Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Favorite Music

The lovely Elizabeth of The Country Handmaiden recently posted a roundup of her favorite musical artists, and I thought "ooh, I like this idea," and so am copying her.  With permission, of course.

You already know a bit about my musical tastes from my long-neglected Song Saturday series, but I've sort of changed a bit since then.  I think.  Do you ever find that after a while you just get really tired of hearing the same music over and over again?  I do.  And then I take a nice long break from it, and sometimes I start liking it again afterwards.  Sometimes not.  It depends.  (Oh frailty,  thy name is Victoria.)

Cécile Corbel

She's from Brittany in France and sings in many languages, including French, English, Breton, Spanish, and even Turkish.  I'm kind of in awe of her command of languages, and I love her accent.  She's definitely my favorite singer - for now.

I had a really hard time choosing a song to embed here.  "Maybe I should do one in Breton so they can see how intriguing that language is...nah, that might be too weird for an introductory song.  I wish My Lullaby was on Youtube. Should  I do one with a video?  Sometimes music videos actually spoil the effect..."  One of her songs, En La Mar, has a video which I quite like, but I think the song may have some inappropriate lyrics, so I didn't want to do that one.  It's in Spanish, which I cannot say that I speak, so I'm not entirely sure, but I can pick up a few words...I dunno.  I should just ask a Spanish-speaker to tell me.  Anyway, the one I did post, Sweet Song, is one of the first songs of hers that I heard, and every time I hear it I just really want to write a fairy-tale story.  The lyrics suggest it.  Only I've never tried a fairy-story and don't think I'd be good at it.

Some other favorite songs of hers are My Lullaby, C'hoant Dimien, The Great Selkie, and Mary.  Oh, forget it, I like basically all of her songs.

Regina Spektor

You might know her from the film adaptation of Prince Caspian, where her song The Call was used in the last scenes and into the credits.  It's a lovely song, almost certainly her most beautiful.

I do have to put a warning here, though.  Not all her songs are good, by far.  I've come across some with swearing, and one or two with immoral subject-matter.  So just be aware of that if you search her on Youtube or anything.  Once you find the good ones, though, she's an interesting artist.  Very quirky, and her songs never really quite make sense.  She can do pretty amazing things with her voice, and she too has a cool accent - she's Russian-born, Jewish, and lives in New York.  That makes for an intriguing pronunciation.  Oh, and you want to talk about weird music videos?  SHE has WEIRD music videos.

(This song, Eet, is definitely the least-weird music video of hers.)  Other songs of hers that I like are Fidelity, The Calculation, Us, Folding Chair, Time is All Around, and How, for starters.


Anúna is an Irish choral group and is awesome.  (You might remember them from my first Song Saturday.)Besides having gorgeous voices, if you go to their Youtube channel and read the comments you will see how snarky and humorous they are.  That might not be a good thing to everybody, but I really get a kick out of it.
Ahem.  Anyway.  They sing mostly traditional pieces in English, Gaelic, and Latin - often medieval religious texts set to music by Michael McGlynn (the one kneeling down in the picture), or pieces written entirely by him.  Their music is just so peaceful and lovely.

This is The Wild Song, which I like to lie on my bed and listen to with my eyes closed, just imagining out the mental images suggested by the lyrics.  (Don't I have constructive hobbies?) Other good songs are Siuil a Ruin, The Rising of the Sun (Eiri na Griine), Pie Jesu, Greensleeves/Scarborough Fair, Dulaman, etc. etc. etc.  (Sorry, getting a bit bored typing it all out and remembering the names of things!)

Loreena Mckennitt

Unfortunately I must once again put a warning here.  This time it's religion.  Though after research I found that Loreena McKennitt herself doesn't practice any religion, a lot of her songs are very pagan.  So just keep that in mind.  

She sings a lot of poems and old folk songs (or songs based on folk tales), often with unusual instrumental accompaniment such as Eastern instruments or electric guitar.  She also does some Turkish/Middle-Eastern type pieces and, as I mentioned, New Age-y things, which I'm not fond of.

 This is The Highwayman, one of my absolute favorites.  I really don't know why, but I am fascinated by the legend(s) of the Highwayman.  I usually turn away in disgust from "bad boy" heroes, but I find the various incarnations of the highwayman mesmerizing.  Help?
Other favorites are The Lady of Shallot (which I have posted about before), The Bonny Swans, Dante's Prayer (which makes me want to lie on the floor and sob every time I hear it),  and The Mummers' Dance, which hopefully is not pagan.  I can't figure that one out, but I think it's okay.  (Also right now I'm listening to Caravanserai, which is pretty good.)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

I know, it's totally typical to like Mozart.  Why couldn't I like some cool obscure composer?  But, to be honest, I have trouble appreciating classical music (which is shameful), and somehow I've don't have trouble with Mozart.  I always think of him as the Baroque Taylor Swift, which I suppose is highly insulting and probably not true.

Piano Concerto no. 21 is probably my very favorite piece - and since we're doing Victoria Confesses To Being A Snob I will admit that I very much enjoy saying airily, "Oh, yes, my favorite Mozart piece is his Piano Concerto no. 21. Oh, you've never heard of it?  You should look it up."  Yes, bad me.  Sorry.  
My other favorite Mozart pieces are Exsultate Jubilate, Serenade no. 10, Symphony no. 40, Horn Concerto no. 4, and, possibly second favorite of all, Requiem in D minor.  I do not think it's morbid to like requiems.

Well, I do believe that is enough for one post.  I left out strictly religious music, which seems like it shouldn't really be mingled with the common crowd.  That'll have to be its own post someday.

Tell me all about your favorite music, or better yet, do your own post about it!  I love discovering new things.  Also tell me what you think of my selection.  Did you discover something you liked?  Something you disliked? (I'm fine with criticism.)  I'd love to know.


  1. Oooh... most of these I have never heard of, but I like them! Will definitely be listening to more Anuna; what a talented group.

    Thanks for the shout out, by the way. :) Have a great day!

    1. Oh, I'm so glad that I introduced you to new stuff! Especially Anuna. They are awesome.

      You're very welcome!

  2. ooh, thanks for this post! I've been wanting to hear more of Regina Spektor, since I love The Call, but I knew a lot of her songs were inappropriate, so thanks for pointing me to the good ones :)

    1. You're welcome, thanks for commenting!

      Yeah, it's a pain when you have to worry about accidentally listening to something bad, isn't it? Other clean ones that I didn't write down are Two Birds, On The Radio, The Calculation, Firewood, Call Them Brothers...really, I think the ratio of clean to unclean is pretty favorable. Naturally I don't listen to the bad ones, or I'd point them out to you as well...

    2. Thanks! I'll look them up :)

  3. OH, I love Loreena Mckennitt. She is my hero music wise. :) The Highwayman was how I was first introduced to her. I really enjoy her multi cultural music. She actually really hates being classified as New Age.

  4. The Highwayman is definitely one of the best poems out there. It's one of the first poems that I thought of as a fun read.

  5. Really enjoyed this post! Mozart was a genius, feel no shame for liking him! Thank you for this plethora of new music to read!


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