The Aztec Death Whistle Revealed

An amateur archaeologist, Roberto Velazquez, has discovered the sound of Aztec musical instruments used in ancient sacrificial rites.  Until recently, the archaeological community had dismissed these pottery pieces as children’s toys, but according to Velazquez, they seem to have played a very important role in the ritual life of the Aztec peoples.  Some of the whistle-like instruments sound like a banshee, others like frogs and jaguars.  Still others have specific pitches and can play melodies. 

http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/06/30/pre-columbiansounds.ap/index.html#cnnSTCOther1

 

**if the link gives you an error, try hitting “refresh”  **

The “death whistle” sounds to me a lot like the flute section on the first day of beginning band class.

Modern-day death whistle

 

For The Birds

My former student Patrick Hobbie’s band For The Birds will be in the studio in 2 weeks and I”m excited.  I plan to take some video footage for sychronicity live and perhaps even do a little music video for them.  Patrick and his friend Bobby Hill are a great songwriting team and I enjoy their creativity and love for innovation.  If you do the myspace thing, you should check ’em out and tell ’em I sent you.

http://www.myspace.com/enjoyforthebirds

 Their engineer is the incredibly multi-talented Charles Davis, the best in our region.  Uncle Charles has been very busy producing, playing (a MONSTA guitar player and drummer!) and composing in a new studio I’ve been helping facilitate.  He recently recorded, mixed and produced his father’s latest gospel album and it’s unbelievably good (I heard some tracks in the studio).  When I can get my hands on a copy, I will share a snippet.  Charles is also a “Beatmaster” (’cause it pays) and you can check out some of his rap songs at:

http://www.myspace.com/unkcharlez  

 

Piano Bootcamp vs. Footloose vs. Blog

You might have noticed that my posting has been extremely light these past few weeks. 

Here are my excuses;

1.  Family –Getting the mom and dad moved/settled into their new digs a few doors down from my house.  Plus lots of relatives visiting = too much activity around the house! 

2.  Piano Boot Camp –Every summer we have a weeklong piano daycamp for beginning to advancing players from elementary to high school grades.  I’m doing the late intermediate coaching this year and we’re doing jazz/blues pieces.  It’s funny how these students learn to depend on printed music so much that they recoil in terror when anyone says “improvise”.     On second thought,  it’s actually sad.

3.  Footloose is the summer musical and I’m playing 2nd guitar.  Actually, I should be playing 2nd guitar, but the changes come so fast that I’m playing the part on a synthesizer.  In fact, we’re using 4 synths in the show because:

a.  The instrument changes come so fast that it’s impossible to make the changes without some sort of Variax-style guitar that lets you switch from electric to acoustic to banjo in a matter of seconds.

b.  We didn’t have students with the sightreading chops to handle the book, even if they did own the instruments.   I could play 90% of it, but when the key goes to F# major, (and it does), I crash and burn like the aspiring amateur guitarist that I am.  That’s something I don’t feel comfortable doing in public anymore.  Hey,  –at least it pays the bills.  I’m not too proud to take a shortcut here or there!

So, that’s the news here… how’s life at your end of the world?

Songs you should never play in a bar

Via listenerd,  a blog called Holytaco (??) posted  a list of 14 songs that should never be played in a bar.  Their list:

14. ALL I WANNA DO – SHERYL CROW

13. MR. BRIGHTSIDE – THE KILLERS

12. R.E.M. – IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT (AND I FEEL FINE)

11. DANCING QUEEN – ABBA

10. SWEET HOME ALABAMA – LYNYRD SKYNYRD

9. DON’T STOP BELIEVING – JOURNEY

8. SMOOTH – CARLOS SANTANA AND ROB THOMAS

7. HOTEL CALIFORNIA – THE EAGLES

6. I WILL SURVIVE – GLORIA GAYNOR

5. MEATLOAF – PARADISE BY THE DASHBOARD LIGHT

4. KID ROCK – BAWIDABA

3. ANYTHING BY THE BEATLES – THE BEATLES

2. PIANO MAN – BILLY JOEL

1. AMERICAN PIE – DON MCLEAN

While I don’t agree with choices/reasons that HolyTaco blog states, I do think some basic guidelines are in order.  Here are my suggestions:

5.  Don’t play massive medleys in the style of “Hooked-on”  (classics, disco, hair metal, etc..).

4.  Make the covers suit the environment.  Playing any song by the Kinsey Sicks in a biker bar is probably not a good idea.

3.  Don’t preach.  You’re hired to entertain, not to change behavior or beliefs.  Songs about quitting smoking or drinking should probably be avoided.

2.  Avoid assymetrical meters, excessive polyrhythms and anything that sounds like this:   Varese may have inspired Frank Zappa to write music, but as far as I can tell, he’s never been a favorite of bar patrons.

1.  Never try any song you aren’t capable of singing on-key.

Bonus advice:  Knowing when to tell a bad joke is an art;  if you don’t have the talent, don’t try it onstage.

 

 

 

 

Metal Burger w/ Cheese?

 

Music has always been an inspiration to many, so it’s no surprise when a restaurant named Kumas (in Chicago) decided to create their headbanging line of hamburgers based on famous metal bands.  (Metalsucks via Listenerd)

Here’s a sampling:

BLACK SABBATH —Blackening Spice, Chili, Pepper Jack, Red Onion

IRON MAIDEN —Avocado, Cherry Peppers, Pepper Jack, Chipotle Mayo

SLAYER —Pile of fries topped with a ½ lb. Burger, Chili, Cherry Peppers, Andouille, Onions, Jack Cheese, and Anger

LED ZEPPELIN —Pulled Pork, Bacon, Cheddar, Pickles

METALLICA —Buffalo Sauce, Bacon, Bleu Cheese Dressing

JUDAS PRIEST —Bacon, Bleu Cheese Dressing with Apples, Walnuts, and dried cranberries

MOTORHEAD —Goat Cheese, Kalamata Olives, Oregano, Tzatziki, Onion, Tomato

MASTODON —BBQ Sauce, Cheddar, Bacon, Frizzled Onions

MAYHEM —Sliced Jalapenos, Pancetta, Pepper Jack, Gardinera Mayo

PLAGUE BRINGER —Roasted Garlic Mayo, Tortilla Strips, Chicago CO-OP hot sauce, Fresh Garlic, Pepper Jack, Sliced Jalapenos

LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR —Caramelized Onions, Pancetta, Brie, Bourbon Soaked Pears

 

Mmmmmm….can I get fries with that?

On the road again…

Drove almost 700 miles today and alternated between radio and my newest CD purchase:  The Raconteurs’  Consolers of the Lonely.

They have certainly blended together SEVERAL genres on this album (the only one I’ve heard), and I believe they’ve really created something unique.  Tonight I found their website and I’ve decided I’ve never seen anything more…   err….   retro?

http://www.theraconteurs.com/

Salute Your Solution 

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