Monday, June 23, 2008

I've been tagged by the charming Ms. Pratishtha Durga over at Shot Couture Street Fashion. I've never been tagged before and I like it.

Here's the tag:
"List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now, shaping your summer. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they're listening to."

Here goes:

1. "Besame Mucho" as interpreted by Professor Alvarado.
2. "Light My Fire" as interpreted by Dame Shirley Bassey.
3. "Haram te'habek" by Warda.
4. "In a Bar on the Piccola Marina" by Noel Coward.
5. "The Triplets of Belleville" title song from the soundtrack.
6. "I Love to Whistle" as interpreted by Deanna Durbin.
7. "Tout va tres bien, Madame La Marquise". one version by Ray Ventura et ses Collégiens, and yet another (even better one) in Russian.

Section 3, in which I explain myself unnecessarily and at great length.

1. "Besame Mucho" As interpreted by Professor Alvarado.

You can see the Professor in action here. 77 years young, this dashing Ecuadorian-born musician plays a Yamaha keyboard in the subway stations, often accompanied by a cavalcade of battery-operated dolls. (Yes, the photo is nabbed from the Village Voice article.) And whenever I see him, he's always playing my favorite song: Girl From Ipanema. He's got oodles of stage presence. He grins and waves when you look his way. And his eyes are filled with delight. If I see him on my way to work, I know it's gonna be a good day.

I bought his cd as part of a project I'm doing called Busker's Ball. If I like a street musician, I buy his or her cd. The intention was to review them here, as a regular thing. But for one reason or another I never got around to it. A big thank you to Ms. Pratishtha for being the catlyst here.

Professor Alvarado's cd, ambitiously entitled "International Music: Volume One", includes many of my favorite standard songs from around the world such as "Muñequita Linda", "Óchi chórnyje", and "Brazil". And, I ask you, what International cd would be complete without a Jewish song? "Hava Negila" is there with plenty of bounce just waiting for a wedding party to dance the hora. The Professor's keyboard technique includes lovely enbellishments. His keyboard is now a trumpet, now a glockenspiel. He makes choices, and they are bountiful, loungy, loopy, 60s movie soundtrack choices. Yes, the pre-fab beats on the Yamaha are shmaltzy, but that's the way I like it. I can't help but sway and sing along.

The liner notes of the cd state that the professor teaches piano, voice and accordion, along with his contact info. I can't resist. I may have found my guru.

2. "Light My Fire" as interpreted by Dame Shirley Bassey

Yes, it's a Jim Morrison song with lots of caterwalling, but Dame Shirley Bassey (of "Goldfinger" fame) takes it downtempo and throaty. Purring more than demanding. I love the dame's ennunciation and phrasing.

I was dismayed to hear that Ms. Bassey had to cancel a recent appearance at Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday concert due to health reasons. I hope she gets well real soon.

Full disclosure: I met her once. She was super sweet and fun. I totally heart her.

Did you notice that she's wearing the Welsh Flag in this photo?

3. "Haram te'habek" by Warda

Just drink in this lovely vintage photo of Warda al-Jazairia.

Brocade dress, bright eyes, half smile, coral-orange lips. Yes and yes.

Long ago in my early late 20s, I did a bit of belly dancing. I wasn't terrible, but my life took a different path. At any rate, CDs from that lost era persist. Akhenaten, my young paramour, dug them out and put them in high rotation again. This song is particularly fun. I know I've bungled the transliteration, but it means: it was immoral to have loved you.

4. "In a Bar on the Piccola Marina" written and interpreted by Noel Coward.

I just got Noel Coward at Las Vegas from the library, and it is all I hoped. Recorded live in 1955 to an appreciative crowd, this song is hilarious. His lyrics are like short stories. He even does a jaunty cover of Cole Porter's "Let's Do It".

5. "The Triplets of Belleville".

Soundtrack from the 2003 animated film. (I am a sucker for movies virtually without dialogue.)The title track sung by Mathieu Chedid.

But the whole thing is great. Django Reinhardt and 60s spy movie music references. I mean, there's even a song created with a newspaper, a vacuum cleaner and a refrigerator, who could resist? This is always on high rotation for me.

6. "I Love to Whistle" as interpreted by Deanna Durbin.

Yep, recently referenced in my Deanna Durbin worship. This song, from Mad About Music, is stuck in my head like you wouldn't believe. I even found the sheet music, scored for a ukulele no less. I almost plotzed. I hope to be strumming my uke and singing this one at an open mic soon.

7. "Tout va bien, Madame La Marquise"

A real novelty tune, and sadly, the story of my life. Lyrics, here and here.

The Marquise calls her country estate after an absence of two weeks to see how things are going. Her loyal retainers, one after another, tell her that all is well except for one tiny, little problem. First one of her horses died, then the stables burned down, then chateau was engulfed in flames, etc., escalating into total ruination. I love how in Ray Ventura's version, the part of the Marquise is sung by a man in falsetto.

But the Russian version, oh the Russian version. The subtitles include such lines as "We roasted potatoes in the flames" and my favorite, "May all your creditors be tall and handsome." This is it!

If I could watch this twice a day, I wouldn't need therapy. Watch the guy in the back who doesn't sing.

Is this song from the 1966 musical "Kavkaskaya Plenniza"? The video looks more 70s to me. Have I been led astray by the interweb?

Hey there, I'm tagging you...

1) Ms. Tea Time
2) Ms. FuzzyLizzie
3) Ms. Gastrogradstudent
4) Spartacus
5) EV Big
6) Ms. SequinExpat
7) Ms. Rita Z

And all others who might read this. What are you listening to?

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Blogger Pratishtha Durga said...

Samsara... wow, love your selection, though haven't heard of some of them. Love the "unnecessary" section three even more. Tags are fun, aren't they?

10:23 PM  
Blogger tea said...

Ack! I'm sorry I'm so late! I am very bad with tags but also I have been doing too much work at work and having too much drama at home to keep up on my blog readings until today. My bad.

10:16 AM  

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