Arimathea
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In Greek mythology, the muses were the daughters of Zeus the king of the gods and Mnemosyne the goddess of memory. The muses inspired men to create what we commonly call the fine arts. In this digital realm, you will find music of both high and low culture, from literature to the visual arts to what we narrowly call music in English. Enjoy and be grateful for being human; for the muses have richly blessed our race.
Friday, April 15, A.D. 2016
From Russia with Campanological Love

The ever interesting folks at U.C. Berkeley decided to replicate the famous Tsar Bell’s sound and to play it on campus for Cal Day this weekend. From ABC 7 News:

My brother Aaron and I got to see the grand broken bell in the Moscow Kremlin near the similarly massive Tsar Cannon. Let’s hope Berkeley’s experiment doesn’t inspire copycat projects to replicate the cannon; just imagine what the mischievous cadets at the U.S.M.A. might come up with. I wouldn’t want to be near West Point on that day.

Posted by Joseph on Friday, April 15, Anno Domini 2016
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Wednesday, April 13, A.D. 2016
Tyler Mancuso’s Psalm 103

One-man quartet Tyler Mancuso sings selections from Psalm 103 (104 in the Masoretic numbering) at the Antiochian Village Summer Camp:

His YouTube page states that he doesn’t use autotune; his variations are his own and recorded separately. I don’t know how Mancuso integrates the tracks, but I find the timing impressive.

I imagine that Mancuso entertains the campers well, though here we see the superiority of a real (multi-membered) a capella quartet. Four fellows can charm and wow an audience without any additional equipment—even at a rustic auditorium in the woods. Mancuso’s gift is better appreciated online. At camp, Mancuso probably joins with other campers and staff to sing. The Orthodox have plenty of singers!

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, April 13, Anno Domini 2016
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Monday, April 11, A.D. 2016
カントリー・ロード

Thomas Bertonneau has shared a thoroughly charming item on the Orthosphere in “Western Culture I.” It is a music video of a Japanese group named Goose House doing a cover of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Enjoy:

I thus commented on Bertonneau’s post:

I love it. (Cultural appropriation sirens go off) Seriously, how did the “multicultural” Left transform into the enforcers of xenophobia? Human culture = cultural appropriation . . . that’s a good thing, overall.

Also, I have a theory about “imperial peoples” and “tribal peoples.” The imperial folks are into cultural appropriation — they’re interested in the rest of the world and have a strong cosmopolitan aspect in their national character. This need not conflict with a healthy nationalism and sense of identity. Indeed, the latter allows for the former to be useful and strengthening (broadening those horizons). Tribal people, by contrast, are ethno-narcissists — they have little interest in anything that doesn’t prominently concern themselves. As charming as tribals can be, I confess to finding the imperials far more fascinating and worthy of breath. Yet, liberalism is far more dangerous to imperials; without a privileging of one’s own, liberal imperial societies are wont to produce strays who go native — leading Arabs into battle, wearing dashikis on campus, joining ISIS, etc.

Lastly, the Japanese appear to be a well constituted imperial people par excellence. And John Denver is super. And that is a great song. Hurray for this post!

I have loved this song since childhood—it’s the perfect American song. First, it stirs feelings of home in the soul and works well as popular poetry with the simple but impressing images that it evokes (“Dark and dusty, painted on the sky . . .”). It is also quite easy to remember and sing, which makes it a good democratic song for group participation and ongoing cultural use—and appropriation! Furthermore, it is about Appalachia, perhaps the most “Old American” part of the country, as hill people tend to keep memories longer than most folks. The song itself celebrates this grateful returning to the old. Critics call such nostalgia-kitsch. I call it human.

As Dr. Bertonneau notes in his response to my comment, the Japanese young’uns’ performance is superb. I watched the video multiple times, and the grin on my face and the warmth in my heart grew with each viewing. They harmonize well, and they certainly are enjoying themselves. That is what music, youth, and fellowship should entail—joy (not always, of course, but regularly). Joy unmitigated by self-conscious pride or fear! I imagine that such is a foretaste of paradise—of real freedom subjectively experienced. Children facilely enter into such a state naively, but then most people lose that ability as they age. The wonder in their eyes dims. Their sense of self overshadows their self. They become too comfortable in the world, which paradoxically renders them less comfortable in their skin. Sadly, children are beasts, bereft of reason and good judgment, often slaves to their passing fancies. How unfortunate it is that the experiences that form human beings and allow them to tune their moral instruments almost invariably dull the glorious qualities of their state of innocence. After the fashion of wise men and poets, we might say that the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve slowly forget Eden the longer that they stay in the world. Fools and saints may remember the voice of their shepherd, but the herd in general comes to hear only the sounds of coins jingling, sycophantic flattery, and carefully memorized insults and slander.

Posted by Joseph on Monday, April 11, Anno Domini 2016
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