Rainy days in New York City
A walk through Central Park
to soak in the Smells o’ rain-brewed-earth
and the Chartreuse green leaves of Spring….
(click on any image to start slideshow)
This video has been taken from the rustic pavilion that punctuates Wagner Cove – a secluded spot at the edge of The Lake in Central Park.
(Geeky facts: The Cove, formerly known as the Cherry Hill boat landing, was renamed after former New York City three-term mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr. who was supported by Eleanor Roosevelt and known for disrupting the Tammany Hall structure ending the reign of clubhouse bosses in city politics and leading to a stronger city democracy.
His father – former NYC mayor Robert Wagner I was known for his support of the labor movement and FDR’s New Deal, and was instrumental in writing the Social Security Act.)
These are the some of the tucked-away spaces in the big noisy city where one can find moments of calm and solitude, of peace and serenity and just an avenue away from the harsh cacophony of traffic – bask in the nook of a welcome relief: the sounds of birds singing joyously….after the rain.
For music for a rainy day, here’s Bill Evans’ piano solo “Here’s that Rainy Day” from his Album “Alone” (Verve Records 1968) – an instrumental jazz interpretation of the popular song composed by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Johnny Burke published in 1953.
The Venice Carnival is currently on. A spectacular splash of color and splendor, costumes and masks, masquerade balls and parades and parties on the streets and waterways, inside grand villas and palaces – it is a custom dating from the 12th century. There are several different types of Venetian masks, each type with its own purpose and symbolism. A mask for every occasion, for every personality-type, giving concrete form and literal manifestations to the masks people wear in everyday life…….
“The closing years of life are like a masquerade party, when the masks are dropped.” – Arthur Schopenhauer
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Exactly one year ago on 11/11 we released Planetary Coalition’s debut CD, and what an unexpected and exhilarating journey it has been! A huge thank-you to all who supported, encouraged and participated in this project and appreciated the music we offered and continue to do so.
We are honored and humbled by the reception we’ve received from the public, press and peers. Concerts at Union Square New York, at NAMM venues in California, invitations and sold-out lecture/presentations/audio-visual performances at the Liberty Science Center, NJ, at the ArtsVille series at the University of Dayton, OH, glowing reviews in many local, national and international publications, recognition by Guitar World magazine as one of the top 50 releases of 2014, Acoustic Nation’s pick as the top 10 acoustic guitar albums of 2014, and submitted by our ArtistShare/Bluenote record label in several categories for the upcoming 58th Grammy awards.
For more information on the project, vignettes, news and updates – go to the website http://planetarycoalition.com/
Since an invaluable amount of sweat, blood, creativity. effort and expenses went into this mammoth project, please support the work of independent artists and musicians and not online illegal uploads or ripped CDs.
For the holiday season, share our labor of love as the perfect gift.
Available on i-TUNES here: http://apple.co/1zB0qiN
On AMAZON here: http://amzn.to/1ASdNg4
If i-tunes and Amazon options do not cover your country, you can order directly from ArtistShare here: http://artistshare.com/v4/Projects/OfferDetails/325/439/2186/1/6
Make music, not war! Support the independent Arts!
Here’s a video of the complete album excerpts, compiled & edited by yours truly:
A 3-minute gem which reminds us of the simple joys of life, despite all its trials and tribulations. A little escape.
September 1, 2015. In the past couple of weeks, this gem of a 4-minute video from Canada has been doing its rounds on the web. It’s a video posted as a farewell by the CBC Radio show “Wiretap” which ended after 11 seasons. Created by Jonathan Goldstein, a former producer of This American Life, WireTap invited audiences to “eavesdrop on a mix of funny, thoughtful, and unpredictable stories and conversations.” The Montreal Gazette called the show “something between borscht-belt comedy and Franz Kafka.”
“How to Age Gracefully” was originally an episode that kicked off the show’s tenth season on September 6, 2013. In it, people between the ages of 5 years to 90 years old shared their wisdom about growing up — and it was as witty as powerful. Goldstein remarked that the concept “seemed to have stuck with people”; so he and the show’s team decided the best send-off would be to invite listeners down to the CBC and make the premise of that episode into a video.
If my readers get the chance, do pick up a copy of Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert’s book “Stumbling on Happiness.” Among its many insightful observations there is one that perhaps correctly notes that each individual person may think that he/she is utterly unique (which in a sense everyone is at a DNA level) but in truth how we feel or question or ruminate later in life in fact can and will be very, very similar in manner and kind to those who are like us in personality, but are much older than us. So a good way to deduce how your future self may feel/regret/question/wonder is by asking someone who is older than you, yet with a similar outlook, attitude, profession, upbringing, preferences and belief system, and find out how they feel at their age and what they would have told their younger selves.
In that sense, other than its charming premise and real life characters, the video “How to age gracefully” is a simple, minimalist yet powerful and poignant philosophical vignette shining a light on existentialism and what it means to grow up or grow old or to keep “growing” with age.
Make sure to watch till the very end ;)
July 15, 2015. Well, hello again blogosphere! ‘Tis been a long time since I took out the time to write a new long post; and I hope I’ll be able to write one soon.
January, February, March of this year were spent in various cities of Italy, Germany, Austria, India, England and France for work and wandering, for friends and family. So many photographs were taken during the trip especially in the stunning Cinque Terre region of Italy that, ironically, the paradox of choice had left me with posting none online, except a handful on my personal facebook account.
While May, June, July and August – spent in the U.S. and Canada – have been and will continue to be hectic and somewhat peppered with uncertainties as several life changes occur(red.)
So until there is a breather to place pen on paper, or rather hand on keyboard, to give shape to thoughts or prose to posts, all I can say is this space has gone fishin’ but I hope to be back soon!
“Everyone must believe in something. I believe I’ll go canoeing.” – Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862)
…and May the Force be with you as you Live long and prosper….
This is the last of the album excerpts’ series for Planetary Coalition – with glimpses of the last 5 songs on the album. On Novermber 25, 2014, our itunes sales commenced and within a day the album had already climbed to the top 20 world music albums at number 13. Please help support the project – the link to buy the album on Amazon is here: http://www.amazon.com/Planetary-Coalition-Alex-Skolnick/dp/B00OTVQ0L4 and on itunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/planetary-coalition/id934930381
This series of excerpts begins with a composition with Cuban influences – with the great Grammy award-winning Cuban percussionist Horacio “el Negro” Hernandez and his daughter Jennifer who co-wrote the piece with Skolnick. The photos of Cuba (except three) are ones I had taken during a 2006 trip to that country.
Following this, both countries of the Holy Land – Israel and Palestine are featured – with renowned Palestinian oud player Adnan Joubran of Le Trio Joubran co-composing a track with Skolnick (a piece with surprises in its full version where the melody takes a rather unexpected turn) followed by a duet with famed Israeli percussionist Gadi Seri (a frequent accompanist in the group of Israeli singing sensation Noa) in a piece inspired by travelling through the Negev desert. Initially both Seri and Joubran were to feature on the same track but, due to different rhythm styles, decided to have two separate pieces.
The fourth excerpt is the first guitar-pipa duet ever performed of a popular Chinese melody – with Skolnick and pipa virtuoso Yihan Chen playing on a variation of Wang Huiran’s tune Dance of the Yi People as “Return of the Yi People” and the colorful landscapes featured in the video are indeed from the region of South China where the Yi people reside. There is a previous post in this blog on the pipa – an ancient Chinese instrument more than 2000 years old.
And finally, an excerpt of the popular signature tune of the project – the first track which Skolnick had composed in 2012 when he conceived of the Planetary Coalition series: Sleeping Gypsy, which I feel both happy and shy to mention was composed for your nomadic neighborhood artist and blogger – the Gypsy Geek :)
On Saturday November 29, 2014, about seven of the twenty seven musicians of Planetary Coalition will play at the Liberty Science Center coinciding with an event on the history and development of the acoustic and electric guitar. We also have a Planetary Coalition website where more details are available on the project.
I’ve said it here before, and I’ll say it again once more: Support independent authentic musicians, artists and Art! Make Music, Not War! :)