web analytics

Saturday Music: Phos Hilaron

Phos Hilaron is considered the first church hymn in a proper sense. It was sung every evening. In the video it is sung by the Valaam monks.

This beautiful hymn, Phos Hilaron (Gentle Light (Svete Tikhy in Russian; Lumen Hilare in Latin; O Gladsome Light in English) is the first church hymn in its proper sense. Every evening when the Christians gathered for the service they sang it and lit the candle or lamp that symbolised the ever-living light of Jesus. You can read the story of the hymn. Below is a video of its performance in Old Church Slavonic by the monks of the Valaam Monastery.

(The evening service is on the way in Russian churches, but I have to visit the library today to take back the books).

More on Russia

A natural kind of phos hilaron at the Ely Cathedral interior at sunset (Copyright Julia Shuvalova C 2010)

Saturday Music: Mungo Jerry – In the Summertime

In our hemisphere temperature’s rising, so it’s just the right time to start thinking about summer. Thus here comes Mungo Jerry! This song I first heard on an audio cassette my Dad brought to me around 1997. It wasn’t until some 10 years later that I saw the curly mane of the band’s leader.

More songs in Music.

Saturday Music: Gladys Knight – Let It Be

Gladys Knight sings a ravishing interpretation of The Beatles’ Let It Be. It got me thinking the Great Four were fortunate to sing it first.

Gladys Knight’s ravishing interpretation of The Beatles’ Let It Be got me thinking that the Great Four were fortunate to sing it first. McCartney’s bluesy chords were given a completely new treatment by Knight. I actually thought that, had she only performed this song first, McCartney’s version wouldn’t have been good enough. So, back to our Saturday Music, here’s Let It Be the way you might not have heard it before.

More posts in Music.

Gladys Knight’s YouTube channel.

Paolo Conte – Boogie

Paolo Conte Boogie plays a lighthearted note to Christmas weekend. Tune in and dance away with your near and dear! Merry Christmas!

Boogie-woogie in full swing

Dietmar and Nellia (in the video below) wooed the hearts of many YouTubers with their top boogie-woogie skill. I thought December 26th being a Sunday, you need some dancing inspiration, so why not turn on this Boogie song by the Italian singer and songwriter Paolo Conte?

Other posts on Paolo Conte.

More about the genre.

Happy Christmas with Bob Dylan!

A Bob Dylan cover of Do You Hear What I Hear oozes warmth and magic of Christmas season. Listen, enjoy, and be happy! Merry Christmas!

To celebrate Christmas this year, I’m going to have you listen to a Bob Dylan cover of the famous Do You Hear What I Hear? I previously had a post with this song interpreted by Gladys Knight and The Pips. A few years ago I came across Dylan’s version, and I was quite mesmerised. Each time I listen to it I imagine an old Irish guy, with a smoky voice and a guitar, singing this 20th century carol to his neighbours’ children. It oozes the magic in a way different from Knight’s version. Whereas hers borders on gospel, the cover by Bob Dylan is very folkish, and I think this is why I make this “Irish” connection.

I wish us all a very warm, happy, and peaceful Christmas season! Enjoy the Yuletide!

Read about the song.

War Is Over? (If You Want It) – John Lennon

John Lennon composed Happy Christmas song in 1971 and stormed the British charts on December 24th 1972. Its remains poignant to this day.

In my adolescence and youth I was a die-hard fan of John Lennon. In fact, as you can see from the photo of 2004, I even wore round glasses. I was wearing them from 1997 till 2010 when I lost them somehow.

My Lennonesque glasses

I even wrote a post marking one of Lennon’s birthdays and did an interview with Joel Warady who recalled hearing about Lennon’s being murdered. Then my passion for his work subsided a little. In part, I suppose, I want to find the way to do more action than words. Imagine is good but you’ve got to make your dreams come true, haven’t you?

The first Lennon post on this blog

Imagine: The Impact of One Life

Amsterdam Bed-In 40 Years On: Memories and Reflections

Stand By Me in English, Italian, and French

Lennon’s Tooth Is Auctioned Off in Stockport

But one song that was written in 1971 and premiered in the British charts on December 24th, 1972, 19 years ago, remains poignant. It was composed amidst the Vietnam war, and John Lennon with Yoko Ono sang it with Harlem Community Choir, the British ex-Beatle being literally the only white man in the video. So I thought we should listen to it on Christmas Eve. There are still wars, offensive and defensive, military and ideological, but we could finish them all if we could imagine the Heaven on Earth where all people are equal…

More about Happy Christmas song

Let It Be (A Song for My Birthday)

For my birthday this year I recorded at home Let It Be, the song that I have performed since I was 13.

Those who have been reading this blog for a while know that December 9th is my birthday. To mark the day this year, I recorded at home one of my favourite songs, Let It Be.

I have performed this song for as long as I remember myself. The first time it was at school, I sang it acapella in front of some 200 people, and it was a huge success: the guy who was the scare of the entire school followed me for a week begging to give him the chords and words.

A few years ago I “reunited” with this song but this time I was accompanied by a teenage band. I keep coming back to it, which is peculiar in a way because for a long time I was in love with John Lennon. But I ended up singing many of Paul McCartney’s songs.

So, happy birthday to me, and Let It Be!

Alexander Gradsky (1949-2021)

The Russian singer and songwriter, Alexander Gradsky, made an epoch in Russian rock music. He was aptly nicknamed The Voice by his friend.

The Russian singer and songwriter, Alexander Gradsky, made an epoch in Russian classical and rock music. He is considered a father-founder of the Russian rock. He sang at The Bolshoi Theatre and worked with such artists as Liza Minnelli and John Denver. He collaborated on films with Andrei Konchalovsky, Nikita Mikhalkov, and others. He taught at the Gnesin Music Academy, composed a rock opera Master and Margarita, and became the People’s Artist in 1999. He was officially married three times and had two children, and his last partner was 35 years younger, they also had two sons. He was single-minded, energetic, and ingenious. He was aptly nicknamed The Voice by his long-term friend, and indeed, in the last few years he was often on the panel of the Russian version of this famous musical show. And now he no longer is.

Alexander Borisovich Gradsky

There comes the time when you begin to assess your age and experience not only by events in your personal life, but by also people who “accompanied” you on your way and their work. Scientists, artists, actors, musicians, public figures – they all become a part of you. And when they go, which is inevitable, you feel bereft of something infinitely more important than you could even appreciate.

Alexander Gradsky – Caruso

The news state that in September this year Gradsky had a coronavirus (unconfirmed) but got over it and continued his work. He was again on the panel of The Voice, now in its 10th year. For the last episode of the show he arrived to the Ostankino TV centre in an ambulance and was clearly unwell but continued with his work. And then last night he had a cerebral infraction.

Alexander Gradsky – How Young We Were

Take time to listen to this powerful Voice in memory of this great man and a fantastic singer, composer, and performer.

Alexander Gradsky – Cinema

This video is an extract from a children’s animation, The Blue Puppy, about a little dog in search of friends. Thanks to an impressive vocal range, Gradsky sang several songs for this cartoon, but I chose the Song of a Sawfish that demonstrates the singer’s ability to perform comic, “character” songs.

Alexander Gradsky – The Song of a SawFish
Alexander Gradsky – Television Song

When the world is drowning in rap, it is sometimes hard to explain to the younger audiences what music is. Or what distinguishes poetry from writing rhymed texts. Or how to sing poetry. How to sing like Alexander Gradsky and Muslim Magomaev, or Ella Fitzgerald and Andy Williams. In terms of marketing, it is obviously easier if you belong to a “genre”. The flip side is such that you begin to practise your art like others practise accountancy. You work 9-to-5, write rap or novels with the same storyline, then your “other life” begins. Of course, one’s artistic potential depends on the degree of talent. The problem is that marketing turns a talent into mediocrity by making it “focus” on a single genre or style. And this is why the true Artist today is the proverbial avis rara (“a rare bird” (Lat.)).

But do you know what a huge advantage you have as the Artist? You always have a listener (a reader, a viewer). When he is a child, he listens to your children’s songs. A youth listens to your songs about other youths. Your music, books, films, songs accompany people on their entire way through life. Some come and go, but Artists stay.

Alexander Gradsky – The Southern Farewell

Of course, if the Artist leaves this world in the age of Ray Charles or Stephen Sondheim, you take it philosophically, especially if you have experienced the loss in your own life. But the younger the Artist, the more unfair is their exit in its untimeliness, especially with respect to their family, friends, and students. And it doesn’t matter how well you have learnt that everything happens at the right time…

Unofficial website

Website of Gradsky-Hall, the musical venue founded by the musician himself

Other posts in Music

Phonat – Learn to Recycle

Back in 2009, I wrote a Skiddle review of the first album by this prodigious Italian composer. So, please welcome: Phonat – Learn to Recycle.

Phonat (Michele Balduzzi)

Back in 2009, I wrote a Skiddle review of the first album by this prodigious Italian composer. I’ve just rediscovered his awesome track, so I decided to share both the review and the album list and, of course, the track. So, please welcome: Phonat – Learn to Recycle.

The debut album by the prodigious Florentine Michele Balduzzi, Phonat, is a collection of 12 genre-spanning tracks. It boasts 80s-styled vocals, signature delayed intros, and a unique mix of dance and electronic music with rock-inspired guitar riffs. The album being released at the end of September, the Christmas club fame is practically guaranteed.

Continental European musicians somehow tend to be more universal and almost more innovative. Learn to Recycle should be the name and the homage to this ability to blend all the impossible trends together into something rather tasteful , to break the ground, and to overwhelm with the sheer passion for music.

Learn to Recycle is a six-minute masterclass in exploring the endless possibilities of playing the same routine in different styles. Yet this feat of a track doesn’t come until the second half of the album. The previous seven tracks are exquisite antipasti. Early songs, like A Warm Welcome and Get Down My Dirty Street, feature the signature delayed intro. Set Me Free and Ghetto Burning are praised for their vocal arrangements and collaboration with Yolanda. Ho Visto Un Quadro Verde reminds of soundtracks from 1970s Italian police dramas. Learn to Recycle draws the line under all the previous experiments by giving a complete piece of daring, experimental dance music. And, to judge by Zombie Army, Phonat’s got a good sense of humour.

Apart from his gigantic height and passion for music, Phonat’s biggest asset is the good taste. The album’s structure and contents only confirm it. Where another artist would fall into banality and repetition, Phonat always stops short and changes direction – just enough to make a critic gasp for breath. In the album’s last song he asks if his mother would get to listen to this album. Sure, she will, and she will be proud.

Score: 5/5.

Phonat – Learn to Recycle is at no. 8

More on Music

A Russian post

Sinatra And Crosby – Jingle Bells

Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby recite Jingle Bells to music in a special performance for Happy Holidays from Bing and Frank.

A wintery streetlight shines the light on the new Christmas season (@Internet)

The magical time of the year has arrived, and finally, after two very English (=mild, rainy) winters we’re having a proper Russian one, with snow and temperatures below zero. Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby Jingle Bells suit the weather perfectly, even though I cannot yet put my feet up and rest. Instead, may I remind you about the Xmas labels on this blog, which you might want to flick through:

2006 Xmas, 2008 Xmas, 2009 Xmas, 2010 Xmas, 2011 Xmas, 2012 Xmas, 2013 Xmas, 2018 Xmas, 2019 Xmas.

Xmas 2020 is going to tell about the holidays as they are being celebrated in Moscow this year. To put it officially, they are not being celebrated due to pandemics; instead, each of us is getting into festive mood by himself. This looks almost like what two great artists were doing in this video. So, let Xmas 2020 begin with Sinatra and Crosby Jingle Bells!

About Christmas Songs by Sinatra.

error: Sorry, no copying !!