Friday, October 27, 2006

great time at the show

The singing groups special went quite well, thank you. (Even with having to use the guest mic for nearly the whole show.)

I was thinking about how I was tiring of the "contemporary" acappella groups -- the ones patterned on Rockapella and then infused with boy-band slickness and a sort-of-jazzish calculated cool. What could they do to make a sound that had inventiveness, soul, guts? My show, oddly enough, held part of an answer; it had all sorts of great sounds in it. The "contemp" groups, well.... they don't. They haven't put these sounds to use. Do they know how to do it? I would guess they know how to do some of it. But the point comes in a song where you could really use, say, a sharp Beach Boys or Crosby Stills Nash or Delfonics harmonic, or a lead that really ran with the song's end like Phillippe Wynne of the Spinners, or a bass who talks it through like Hoppy Jones of the Ink Spots. Or maybe sharing leads with the precision of the Temptations, perhaps, or they could add a touch of Celtic or Dalmatian voicings, maybe even a burst of Bulgarian choir or Black Mambazo if they have enough singers. But when the time comes ... it passes....

I'm well aware that no group can do all those sounds well, but any of them can draw on more of them than they use now. The harmonics, leads, lyrics, and feel are different for each, but lessons can be learned from all of it, and having these modes in your arsenal means it's there when the song or the live moment calls for it.

Their palettes are just too skimpy. (Just one part of the puzzle, but an important one, I think.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Singing Groups radio special

Tomorrow, Wednesday 25 October 2006, 1 pm - 5 pm (13:00-17:00) Eastern Daylight Time (like in New York).
WUSB 90.1 FM on the radio (Long Island and coastal Connecticut), to the website and the link to the netcast (up by the logo, to the right).

All sorts of singing groups -- with instruments and without, US and the world, pop and rock and soul and vocalese and collegiate and old and new and and and ..... It's in there. There has been no more more consistent presence in music, and never more than now.

Tune in -- radio or web! And tell others about it!

(Oh -- and it's a fundraiser for the station, so please give. There's a link at the website, or call 1-800-394-WUSB or 1-631-632-6901.)

Words of War / War of Words

We had no business going to Iraq. Many of us have been saying that from before the start, as President W. was ramping up for it. (Some are wondering where Christians were at that time -- they've forgotten some rather large rallies that took place before W. went in, where quite a few of us Christian believers went.) In any event, I felt like I failed the day we went in.

Once the move was made, I was hoping for the next best thing -- an honest, caring attempt to create the framework for a government that most Iraqis could be part of, so we could get the hell out. It soon became apparent that the US was most interested in keeping certain sectors out. Granted, most of those sectors didn't want 'in' (or at least not in something where they had to deal with others) and didn't really care if everyone else was blown up. But the more people that are outside of the government, the easier it is to challenge its legitimacy.

Then, some of these people -- and I have to join with W. when he called these particular people 'terrorists', attacked certain targets (including a key mosque) in hopes of generating a Sunni/Shia conflict. The thing I keep finding hard to understand about the Middle East is the foolishness of so much of the anger. If I knew that someone was trying to make me hate, and I knew that particular someone was responsible for the attacks, and I knew that revenge attacks were what the attackers wanted to cause, I'd be a d**n fool to take revenge, wouldn't I? The last thing I'd do is give the guys who blew up my people's mosque/holy place exactly what they were aiming for -- it's like giving them a 'thank-you' note, or even a big cash reward, for striking me. I would think they'd have responded by redoubling efforts to unify and find common ground, and thus making sure the terrorists got the opposite of what they wanted. I would think the people of Iraq would want not to be a dummy, opening the mouth to speak someone else's words. That sounds like good revenge to me. But then, I'm not in the Middle East. It's almost as if the people there find any excuse they can for the foolishness they have been doing since WWII. Cheering them on. Protecting them. Doing everything but the one thing they must do -- the one thing that is far and away more important than anything else, even the righting of injustices -- stopping anyone who wants to carry out more war. Even if it means turning in your brothers -- because not turning them in puts all in your families at risk. The more the flames are fanned, the worse things get. So stop fanning the flames, and instead douse them with water. These conflicts are solid proof, as if any more were needed, that war and hate cause far more injustice than they can resolve. It must end, and end first. The 'compound interest' of the evil must stop. W. needs to learn that lesson, sure, but the biggest part of the problem is that the Middle East has no desire to learn it, either. Even if it is right there in their holy books (there are some threads of peace in the Quran, contrary to image and usage). Even if they and their loved ones keep dying over it. Peace is the only real path to survival, but true peace cannot be had while we fatten the vampire of hate by such endless supplies of blood.

I guess a blog entry is an electronic soap box. I'm getting off of this one, having said enough.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fund Raising

I just got back from the start of the fund raising drive at my station (wusb 90.1 FM) . Off to a good start! Over the years, the whole fund raising thing has slowly felt like it was bogging down. We really hadn't stepped upward to get the money we need to keep being the free-form, programmer/personality-centered weird and energizing place on the dial that it is. I think we may be onto something this time out -- we're putting some of that programming inventiveness to work.

Now, if only the website can be brought up to date....

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

On First

I'm making my second try at the world of blogging. I hope this time it takes, and I actually decide to write in it. I have a lot to say. Much of it is already on line at, and in groups messages. But each of those cover only one specific turf. I'm figuring this will give me a place to flex my wings a bit.

My main thing isn't politics, or even (at least in an on-line way) religion, but public planning/zoning/economic development. Yet 'tis the political season, and I'm a Political Science MA, so that's what I will probably write about until a few weeks after the elections.