A Louisiana Sunday Hymn

This is a popular hymn in Cajun Country. Sometimes I am homesick for the food and the music…but seldom the (below-sealevel) climate. Maybe in January??

Though I got to know some of the Canucks in New England, I never heard their music. However, what that Canadian French remnant who managed to survive the trek to Louisiana created still lives deep in my Irish soul. The similarities of the heart converge sometimes.

The French lyrics are below the jump as is the English translation.

The images you see are the large extended family of L’Angelus. It looks like they’re on a levee.

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The Past is a Foreign Country

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

— L.P. Hartley, from The Go-Between

The title of Dymphna’s post from a couple of nights ago reminded me of an old song from my childhood, “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny”. I could remember the tune and the first couple of lines, and I had a vague idea that it had been composed by Stephen Foster.

But I was wrong — I looked up the Wikipedia entry on it, and it was written in 1878 by a black man named James Bland.

I had also forgotten how “racially insensitive” — as Wikipedia puts it — the full lyrics were. But, really, how could they be described that way, given that they were written by a black person, and a freed slave at that?

Anyway, here they are, a relic of a bygone and foreign era:

Carry me back to old Virginny.
There’s where the cotton and corn and taters grow.
There’s where the birds warble sweet in the spring-time.
There’s where this old darkey’s heart am long’d to go.

There’s where I labored so hard for old Massa,
Day after day in the field of yellow corn;
No place on earth do I love more sincerely
Than old Virginny, the state where I was born.

[CHORUS]
Carry me back to old Virginny.
There’s where the cotton and the corn and taters grow;
There’s where the birds warble sweet in the spring-time.
There’s where this old darkey’s heart am long’d to go.

Carry me back to old Virginny,
There let me live till I wither and decay.
Long by the old Dismal Swamp have I wandered,
There’s where this old darkey’s life will pass away.

Massa and Missis have long gone before me,
Soon we will meet on that bright and golden shore.
There we’ll be happy and free from all sorrow,
There’s where we’ll meet and we’ll never part no more.

[CHORUS]

Exercise for advanced-level students of political history: Analyze the above song without referring to the concepts of “racism”, “white privilege”, “discrimination”, “white supremacism”, or “racial stereotyping”.

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The Death Rattle of Identity Politics?

UPDATE, edited.

There is a gofundme collection site to pay for protection for the kids who are being threatened, particularly Nicholas Sandmann. The amount of money raised to pay expenses for security will determine how long the boys will have protection. From the page:

…threats to Nick and his family are in the thousands to the point where Covington Catholic school disabled incoming calls and canceled school. This boy was a target and I am calling for Americans to help funding for his security and well-being.

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Dr. Turley thinks the attacks on Covington Catholic spells the end for identity politics. This is his most recent video on the subject of the Covington boys.

As I said in his comment section, he was right to point to 1984‘s felony, “facecrime”. That’s what the loony lefties, who often descend to 1984 dystopian levels, are claiming the boys committed.

However, the loons are sprouting ‘leaders’ like Occasional Cortex and Elizabeth 1/392% Native American Warren. They make Bernie Sanders look sane but their “popularity” numbers are YUUGE. Never misunderestimate stupidity.

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Here’s the Covington School’s choir singing a by-now classic anthem. At my request, her brother sang this at my daughter Shelagh’s funeral. It always moves me, no matter which verses are chosen.

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New Year’s Eve

This is from 1949 when it appears that singers actually enunciated their lyrics. I listened to a number of versions and this was the best of the lot. Sometimes R&B songs are the most memorable renditions.

So whatch’all doing on the very last day of 2018, Anno Domini? Or, depending on your time zone, what did you do – at least what’s fit for public conversation.

I made Hoppin’ John for tomorrow. It always tastes better the next day. In parts of the Upper South, it was/is still a tradition to eat Hoppin’ John on the first day of the new year in order to have good luck for the rest of it.

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Anyone else have holiday customs to share? The twelve days of Christmas don’t end until Epiphany, so let’s hear it for Yule logs and mistletoe and fruitcake and gold, frankincense and myrrh. [I may be the only person I know who actually likes fruitcake. The Irish whiskey used to saturate the muslin wrapper gives it a certain je ne sais quoi, non?]

Behold, I Bring You Good Tidings of Great Joy

Merry Christmas, everyone!

The video below is an excerpt from of The Messiah by George Frideric Handel, as performed by the London Symphony Orchestra:

The libretto of the excerpt is based on Chapter 40 of Isaiah:

3.   The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4.   Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
5.   And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
 

The title of this post is drawn from the Christmas story as told in the King James version of Luke’s Gospel. I include it here because I was required to memorize it almost sixty years ago, in the fourth grade — in public school. How times have changed, eh? We also had to memorize the Easter story and a fair number of psalms. Lift up your heads, o ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors!

From those lines of the Christmas story I learned that the shepherds were “sore afraid”. It was my first introduction to the archaic English word “sore”, meaning “very” or “extremely”. It’s from an old Germanic root, cognate with Scots sair and German sehr. But to a nine-year-old it was just a strange phrase that the teacher made us memorize, and didn’t make any sense — were those shepherds mad and scared at the same time, or what?

Here’s the entire passage we had to learn (from the second chapter of Luke). Most of it is still stuck fast in my head:

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Merry Christmas to All You Danish WAYCISTS!

The video below shows Danish members of parliament behaving in a VERY politically incorrect manner in the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) itself.

Tania Groth, who translated the introduction to this clip (the song lyrics had been previously translated) sends this explanation for what happens in the video:

Today I saw a positive post on Facebook.

Recently there has been a big brouhaha about a traditional Danish song, because a female teacher of different ethnicity at the Danish Business School was offended by a line in the song (the first line) being sung at a school gathering. The title of the old song is “The Danish Song is a Young Blond Girl” — a classic, beautiful and very Danish song that sings about the beauty and soul of Denmark and the Danes.

Anyway, the University promptly apologized and said they wouldn’t be singing the song again — plus they thanked her for her vigilance on behalf of PC culture. The good thing about all this is that it REALLY caused a stir among people on both sides of the political spectrum. The majority of Danes were outraged that she, who has been welcomed here, should presume to change one of our most beautiful and iconic songs.

In other words the Danes proclaimed: THAT was enough PC nonsense, and were united. So, as a result of this, they sang this song in Parliament as a protest against the lunacy! A nice touch.

Here is the video on Facebook.

Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

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Gaudete Sunday 2018

Advent is/was a time of somber reflection.

To break the grey, cold monotony of this part of the Liturgical cycle, we come to the third Sunday of Advent, when the altar hangings briefly turn from penitential purple to a lovely rose color.

I had planned to post an excerpt of Bach’s “Magnificat” but came across this in the mix. A cappella voices are always a treat, and none more so than the King’s Singers, here, singing the ancient “Gaudete”:

Gaudete, gaudete Christos est natus
Ex Maria virginae, gaudete.
Gaudete, gaudete Christos est natus
Ex Maria virginae, gaudete.

Tempus ad est gratiae hoc quod optabamus,
Carmina laetitiae devote redamus.

Gaudete, gaudete Christos est natus
Ex Maria virginae, gaudete.
Gaudete, gaudete Christos est natus
Ex Maria virginae, gaudete.

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From the wiki entry:

Gaudete (English: /ˈɡaʊdeɪteɪ/; Ecclesiastical Latin: [gawˈdetɛ] “rejoice” in Latin) is a sacred Christmas carol, which is thought to have been composed in the 16th century, but could easily have existed as a monophonic hymn in the late medieval period, with polyphonic alto, tenor, and bass parts added during the 15th century, particularly due to its Medieval Latin lyrics. The song was published in Piae Cantiones, a collection of Finnish/Swedish sacred songs published in 1581. No music is given for the verses, but the standard tune comes from older liturgical books.

The Latin text is a typical medieval song of praise, which follows the standard pattern for the time – a uniform series of four-line stanzas, each preceded by a two-line refrain (in the early English carol this was known as the burden). Carols could be on any subject, but typically they were about the Virgin Mary, the Saints or Yuletide themes.

Second Sunday of Advent 2018

My favorite Advent hymn. It dates back to at least the 12th century, though some say the 9th.

The Latin version is the one I learned as a child…at least the alto part. In Latin. But plainchant is better without harmony, especially for such an ancient hymn.

There are many versions of this on YouTube, lots of them with all the verses. This young man chose only a few but I settled on his rendition because of his unusual voice.


 

Oh, come, Oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Oh, come, Oh, come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from that Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people you will save
And give them victory o’er the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Oh, come, Oh, come, Thou King of David, come
And open wide your heavenly home:
Make safe the way that leads us on high
And close the path of misery, by and by.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Sunday Contemplation While Sweden Votes

I came across this music for the first time at Belmont Club:

[The lyrics begin half-way through but the combination of music and visuals prior to that should be heard/contemplated.]*

The video served as a coda for an essay from July, one in which Wretchard described “localism”:

What links the cosmological and localist human models is the way they handle information. Linbeck notes in his paper Localism in America that its advantages, much like our quantum entanglement example, are due largely to the greater information efficiency of managing complexity through components. First, it allows society to limit the amount of information that must be moved between levels instead of repeating it, as a centralized system trying to manage everything would.

[Links are at the URL]

Among other things, the oboe is a grand instrument. The “other things” lie in the long thread of comments following Wretchard’s essay. Contemplations abound.

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*[I’ve since listened to this music a number of times. I happened to find it not long after my friend, Chris, died of lung cancer all of a sudden. So suddenly there was no chance to say goodbye.

Chris’ was a death he predicted many times as he’d light up another cigarette.

The hole left by his abrupt exit still haunts me and is forever entangled in the last time I saw him. He’d come over to help me bury our cat as I couldn’t dig in the thick clay soil and the Baron was away when Lulu shuffled off this mortal coil.

I miss them both deeply, but Chris’ death is the essential loss. Sometimes I have to stop myself from calling him to ask a question. His death closed a door of knowledge he always opened for me.]

Gershwin’s “Summertime” (in Norway)

Angelina Jordan Astar’s first public rendition of Gershwin’s song, when she was eight years old, won Norway’s talent contest. She has sung it often, usually wearing those customary flower garlands in her hair. That must be a Norwegian thing, given how short the season is there.

This version is from 2014. There are other, later ones, but this has the best of all the various elements required to pull this off, Norwegian-style. Just look at the wonderful light. Besides, it’s the most jazz-like rendition I could find. [I started it at 30 seconds in, to leave out the Norwegian bumpf. I’m sure the announcer is very nice, but my Norwegian is non-existent.]

Angelina Jordan captures Gershwin well, especially considering her age; by the time she’s an adult she’ll have all the complexity and nuance this song from Porgy and Bess requires. Or maybe she’ll be sick of it by then.

“Porgy and Bess” remains a perennial favorite, but it must be difficult to perform now, give the hollow “Black Lives Matter” screeching.

Pennies From Heaven, For a Whole Week

This post was first posted on July 30 and was a “sticky” feature for a week. Scroll down for more recent posts, including death threats for a Dutch Muslim mayor, the latest repression of the Copts in Egypt, coverage of Tommy Robinson by the Hungarian media, “cuddly justice” in Germany, a report on Muslims in northeastern India who are being made stateless, and last night’s news feed.

Summer Fundraiser 2018, Day Seven

Dymphna’s Sunday Update: What Is Love’s Worth?

Okay, y’all. Time to step up to the plate and hit one out of the park. Inflation will be here any minute (or so they tell us), so might as well part with your denarii while they’re still meaningful, right? That’s one way of looking at twisting your arm.

[Here’s the new direct PayPal link.]

Tip jarAs we come to the final day of the Summer Fundraiser, it’s good to see a mixture of new people among the old faithfuls (and some not so old, just enduring contributors). Our golden oldies’ contributions are heartening, and the newbies encourage us to believe that despite the Baron’s decrepitude, we’re still putting subjects and predicates together in a way that’s meaningful. Me? I’m Gates of Vienna emeritus.

I am also encouraged that our reach remains global. Two people in Virginia wielding keyboards on a less-than-speedy connection can still find Aussies and Kiwis and Eastern Europeans, plus the more ‘usual’ folk who’ve always come here. When we begin seeing new donors from New York City (as we have this time) we know we’re hitting all the right notes.

Or maybe they’re saying, “All right, shut up already.”

I will make a promise to all our donors: when any given quarter meets the previous quarter’s goal (plus inflation), we’ll quit at that point. I’ve realized it doesn’t need to be a whole week if our goals have been met. And yes, the B has spreadsheets galore to show me comparisons from previous quarters any way you care to slice it. He’s the numbers guy. But successful or not (and we always have been so far), when it’s over it’s over. We close up our sideshow and get back to whatever atrocity awaits all of us.

[But before we close entirely, it is always my great pleasure to send Vlad Tepes our quarterly tithe. The subject line is “Funny Munny” and I always admonish him not to spend it all in one place. Yeah, he thinks I’m real amusing… The funniest part is that he never remembers that we’re in the process of our quarterly, so the PayPal donation always surprises him. I like dependable people, and Vlad is definitely that, in more ways than I could name.]

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The song I chose for my final Fundraiser update has a back story. Be patient; the nuances are complicated.

When I was five years old, I went to live in a girls’ “home”. St. Mary’s Orphanage was set up after the Influenza Epidemic of 1918, but by the time I arrived generations later, it had long since morphed into an institution for girls whose parents couldn’t keep them for one reason or another. It was the end of May when I got to St. Mary’s and it would be five years before I went home for good in August of the year I magically turned ten. Ten is the legal age for being a latchkey kid.

Yes, it was a long, long time, but it was the best my mother could do in the circumstances. As an immigrant, she wasn’t entitled to welfare. As a middle-class Irish woman, I don’t know if she could have borne the (self-inflicted) humiliation, but the law precluded her having to make that choice. And by the time she put me in Saint Mary’s we’d been through nightmares of temporary placements.

Back then, Florida had a small Catholic population at somewhat less than two percent. The nuns and priests were mostly from Ireland: what American would live in Florida’s climate and what Irish clergy/nuns could resist the temptation of living in America? So they came and suffered. Thus the majority of professed religious people I knew growing up sounded more or less like my mother. The few times I heard an American accent coming from one of them, I was certain they weren’t kosher.

St. Mary’s was part of the city parish which served Catholics mostly of Italian descent, and, during the week, working people who dropped in for daily Mass on their lunch hour. There was a school going all the way to 12th grade for the whole parish not just St. Mary’s, and a church with the number of priests needed for a full regimen of Masses, plus a rectory to house the priests. The teaching nuns from the school lived at St. Mary’s and took their turns raising us while they were at it. This whole plant took up a square block.

When I was six, a Dublin-born priest came to live at the rectory. I thought of Father Doyle as quite elderly, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. When you’re six, most adults look old. At any rate, he took a particular shine to me because I was so obviously Irish to the bone — to the freckle, that is, many of which dotted my face and arms. Like my mother, Father Doyle was Dublin-born-and-bred. Like my mother, he enjoyed making me laugh — I was usually searching for a reason to laugh. I was a perfect audience.

Father Doyle found out my weakness for Waldorf salad, so he’d have the rectory housekeeper fix it for me. Oh, heaven! The nuns, of course, didn’t approve of this “special” relationship, but a priest outranks a nun, so there you go: Waldorf salad on Wednesdays after school. And Saint Valentine’s Day cards with little girls with freckles on the front. [No, there wasn’t any funny stuff. Just a lonely old man homesick and longing for home but unable to afford the fare, so I was the substitute.]

The good father liked American popular music, though he was a better listener than performer, but his lack of talent wasn’t an impediment. He’d often sing along with the Big Girls (any girl over the age of ten was officially a Big Girl). Back then, genres weren’t so rigid as they are now; “country” music and “pop” were played on the same stations. One song he used to sing to me was “If I Had a Nickel”. He only ever sang the first few lines, since they were the most entertaining.

One cold, overcast morning — January 18th, to be precise — the nuns told us in chapel that Father Doyle had died in his sleep during the night. I was inconsolable for days. Not all the threats of punishments could quell my tears. No threats they could devise compared with my utterly bereft sense of loss. Children are resilient and eventually I quieted, but I never forgot Father Doyle. Every January 18th I recall our brief friendship, healing on both sides. He was only forty-seven when he died, and it would be many years before I considered that “too young”.

The first two lines of his song stayed with me, too, but it wasn’t until the advent of YouTube that I found the song, in its earliest versions:

If you read the comments on that song, you’ll notice that many people came looking for it because they remembered its fragments the same way: a song their father or grandfather sang, one they thought had been made up especially for them. It is a child’s song, I think, because of its simplicity.

I’ll bet each of my children remember that song. I sang it to them as babies — it makes a good lullaby. Maybe that’s why some of them became musicians?

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Saturday’s denarii arrived from:

Stateside: Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia

Far Abroad: New Zealand, Sweden, and the UK

Canada: British Columbia and Ontario

That’s it for the Summer Fundraiser! Sometime tomorrow the Baron will include an overall summary in the wrap-up post.

Summer Fundraiser 2017, Day Five

The Baron’s Saturday Update: I shoulda learned to play them drums

This was supposed to be Dymphna’s update, but she’s feeling poorly this morning, so I’m filling in. Part of the reason for her indisposition is Tommy Robinson’s situation — since she suffers from PTSD, Tommy’s suffering resonates with her to the point that her symptoms flare up.

For today’s money-themed video, I’m using the one she would have posted herself if she were well enough. But before I get to that, I’ll recapitulate what we’re doing here for readers who had to work all week and are just checking in for the first time this weekend.

This is our quarterly effort to wheedle you into donating money to help keep this site alive for three more months. Inflation is a scourge: what began as “Pennies from Heaven” on Monday became dollars by midweek, and they’re now twenties, as can be seen from the graphic at the top of this post. What will the image be tomorrow…?

[An aside: During the reign of Hussein it was announced that Andrew Jackson’s gloomy mug was to be removed from the twenty-dollar bill and replaced with the face of some politically correct chick of color — Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Maya Angelou, somebody like that. Does anyone know what became of that innovation? Obviously Mr. Trump will not be replacing Mr. Jackson anytime soon. But maybe The Donald was able to put the brakes on the Modern Multicultural $20 Bill.]

Anyway, your job is to drop a Trump or two (or six! Live dangerously) into the tip cup on our sidebar. Or, if you prefer, you can use this new direct PayPal link.

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Cole Porter on An Oslo Rooftop

Cole Porter’s spirit lives!

Angelina Jordan is one of my favorite singers. In this clip from 2016, she’s ten years old. As you can hear, she has perfect pitch; after listening to everything she’s published, for clarity and interpretation, there is still nothing that reaches this level of delivery. Her guitarist here ‘gets’ her music and complements it wonderfully. I always look forward to what she does with his backing.

Ms Jordan was born in Norway and at least one of her parents is of Iranian extraction…other than that I don’t know much about her, except that she moved to Los Angeles, plus that she performs in her bare feet. Oh, and that she was in Norway recently to sing with the state band…not so good. Nothing like the previous summer’s work with a back-up band at festivals, what with her long underwear peeking out, and those cools licks from the brass in the background…hunky Norwegian guys.

While she was still too young to do “Porgy and Bess” well in 2016, no doubt her voice has matured by now and will continue to do so. Gershwin was urbane, even when he wasn’t trying.