Sunday, December 29, 2013

Year ended with music ... and cats

Another Christmas has passed - well, for almost everyone, but not all.  We celebrated with our daughters and family in Nashville, Tennessee. (Click on collage twice to enlarge.)

As I wrote in my post of January 2011, (click here to read it) most Eastern Orthodox Christians will celebrate Christmas according to the Gregorian calendar, i.e. 7 January 2014, such as the Russian Orthodox Church, the eastern Coptic Church and many others.  My late father's church, the Armenian Orthodox Church, celebrates Christmas on January 6th.  However, in the US, some Eastern Orthodox Christians use the revised calendar and celebrate Christmas on December 25th - but there are exceptions among the 1.5 million Eastern Orthodox in North America.  So I hope you had a nice Christmas, if you celebrated it, or will have a Merry Christmas with much fun, songs and dances if it is still forthcoming.

Anton F. Pieck, Dutch 1895-1987

My Christmas CDs have been put away.  My cat Cody, as you can see in the heading picture, was helping me ... somewhat.  My other cat, Mitsouko, was also helping but then they started a little fight.  So I placed them both on a chair - Mitsouko, the grey Korat, gave me a funny look but I placed a soothing guitar CD in the Bose and they stopped fighting and settled down.

Whenever we take the cats in the car to go to the vet, or other places, they become agitated and make a lot of fuss  As soon as some music is played through, they immediately stop and settle down.  They like music.  I think many cats enjoy music as I can prove it with some vintage postcards ...

"Il y a deux moyens d'oublier les tracas de la vie: la musique et les chats."
The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats.
- Albert Schweitzer, French musician and philosopher, 1875-1965

Since I was a wee child, I have been surrounded by music and will write more on a post sometime, but for now I will only mention music in 2013.  I looked at my photos to remember some of the live music I listened to, in addition to all the music at home.  On May 18, 2013, we drove to Calhoun, Georgia, to attend the service commemorating the 175th  anniversary of the Cherokee Trail of Tears in New Echota, the former Cherokee capital.

In June we traveled to San Francisco.  On the first Saturday there we went to the market at the Ferry Building and listened to a group playing near the market.

Still in San Francisco, we went several times by a Chinese band close to our hotel.  In Fisherman Wharf there was a one-man band rocking the passersby.  We stopped and watched both bands for a while.

In August we went to the Decatur Book Festival and listened to a young lady playing the guitar.  On our way out of the festival we stopped and watched a group singing and dancing capoeira from Brazil (I wrote a post on it here.) 

In early October we went to New Orleans via the train called the City of New Orleans.  Much music can be heard in New Orleans just walking down the streets.  As we were walking to a restaurant, the evening after we arrived, a marching band was walking down our street as well.

Later we listened to a musician while sipping cafe au lait at the Cafe du Monde and even later a small group sounding just like African music was along Decatur Street - but I did not take any pictures.  The next day, there was a good young band playing near Jackson Square - a park built in 1721.  Many people were watching and some were even dancing.

Another day as we were walking along the Mississippi, a traveling musician came on his bicycle, tied it against the gate, and started playing his guitar sitting on his suitcase.  A passerby stopped to sing and dance.

 On a week cruise we heard a variety of musical genres, as the one below.

Returning to Memphis, Tennessee, the blues capital of the world, we did not walk along Beale Street since we had done this last year (post will come on this.)  Instead our daughter invited us to a concert at the Cannon Center in downtown Memphis to see Don Williams (born in Floydada, Texas in 1939,) one of the few country singers I really like.  You could tell that all his fans attended as they were singing with him and knew all the lyrics.  It was a great show.

With a daughter in Memphis and another in Nashville, Tennessee, they have many opportunities to listen to their favorite musicians.  A couple of months ago they went to a concert by the American rock musician (and occasional actor) Chris Isaak.  They saw him in a pre-event get together and were able to have a chat with him - and take some photos.  Here they are with him below.

Unfortunately, I did not go with them.  But I found a video of Chris Isaak in France, singing My Blueberry Hill at La Cigale in Paris (near where I used to live,) in a duo with French rock star Johnny Halliday.

While in Memphis though we did go to a music museum and saw some real collectors' items in the music field and listened to old records.

In November, in a small trip to New York City - we did not stay long but heard some good music: a superb violinist in a corridor of Grand Central Terminal.  Another night we attended an opera given by a small company in the Upper West side.  It was Giuseppe Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera - I'll write a post later on our New York visit.

Just like in New Orleans, one can hear good music on New York's streets, or even in the subway.

 One evening we were fortunate to buy a couple of tickets to a jazz production which sounded very exciting and was.  It was "After Midnight" a Harlem Cotton-Club inspired musical on Broadway.  Fantasia Barrino was guest star.  The Wynston Marsalis 17-musician Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra was on the stage too playing some of Duke Ellington's greatest music.  The singers and dancers were outstanding.  It was thrilling and I would love to see the show again.

Back in Georgia, we saw a Christmas show at a senior center.  After a youth choir a group of lively senior ladies (most in their 70s and 80s) gave a dynamic performance, dancing and singing to Christmas music.

Then finally, just a few days ago, we went to the Cathedral of St Philip, in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, to listen to the Russian choir "The State Capella of Russia."  This company of 45 singers was touring the US.  This was one of the best choirs I have ever listened to.  They gave a program of Russian Christmas music as well as western classic, old Russian songs and folk songs.  I knew some of these songs as my father had many Russian friends coming to our home when I lived in Paris.  They were called "White" Russians then as they were emigres or refugees from the revolution in their country.  My father could speak some Russian and I am sure felt close to them because just as them, he had lost his original country, was exiled in Paris, and could not go back.

The State Capella of Russia gave a magnificent performance - their clear and deep voices resonated in the great historic cathedral.  Afterwards at a reception the singers mingled with the audience and shared some champagne and hors-d'oeuvres.  This certainly was a wonderful way to finish a year of music.

They sang one of my favorite Russian folk songs which is called Однозвучно гремит колокольчик  or   Odnozvuchno gremit kolokolchik   or Monotonously Rings the Little Bell.  I took Russian in Paris, but that was a long time ago ... it still helped when I visited St Petersburg though.  I attach my document showing my approximate translation of the song in French then translated into English.

The little bell is on a troika - with three horses side by side in front of it.  The little bell keeps on ringing and keeps the horses running.  There is often the sound of bells in Russian music.  It is a melancholy song - a song of remembrance.  I found a video of this old folk song -

So the year 2013 is coming to an end.  I am pleased to have listened to such a variety of live music, now I can listen to my CDs - my husband gave me some Russian CDs for Christmas.

I hope you will hear some good music in 2014 and wish you all a Happy New Year

and a Bonne Année!


Jeanne said...

I always love your posts as they have so much color and so much to absorb in them. Love it that your cats have music which"soothes the soul", and that this calmed them down. They really look like very fast friends in your photos. Love all the music examples that you have shown, and especially have interest in the indian music... When I was getting my masters degree, I worked for awhile on an Indian Reservation in Minnesota and went to several music events out in the woods at night... That drumming... WOW. Love all of you postcards and never can get over the amazing diversity of these that you have. hOPe that your Christmas was lovely, and lucky you having all of that stuff put up. Mine is all still out, although, for me, once christmas day is over, I am ready to move on. Maybe my yorkies will help get it all put up, but will be after the first of the year. HOpe that 2014 will be a wonderful year for you!

ELFI said...

bonne et heureuse année 14...
aussi aux chats mignons :)))

Rosaria Williams said...

You are an artist, and appreciate art in all forms. This is a marvelously rich post, a true gift from the heart of an artist. May you have a healthy and peaceful new year.

Glenda Beall said...

Your posts have so much to enjoy that I spend more time here than on most blogs. I commend you on one of the finest blogs online.
Happy New Year. I look forward to more pictures in 2014.

Elephant's Child said...

Another rich and vibrant post. Mega thanks - and a very happy New Year to you and yours.

Mary said...

Wonderful, wonderful post dear one - you amaze me with so much knowledge about so many awesome things! I loved the music, listened to Johnny H and Chris I and it was fabulous. The Russian choir must have been such a breathtaking experience - I would have loved to hear it. Your little Russian bell song was sad but melodious. Enjoy your new Russian CDs - they look fabulous.

I think the most awesome singing I've ever heard were the performers on Bering Island in June - they sang so well and joyfully, except the very old woman whose song was so long (as in endless!) and so very sad. Only 5 people now speak the old native Aleut (Copper Island) tongue - perhaps I actually heard them, what a thought that is!

Thank you for taking the time to share kitties, music, and your kindness and time with such a great post.

Hope your holidays were awesome, and sending best wishes for a very happy and healthy New Year dear friend.
Mary x

Frances said...

Vagabonde, what fun it has been to see those Christmas cats, and then to follow your 2013 musical travels.

(I did recognize the Times Square subway station violinist, whom I see and hear every week, along with quite a few other talented musicians. I admit that I walk quickly past folks playing musical saws!)

Wishing you and your husband a wonderful 2014. xo

Linda said...

Great post and photos! I can't think of a better way to end any day, month or year...with music and CATS! :)

David said...

Vagabonde, Another great post! Always lots of information and interesting photos. Busy year for you...a cruise, NYC, San Francisco, New Orleans and some more localized adventures. Both of your daughters are very attractive. Must take after mom! Love the pictures of your cats, Cody and Mitsuko. Like most cats, there are always a few disputes. Wishing you and yours a Happy & Healthy New Year! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

DJan said...

I can see the cats were mesmerized by the music and calmed down. And the musical journey you have shared with me for the year seems quite magical. I also wish you and wonderful new year, and thank you again for the musical "roundup" of the year we are putting to bed. :-)

Cloudia said...

such a bounty!!!!

from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

Anonymous said...


Bonnes fêtes de fin d'année !
BISES pour toi d'Asie
et à bientôt !!!

(¸.·'´(¸.·*'´* ❀*`'*·.¸)

bayou said...

Dear Vagabonde, this is the most beautiful of posts to end the year and I thank you for that, have a big smile on my face now. I do totally agree in all your reflections and can acknowledge that cats love music. But my left over horse also gets music in the stables and sometimes I can see it 'swing' in the rhythm :-)))
I wish you and your family a very happy New Year and especially the best of health. With love from Belgium, Anke.

✿France✿ said...

COUCOU je viens de voir tes belles photos et tu en fais de beaux voyages je trouve
et ces chats qui sont superbes avec de la musique plein les oreilles c'est génial
je viens de voir aussi sur tes photos un groupe que je devrais aimer avec sa flûte car j'adore la musique DE BOLIVIE
je t'embrasse et je te souhaite de très belles fêtes

Ginnie said...

As I've read through this post, Vagabonde, the Dutch "Top 2000" songs are playing in the background...non-stop from the day after Christmas to New Year's Eve tomorrow night. It's been wonderful, hearing fantastic music from all time. You'd be in heaven, even as I have been. What a great post about your 2013 year of music!

Niall & Antoinette said...

What a lovely musical round up of 2013!
Bonne et heureuse année 2014
[from our two cats - Shadow and Tinka as well :-)]

Al said...

It sounds like a great Christmas. There's lots of music in this post - I love music, but all mine is on my music server these days. Happy New Year!

Jeanie said...

As you might expect, I love everything about this post! Your cats are beautiful and Cody reminds me of Gypsy! The cat postcards made me smile -- we share that collecting interest and I have a few, too! And we also have some of the same Christmas tree ornaments!

Your music travels (particularly the Russian Choir) sound terrific. Perhaps next August you will venture to Michigan for our Great Lakes Folk Festival -- three days of all kinds of folk music from around the world!

Happy New Year!

Elaine said...

What wonderful music you've heard this year! As always, I really love your vintage postcards. A very happy new year to you and your family!

Kay said...

Happy New Musical Year! I love those photos of your kitties. I also love the fact that Mitsuko is a cute Japanese name and Cody is my cute nephew's name. said...

Dearest sweet Vagabonde.
I just love your posts. They fascinate me.
Reading about your life in Paris.
I recall some of your photos and posts here on this one.
Your travels and trips.
love your cats..and the music..the post cards are divine ..
What a wonderful year you have had.
The white Russians. from the Ukrain. i grew up in my early years with a few families ..before going to Africa. I now have a lovely group of Ukranian friends here near me. I am always invited on the 6th to the 7th for their christmas. The 6th being the day of the Epiphany.. the day Jesus was truly born and discovered by the three Magi..
Happy New year Vagabonde..
Merci.. with love val.. see you next year.

Magic Love Crow said...

Happy New Year My Friend ;o) Wishing you many blessings! I love this post ;o) So much music, and love ;o) The kitty pictures made my heart melt ;o) My heritage is Ukrainian and Polish. We use to celebrate on January 7th, but not anymore. Mom usually makes a special dinner though ;o) Take Care ;o)

Nadezda said...

Dear Vagabonde, you wrote of the State Capella, may be they were of Saint Petersburg Capella. We have the great Capella and I sometimes go to listen to their chorus. There is a boys chorus as well. The song Однозвучно гремит колокольчик is very touching and I always listen to it with tears. The words are:
Однозвучно гремит колокольчик
И дорога пылится слегка
И уныло по ровному полю
Разливается песнь ямщика
If you compare these words with your translation you'll realize that it is perfect!
Happy New Year!

sweffling said...

What a lovely post.
I particularly value the international threads you weave together, especially at New Year when they seem so appropriate. I spent New Year in Paris a few years ago and on New Year's Eve went to the Chapel of the Louvre to hear a Russian Choir: it was quite magical. Later we walked back beside the Seine to our apartment in the Marias and English, American, French and Dutch all sat down together to eat. It was the best New Year ever.

I wish you and yours all the very best for 2014.

Cynthia said...

Love the vintage kitty postcards. It's nice that your cats enjoy music as much as you seem to.

Vicki Lane said...

Music is everywhere -- you have captured so much. And your cats are beauties.
A happy new year to you, Vagabonde -I look forward to traveling with you in 2014!

Anonymous said...

Merci chère Vagabonde pour ce beau partage !!! Quel plaisir de venir chez toi !

Je t'embrasse bien fort et je te souhaite UNE BELLE ANNÉE 2014 !

Bises ensoleillées d'Asie !!!

Ratty said...

That much music would be great. And I never knew anyone celebrated Christmas on a different day than December 25. That's very interesting.

EG CameraGirl said...

What a grand year 2013 was! I wish you all the best in 2014!

Cergie said...

Quel long message à lire et tant à découvrir de toi ! Tu sais, mon fils et sa petite famille habitent pas loin de la Cigale, dans le 17ème (métro Rome) et auparavant il était encore plus près, quand j'allais chez lui je prenais le métro à la station "Blanche". Tes chats me font rire, à Noël j'avais des petites souris en feutrine dans mon tout petit sapin (mon petit fils n'a que deux ans) et figure toi qu'il y avait une souris qui avait fait son nid dans le canapé-lit ! J'ai regretté de ne pas avoir de chat mais avoir un chat est une responsabilité.
Notre petit fils a reçu une "petite guitare" pour Noël, son rêve (en réalité un ukulele). Et pour lui j'ai retrouvé mes CD de guitare classique : Lagoya et Ségovia. Et bien entendu aussi des chants de Noël...
Heureuse année 2014 à toi et aux tiens ! Tout aussi riche que 2013 en rencontre et en voyages.

Anonymous said...

Ce blog est un si beau cadeau de fin et début d'année ! Merci. La musique adoucit les moeurs… et réjouit le coeur, celui des chats aussi :) Ce choeur russe m'a rappelé mes années là-bas, les tons nostalgiques, tristes mais aussi si joyeux parfois.
Vos voyages en musique sont passionnants et ces anciennes cartes, touchantes. Merci pour tout.

Perpetua said...

As always, a post full of interest and wonderful illustrations. I love your cats and your memory for the music you've heard and the things you did in 2013 puts me to shame. Thank you for the link to the hauntingly beautiful Russian folksong.

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