I have loved Dan Gibson’s Solitudes series of albums – I originally had a few of them on cassette tape, back in the day! – of nature sounds, with or without music, for a very long time (as the above would suggest).
And I am, after all, “The Anglophilic Anglican” – my love for England, the English countryside, and English country gardens, should go without saying! But despite listening to my first Dan Gibson albums back in the early 1980s, I had not until this very day realized that he had one devoted to “The English Country Garden.” Very cool!
I recognize a few of the bird calls – most poignantly, for me, the cuckoo, which I was delighted to discover really does sound exactly like its name – from my time living and studying in Ireland, in 1990. So lovely to hear it again!
Anyone who thinks Europeans (or their descendants, here in the “European diaspora”) lack culture, is simply not paying attention! European culture is rich and diverse, and by no means is it limited to “high culture”: folk music is a vital part of European culture, as it is of cultures across the world. Here are a few examples!
First, a young woman named Marilena sings “A Lausbua muass er sei” – “He’s Got to be Cheeky,” or as I have also heard it translated, “He Must Be A Scamp.” Light-hearted, cute, and flirty, but not the least bit lewd or inappropriate as so much of today’s music is:
Here is a translation of the lyrics, for those who may be interested!
Next we find two sisters going by the stage name “Die Twinnies,” singing “Bayernmädels” (“Bavarian Girls”) while playing accordions and rollerblading (!):
This version doesn’t have as good picture quality, but does include English subtitles. And true, they are in jeans rather than more traditional attire. Alas! But even I have to admit that rollerblading in a dirndl might not quite work, either practically or aesthetically…
Finally, here is the finale of the Alle Stadlstern Sieger 2006-2010 – 30 Jahre Musikantenstadl (all of the above were also recorded at the Musikantenstadl), “a live television entertainment program broadcast in the German language throughout Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. It features Austrian, Swiss, and German popular folk music (Schlager, Volkstümliche Musik), international pop and folk music as well as interviews and comedy” (Wikipedia). If this isn’t diverse, I’m not sure what is!
These are three highly admirable young women! I have become quite appreciative of The Boyer Sisters, both their music and their lifestyle (which is decidedly “vintage”). They are very pretty in a delightfully old-fashioned way, beautiful singers, and good, wholesome young women!
And “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” was one of my late father’s favorites: a member of the “Greatest Generation,” and a decorated combat veteran of World War Two, he was both an aficionado of the “Big Band” sound, and a darned good musician in his own right.
After the War, during the Occupation of Germany, he played both piano and trumpet in his Regimental band, and later served as choir director for his church back here in the States. Even in later years, he could still “tickle the ivories” when the mood hit him. I think he would have appreciated these fine young ladies, too!
Update: I have learned that, sadly, the Boyer Sisters are no longer singing together, and have furthermore left their vintage approach to life behind. I get that things, and people, change, but that doesn’t stop me from mourning it, when good things end! Fortunately, they have left a legacy of YouTube videos, that are well worth watching.
And the news is not all bad: they are still Christian, still wholesome and family-oriented. Charlotte and Jessica have started a health-products brand, B.Well, and Charlotte notes, “Each day I become more in awe of our great God and His creation, and love discovering more about Him through His majestic design.” Can’t fault that!
The third sister, Brigid, is married and has a baby; she has stepped even further back, to the 18th century (which I can’t fault, either!), and has a blog and clothing-pattern line, Brijee, in which, as she puts it, “Vintage sewing meets modern living.”
Still, I am sorry to learn that The Boyer Sisters is a thing of the past. I shall hold out hope that they return to it, at some point in the future!
Carols of the Christmas season, from the classic English choral tradition.
He is an Englishman!
For he himself has said it,
And it’s greatly to his credit,
That he is an Englishman!
What more need be said…?
The history of modern music is a history of deliberate rebellion and revolt against the great tradition of Western music. – Peter Kwasniewski
In which it is pointed out that “the music we employ in church always embodies and communicates an ecclesiology, a Christology, and an anthropology—it is that significant! There is no escaping it: Every bit of music we perform in church is expressing a vision of the whole and inculcating it in those who listen.”
Therefore the music which becomes part of the liturgy – the “worship experience,” if you will, though I dislike that terminology for its focus on the worshiper and not on the God who is worshiped – is not something extrinsic or incidental to that liturgy. It is, if used at all, intrinsic to the liturgy, for better or for worse: often, what is sung is often remembered better than that which is merely spoken. Therefore the music that we use matters, and matters deeply.
The author contrasts the Church’s tradition of adopting and “baptizing” elements of Pagan culture, including its musical traditions, with the situation in today’s world:
“Today’s Westerners, in contrast, are post-Christian aliens, estranged from their own history and the great cultural synthesis that could and should be theirs. The history of modern music, whether atonal or jazz or rock or pop, is a history of deliberate rebellion and revolt against the great tradition of Western music, against its high art forms, its slowly-developed musical language, its explicitly or implicitly Christian message. In its origins and its inner meaning, much of modern Western music is a rejection of the Catholic (and European) tradition.
“As a result, it is not morally, intellectually, or culturally ‘neutral’; it is already laden with an anti-institutional, anti-sacral, anti-traditional significance. This music is not naïve raw material waiting to be Christianized, but highly articulate anti-Christian propaganda. It rejects the ideals of lofty beauty and grandeur, spiritual seriousness, evocation of the divine, openness to the transcendent, and artistic discipline, in favor of vapidity, frivolity, profanity, sensuality, and banality.”
There are exceptions to this characterization, of course, but they are exceptions which, to my mind, prove the rule. There is more, of course – much more, and all of it worth reading. The modern world is obsessed with many things, but one of them is “relevance”: if a thing, be it music, liturgy, morality, etc., is not “relevant,” it is suspicious at best, easily-dismissed, at worst. Unfortunately, as this article points out, the result is that
“Today’s popular culture… to the extent that it has grown up in revolt against the unifying principles, certainties, and demands of Christianity, is a veritable melting pot of conflicting fashionable ideologies, a volatile mishmash of tribalism, globalism, and techno-barbarism. Its underlying anthropology is suited not for saints and heroes, but for narcissists and manipulators.”