Posts Tagged ‘Sesame Street’

ma in the house

April 30, 2011

(photo by VPR's Brendan Kinney)

We’ve been planning it for months and months. As soon as it was announced that Yo-Yo Ma would be playing with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra this season, preparations got underway to hold a reception for him at the station. It happened last night.

For the first half hour or so guests of both VPR and the VSO gathered in the station’s performance studio, enjoying catering from Cloud Nine and catching up with each other. Then after a little while a short burst of spontaneous applause heralded the guest of honor’s arrival, and, beaming (as usual), Yo-Yo Ma stood at the doorway surveying the packed room.

It didn’t take me long to become impressed with his natural graciousness. He took a few moments to speak personally and genuinely with everyone who approached him. (And everyone did.) Somehow he made his way around the entire congested room within around a half hour’s time before being ushered out to make a late dinner date elsewhere.

Nearly as soon as he arrived, it seemed, he needed to leave. And I hadn’t had the opportunity to introduce myself yet as I noticed him began making his way to the door. So I cleared a path through the room and escorted him out and up the long hallway to the exit. We talked the whole time we walked – actually he did, once he found out what I did at the station. His topic? Expressing avid support for public broadcasting in the face of continuing funding threats. I just listened.

We could have talked about music, we could have talked about his concert tonight with the VSO. THIS IS YO-YO MA (I kept thinking) – he didn’t have to talk about anything at all if he didn’t want to. But there he was, taking the little time he had to share with me a passionate expression of dismay at the ongoing federal budget struggles with funding for public broadcasting, and the arts.

If you’ve ever listened to his playing and wondered about the wellspring that could produce such beautiful and heartfelt music, I can tell you firsthand it’s only possible because it comes from deep within him, it originates from a spirit that is equally genuine and empathetic and human. You simply can’t make music like that if it doesn’t come from a place that’s real.  I’ll listen to him playing the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations and Saint-Saëns’ first Cello Concerto this evening with that in mind, and be glad I could have that small insight in meeting him last night.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have tickets yet you probably won’t be able to experience the concert this evening. It’s been sold out since it was announced last September, and apparently there is an unprecedented waiting list of more than a hundred people right now. Don’t let that stop you from exploring Yo-Yo Ma’s music, though – in particular I recommend his Sony recordings of the solo Bach cello suites; his ensemble work with fellow musicians Emanual Ax, Jaime Laredo (tonight’s conductor) and Isaac Stern; his recording of the Dvořák concerto; and his sizzling 1989 recording with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic of the Shostakovich Cello Concerto #1.

And now, for some very serious ‘long hair’ (long feather?) music, Sesame Street’s own Honker and Dinger Quartet:

playlist #89 (11/16/2009)-songs for ‘stick’ season

November 16, 2009

Hanksville, VT

World of Music
Pgm #89 – Songs for ‘stick’ season: Autumn’s ending, winter’s not quite here yet. A few uplifting tunes will go a long way to keep the spirits up while we wait for the snow.
Listen Mondays 3-5pm EDT  – at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT or online at The Radiator
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix / (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
Nation Beat: Sobe A Poeira (Let Your Hair Down, Come Fall Into My Arms) / Legends of the Preacher – Modiba 7 – (NY CITY)
Orchestra Baobab: Cabral / Made in Dakar / Nonesuch 433788 – (SENEGAL)
Hermanas Ferrin: Pensamiento (Thoughts) / Mi Linda Guajira / La Raiz Sonora 8484172 – (CUBA)
MC Yogi featuring Krishna Das: Rock On Hanuman / Elephant Power / White Swan Records 83 – (INDIA)
Alasdair Fraser & Paul Machlis: Ruileadh Cailleach, The Bird’s Nest, Harris Dance / Scotland the Real / Smithsonian Folkways 40511 – (SCOTLAND)
John McCutcheon: Waiting For Snow / Wintersongs / Rounder 8038 – (USA)
Rolf Lislevand & friends: Piva (by Joan Ambrosio Dalza) / Diminutio / ECM 2088 – (NORWAY) *NEW*
Marta Topferova: Mar Y Cielo (Sea and Sky) / Trova / World Village 468090 – (CZECH REPUBLIC / USA) *NEW*
Cedric Watson: J’ai Été Tout Auteur du Pays / Cedric Watson / Valcour Records 4 – (TEXAS)
The Lost Fingers: You (Shook Me All Night Long) & Pump Up The Jam / Lost In The ’80s / Sony 88697556082 – (QUÉBEC) *NEW*
Easy Star All-Stars: Money / Dub Side Of The Moon / Easy Star Records 21606 – (JAMAICA)
Los Mocosos: Spill The Wine / Shades Of Brown / Six Degrees 657036 – (SAN FRANCISCO)
The Denver Dub Collective: I Would Die 4 U / Purple Dub / 1 – (DENVER) *NEW*
Gordon Sanchez: L’Aléas de L’Hiver (The Uncertainties of Winter) / Acoustic France / Putumayo 281 – (FRANCE)
Tiris: El Leil, El Leil (The Night, The Night) / Sandtracks / Sandblast 1 – (WESTERN SAHARA)
Marta Gómez: Negrito / Entre Cada Palabra /Chesky 301 – (COLOMBIA) *NEW*
Bebo y Cigala: La Bien Pagá (Good Wages) / Lágrimas Negras (Black Tears) / Calle54 653086 – (CUBA / SPAIN)
Andy Narell & Relator: Pan on Sesame Street / University of Calypso / Heads Up 3168 – (TRINIDAD) *NEW* – 40th anniversary of PBS’ “Sesame Street” last week
Aurelio Martinez: Yau (“Uncle” – traditional Garifuna) / Garifuna Soul / Stonetree 26 – (BELIZE)
Alicia Villareal: Soy Lo Prohibido / Soy Lo Prohibido / Universal 440 414 824 – (MEXICO)
Khaled: Melha / Kenza / Ark 21 Records 186 850 012 – (ALGERIA)
Black Sea Hotel: Dimianinka / Black Sea Hotel / 2008 – (BULGARIA / USA)
Abou Chihabi: Lewo! Lewo! (Today! Today!) / Folkomor Ocean / Playasound 65188 – (LA RÉUNION)
B*Side Players: Radio Afro Mexica / Radio Afro Mexica / Global Noize 127 – (SAN DIEGO) *NEW*
DJ Bitman: My Computer Is Funk / Latin Bitman / Nacional Records 20002 – (CHILE)

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