Category Archives: Music

And whilst we’re on a musical theme. . .


While it’s not the finest rendition we’ve heard of Franz Joseph Hayden’s cantata Arianna a Naxos, this performance by mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano and pianist Ken Noda for the La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest 2014 and just released by University of California Television is  dramatic, and a pleasure to hear:

Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos – La Jolla Music Society SummerFest 2014

Program notes:

The fate of Ariadne, who helped Theseus to overcome the Minotaur and was abandoned by him on the island of Naxos, was an inspiration for numerous works of both visual and performing arts. Haydn took the myth as the subject of his cantata, composed in 1791. Recorded on 8/19/2014. Series: “La Jolla Music Society: SummerFest” [12/2014]

The Invisibles: Animating the Internationale


From British artist Nisha Duggal comes an animated version of an anthem dear to our heart, composed in the wake of the brutal suppression of the Paris Commune to rally of the hearts of those stirred by the lost chance of making a world more equitable than that which would arise during the grossly inegaliatarian Belle Epoque.

As French economic Tomas Piketty has revealed, the industrialized nations of the North have now once again attained the same levels of wealth disparity as those attained in the late 19th Century and seem destined to surpass them absent a rising resistance, as the discussion in our previous post makes eminently clear.

So for all of you who might be looking for a moment of inspiration, this from Nisha Duggal:

The Invisibles [The Internationale – English]

Program notes:

In a singular call to action The Invisibles employs and re-affirms Socialist anthem The Internationale for a contemporary audience. Vive la Révolution!

Music: The Internationale:

Eugène Pottier (1871) & Pierre de Geyter (1888)

Traditional translation with adaption by Billy Bragg (1990)

Performed by Nisha Duggal, Drums by James Broomfield

From Tomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century:

BLOG Unequal

We were born in the U.S. when inequality was at its lowest, and in our lifetime it has risen to levels never before seen. Unless we act together, all signs are that it will only grow worse.

A spectacular shower now underway, not rainy


While for those of us who live in California, the only thing falling from the skies these days has been rain, and lots of it. But for those who live is less watery parts, something else is falling, and it’s really spectacular.

From ScienceAtNASA:

ScienceCasts: Embers from a Rock Comet: The 2014 Geminid Meteor Shower

Program notes:

Earth is passing through a stream of debris from “rock comet” 3200 Phaethon, source of the annual Geminid meteor shower. Forecasters expect as many as 120 meteors per hour when the shower peaks on Dec. 13-14.

And by way of irony, we pass along this somewhat song [there is that drought thing, after all] for our fellow Golden State afflictees, recorded in 1972 by Albert Hammond:

Confirmed: Two CIA Top Ten Torture Tunes™


The San Francisco Chronicle has published a list of songs the CIA played over and over a loud volumes to torture radical Islamists in their various black and gray prison sites.

There’s one song on the list that confirms suspicions many parents have long secretly harbored:

Hell, subject us to ten hours of that at high volume and we’d confess to anything. Shoot Lincoln? We did it. Kill JFK? Yep, we were there on the Grassy Knoll. Sell yellowcake to Saddam? Yep, that too.

We’ll confess to anything.

Just make that damn dinosaur SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Oh, an here’s another CIA-approved Torture Tune™. You’ll be confessing in less than thirty seconds after the second run-through:

EbolaWatch: Meds, music, politics, & anger


We begin with a corporate boom from the Guardian:

US firms to be given special dispensation in bid to boost search for Ebola vaccine

  • HHS secretary Sylvia Burwell announces step under Prep Act
  • ‘Legitimate liability concerns must not hold back Ebola vaccine’

The US Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday offered liability protections to drugmakers rushing to develop Ebola vaccines and urged other countries to follow suit.

The health and human services (HHS) secretary, Sylvia Burwell, made the announcement as part of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (Prep) Act in a move aimed at encouraging the development and availability of experimental Ebola vaccines.

The declaration provides immunity under US law against legal claims related to the manufacturing, testing, development, distribution and administration of three vaccines for the Ebola virus. However, it does not provide immunity for a claim brought in a court outside the United States.

BBC News strikes a discordant note:

British Ebola survivor calls Band Aid 30 ‘cringeworthy’

William Pooley, the British nurse who survived Ebola, has described the Band Aid 30 single as “cringeworthy” and “a bit much”.

He said he heard the first half of the song on his way into work in Sierra Leone where he is treating Ebola sufferers at an isolation unit. Mr Pooley noted the track was “definitely being talked about here among my colleagues”.

“It’s Africa, not another planet,” Mr Pooley told the Radio Times magazine. “Stuff about Do They Know It’s Christmas? It’s just like, actually people live normal lives here and do normal things.

“That sort of cultural ignorance is a bit cringeworthy. There’s a lyric about ‘death in every tear,’ it’s just a bit much.”

And if you haven’t heard it, here’s the song:

Band Aid 30 – Do They Know It’s Christmas? (2014)

Program notes:

Band Aid 30 – ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’
Buy the song. Stop the virus. #BandAid30

Download now on iTunes – http://po.st/DoTheyKnow
Google Play – http://po.st/DoTheyKnowGp

Please donate: http://www.bandaid30.com/donate
Or
Text AID to 70060 to give £5
(UK only, texts cost £5 + standard rate. See T&C’s at www.bandaid30.com)

The physical CD single is available to pre-order here: http://po.st/CDsingle
Or you can pre-order it on Amazon here: http://po.st/DoTheyKnowAm

From the Associated Press, too damn late:

UN: Enough Ebola beds will be operating by Jan. 31

The United Nations’ Ebola chief says enough treatment facilities will be operating in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea by the end of January to ensure that the number of new cases starts dropping in the three worst-affected countries.

Dr. David Nabarro told the Council on Foreign Relations by videoconference from Geneva on Tuesday that there are going to be challenges to control the escalating outbreak in Sierra Leone, which has now recorded the highest number of cases, by Jan. 31.

Sierra Leone said last Friday that between 80 and 100 new cases of Ebola are being reported every day and the country desperately needs more than 1,000 beds to treat victims.

While infection rates in Liberia and Guinea are stabilizing, Nabarro said Ebola can “reinflame” unless it is wiped out completely.

From the Associated Press, another delay:

Training delays Cuban doctors from fighting Ebola

The Cuban doctors were all fired up and raring to get to work: Fidel Castro had praised their commitment and urged them to work even with American troops who might otherwise be considered the enemy, and President Raul Castro came to the airport to wish them well in their mission to fight Ebola in West Africa.

That was more than two months ago.

In Guinea, where the current outbreak started, 37 Cuban doctors, nurses and epidemiologists hang around a hotel pool, holding daily meetings to bolster their morale, crowding around a computer to learn more about the theory of Ebola treatment, and even trying on their protective suits and masks.

“We really thought we would arrive one day and get to work the next, but the reality is different,” Cuban team leader Dr. Carlos Castro told The Associated Press in Conakry, the capital.

More volunteers sought, via StarAfrica:

Namibia encourages volunteers to Ebola-hit W/Africa

The Namibian Health and Social Services Ministry has called on health professionals who might be willing to volunteer to participate in the fight against Ebola in West Africa.

The call is in response to the appeal by the African Union (AU) for member states to provide qualified health personnel to assist in combating the Ebola outbreak, which the union said has worsened over the lack of human resources in the affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The Health and social Services Ministry is coordinating the recruitment on behalf of the AU.

Clenny Murorua, epidemiologists in the Ministry of Health told the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) late on Monday that the much needed personnel are field epidemiologists, physicians, nurses and laboratory technicians.

The latest hot zone from CBC News:

Ebola ‘flaming strongly’ in western Sierra Leone, Guinea’s forests, WHO says

  • Liberia’s president says disease has retreated into places that are hard to reach

Ebola continues to spread in two “troublesome areas” in  Sierra Leone and Guinea’s interior, a senior UN official says.

The outbreak is “still flaming strongly” in western Sierra Leone and some parts of the forested interior of Guinea, the UN’s special envoy for Ebola, David Nabarro, told a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday.

“There are two particularly troublesome areas,” with high levels of transmission, Nabarro said.

The increase in transmission in western Sierra Leone reflects how communities there haven’t yet fully acted to avoid infection themselves. There’s also a lack of fully staffed treatment centres and places to keep those who are sick away from others, he said.

On to Liberia with the United Nations Development Program:

Community volunteers in Liberia are limiting the spread of Ebola

The number of new cases of Ebola in Liberia is decreasing each day and community volunteers’ work has contributed substantially to this result.

UNDP Liberia has recruited 1,300 volunteers who are being paid $80 per month to go door to door, every day in their communities, to track down anyone who shows symptoms of the disease and get urgent medical help.

UNDP’s project Coordinator, Dr Masoka Fallah, said that it’s only by quickly identifying people who have been infected – as soon as they show symptoms – that the spread of the virus can be prevented.

“The people we’ve recruited to be Active Case Finders are already leaders in their community and are highly respected,” he said. “With Ebola, all schools were shut down. Private school teachers aren’t getting paid. We’ve brought in a large number of those teachers to help with Ebola prevention. They know everybody in the community and are listened to.”

Bokaryee Geeplay is an Active Case Finders in Popo Beach, part of New Kru Town on the outskirts of Monrovia and one of the most affected regions of Liberia. One of the first cases he identified was his own niece.

“It was during November. My niece was just six, and she got a fever and wasn’t feeling well. I saw the signs and called headquarters so they could arrange for her to get to the clinic. She struggled for two weeks but eventually she died,” he said.

FrontPageAfrica covers aid crime:

Police Seize Diverted WFP Ebola Food Items in Margibi County

Police in Margibi County have seized a DAF truck full with food items intended for citizens of Grand Bassa some of whom are quarantined and other survivors of Ebola but was diverted for sale on the market.

Even though Police officers conducting the investigation into the incident have refused to speak to the Press, highly-placed sources have hinted FrontPageAfrica that the DAF Truck loaded with two hundred (200) bags of rice, thirty (30) boxes of cooking oil and forty (40) bags of beans was under the supervision of the District Superintendent and Commissioner Samuel P. Karmanjay and Samuel Moore respectively.

Sources also told FPA that the items were intended for an area called Gbakpea Town in the District #1 (Teemor Chiefdom) in Grand Bassa County but were kept aside and later diverted by the two local officials of the government. One source indicated: “Mr. Karmanjay and Mr. Moore made arrangements with some businessmen from Monrovia to purchase the stolen Ebola Food items before the Commissioner and Superintendent

From the Liberian Observer, more anger over a presidential political play:

Executive Order #65 Recalls Memories of 1985 Rigged Elections

Samuel Doe Banned All People from the Streets the Day the Elections Results Were Announced

Robert Sirleaf, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s own natural born son, has filed a lawsuit against her, petitioning the Supreme Court of Liberia to rescind (cancel, repeal) Executive Order 65.

Executive Order #65, signed by the President last Wednesday, bans all concerted mass movements of people on the streets of Monrovia during the ensuing special elections, including in particular rallies, demonstrations and parades.  These, according to Executive Order #65, are prohibited and for 30 days after the announcement of December 16 senatorial election results.

These restrictions on the civil liberties of the people, guaranteed them by Liberian Constitution, were, according to the President, “intended to strengthen the efforts of the government to contain the spread of the Ebola virus.”  It is also designed to “protect the security of the state, maintain law and order and promote peace and stability in the country.”

More from FrontPageAfrica:

Justice Void: Ill-Advised Exec. Order Ripple Effects on EJS

With a lot of blame floating around as to how President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf came to her decision to impose her now controversial Executive Order No. 65, more details are emerging that Acting Justice Minister, Attorney General, Cllr. Benedict F. Sannoh was instrumental in convincing the president that the order was the right thing to do.

Mr. Sannoh who has been acting since the resignation of former minister Christiana Tah is a strong proponent of the president enforcing executive orders. The recent issuance of Executive order No. 65 by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordering a halt to rallies, has been criticized by prominent individuals, including the son of the Liberian president Robert Sirleaf; but the Acting Justice Minister insists that the order is to ensure that the spread of the deadly Ebola virus is minimized in Monrovia.

Several critics and legal observers have been pounding on the latest declaration terming it as trampling on the rights of people to free movement. The Executive Order No. 65 ordered all concerted mass movements of people on the streets of Monrovia during the ensuing special elections, including in particular rallies, demonstrations and parades prohibited and for 30 days after the announcement of election results.

Still more from Heritage:

14 Lawmakers, CDC condemn Executive Order 65

Fourteen Representatives of Montserrado have  condemned the Executive Order No. 65 recently issued by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

On Thursday, December 4, 2014, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf issued an Executive Order No. 65, ordering all concerted mass movements of people on the streets of Monrovia during the ensuing special election, including in particular rallies, demonstrations and parades prohibited and for 30 days after the announcement of election results.

Executive Order #65, the government said is intended to strengthen the efforts of the Government of Liberia to contain the spread of Ebola, protect the security of the State, maintain law and order, and promote peace and stability in the country.

Among other things, the Executive Order No. 65 notes that the existing law requiring persons desiring to march or demonstrate to obtain prior permits from the Ministry of Justice has  proven ineffective to address rallies, parades and concerted mass movements on the streets of Monrovia and its environs.

And on to Sierra Leone with Reuters:

British charity defends management of Ebola centre after criticism

British charity Save The Children on Monday defended its management of an Ebola treatment centre outside Freetown saying it had informed both the British government and Sierra Leone that it lacked frontline experience in running such facilities.

Sierra Leone’s government last week said most of the beds in the treatment centre were empty because the British handed the facility over to a charity that was not experienced enough to run it.

Save The Children was contracted by the British government to manage the 80-bed Kerry Town Ebola centre, built by the British military as part of international efforts to contain the worst outbreak of Ebola on record.

The centre opened on Nov. 5, but only around one-third of its beds are occupied despite Ebola spreading fast across Sierra Leone.

And now for something completely different


How about some seasonal cheer?

As in a certain little girl who just couldn’t help dancing when the music moved here, even though she was a subway platform in New York City and the Grateful Dead tune street musicians Coyote & Crow were performing was written decades before she was born.

From Coyote and Crow:

Coyote & Crow at Bedford Ave. Williamsburg NYC 11/2014- “Me & My Uncle” Grateful Dead Cover

Program notes:

Coyote of Coyote & Crow at Bedford Ave. Williamsburg NYC 11/2014- “Me & My Uncle” Grateful Dead Cover

So lucky to have this moment on video–sure to make you smile!!

Video filmed by Crow.

And just think it: We were all like that once, and the lucky ones among us kept some of that magic spark alive.

MexicoWatch: Releases, arrests, drugs, & theory


From the Los Angeles Times, released:

Mexico releases 11 protesters from prison after international outcry

Eleven people arrested in recent anti-government demonstrations and sent to maximum-security prisons have been released without charges after their detention created an international uproar.

A 12th person arrested separately in connection with the same case was also freed, and publicly denounced what he described as beatings and threats by state security services.

Amnesty International said the charges that the detainees would have probably faced — including attempted murder and incitement to riot — were “disproportionate.”

“The evidence against the 11 demonstrators is so weak that it is difficult to understand why they are still in prison — especially in high-security installations, being treated as highly dangerous criminals,” Erika Guevara Rosas, director of the Americas section of Amnesty International, said in a statement Friday. “Such treatment begs the question of whether there isn’t a deliberate effort to discourage legitimate protest.”

Next up, grabbers grabbed, via teleSUR:

Mexican Police Officers Suspended

The agents will face a legal process to determine their responsibility in the event.

The police officers who arrested Mexican activist Sandino Bucio on Friday have been suspended and are under investigation by the internal affairs department of the Mexican Federal Police.

The officers involved arrested him on Friday at Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM).

According to the National Security Commission (CNS), at the time of the arrest the two agents were traveling in an unmarked vehicle lacking proper police identification.

Public Radio International covers cultural accomplices:

Mexico’s ‘narco state’ gets a cultural boost from new, more gory pop ballads

Protests have erupted across Mexico in the last month after the probable massacre of 43 students by a drug gang affiliated with police. Yet, hit songs in Mexico have long glorified the drug cartels and are getting ever more graphic.

A new trend known as Movimiento Alterado are “narcocorridos that don’t tell cinematic, poetic stories about smuggling, the way Los Tigres do,” Miranda says. “They’re about chopping heads off, they’re about killing. The singers carry bazookas. It is as hyperviolent as violence can get.”

Some songwriters even work on commission from drug lords. “I don’t want to imply that everyone is doing this, but there is this very direct connection,” Miranda says.

Narcocorridos are even popular in the US. In fact, many of the most popular songs are produced by the American Twiins Music Group based in Burbank, California.

More from Global Consilium:

Bloodstained: Narco-Culture

The narco-state is a platform where the systematic control of organized crime expands. It is a phenomenon that works as a vortex, sweeping away everything it encounters on its way.

Those elements that we acknowledge as proper of the nation-state have been slowly appropriated by the narco-states. The political apparatus, culture,  and national territory have fallen prey to this new operational cell. What’s more, throughout the years organized crime has become a niche from which nations are producing entire generations soaked in violence, crime, and corruption.

Similarly, in an alarming way organized crime is infiltrating popular culture. In the last few years, the drug lord has adopted a figure of benefactor, a kind of Robin Hood that executes the obligations of the state, thus gaining the approval of the masses.

In recent years there has also intensified a media campaign that presents the leaders of drug trafficking as heroes and heroines. Following the popularity of the so called narco-corridos (subgenre of Norteño music in which themes and personalities of drug trafficking are commemorated), there have also spread the “narconovelas” (narco-soap operas), in which the drug lord’s figure is romanticized, violence is portrayed as something ephemeral, and the entrepreneurial skills of these individuals to build drug empires are magnified.

And then there is this from Guillermo Galdos, a reporter for Britain’s Channel 4 News:

In Mexico I have learned to trust no one. You never really know who is who. Rumours abound about what happened with the students. The official version is that the students were captured by the local police and then passed on to the Guerreros Unidos cartel, who later killed them and burned their bodies. The parents don’t believe the government account – but in Mexico anything is possible.

Then there is another theory that I heard in Guerrero.

“The real problem is that they stole the wrong bus,” a contact told me. The bus they stopped and stole was loaded with a drugs and money from the Guerreros Unidos cartel.

“They really thought the students were from a rival cartel. That is why the police fired at the bus and then handed over the students to the cartel hitmen”.

It makes sense. The narcos are not stupid. They know that killing students is not good for business. My contact also believed that the students are alive and that the traffickers took them up to the mountains to give them a lesson and to make them work in the drug plantations.

Meanwhile, it’s business as usual, as teleSUR reported today:

More Bodies Discovered in Southern Mexico

The five bodies were found not far from where 43 teachers students went missing, but authorities have concluded that the latest corpses are most likely unrelated to the case.

Mexican authorities say they have found another five beheaded bodies inside of a van in the indigenous community of Chilapa, located in the country’s southwestern state of Guerrero.

The corpes found Saturday night were not far from where 43 missing Ayotzinapa students are feared to have been killed by drug gangs.

The five people appear to have been kidnapped last Wednesday and were traveling in the van, according to local press reports. The bodies were discovered after rescuers and municipal police put of the fire that had engulfed the van.