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March 20, 2011


Non-Western musical languages are also relatively easy to learn for those with an open mind. When I was in Japan, I studied Noh chanting and dance for five months -- probably the most rewarding thing I did over there. I learned the libretto for one whole play, Hagoromo, and the emotion of it did come through despite the extremely recondite nature of the music and the fact that the words were in classical Japanese.

Thanks, Dave. I didn't want what I wrote here to be totally western-centric and I'm glad to have your perspective on Japanese traditional music.

Very moving description.

We were at a concert with Richard Margison (a Canadian operatic tenor) and Kinza Tyrrell (pianist) a few nights ago and had a similar experience though I could not have expressed it as well as you do. Certainly the Japanese were much in all our thoughts and a dedication of a piece was made by the artists. I loved what Kinza said about how art can help us grieve and at the same time find solace.

Well put, Beth. What other language reaches so deep into the soul, lifting and carrying us through the hard times, raising our hearts in celebration of the good times, connecting us in its power and beauty with generations of people across time and space.

What a beautiful piece.

When I saw that it is a contribution for the Language and Place blog, I thought I would mention I have just started reading Keith Basso's Wisdom Sits in Places: landscape and language among the western apache. It's about place names and stories about places. It's interesting even though I haven't read much yet.

Wonderful post plus i got to hear Kiri.I speak no japanese but when appropriate with Japanese clients i have used Arigato..Thank you.. but i think in japanese its a little more complicated than that i just forget where i put the explanation of the translation

"What we experienced last night was not a question of extraordinary music or performance, but of the unity of emotion that music can evoke." I'd like to learn more about music just for the experience you describe here. Lovely post, Beth.

I found this post through the Language/Place blog. I'm glad I did because this is a beautiful piece of writing and I agree about the power that music has to cross boundaries, cultures and languages.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.