Friday, January 31, 2014

Drumming Preview

For Chuck's West African drumming class -- a study guide for Monday's MMM presentation!

The 1st and 2nd accompaniments for each of the three parts of the piece --

Direct link to video on YouTube

The whole piece (terrible video, but the sound is ok)

Direct link to YouTube

Friday, January 17, 2014

A World of Music

Chuck also teachers adult classes -see the Kumandi website for info
Go to for Chuck's adult drum lesson info.
We are just over halfway through the high school Short Term A, and I'm having a great time.  It's been probably 10 years since I sat in on a short term class (the last time was Russian for Beginners in 2003), and this January I've been sitting in on Chuck Cogliandro's West African Drumming class.  It's so much fun, and there are so many things I didn't know!
  • drumming is good for your brain.  Maintaining a rhythm with two hands, while the person next to you is drumming an entirely different rhythm, is a serious mental exercise.
  • in any one piece there can be 5 (or maybe more) distinct rhythms going on at the same time.
  • there are songs with words that are an integral part of the drum music (I never thought of it quite as music, either, just rhythm. No idea why. Duh.)
  • Paideia's elementary music program has a whole big bunch of djembe drums. Time to ask Miranda about that part of her program.  How long have I been here? And yet so much yet to learn.
There was a piece on All Things Considered just yesterday about globalFEST, a one-night music festival in New York that showcases artists from Europe, Africa, Asia and beyond.   Being a librarian and an inquiring mind, I am reminded of the books, CDs and videos I've added to the collection over the years, on African music and on other music traditions & styles from around the world.  You can bet I'll be checking out a couple for myself, and you should come nose around and check out some too.  See a more complete list on the library catalog web page.

African Drumming

West African Drum & Dance: A Yankadi-Macrou Celebration -
a book, CD and DVD set

Drum Circle Facilitation - a DVD for leaders and learners

Garland Handbook of African Music - reading for the scholar, with a CD for audio examples

African Music and Musicians -
a few years ago an African Music class was offered during short term. Lots of DVDs to explore!

Rai (The Rough Guides series) - CD of "Arabic rebel pop" from Algeria and the Western Sahara.  Cheb Mami is the 'prince of rai."

On Tiptoe: The Music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo - the renowned South African a capella group

Cesaria Evora: Morna Blues -   the "Queen of Cape Verdean Blues"

Angelique Kidjo - singer/chanteuse from Benin, the "African Piaf"

Youssou N'Dour Live in London - Senegalese superstar

The Rhythm of Resistance: The Black Music of South Africa - DVD


The Music of Central Asia (The Rough Guides series) -  a CD of music from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikstan, and Kyrgyzstan.  With liner notes.

The Silk Road: Music, Art, and Poetry from Istanbul to Samarquand - DVD

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: The Last Prophet - documentary DVD of the late Pakistani star of Sufi Qawwali music

Latin America

Musica!: Salsa, Rhumba, Merengue and More - a guide to the dance music with a Latin beat

Rock en Español - explores the fusion genre which blends Anglo alt-rock with Latin folklore & music.

Compay Segundo - DVD - the Cuban group Buena Vista Social Club plays their classics


The Rough Guide to World Music - 2 volumes, arranged geographically by continent

Travel the World with Putomayo - music videos and live performances of popular international artists

The Rough Guide to Irish Music - CD - travel across Ireland through music

Ukulele for Dummies - book and CD set

Do you listen to or play international music?  Share your favorites in the comments.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Research for Science Classes

I've created a Blogger page as a class outline for presenting science research methods and sources to Larry's DuPont Challenge and Science Fair short term classes.  Link to this page below.

Researching Science Information On the Web

Thursday, January 9, 2014

January High School Reading Club:
Beautiful Ruins

High School reading club met this afternoon in Joanna's room to discuss, with great enthusiasm, Jess Walter's novel Beautiful Ruins. It was a unanimous hit!

We opened with sharing our idea of main themes or takeaways in the novel.
  • life isn't what you want or expect it to be
  • you can't distill a life into one statement - it's always changing -- "it is what it is"
  • you can have a perfect moment, but that's only true for the moment and it might change
  • doing the right thing is its own reward
Much of our spirited discussion kept reflecting one or more of these ideas.  The structure of the book, that the reader can't forsee the direction it will take next, was exciting and everyone like that -- it wasn't what the reader expected it to be (like life).  The characters you think are going to be the most important, turn out to be on the side, or co-important, but not the very most.  The plot twists were satisfying, but not sappy or obvious.



Brief interview with Jess Walter by Author magazine

Review in The New York Times

Review in The Los Angeles Times

Review from Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air on NPR (transcript)     Listen

"How I Write": Author interview in The Daily Beast

Jess Walter answers questions posed by Goodreads members (30 minute video on YouTube)


Richard Burton as Marc Antony in Cleopatra