Imagining must matter and that's why

… I've got to give away some music!

By supporting Marian Call's recent, very successful Kickstarter campaign/game/thing, I received some download codes for her albums. I already have her albums, so I'd like to give these codes to people who lack them and want them.

The albums are Vanilla (her first), Got To Fly (the Firefly/Galactica-inspired one), Songs of the Month Project (miscellaneous playful weirdness), and Something Fierce (her most recent, the double album).

I have one download code for each, and I'd like to give each to a different person. If you would like a download code for one of these albums, please send me an email message and name the album you prefer. Distribution is first come, first served by email time stamp. Please name exactly one title; I'd prefer not to go all Condorcet.

I'll edit this post when the codes have been claimed. My email address is david at popehat dot com.

Edit: outcomes:

  • Vanilla: claimed
  • Vanilla: claimed
  • Vanilla: claimed
  • Got to Fly: claimed
  • Got to Fly: claimed
  • Songs of the Month: claimed
  • Songs of the Month: claimed
  • Something Fierce: claimed
  • Something Fierce: claimed
  • Something Fierce: claimed
  • Single: Love & Harmony (the Karaoke song, vocal version & instrumental version): unclaimed

Note: if you learn that your first request has already been claimed, please feel free to make a separate, second request for a different item. All gone!

Note #2: If you also received an extra download code during the Kickstarter and would like to find a good home for it, feel free to send it to me and I'll redistribute it to one of the people now flooding my inbox! :)

Note #3: A kind donor followed the advice in Note #2, and more codes were redistributed as shown above.

Note #4: Another donor, another couple of album codes. Email me if you haven't yet received a treat and would like one.

Thanks to Leif S. and to Tom B. for making some of these available!

Update: Marian Call's Kickstarter

Just an update on our recent coverage of Marian Call's Adventure Quest. The indie songstress wanted to perform for her fans in Europe and turned her kickstarter into a Zelda-like game of unlocking countries and novelty songs (e.g., Lehrer's Elements, Muppet stuff), all with the goal of performing abroad and cutting a live album for supporters of the endeavor. (Follow the link for details.)

The kickstarter, which ends in about 12 hours, has garnered over 750 backers and just shy of $55k so far. This makes it possible for Marian to perform in England, Wales, Germany, Be/Ne/Lux, Austria, Ireland, Czech, and Switzerland.  Scotland and Norway are on the brink of being unlocked as well, and if she exceeds $55k, Marian will be performing live at CERN (Particle Man by TMBG).

If you participated, thanks! This is art supported the new old fashioned way– by private patronage, individual gumption, and exploration of the new social graph.

Ravi Shankar's other spectacular daughter

Anoushka Shankar

By now we're all familiar, and rightly so, with Norah Jones. Song like Don't Know Why don't just make a splash; they leave an impression… or tear stains or a scar. I suppose most know, though some may have missed, that Norah is a daughter of sitar legend and World Heritage Site Ravi Shankar.

Less known, but well worth knowing, is the master's other daughter, the splendid and prodigiously talented sitar player Anoushka Shankar. He was, of course, her instructor and chief inspiration. Here they are together, she the padawan to his Yoda, in a charming mock lesson that grows more and more difficult:

That's a delight because of the backstory, but here's a beautiful video of Anoushka rocking the sitar hard as she and the brilliant tabla percussionist Tanmoy Bose drive their instruments to a satisfying musical climax:

In addition to being an ambitiously pure exponent of classical Indian music, Anoushka also aims her inquisitive musical creativity at various kinds of fusion. Thinking a gentle sitar/torchpop fusion featuring Anoushka and Norah would be the best thing ever? Ça existe! Here's the track Easy from Anoushka's album Breathing Underwater:

Soft and evocative.

Seeking to make good on a lifelong fascination, Anoushka fuses Indian with Flamenco on her latest album, Traveller (interview, Amazon). The result is rhythmically magnificent:

This is the work not only of skilled hands and performative savvy, but of a mind engaged deeply in the pursuit of that place where mastery, improvisation, calculation, and celebration converge. In the following brief interview, Anoushka provides a number of wonderful insights into this sort of creativity:



Marian Call is on a Quest

Marian Call Adventure Quest

Photo by Studio Valette,

A Kickstarter quest! Back in 2010, with help from her many fans, the charmingly geeky Alaskan songstress Marian Call managed to pull off a tour of all 50 states and a dash of Canada. In the wake of her album Something Fierce, Marian is now aiming to play Europe.

She has the music. She has the armor and weaponry. She has the kickstarter video (see below).  She has the adorably dorky Adventure Quest game by means of which the supporters of her kickstarter may unlock cities across Europe (i.e., bring her to them to play). She has a FAQ. She even has the publicly accessible thumbnail budget, whereby she establishes herself as the most open administration in history.

All she needs is support! The initial kickstarter amount takes her, and her guitarist, to England and Wales. Resources above that level unlock other countries, as shown on the game's map. Especially if you're a Popehat reader in Europe and a fan of Marian's work, please follow the links and see whether you'd like to play her game: (The kickstarter) (The game, rulebook, loot inventory, and adventuring opportunities)

Longtime readers of Popehat may recall my coverage of Marian's music– especially her lyrics– here (shallow) and here (deep).  I'll be supporting her quest, even though it means sending her far, far away to gives shows I won't attend. If you like her way of making, funding, spreading, and sharing art, then I invite you to join me!


Click to envidify!

La femme aux cordes nylon

Yes, you've heard Asturias by Albéniz a billion times. But have you ever heard it through the technical perfection and exquisitely gentle expression of Ana Vidović? Crank up the volume:

Although she's probably weary of hearing it, Ana was a child prodigy of sorts in her native Croatia. Maturity has brought interpretive sophistication to her impeccable execution. Listen, for example, to this ridiculously magnificent bit of Bach:

That's the Bourrée and Gigue from his Lute Partita No. 3 in E major, BWV 1006a, for those of you taking notes at home.

She'll be hopping among Asia, Australia, and the Americas in the coming months. Catch her if you can!


Radio Popehat II: Electric Boogaloo

This saturday, from 2-5pm United States eastern time, I will return to the radio station I blogged about earlier for a short, free-form radio show.  Readers interested becoming listeners, in hearing my Lord Humungusesque voice, or simply a collection of rather unusual music strung together with a logic unique to me, are encouraged to listen live at 89.3 fm (if you live in a the Research Triangle area of North Carolina) or online by clicking here.

As mentioned in the earlier post, I will take requests, either by telephone (I announce the number frequently during the show), or here in comments.  For instance, a song from Marian Call's new album will be played in the opening minutes of the show.  As a bonus, I won't be as technically inept as I was last time (when I hadn't played DJ for almost ten years), because I've done five shows in the past two months. Radio DJ'ing is not like riding a bike: you do forget, but I've knocked off the rust.

Request rules, since I wasn't clear enough about them the first time:

[Read more…]

She'll Sing For You, part 1


In taste and disposition, we at Popehat are a diverse lot. For example, Ken is on record as an avid aficionado of opera. Patrick, a former college dj to whom the young'uns still turn in a pinch, is known for his enigmatic and challenging sets. After our comrade Ezra withdrew to his special place, Patrick took up the mantle and now offers sporadic and stochastic coverage of the audial scene. Yes, Patrick even covers symphonies and opera to placate Ken. As for me, I'm a fan of John Dowland and Yma Sumac and Radiohead and Ravi Shankar and Fred Astaire. Eclectic, we.

There must be some overlap among us, though we haven't mapped it out. But this much we already know: we are all fans of Marian Call.  Even Ezra, peace be upon him, was a fan of Marian Call.

So my next post will be a deepish dive into Marian's music or, more accurately, her poetry. And in a third post, perhaps we'll have a secret toy surprise. But if you have no patience for close reading and texty-feely artgeek stuff — if you're the Shut Up And Sing type — then this post right here is for you. Here's the Executive Summary/tl;dr version of the Minimum You Oughtta Know™ before venturing forth:

  • Marian Call is an independent folk-funky, heartfelt, humorous, jazzy, torchy, quirky singer-songwriter currently thriving in Anchorage, which is really just North-North-North Seattle and thus a super natural fit for a Washington girl with a strong sense of place.
  • We at Popehat have a colossal (aggregate) IQ, and yet we're pretty sure she could lap us.
  • While majoring in choral composition at Stanford (the axe, the axe), Marian realized that her inner vector was driving or drawing her otherwhere. Recognizing that digital distribution had altered the fundamentals of the music industry, she decided to embrace a newly feasible unsigned, try-before-you-buy, pay-from-the-heart business model. Next thing you know, she's crankin' out compelling music and hoping to roll a hard six on her gamble that educated and motivated consumers of art will sustain the art(ists) they like (and thereby not let her starve).
  • Marian Call is a word nerd, but has become the preeminent Geek Chanteuse to a wide and motley array of awkwardly obsessive acolytes. She's more than this, of course, but clearly no less. Her saintly attributes include exotic percussion equipment (a rainstick, a manual typewriter named Madeleine, a tea can containing the cremated remains of Zippy, a story-laden family cat) and measured quantities of dark, malty beer. Her superpower is recognizing paradoxes or antinomies in human experience and distilling them to heart- and mind-moving simplicity without pretending to resolve them.
  • Taking seriously the business of enjoying close communion with her fans, Marian successfully completed within the 2010 calendar year a seat of the pants, fan-semi-coordinated tour of all 50 states, several Canadian provinces, and a selection of realms in cyberspace.
  • During and after her tour, she worked on her third fully-fledged production piece: Something Fierce. She released this double album into crit-space just a few days ago (fancy lyrics, plain lyricsmusic). Give it a listen! If you enjoy it, give it a purchase! (Cool cuts: 34681218, etc!)
  • If you are a MacArthur nominator, I would like to point out that Marian Call is just, verdant, and peaceful.
  • ProTip: You can also still listen to/enjoy/buy her album Vanilla and her commissioned Firefly/Galactica album Got To Fly.

That's the wakizashi; the katana comes next time.  Meanwhile, listen to Marian Call. She'll sing for you:

… And here's Part Two.