Category Archives: Music

A radical voice is silenced: Farewell Pete Seeger

Socialist, songwriter, singer, environmentalist. . .and more more.

Ave atque vale.

From the New York Times:

Pete Seeger, the singer, folk-song collector and songwriter who spearheaded an American folk revival and spent a long career championing folk music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for social change, died on Monday in Manhattan. He was 94.

His death, at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, was confirmed by his grandson Kitama Cahill Jackson.

Mr. Seeger’s career carried him from singing at labor rallies to the Top 10 to college auditoriums to folk festivals, and from a conviction for contempt of Congress (after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s) to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural concert for Barack Obama.

Read the rest.

Rather than putting down more words of sorrow, we’ll celebrate with song instead.

“If I Had a Hammer,” recorded 1956

“Banks of Marble”

“Which Side are You ON?”

And a song a special significance, “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” broadcast on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968 after CBS had censored the song from an earlier episode and the brothers brought the case to the public, forcing a CBS reversal. The song is aimed at Lyndon Johnson, and the Big Muddy, of course, stood for Vietnam:

“Waist Deep in the Big Muddy”

And introduced by Studs Terkel, Seeger is joined by Judy Collins, Fred Hellerman, and Arlo Guthrie, son of Seeger’s mentor and the author of the song Woody Guthrie:

“This Land is Your Land”

Another collaboration, this one from 1970 and featuring Seeger and Johnny Cash:

“It Takes a Worried Man”

Finally, a song that still sends the spine into shivers:

“We Shall Overcome”

Annie Ominous: A surveillance state anthem

The title: “Just Trust Us.”

Program notes and lyrics:

Annie Ominous’ video lampoons the outrageous state of our national security state. The title of course begs the question, why should we? Annie O. reminds us that trust is earned, not granted freely and that absolute power corrupts absolutely—yes. How badly are our rights being violated? “It’s much worse than you realize”, says Annie O.

Lyrics: Just Trust Us!

Your metadata fills us in
On who you are and where you’ve been
On all your secrets all your sin
Just trust us!

Your credit card, your bank and phone
By Internet search, email and drone
What you thought was not is known!
Just trust us!

We all hoped you wouldn’t care
Pardon but we like to stare
Far into your underwear
Just trust us!

We’ve thrown your rights under the bus
With trillions that you spend on us
It’s fascism without the fuss!
Just trust us!

Judges, politicians too
We’re hacking them, we’re tracking you
We know everything you do
Just trust us!

We can cherry-pick a crime
For twice the busts in half the time
All for the corporate bottom line
Just trust us!

Oppression has been privatized
By moles and trolls and spooks and spies
Its much worse than you realize
Just trust us!

We’ll hack and track and snoop and spy
For evidence we classify
The rule of law does not apply
Just trust us!

Our tentacles you can’t avoid
We love to make you paranoid
We know about your hemmorhoid
Just trust us!

What we claim the truth belies
We just keep telling big fat lies,
Spinning spirals in your eyes!
Just trust us!

Perfidious, unscrupulous!
salac(ee)ous and slanderous!
scurrilous and scandalous!
Just trust us!

Yes, we know exactly where
That extra dark and kinky hair
Grows out of your derriere!
Just trust us!

Tom Lehrer: A Christmas Carol

Nothing better captures the spirit of the 21st Century Christmas than Tom Lehrer, even though the song was recorded way back in 1959 during esnl‘s freshman year of high school:

Tom Lehrer – A Christmas Carol

Oh, that Herald-Tribune he mentions? Twas a once-mighty New York City daily newspaper, graced with the work of some of America’s brightest wits. It died seven years after Lehrer recorded his song.

A musical diversion: Call it Bach capella

A musical interlude with the original Les Swingle Singers, an a capella group that rocketed onto the charts with their unique vocal stylings of Bach instrumentals.

We became hooked immediately.

The original group up in 1972, and was reincarnated the nex year as the New Swingle Singers.

Today’s selections are form the originals, and are weighted heavily on the Bach side, though the group recorded albums of Telemann tunes, other Baroque composers, Spanish composers, and Mozart.

Enough preamble! On with the show!

We begin with a taste of Mozart recorded on Croatian television, via vlogger Zvonko Slisuric:

Les Swingers Singers W A Mozart Eine kleine nachtmuzik, Rondo 1969

Next up, and again via Zvonko Slisuric, our first bit of Bach:

Les Swinger Singers J S Bach Partita No2 Sinfonia 1969

Zvonko Slisuric again:

Les Swinger Singers J S Bach Concerto in F Major largo 1969

And via Slisuric once again:

Les Swinger Singers J S Bach English Suite No2 Bourre 1969

Next, via vlogger JckDupp:

The Original Swingle Singers 1963 ~ Bach’s Prelude & Fugue No. 1 in C Major

Next, via vlogger Marcello Gandolfi:

J. S. Bach – Preambulum from Partita n.5 in G Major BWV 829

And to close, another Mozart offering, via blackbencher:

Swingle Singers – Mozart Fantasia in F Minor and Major

Chart of the the day: Longing for good old days

Citizens of most of the countries that were once part of the Soviet Union now believe that the collapse of the U.S.S.R. did them more harm than good according to the latest from Gallup:

BLOG USSRReminds us rather of this, a Beatles home recording made at George Harrison’s country cottage back in 1968:

And now for something completely different

Would you believe Toronto Mayor Rob Ford dancing to a Bob Marley hit during today’s meeting of the Toronto City Council? No? Well then, silly you. Via the London Telegraph:

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford caught dancing in council meeting

Program notes:

Scandal-hit Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been caught on camera again, this time dancing to Bob Marley’s song One Love during a council session.

He’s been widely criticised for smoking crack, but Toronto Mayor Rob Ford still has a spring in his step.

On Tuesday the controversial mayor was filmed in a council session dancing to Bob Marley’s One Love and a Christmas song.

Mayor Ford has rebuffed intense pressure to resign over his admitted crack use and revelations of other erratic behaviour.

The Toronto City Council has stripped him of most of his powers in an attempt to sideline him but the conservative mayor has vowed to seek re-election next year.

Mayor Ford has said he has quit drinking alcohol and is exercising daily after having a “come to Jesus moment.”

A seasonal song: The NSA is Coming to Town

From the American Civil Liberties Union:

The NSA is Coming to Town

The lyrics:

You better watch out,
You better not Skype,
You better log out,
Yeah you better not type,
The NSA is coming to town.

You’re making a list,
They’re checking it twice;
They’re watching almost every electronic device,
The NSA is coming to town.

They see you when you’re sleeping
They hear while you’re awake
They know who you call and who you write
So encrypt for goodness’ sake!

With Congress in the dark and a cloak-and-dagger court
We’re lookin’ for answers, they’re comin’ up short
The NSA is coming to town.

They’re making a list,
Checking it twice;
They’re watching almost every electronic device,
NSA is coming to town
The NSA is coming to town,
The NSA is coming to town.

A song for Human Rights Day: Deportee

First, via Salon, The Last Internationale presents a classic, Woody Guthrie’s “Deportee [Plane Wreck at Los Gatos],” a tragic ballad composed in response to the 12 January 1948 California crash of a plane carrying deported field workers to Mexico:

From the Last Internationale:


Program note:

Produced and Directed by Jared Sagal

While we’re at it, here are some other versions. . .

Deportee: Arlo Guthrie, Woody’s son

Deportee: Joan Baez

Deportee: Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Rodriguez

Deportee: Kingston Trio

Deportee: Ani DiFranco, Ry Cooder, and Dan Gellert

Pete Seeger: Banks are Made of Marble

Record by Peter Seeger in 1959, music and lyrics by Les Rice, a farmer who composed them in 1948-49:


I’ve traveled round this country
From shore to shining shore.
It really made me wonder
The things I heard and saw.

I saw the weary farmer,
Plowing sod and loam;
I heard the auction hammer
A knocking down his home.

But the banks are made of marble,
With a guard at every door,
And the vaults are stuffed with silver,
That the farmer sweated for.

I saw the seaman standing
Idly by the shore.
I heard the bosses saying,
Got no work for you no more.

But the banks are made of marble,
With a guard at every door,
And the vaults are stuffed with silver,
That the seaman sweated for.

I saw the weary miner,
Scrubbing coal dust from his back,
I heard his children cryin’,
Got no coal to heat the shack.

But the banks are made of marble,
With a guard at every door,
And the vaults are stuffed with silver,
That the miner sweated for.

I’ve seen my brothers working
Throughout this mighty land;
I prayed we’d get together,
And together make a stand.

Then we’d own those banks of marble,
With a guard at every door;
And we’d share those vaults of silver,
That we have sweated for.

A Musical treat: Joe Pass and Ella Fitzgerald

Performing in Hannover, Germany, in 1975.

From vlogger RochestersEarl:

The program:

00:50 Laura
04:25 Wave (Vou te contar)
09:50 My Funny Valentine
14:05 You Stepped Out Of A Dream
18:57 You Turned The Tables On Me
23:33 Darn That Dream
27:19 Ella and Joe
27:33 You Turned The Tables On Me
31:50 Cry Me A River
37:34 Nature Boy
39:48 Nature Boy (2nd)
41:32 You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
47:40 Avalon
51:53 Stormy Weather
57:09 One Note Samba
01:03:20 The One I Love (Belongs To Somebody Else)
01:07:20 How High The Moon

H/T to Metafilter.

A Swiss realization for a Buckminster Fuller dream?

R. Buckminster Fuller was one of the most remarkable people we ever met during a journalistic that gave us encounters with a multitude of remarkable people. It was also our privilege to document his basic ideas in the first published under our own name [we had ghosted others].

One of Fuller’s core ideas was the notion of the bare maximum as a basic ruight of all humanity. If the most calories a maximally physically energetic person needed to maintain healthy life was X calories, then all humans would have the right to that many calories. And so on with all that needed to sustain a vigorous, active fulfilling life.

Swiss artist Enno Schmidt has come to a very similar conclusion, and he and a colleague amassed the 100,000 signatures needed for a Swiss national referendum that would create a guaranteed annual basic income [Grundeinkommen] of 2,500 Swiss francs, or $2771.93 at current exchange rates.

He explains the concept in an interview with Jessica Desvarieux of The Real News Network.

Exclusive: The Activist Behind Switzerland’s Referendum for Guaranteed Income

From the transcript:

. . .it was Daniel and me–who thought, what will be the most necessary film and that what we really want to do? And we decided, yeah, the best thing is people has money enough to do what they really want to be creative, to develop what they can do for other people or need for theirself. And so we start this thing, basic income.

And basic income means enough money to live without need. And in Switzerland it’s only a number to say 2,500 francs. I don’t know how many it is in the States. It’s not to be rich. It’s simply to say, today we are rich enough and there are goods enough that we can say everybody needs an income to live. And why shall we–why have we to bound it to conditions?

And it’s an idea, for example, of the ’60s in the United States. Milton Friedman tried such things. It was a negative income tax, called so.

And we can say it’s a moment in the world, it’s a new century, a new vision, a social vision to say, set the people free by living, and then they do their things. And they are paid for their work, but the basic has to be sure for everybody.

And so we go with this in Switzerland. And the thing in Switzerland is that you have this direct democracy. And that means you can go with such wishes, such an idea. What really changed many things and let you look to all this facts new and to–yeah, it’s a bit of philosophical thing, but it’s a moral thing. It’s to acknowledge where we are now. And you can do this in Switzerland by such an initiative.

His page on the movement’s website [in German] is here. We note that one of the links is titled Jeder ein König That translates to “Everyone a king,” and bears a strong similarity to the catchphrase of Huey Long, the subject of yesterday’s video post. “Every man a king, but no one wears a crown,” declared Long.

Long even wrote a song about it:

Graphic of the day: 21st Century hot pants

But not the sort designed to get the lead out. No, they’re designed to keep the hot out, if by hot you mean dangerously radioactive.

No, lead’s the key ingredient of the Yamamoto Corporation‘s two new product lines featured in their on-line catalog, a lead-laced carbon fiber full-body wetsuit [right] for folks who work in hot zones, and the more focused lead-lined genitalia-guard [left]:

BLOG NukepantsH/T to RT.

Update: Tom Lehrer wrote a song about them, way back in 1952!

Musical flashmobs: A tricontinental excursion

It’s been a while since we featured a musical flashmob compilation [previously], so we figured it’s about time to do it again, this time weith a tricontinental edition.

We begin in Europe with an offering from the soloists, choir, and musicians of the Vienna Volksoper, presenting a delightful interlude in the Austrian capital’s main railway station, on 4 June 2012:

Flashmob Carmina Burana

Program notes [via Google translation]:

Soloists, Choir, Orchestra of the Vienna Volksoper gave a special performance in April, passengers and pedestrians. The artists broke away from the crowd – a “passer” began, more “passers” – as well as employees of ÖBB-clad artists – sat by and by

And from the main railway station [Hauptbahnhof] in Berlin, an all-woman brass band [Frauenblasorchester] staged their own flashmob last 13 May:

Flashmob Hauptbahnhof Berlin Frauenblasorchester

From the Gare du Nord in Paris, a flashmob performance of Bizet’s Arlesienne:

Program notes:

Thursday, November 17, 2011, 60 musicians showed up to play an excerpt of the “Arlesienne” by Bizet in the hall of Paris North station !

This flashmob launched the fourth edition of Orchestres en fête !, a tremendous and nationwide event organized since 2008. For ten days in November, 41 orchestras, all members of the French Association of Orchestras open their doors to everyone. All the events set up during Orchestres en fête !, like this flashmob, are dedicated to show that classical music lives in the very heart of the city !

And it’s not just in the stations. Here’s a video from the Berlin subway [U-Bahn]:

Was passiert wenn ein Mädchen in der U-Bahn anfängt zu singen? [What happens when a girl starts singing in the subway?]

Program notes [via Google translation]:

Girl catches the metro, starts to sing, passengers are totally confused, but then …

From Berlin’s main railway station again, another flashmob, this time featuring the dancing of the Berlin State Ballet:

Flashmob Hauptbahnhof Berlin Staatsballett Berlin

Program notes:

On March, 3rd 2011, at 5 pm at the main station in Berlin an unusual performance catched the attention of the travelers at the station! The event allowed Vladimir Malakhov and his company, the staff of the Staatsballett Berlin and the ballet and dancing schools to promote the new dance piece “OZ – The Wonderful Wizard” by Giorgio Madia.

On March 12th 2011 the Staatsballett Berlin-world premiere about the fantastic journey of little Dorothy took place at Komische Oper Berlin.

The performance at the main station was choreographed extra for this event by Giorgio Madia. The young dancers learned it at home by video or at their ballet and dancing schools.

Next, an offering from Cologne:

Star Wars Flashmob auf dem Wallrafplatz | WDR Rundfunkorchester | ARD

Program notes:

On the 1st of October [2012] the WDR Radio Orchestra mingled with the crowds on Cologne Wallrafplatz and surprised with well-known tones from a galaxy far, far away….

The WRO cherishes all kinds of good music, counting Operettas and Jazz, Rock and Pop, film and video game music to its repertoire.

And who knew? Square dancing, which every Colorado fifth grader had to learn, is alive and well in Germany. Our next video comes from Ruhr Park in Bochum, Germany, and features a square dancing flash mob:

Square Dance Flashmob Ruhr Park Bochum 23. Juli 2011

From Down Under, another sort of flashmob, featuring folks who didn’t have to travel:

Argo Opera Flash Mob

Program notes:

A normal saturday afternoon at Argo On The Parade in Adelaide, South Australia where the staff simply had the urge to break out into song. Its one of the ways we like to surprise our customers and give back to the community.

Finally, the most unlikely of flashmobs, and from the Big Apple:

Pipe Band Flash Mob at Battery Park, 8/25/12.

Breaking Bad: A clue to the finale in a song?

Back in our mid-1960′s college days, we lived with a couple of roommates who loved Country and Western, and one song we heard endlessly back then immediately sprung to mind when we heard the title of the final episode of the hit AMC series, “Felina.”

Here’s the song, “El Paso,” by Marty Robbins, in which the name Felina plays a critical role, and a most suitable one for a grand finale:

And for the record, we’ve not seen a single episode of the series, mostly because we missed the first season and decided we’d do what we did with The Wire, and wait til we could see it from the start.

Some Labor Day evening music, on the guzheng

The guzheng, said Wkipedia, “also simply called zheng. . .is a Chinese plucked zither. It has 18 or more strings and movable bridges.”

According to the San Francisco Guzheng Society,

The guzheng originated during the Warring Period over 2500 years ago in China. The earliest known versions were constructed with a bamboo frame and used silk strings. Its scale was pentatonic, using the notes DO, RE, MI, SO, and LA with a major note for each of its five strings. Because the guzheng was developed in a region called “Qin Guo,” its name became known as the “Qin zheng.”

The guzheng became very popular in the imperial court and among the common people. Historical records from ancient books and scholarly writings give vivid accounts of the instrument and its music.

Read the rest.

Now that all may be true, but for us, it’s simply a delight to hear.

So on with the music!

First, from the NTD Music Channel:

Traditional Chinese Music: “Fisherman’s Song at Dusk,” Chinese Zither Performance

The program notes:

This beautiful piece is performed on the Chinese Guzheng, or Chinese Zither. Its a classic called “Fisherman’s Song at Dusk,” composed by Shuhua Lou in the style of Henan, a Chinese province.

Guzheng Player: Qian Jun

From Carol Chang Sound of China Guzheng Music [vlog, website]

Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake on Guzheng

From the program notes:

This is another of my favorite guzheng piece. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Thank you for viewing!

From vlogger Tek Ka Leong, the first of three performances by Liang Dijia:

Guzheng — Endless Yearning

From a Google translation:

Composer: Wang
Guzheng: Liang Dijia

And this time Liang Dijia pairs with a Guaho player:

Guzheng [Duet with Gaohu] — Moon Reflected in the Lake

From a Google translate of the Chinese text:

Guzheng: Liang Dijia
Gaohu: Xia Jun
Composer: Xu Xiaolin

Next, Liang Dijiaia with piano fourhands accompaniment:

Guzheng Concerto — The Butterfly Lovers [Part 1]

A Google program notes translation:

Zheng Liang Dijia Macau Society
Guzheng Concerto Guzheng Concerto — The Butterfly Lovers [Part 1]
Composer: Zhanhao, Chen Gang
Guzheng: Liang Dijia
Piano: Wei Tao shadow [esnl presumes shadow is a translation of the literal meaning of the artist’s name]

And back again to Carol Chang of the Sound of China Guzheng Ensemble:

Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake on Guzheng

From the program notes:

This is another of my favorite guzheng piece. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Thank you for viewing!


If you like to find out more about this beautiful instrument, please welcome to check out Sound of China or the guzheng forum.

Carol from Sound of China Guzheng Music

And for something utterly and delightfully different, here’s Michelle Kwan:

Daft Punk — Derezzed [GuZheng Cover]

The only program note:

Hey guys, it’s Michelle here from Pentatonics! Be sure to check out other covers by me at

Quote of the day: Now we’re all madmen?

British cultural historian Mike Jay, writing in Aeon Magazine in an article intriguingly titled “The reality Show, Schizophrenics used to see demons and spirits. Now they talk about actors and hidden cameras – and make a lot of sense”:

When we watch live sporting events on giant public screens or follow breaking news stories in our living rooms, we are only receiving flickering images, yet our hearts beat in synchrony with millions of unseen others. We Skype with two-dimensional facsimiles of our friends, and model idealised versions of ourselves for our social profiles. Avatars and aliases allow us to commune at once intimately and anonymously. Multiplayer games and online worlds allow us to create customised realities as all-embracing as The Truman Show. Leaks and exposés continually undermine our assumptions about what we are revealing and to whom, how far our actions are being monitored and our thoughts being transmitted. We manipulate our identities and are manipulated by unknown others. We cannot reliably distinguish the real from the fake, or the private from the public.

In the 21st century, the influencing machine has escaped from the shuttered wards of the mental hospital to become a distinctive myth for our times. It is compelling not because we all have schizophrenia, but because reality has become a grey scale between the external world and our imaginations. The world is now mediated in part by technologies that fabricate it and partly by our own minds, whose pattern-recognition routines work ceaselessly to stitch digital illusions into the private cinema of our consciousness. The classical myths of metamorphosis explored the boundaries between humanity and nature and our relationship to the animals and the gods. Likewise, the fantastical technologies that were once the hallmarks of insanity enable us to articulate the possibilities, threats and limits of the tools that are extending our minds into unfamiliar dimensions, both seductive and terrifying.

Read the rest.

And in light of his thesis, we bring you a song from 1967:

Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth

You’ll find the lyrics here.

Some video treats: Those fabulous flashmobs

While you don’t hear too much about flashmobs these days on this side of the pond, the once ubiquitous tech-enabled phenomenon continues apace in Europe.

We discovered the first recent instance on a clip posted on the always-wonderful Open Culture, and we decided to pass it on. After all, if there’s any group in need of cheering up, it’s jobseekers in a country where one in four workers lacks employment:

Flashmob Performs ‘Here Comes the Sun’ in Madrid Unemployment Office

Program notes from vlogger nuke2uk:

London’s Piccadilly Circus at 9am on 20th of April 2009. A flash mob of 100 girls lose their coats and dance the morning blues away to a pleased crowd. Filmed by pure chance and in colour.

The program notes:

Flashmob oficina paro (Carne Cruda 2.0). A program on Spanish radio, organized a small flashmob to perform and sing The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” for one of the unemployment offices in Madrid.

But flashmobs aren’t limited to unemployment offices.

Here’s the Algemesí Symphonic Band bringing an unexpected moment of joy to the public commons in a city on the Spanish Mediterranean coast on 23 February:

Bolero de Ravel – Flashmob per la Banda Simfònica d’Algemesí

A Google translation of the program notes:

Flashmob performed by the Symphonic Band Algemesí on 23 February 2013, playing Ravel’s Bolero.

Here’s another Bolero in another venue:

Flash mob at Copenhagen Central Station. Copenhagen Phil playing Ravel’s Bolero.

The program notes:

As one of the first professional symphony orchestras ever Copenhagen Phil (Sjællands Symfoniorkester) did a flash mob at Copenhagen Central Station on May 2nd 2011 playing Ravel’s Bolero. Conductor is Jesper Nordin.

Our first European orchestral flashmob post featured the Ode to Joy, and Beethoven’s hymn to joy remains a favorite, starting with this spirited German singalong in a busy railroad station [Hauptbahnhof]:

Singing Flashmob, Leipzig Hbf., “Ode an die Freude” mit Paul Potts

The program notes:

Flashmob in Leipzig Central Station on 08/11/2009. The “choir without limits,” Paul Potts and many other people sing “Ode to Joy” (Ode to Joy). Includes lyrics in German and English.

Here’s an Italian instrumental version on a public plaza featuring five — count ’em — bands.

Flashmob Peschiera del Garda – ufficiale – Inno alla Gioia Beethoven

The program notes [their translation]:

Flash Mob Ode to Joy Beethoven, performed by 5 bands in the European country Italy to Peschiera del Garda in the province of Verona city Unesco in a changeable weather.

And as a father who sat through endless dance recitals and play rehearsals with a pair of terpsichorean daughters, we conclude with this:

Flash Mob 100 Girls Dance in Piccadilly Circus to Beyonce Single Ladies

Program notes:

London’s Piccadilly Circus at 9am on 20th of April 2009. A flash mob of 100 girls lose their coats and dance the morning blues away to a pleased crowd. Filmed by pure chance and in colour.

Chart of the day: They can’t get no. . .

. . .satisfaction.

From Gallup:

BLOG Satisfaction

And, what the heck, a song for the occasion from 16 September 1965:

B-Day: Chant de guerre pour l’Armée du Rhin

Since it’s Bastille Day, some renditions of the song otherwise known as La Marseillaise, since 1995 the French National Anthem. [Lyrics and translation here.]

It’s a powerful piece of music, and one can only feel grateful the U.S. counterpart is so miserably unsingable and unmarchable.

So Happy Le quatorze juillet, y’all, and on with the show.

How can we not offer the most cinematically rousing performances ever, in Casablanca, a film initially cast with Ronald Reagan in the role played by Humphrey Bogart. The musical confrontation sparks the political confrontation, transforming Bogie’s character from an observer into a participant. And there are those wonderful lines, leaving us shocked. . .shocked:

Casablanca, La Marseillaise

And while we’re doing things cinematic, here’s the rendition from the 2007 Edith Piaf biopic La Vie en Rose with Pauline Burlet as the ten-year-old Piaf:

La Marseillaise from La Vie en Rose

And here’s the real Piaf:

Edith Piaf — La Marseillaise

And a tribute from another nation forged by revolution and bloody civil war:

La Marseillaise — Red Army Choir

And, finally, the operatic version, performed by Placido Domingo:

“Chant de guerre pour l’armée du Rhin, ‘La Marseillaise’”

Music!: Django Reinhardt and Freddie Taylor

Longtime readers know that esnl’s a huge Django Reinhardt fan.

Today’s version of Django unchained brings us some rare joint performances with an American jazz musician largely forgotten these days [he’s not even listed in Wikipedia].

But Freddie Taylor was a polymath, a singer, tap dancer, and orchestra leader who discovered that African Americans were much more welcome in top flight French clubs than in their American counterparts.

The French acceptance of black Americans was so alarming to the American military during World War I that it ordered millions of French language leaflets printed to instruct the French in the proper treatment of dark-skinned Gis. The leaflets were, fortunately, rejected by the French government before distribution.

Taylor first came to Paris in 1933, on tour with the Lucky Millinder, and stayed behind to create his own band, Freddie Taylor & His Swing Men From Harlem, later opening his own jazz club in the Montmarte.

Taylor teamed up with Reinhardt and the legendary le Quintette du Hot Club de France for a several recordings, which we were able to locate in the vast repository that is You Tube.


I Can’t Give You Anything But Love – 4 May 1936

After You’ve Gone

Georgia On My Mind — 15 October 1936

Shine – 15 October 1936

I’se A Muggin’ — Paris 5 April 1936

And here’s a performance of Taylor with his band, the

Blue Drag—Paris, April 1935

Finally, here’s Django and le Quintette du Hot Club de France:

Bolero — Paris, 14 December 1937