there are celebrations when a year ends and a new cycle begins. The change dosn’t necessarily happen on december 31 / January 1, as in the western world. In Ubud, Bali (Indonesia), the celebrations take place in march, when the new year for the hindus begins.
Bali is a country full of music. It is a society where music is always present: when the fields are harvested, there is a music group of the town playing while other members of the community cut the fruits or whatever they are harvesting. The same thing happens when the community plants the seeds for the new agricultural cycle and in general terms there is no event in the life of the people from Bali where there wouldn’t be a musical group playing.
At the last day of the year, the people from Bali bring out giant paper monsters that symbolize the evil in multiple presentations and forms. In the night, the paper monsters are brought back to where they were built and remain there for one day. This day is the day of silence and there is absolutely no action on the streets or in the houses. People meditate and rest, stying home since no traffic is allowed on the streets. No cars, no motorcycles and not even pedestrians.
The idea behind this tradition is that on this day the evil spirits will visit the island and when they see the paper monsters and the empty streets they will think that the monsters already have taken over the island and that there are no persons left. So, they will go back to where they came from and will let the land in peace for another year.
That would be a nice tradition to introduce in the western world!

Latin Music Lesson by Rebeca Mauleon Teaching the Clave Concept

Rebeca Mauleon is dedicated to music and teaching it, giving private lessons as well as clinics and master classes. She specially likes afro-carribbean music and has been teaching about it in many universities and colleges around the world. She is a writer too and her “critically acclaimed books on Latin music have been adopted into the programs of such prestigious institutions as the Berklee College of Music in Boston and Stanford University”.
In this video, Rebeca talks about and demonstrates the clave concept which is present in all latin music styles. It is played originally by the instrument with the same name, clave, which consists of two wood sticks, one hitting the other, in a very basic pattern. This pattern counts with two bars, having two beats in one bar and three beats in the second bar (or the other way around). Notice that the time is 4/4, not 5/4!

Joe Henderson Performing Take the A Train on Tenor Saxophone

Jazz music fans know that Joe Henderson is one of the most important tenor saxophone players ever. In this video you can watch the jazz legend performing the classic jazz composition Take the A Train by Duke Ellington. Joe Henderson is the band leader and plays the tenor saxophone while Bheki Mseleku is on piano, George Mraz on bass and Al Foster on drums.
The tune they play is a well known theme and thousands of jazz piano players and other jazz musicians have played it and improvised over the changes. Among the people who have performed or recorded this song are Ella Fitzgerald, Dave Brubeck, Oscar Peterson, Charles Mingus, Anita O’Day and many others. It also is one of the first pieces that jazz music students are using for developing their improvisation skills. If you like to listen to different versions of this song, feel free to visit this page with videos of famous jazz musicians performing Take the A Train.
As always when we post about a tenor saxophone player, we invite you to participate in our poll about the greatest tenor sax player ever. There you can vote for one of our candidates or suggest your own candidate. It’s a tough competition, but who knows?

Brahms’ Capriccio performed by Arthur Rubinstein the Great Master of Classical Piano

This video shows the great piano artist Arthur Rubinstein performing a classical composition by german composer Johannes Brahms, the Capriccio No. 2. Arthur Rubinstein is well known as an excellent piano player and discovers the inner structure of this capriccio for our ears. He plays the Capriccio No. 2 out of memory and was 86 years old when performing it for the recording this video. A few years later, Rubinstein got blind and couldn’t read music any more. However, he had already memorized a huge amount of compositions for piano solo and for different concert music orchestras.
Johannes Brahm is along with Luwig van Beethoven and Johan Sebastian Bach one of the most important german composers. These three composers are frequently recalled as the ‘3 Bs’ and each one of them has enriched the body of the classical music repertoire with many valuable pieces and compositions. This composition of Brahms, the Capriccio No. 2 is performed here by a great artist who plays it in his very personal and masterish style. We recommend our readers to look out for more music of this composer who on one side is a very classical composer but on the other side has also integrated some adventurous passages into his work that clearly show his interest in trascending the established limits of harmony and find new contextualizations for his melodies.

Turkish Folk Music with a Polyphonic Flavor from the Black Sea Region

Watch this video with a turkish choir singing an ancient tune from the Black Sea region. Human voice is one of the nicest sounding music instruments and people sing around the whole world. When arranged for various voices, the tunes become much more interesting than the antique medieval choir music sung during the services of the catholic church.
The different voices can simultaneously sing different notes and so build a chord. Then of course, the melodies must follow certain rules in order to stay within the harmonies without sounding dissonant. One of the most illustrative methods for understanding and writing music for up to four voices is Harmonielehre by Arnold Schoenberg who shows the rules for the independent voices as well as the resulting chords and the rules the voices must follow in relation with the other voices in order to build the typical western counterpoint and in relation with the harmonies established by the simultaneously sounding voices. This type of arrangement is called polyphonic music.

Aretha Franklin Performing I Was Born To Sing The Gospel

Watch this video with female soul singer Aretha Franklin performing I Was Born to Sing the Gospel. The gospel is an early american form of religious music which originally was sung by black people in the churches. I don’t like to attend church services, partly because of the lame organ music usually played in the catholic churches. But I can assure you that I would be a fervent servant of the lord if my parents would have brought me to attend baptist church services in the US. I would hav falllen in love with the choir and solo singers.
The main difference between traditional catholic church music and black american church music is that the catholic version of music tries to eliminate the pleasure the body can feel when executing music. Catholic choirs are standing still, almost frozen while black gospel choirs move from foot to foot and clap the hands.
And of course, the melodies include some blue notes which make the music especially interesting and illustrates how the gospel together with the blues are the base for soul and some rock music. Some catholic pope decided that music in the services should be only to praise the lord and was regarded as kind of marketing effort in order to get simple people into the church.
Unfortunately, the video has a still image instead of moving characters, but we will llok for more gospel music videos and publish them here.

Silent Night is the Most Famous Christmas Song Performed Here by the Innsbrucker Capellknaben

This video contains the most famous christmas song called Silent Night composed by Joseph Mohr (who lived from 1792 to 1848) in 1816 , and arranged for organ by Franz Xaver Gruber in the austrian town of Salzburg. The song has been recorded by artists from all around the world and is presented in this video in its original version. The song is frequently recorded by choirs, especially children choirs and we have even seen chinese language versions of the piece.
The german lyrics of this song are as follows:

1. Stille Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht!
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute heilige Paar.
Holder Knab’ im lockigten Haar,
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!

2. Stille Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht!
Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht
Lieb’ aus deinem göttlichen Mund,
Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund’.
Jesus in deiner Geburt!

3. Stille Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht!
Die der Welt Heil gebracht,
Aus des Himmels goldenen Höhn,
Uns der Gnaden Fülle läßt sehn,
Jesum in Menschengestalt!

4. Stille Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht!
Wo sich heut alle Macht
Väterlicher Liebe ergoß,
Und als Bruder huldvoll umschloß
Jesus die Völker der Welt!

5. Stille Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht!
Lange schon uns bedacht,
Als der Herr vom Grimme befreit
In der Väter urgrauer Zeit
Aller Welt Schonung verhieß!

6. Stille Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht!
Hirten erst kundgemacht
Durch der Engel Alleluja,
Tönt es laut bei Ferne und Nah:
“Jesus der Retter ist da!”

You might want to read the translation into english of Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht, feel free to visit this webpage about the christmas tradition of the western world.