Auld Lang Syne…

robert-burns

Everyone knows the song “Auld Lang Syne” by Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796). We all sing this song on New Year’s Eve when the clock strikes twelve, the ball drops or the fireworks go off. But what the heck does it mean?

The first verse and chorus are understandable, but if you have a look at more verses, you know the song isn’t English. No wonder people don’t understand the phrase “auld lang syne”.  Translated, from the original Scots it was written in, it means “old long since,.” To us English folks, it has more the meaning “like old times.”

auld-lang-syne
Source: blogs.loc.gov
Just like everyone else I was singing this too, but why do we sing Auld Lang Syne on New Year’s?

According to vox.com: “One reason a random Scottish folk song has come to be synonymous with the new year is that New Year’s celebrations (known as Hogmanay) loom unusually large in Scottish folk culture — so much so that Scotland’s official website has a whole Hogmanay section, which notes that, ‘Historically, Christmas was not observed as a festival and Hogmanay was the more traditional celebration in Scotland.’

Hogmanay
Source: budgettraveller.org
That’s because the Scottish Reformation brought to power followers of a Calvinist branch of Protestant Christianity known as Presbyterians who didn’t really care for Christmas. Indeed, in 1640 the Scottish parliament went so far as to abolish Christmas vacation ‘and all observation thairof,’ citing its roots in ‘superstitious observatione.’ When theologically similar Puritans briefly ruled England as a result of the English Civil War, they also attempted to suppress all Christmas celebration. But Presbyterianism put down deeper roots in Scotland, leading Hogmanay to displace Christmas as the number one midwinter celebration.

The end of one year and the beginning of the next seems like as good a thing to celebrate as anything else, so Scottish-inflected New Year’s celebrations — including the sentimental and appealingly nonspecific ‘Auld Lang Syne’ — came naturally to the English-speaking world.”

So the Scots like a good party, but why do the rest of us sing it too?

guy-lombardo
Source: my.telegraph.co.uk
“From 1929 until 1976, first on radio and then on television, Americans tuned in to the New Year’s Eve broadcast by Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians, a big band act led by Lombardo, a Canadian whose parents immigrated from Italy. By the mid-70s, Lombardo’s broadcasts began to face serious competition from Dick Clark’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” which was positioned to attract younger viewers and emphasized the rock element to contrast with the Royal Canadians’ big band tunes. But for decades, Lombardo owned December 31 — even earning the nickname “Mr. New Year’s Eve” — and every single year he played “Auld Lang Syne” to ring in the new year.” (also from Vox)

Music and culture around the world are influenced by American movies and television, so the whole world saw people singing “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s. “An 18th-century Scottish ballad thus became a mid-century American television ritual, and from there became a worldwide phenomenon — even though almost nobody understands the song.”

Sing it with me, and remember to sing the chorus after every verse. Here it is in its entirety:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne*?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin’ auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin’ auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willie waught,
for auld lang syne.

I love Paper Planes…

I seem to know some really talented people. Friends I’ve made at school, at work, and believe it or not, on the train. I like to support my local musical friends, going to gigs when I can, clapping, and whooping my head off.

Then there’s one I can’t do that for. I can show my support by spreading the word. I’m so sneaky, she doesn’t even know I’m doing this.

My best friend has musicians in her family, particularly one beyond talented cousin from Liverpool. Shannen Bamford. This is “Left Behind” on YouTube: http://youtu.be/q5lU1XpqXqI. I caught myself humming this the other day, and thought this would be a nice post.

shannen-bamford
Source: liverpoolacoustic.co.uk

Shannen has more talent in her pinky finger than most people in their entire bodies after years of playing music (my other friends excluded, because they’re damn talented too).

Two years ago she put out an EP, which became my relax and unwind jam. She has this hauntingly beautiful voice. Let me make it easy for you, you can download it here: https://itun.es/ca/hWZiM

The CD release happened while my bestie was visiting the UK. Shannen wrote a sweet personal note to go with the copy my friend brought back for me. Did I mention she was 20 that summer?

She’s played at music festivals and around the local establishments in Liverpool. She gets written about all the time, last time in November: http://www.liverpoolsoundandvision.co.uk/2015/11/07/shannen-bamford-gig-review-studio-2-liverpool/

I’d like to see her play to adoring fans in Toronto. I even have guitars she can borrow so she doesn’t need to trust hers to the airlines. Heck, I’d like to sing and strum along with her. Maybe tweet Shannen and ask her to come play here.

I’m just tickled that she made the trek to Canada for a visit with family over the holidays. How many times do you get to say, “yeah, I listen to her all the time, and I had lunch with her!”

shannen-bamford
(not the best pic of me, but isn’t she a sweetie?)

 

 

It’s ALWAYS about the shoes…

There’s almost nothing better on a Saturday afternoon than going shoe shopping with a couple friends, except maybe going to the theatre…or going to see a theatre production based on friendship and shoes.

Wikipedia says: “Kinky Boots is a Broadway musical with music and lyrics by Tony, Emmy and Grammy-winner Cyndi Lauper and a book by Tony-winner Harvey Fierstein. Based on the 2005 film Kinky Boots by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth, which was inspired by true events, the musical tells the story of Charlie Price, who inherits a shoe factory from his father.

I’ll try not to spoil this for anyone who still wants to see it, but…Charlie becomes friends, and goes into a partnership with, a drag queen named Lola. Hilarity ensues. The two design and produce a line of high-heeled sexy boots that will support the weight of a man.

kinky-boots-2015
Source: 680news

It’s a story about being yourself, and true friends accepting you exactly as you are.

…and I’d like a pair of these boots please.

Of Love and Nature…

kira-braun-2015

Big shout out to my friend Kira Braun, for her CD launch tomorrow afternoon!  I wish I could be there, but am sending my best wishes for a huge success!

Kira is one of those people that I have met along my kaleidoscope road. We actually met on the train commuting, and as Scorpios (we even happen to share the same birthdate) we started talking. She’s one of those people who will do anything she can to help a friend. I know first hand, since she keeps posting on Facebook about a translation I did of my grandfather’s WWII notebook. But, I digress.

There are some people who sit on their butts at home, dreaming about things they want to do, and then there are people like Kira. She chases her dreams wholeheartedly, and those dreams become reality. This is her second CD. Kudos to my birthday buddy!

Tomorrow, as I said, is her CD launch. You won’t be there, because you’re reading this in the USA, or Russia, or Australia. You can still have a listen, and buy it online. There are a lot of ways to describe her voice, but I don’t need to. You’re going to love her. My job is to encourage you to support her like I do.

Kira Cover

The new CD was just made available: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/kirabraunandpeterkrochak.

Her first CD is available on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewCollaboration?cc=ca&ids=933035503-878271023

Vinylpalooza

vinylpalooza

I really know better than to go to something like this, but I behaved. There’s a first time for everything!

A year ago, or really less than a year ago, I was given an album. That’s right, an original in the plastic, National Velvet from 1986. It was given to me by their original drummer. Quite a nice gift, except for one problem. It was 2014 and I hadn’t owned a record player in better than a decade.

national-velvet

Hello shop.ca! I ordered a relatively inexpensive one (to see if I liked this), which was delivered right to my door. I may, or may not have, slipped up the stairs like a teenager with a bag of weed, slinking into my room, albeit with a huge box.

So I had one album to listen to. Depressing. Not long after, the bestie and I drove to visit my daughter who was away at school. My daughter’s little apartment just happened to be located directly above a music store. Trouble.

It’s an old city, with lots of creative types (I went to school there too). Up and down the block we walked, stopping in all the old music shops. Used records, everywhere. I had to stop at the bank in between to reload the wallet.

In one shop I picked up Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, AC/DC, Elvis and a couple other National Velvet albums (amongst others). I was standing in line waiting to cash out, giggling. I was just tickled (not literally, just really happy about what I found). The scary looking dude behind me said it was a pretty cool assortment.

We had gone through the 50 cent bin, where I found this little treasure.

hendrix

There’s nothing quite like putting this on, closing the windows and turning out the lights. You can imagine what it was like to be there in the audience. Recorded live, New Year’s Eve 1969/70. How awesome is that?!

I’ve made nice with the owner of the local record store, BJ’s Records. Never a scratch on the things he sells, he’s very particular. One of the guys who works there educated me on how to clean the albums I buy, and how to be picky about what I spend my money on.

The collection is growing. A very dear old friend gave me a box of her mother’s old albums. I may now actually own every Elvis record he put out, all in mint condition. I’ll think of Rita every time I listen to them.

I pretty much cleaned out this one vendor who was in town for Kempenfest. He said no one really wants records, and he was happy that I had such an eclectic taste in music. I still have to pay his store a visit.

Sure there are drawbacks to listening to records. You have to actually get up to listen to the second side, and you can’t listen to just one song (or the entire thing) on loop when you’re depressed. Even so, I’m not the only one with this “new” passion. The trend is catching on. A friend on Facebook posted this article, and it seemed very timely –> Vinyl Sales Do Better.

Now I just need someone to give me a whole bunch of milk crates to store them all in…