Beauty Surrounds Us

I've done earlier posts on this, so this will be short and sweet. I've revised my translation/paraphrase of a beautiful Danish hymn (nearly unknown in the US) and I have a not-too-terrible recording of it to share. https://videopress.com/v/ne0CkpzR?resizeToParent=true&cover=true&preloadContent=metadata&useAverageColor=true Here are the updated lyrics. For those who didn't click, it bears repeating that this goes with … Continue reading Beauty Surrounds Us

A New Lyric for a Classic Christmas Song

A year ago, I published an earlier version of this essay. Since then I've revised significantly, so I'm going back to the well for Christmas 2021. Most of this reworked version also appears here. I am pleased to share a new English translation—or singable free paraphrase—of an iconic Danish hymn, Dejlig Er Jorden. It shares a … Continue reading A New Lyric for a Classic Christmas Song

12 Songs for Christmas: I Got So High That I Saw Jesus

 Little by little, I have come to a realization that (as a commentator on a youtube thread articulated it) “Holy shit, I think I’m a Miley Cyrus fan.”  It’s been a long time coming, and by no means implies interest in everything she’s ever done. If you think this sounds absurd, click on this link, … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: I Got So High That I Saw Jesus

12 Songs for Christmas: Dejlig Er Jorden (Beautiful is the Earth)

I created not just one new song, as we've already discussed, but two new lyrics inspired by a Christmas concert by Harald Haugaard and Helene Blum. Both are rough translations—or loose paraphrases—that allow us to sing great Danish music in English. The second one is on deck today. It extends my recent train of thought … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: Dejlig Er Jorden (Beautiful is the Earth)

12 Songs for Christmas: “River” with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter

Possibly my favorite Christmas song ever, which of course was written by Joni Mitchell. Performed here with worthy vocals but the real point is the song and the exceedingly fine jazz arrangement. Mike drop! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1dsuUzJOBs Believe it or not, some of the other songs on this album are even better. This record is a must-listen … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: “River” with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter

12 Songs for Christmas: Christmas in Washington

“It’s Christmas time in Washington, and the Democrats rehearse. Getting into gear for [an upcoming] year of things not getting worse. Republicans drink whiskey neat and thank their lucky stars. [Thanks to Senate minority rule, with Wyoming voters weighing 68 times more than Californians] There’ll be no more FDRs.” So said Steve Earle, more or less, … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: Christmas in Washington

12 Songs for Christmas: Kanye’s Christmas Opera

A year ago, Kanye West was in the news because he had premiered a high-concept and well-publicized Christmas “opera” at Lincoln Center. I wrote about it then, and today I am bringing this earlier reflection back so that people have another chance to find it. I do this, in part, because of how interestingly this … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: Kanye’s Christmas Opera

12 Songs for Christmas: Ice Age Paradise

Today I want to share my favorite song from what, in my experience, ranks among the most sadly unknown and underrated records ever made:  Ice Age Paradise, by Sienna Dahlen. https://siennadahlen1.bandcamp.com/track/ice-age-paradise I learned of Dahlen when I spent a semester working in Edmonton, Alberta, and hung out at the great jazz club there called Yardbird … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: Ice Age Paradise