Repetition to Mastery – ‘An ocean in between the waves’

Unfortunately, since first posting this tune, youtube has taken it down on 2 different occasions from 2 different platforms (the Amsterdam 2017 version which is unbelievably good). In the meantime I’ve posted the version below which is really good although doesn’t catch the spirit of the former.

So what makes us speak a language well. And understand it well for that matter. Could it have something to do with the fact that we have been repeating the same or similar words and phrases over and over again for the best part of ‘x’ years of our lives? And hearing them too? Of course it could. Actually, it’s for that very reason.

What makes people masters of what they do is a particular source of curiosity for me. What drives individuals to be the best they can be. Making a coffee, painting a ceiling, running a Fortune 500 company, art, sport, you name it.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine with similar curiosity sent me a concert of a band I had never heard of before. I listened until 29 minutes in and then got pleasantly stuck. From minute 20.30 to 29, something strange happened. I couldn’t go any further. I kept going back listening to the same piece over and over. To that magic space where you know you’ve seen, read, felt or heard something that’s just right. I looked for other examples of the same piece. Found many of them. Good.. yes. But this good… no. All those times playing the same piece..again and again.. and on a November’s night in Amsterdam it all came together. And the music was made.

 

Bean sí – Fairy Woman

Dolores O'Riordan

Dolores O’Riordan

The arts are a form of communication; music, writing, film, theatre, painting, photography and all other mediums that are devolved from these pillars of human existence and endeavour.

I’m Irish. I grew up listening in awe to the deeds and legends of my boyhood hero Fionn Mac Cumhaill, and the stories my grandmother would tell me (terrify me with) about the bogeyman and one of my personal favourites the banshee (Gaelic; bean sí – fairy woman).

I’m reminded of this while listening to the voice of the late Dolores O’Riordan who passed away on the 15th of January 2018. A voice which represented the finest traditions of Irish music, with links to the wilderness and the wails of the bean sí in terms of its haunting, lilting and melancholic style. A sound and style of pronunciation closely associated with her birthplace Limerick.

The video below is a version of Schubert’s Ave Maria, in which Dolores duetted with no other than arguably the greatest tenor of them all, Luciano Pavarotti, at a charity concert in Modena, Italy in 1995.

Hauntingly beautiful. RIP.

Inner Galactic Orchestra

My son came home from school recently and said that his English teacher had done something new in class, something that in 10 years of classes, no-one had ever done. He played me a song – the video is below – and told me that he had finally understood what the ‘present perfect continuous’ actually meant. This may surprise some of you seeing as I’m an English teacher after all. However, I’ve always said that I want my two sons to grow up in a natural English speaking environment where I can simply be ‘Dad’ and not the irregular verb driller. This means that their comprehension and speaking skills are to a high level in terms of 2nd language acquisition, although some grammatical terminology still remains elusive.

Kutiman is an Israeli musician who decided to take a fresh look at how copyright was playing out in terms of the diffusion of social media and online media in particular. For the following piece – Inner Galactic Lovers – he used ‘Fiverr’ a freelance global online marketplace offering tasks and services, beginning at a cost of $5 per job performed.

The following composition is a collage of 23 different artists from all over the world who were enlisted to play their own individual piece for the song. Kutiman contacted them all through Fiverr, received the samples from the various contributors and then put those samples all together in order to create the song, through the use of a sort of living-room / bedroom orchestra.

Thinking outside the box?

You think about me, like I do you
You’ve been on my mind since that
time when we took off for the stars.

You’ve been thinking about me, like I do you

Have I been on your mind since
that time when we took off for the stars?

We are inner galactic lovers
loving flying through the stars
We are inner galactic lovers
We are inner galactic lovers
loving flying through the stars
We are inner galactic lovers

Do you think about me, like I do you?
You’ve been on my mind since that 
time when we took off for the stars.
You’ve been thinking about me, like I do you.

Have I been on your mind since
that time when we took off for the stars?

We are inner galactic lovers
loving flying through the cosmos
We are inner galactic lovers
We are inner galactic lovers
loving flying through the cosmos
We are inner galactic lovers

Into the love that we live in
If there’s no condition,
if there’s no confusion about who’s loving who
I’ve been feeling you
from planet since stars away
We are quantumly entangled no pulling away
Just that touching those vibes through you

We made it, we made it.

A day in the life . . language is everywhere. Chew on that!

On yer bike . . .

Okay,
So what exactly / does / this video have to do /with learning English? To be honest it took me a while to come up with something. The reason I posted it is simply because I liked the video, as well as being struck by the music accompanying the song; I then started to analyse it more carefully from a didactic perspective.

The video you see below, describing a general day in one’s life, was filmed in the Canadian city of Montreal. Canada is a predominantly English speaking country with the exception of the province of Quebec, which is principally french speaking. Around 50% of the city of Montreal is bilingual, in that both French and English is spoken fluently. The existence of two languages so historically and culturally opposed, while at the same time existing within the same sociological sphere /sfɪə(r)/ (UK) /sfɪr/ (US), is intriguing. And it’s just the excuse I needed to put this clip online.

Language is everywhere. Go and find it. The irony with regard to this post in particular and language in general, is that this video has no spoken English content; yet look at the amount of language analysis that was generated. Now chew on that!

Music

Different types of language…

Hello again,

So, why / did / I / choose/ this particular song?

1. It has lyrics which I can use to draw attention to vocabulary and pronunciation.

2. I can put it online without copyright problems.

2. It was made using 2000+ pieces of recycled paper and was filmed using an iphone4 and time-lapse photography editing, which I think is pretty cool.

3. It’s short and you’re all extremely busy, aren’t you? Although at the same time you want to improve your English, don’t you? (slight hint of irony there).

4. You might actually watch it,  listen to it and learn something new; this being the objective of the blog, after all.

I am overboard, I am lost at sea,

the decision I made was a tough /tʌf/ one to take,

but the ship that I jumped was gettin’ to me.

I am overboard, I am lost at sea,

the decision I made was a tough /tʌf/one to take,

but the ship that I jumped was gettin’ to me.

now I’m driftin‘,  but my heart /hɑː (r)t/ is sinkin‘, I’m just driftin’ alone,

but my heart /hɑː (r)t/ is sinkin’ like a stone (x3) (UK).

Now I see land ahead, I see blue skies, these crashin’ waves they are wearin’ me down, and the water’s leavin’ salt /sɔːlt/ (UK) /sɔlt/ (US) in my eyes.

I am driftin’,  but my heart  is sinkin’, I’m just driftin’ alone,

but my heart is sinkin’ like a stone (x3) (UK).

I am overboard, I am lost at sea,

the decision I made was a tough one to take,

but the ship that I jumped was gettin’ to me,

now I’m driftin’,  but my heart is sinkin’, I’m just driftin’ alone,

but my heart is sinkin’ like a stone (x3).