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
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)
Let’s recall that we embarked on 12 days of Christmas songs, unranked, and on the second day I premiered my new English-language lyrics for a Swedish tune that I first heard earlier this month in a concert by Harald Haugaard and Helene Blum's band. Here it is again in a remarkably fine performance by students … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: Staffansvisa
Trigger warning! I am the sort of geek who actually cares both about schisms among subtypes within subtypes of Calvinists (Presbyterian and Congregationalist) in the antebellum US (which mattered for things like ending slavery and the ongoing curricula of US liberal arts colleges) as well as which factions of the academic left have a correct … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: “Every Star Shall Sing a Carol (new millennium peace version)”
As I announced on Christmas Eve, I decided to start a "12 days of Christmas" music experiment on this blog. One song a day, with a few comments about some of them. Not ranked. Second up is a brand new song! I wish I had time to polish the recording and add a couple … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: Christmas Party!
Writing on Christmas Eve, I have decided to start a "12 days of Christmas" music experiment on this blog. One song a day, with a few comments on some of them. Not ranked. First up, in honor of the solstice that just passed, is what might be the most beautiful song I know: Björk’s … Continue reading 12 Songs for Christmas: Vökuró
Possibly my best song, and certainly a song that is close to my heart, includes these lines: The rain has turned the yellow grassSeven shades of green. . . .It’s only a moment that we can smell the rain,And taste the salt on each other’s skins.It’s only a moment and then we’re underground,So do not … Continue reading Seven Shades of Green
In the strange world we inhabit, the insights I can offer as scholar seem (at least for the moment) to be assigned significant value. Sometimes I complain about the relative value ascribed to scholarship compared to a whole range of other things—say, building prisons or price-gouging people who need life-saving medicines—yet at the end of … Continue reading A Song to Dishonor Joe Arpaio