Skip to content

Keywords

Articles tagged "Music"

GaSouht and praCh as Told by Master Kong Nay

In "GaSouht," praCh raps and poet U Sam Ouer chants in traditional style about the hardships of the Khmer Rouge time. It begins with praCh rapping about the Khmer Rouge entering Phnom Penh in April 1975, then U Sam Oeur chants his poetry about the heart-rending evacuation from the city, and praCh finishes off by rapping about the horrors of the labor camps. In "praCh as told by Master Kong Nay," chapey master Kong Nay sings the story of praCh’s life, beginning with his birth in...

From the Contributor: fs, Poet and DJ

You already know that October issue contributor fs is a poet. (You can find his poem "[i wish there was a god]" from this month's issue of Estonian literature here.) What you may not have realized is that he's also a DJ. We asked him to put together a playlist of music by Estonian bands. Here they are for your listening pleasure. Shelton San, "Well-Behaved" St. Cheatersburg, "We Are the Pigeons of the World" Holy Motors, "Stay the Night" Pedigree & Lesle Da Bass,...

Ascending Scales

The first thing I learned in piano class was how to press Do. Since it’s the first note, you use your first finger. When I pressed the key, Do let out a weak doooooh. I pressed it again so I wouldn’t forget the same Do. Caught off guard, Do stammered out another doooooh and watched the trajectory of its name as it floated by. I sat in that spot where a single note had disappeared so neatly, my pinky finger sticking up. The afternoon sunlight trickled faintly through the cracks...

Music in a Baghdad Alley

No matter where you settle or wander That first melody is yours At every arrival and departure Its living face will meet you at the entrance that remains If you walk and the opposing wind is in your face and Death alone is the alternative To hear it departing between worlds, where you go and come. Did you not hear it one night As you were passing under a balcony? Your longing still anchors it in the heart of wandering A blind musician shaking it off From the nooks in his...

From the Archives: Poetry, Sex, and Rap

April is National Poetry Month, and our theme this month is sex, so we're going back to our November 2005 South Korean issue for a tale that fits both: Lee Gi-ho's "Earnie." The story of a young prostitute with a booming voice who escapes via a fortuitous encounter with a music impresario, it appears in two renditions: the text, translated by Yu Young-nan, and a rap version penned by rapper Kyle Myhre, better known as El Guante. Poetry and sex, and a salute to translation as well,...

Mukhtar

When my mother asked me to spend the summer in her brothers’ house in the south, I employed every sophistry of my sixteen years—an age when only a mother pays attention to your budding philosophy of life—to explain to her that life forces surge northward, that the south, from which she and my father came, was becoming obsolete, that Ibn Khaldun (who had inspired this claim) was a great man, that the money could be better spent on a vacation, and that her brothers were...

Power of the Powerless

    Chinese rock star Cui Jian begins his song "The 90s" with the line: "Words are not precise already—can't express this world clearly." And in the clarity of that expression, he voices the sentiment of a generation of Chinese youth: China's inexorable lurch into the twenty-first century made language as dizzying as change itself. No vocabulary existed to describe the fast-forward motion of China's modernization. Language that had once rooted every Chinese...

Counterpoint

Aria The woman with the pencil leaned over the table to read a pocket score of the Goldberg Variations. The pencil was made of special black wood. It had a heavy silver cap that concealed a pencil sharpener. The pencil was poised above an empty notebook. Next to the score lay cigarettes and a lighter. A small metal ashtray, a shiny and compact present from a friend, stood on the table. The woman was simply called "woman," perhaps "mother." There were naming problems. There were many...

The Man in the Travel Trailer

"Impossible" must be eliminated from our vocabularies! —Napoleon Bonaparte Professor Pizier lives in a trailer. In order to be prepared, as he says. He's set for his getaway. His bags are packed. He has ten canisters of gasoline and if need be, could escape to North Africa via Malaga and Algeciras without stopping at a pump. If "they" come, they won't catch him. They caught him forty times. They locked him up in a camp forty times—but he always managed to slip out....

Music, Maestro Berenson, and Yours Truly

Father cultivated in us an appreciation for classical music from an early age, playing Bach fugues, Mozart sonatas, and Chopin nocturnes on his old wind-up Victrola with a steel needle and humming arias from Italian operas in his weak but melodious tenor voice. But Father died quite young, taking to his grave his culture of musical passion and breaking off our musical education, which would have faded away and possibly been extinguished altogether had it not been for Teodorito and, above...

The Communist of Montmartre

In April 1935, the Paris Central of the Communist Party found itself in an acutely embarrassing dilemma. Moscow had asked them to bring one representative from each ethnic group oppressed by French imperialism to the Festival of Peace scheduled for that coming summer. But although when they went through the membership rolls it was no trouble at all to find a trustworthy Algerian and an active Vietnamese, likewise Polynesians and Caribbean mulattoes who enthusiastically embraced the...

The Jazz Corner

A moment after midnight every night jazz begins to soak the Jazz Corner like new wine like village wine A moment after midnight every night a woman descends a dark staircase to sing Brazil or balconies in candlelight or the village girls A moment after midnight every night A door is opened and the flower seller enters tired and she leaves tired and crowned with anguish and the aroma of the villages A moment, after the clock strikes three I shut my lids The...

Nocturne

The ad in the "male seeking male" section said: I'm so alone. Roberto. (91) 3077670. and was in among others listing predictable obscenities and a series of oral necessities. Page 43. At the top. Above a bisexual named Ángel soliciting a threesome and beneath the photo of a man of indeterminate age and sadness who wore a mask that gave him the pathetic air of a terrorist just emerging from the shower; it said so alone just like that, like it was nothing, it said it with the...

A Classical Education

On a flight to Budapest I was sitting next to a very young girl who immediately won me over with her green eyes and blonde pigtails. Her mother was also blonde and green-eyed and sunk in Brigitte, a sort of German cross between Martha Stewart Living and Cosmopolitan. I forgave her because her daughter was such a pretty child, in a serious, obedient way, a miniature mixture of Susan Sontag, Jessica Valenti, and Paris Hilton's chihuahua, Tinkerbell. "What's your name?" I asked her...

Scale and Stairs

If you climbed up the back stairs to the church a piano stood like a sad black animal in a corner of the nave. The child reflected in the black sheen of the piano opened the cover and cautiously began to play. Though her hands were too small to thaw the frozen keyboard, the sound rising into the cold air of the church was incense for a ten-year-old to burn. The back door opened, and when the deacon and his old mother entered she shut the cover and walked down the stairs....

Only Connect

"Only connect," E.M. Forster famously advised novelistsóand this is the governing principle of the International Writing Program, which brings the writers of the world to the University of Iowa for three-month residencies. In retrospect, the IWP, as it is known, was a natural outgrowth of the Writers' Workshop, and yet at the time it seemed, in the words of its co-founder, Paul Engle, "the craziest idea" he had ever heard. The IWP was the brainstorm of the Chinese novelist Nieh...

Electric Africa

Brian Eno once famously remarked that the problem with computers is that there isn't enough Africa in them. I kind of think that it's the opposite: they're bringing the ideals of Africa. After all, computers are about connectivity, shareware, a sense of global discussion about topics and issues, the relentless density of info overload, and above all the willingness to engage and discuss it allóthat's something you could find on any street corner in Africa. I just...

An Interview with Hisham Matar

Concern. I think that was what I craved. A warm and steady and unchangeable concern. In a time of blood and tears, in a Libya full of bruise-checkered and urine-stained men, urgent with want and longing for relief, I was the ridiculous child craving for concern. And although I didn't think of it then in these terms, my self-pity had soured into self-loathing. —Hisham Matar, In the Country of Men Hisham Matar was born in New York City in 1970 to Libyan parents and spent his...

“‘la vie,’ Edith Piaf sings

"La vie," Edith Piaf sings, "La vie, la vie," seize the moment . . . And this voice is eternally right and there's no threat of it being buried in oblivion. "La vie," she sings, where "La" is the article and the word itself is so short--the world has never heard a shorter call. "La vie," she sings, and it breaks into a scream, a throaty scream. Catch, catch this moment given to us for something, by someone. But if it's given, what for? We possess it only in dreams,...

Dragonfly

for Dr. Carvalho if from these stones one announced what creates silence: here, close by, [ . . . ] this would open, like a wound you would have to plunge into --Paul Celan, "The Power of Light" A fluid sound ran through the house, brushed against the dust on the garden vines, swayed the mangoes and the papayas as they ripened, terrified a drunken dragonfly that was dozing there, made the sun diminish, and settled still strong, still distinct, at the woman's ear. Followed by a...

Fantasy in Black and White

Fantasy in Black and White I'm lying on my sickbed a smoking cigarette between my fingers I drink a glass of whiskey and soda while I listen to a Duke Ellington CD His heart has died a supernatural death and his friends keep watch over him with instruments that sound like voices and voices that sound like instruments the trumpet of Cootie Williams the trombone of Juan Tizol and three saxes that wail in unison A rainbow rises in my glass and my room...

Rababa

With the arrival of the first signs of spring at the end of the second month of the year, on the third day after the rains had stopped, the rababa1 appeared at the military checkpoint, and what is meant here is not the white cloud, the classical, linguistic meaning of the word, whose appearance did not catch anybody's attention. Winter's spring is more pristine and beautiful than spring itself. The wash of the world has dried, but it is still fresh, soft, fragrant, free of the...

Cons: Cat

A cat jumped through the window. Jumped right on to the piano. And played on it, amazed: Whenever I jump, the piano sings. I was in the next room and I thought a spirit played. But then it was struck and the cat jumped through the window. When a new poet comes, the piano everywhere responds. But no one bothers him as they did the cat. All the world is enthralled: This man is mad. Or he is a poet. And everyone listens to his steps, that sing as if above a piano.

Attempting to Live Inside Federico García Lorca’s “Poema del Cante Jondo” for a While

1 I'm convinced that some languages, languages we neither speak nor understand, are familiar to the ear. For myself, the romance and Semitic languages, the languages of the Mediterranean and the Middle East are familiar to my ear, as opposed, let's say, to Slavic and Asian languages. I come from a household of three languages-Ladino, Hebrew, and English-one that I could understand but not speak, one that I could sing but not understand, and one that is the language of my...

To Offer My Heart

The thundering chords of the Ninth Symphony filled a room where the only tapestries were crowded shelves of books and where music mingled with the sound of waves slapping against the terrace. Marcelo Monteroni's home was one of those large old houses in the Punta Gorda neighborhood of Cienfuegos that looked out on the bay. Now, Marcelo, in his old age, was sitting motionless in a wicker chair absorbing every note with the same degree of exuberance—perhaps even more—that he...

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 

Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.