Percussionist Marlon Brando Patented His Invention for Tuning Conga Drums

≡ Category: Music, Technology, Television |Leave a Comment

Maybe you knew about Marcel Duchamp’s passion for chess. But did you know about Marlon Brando’s passion for conga drums? Longtime fans may have first picked up on it in 1955, when the actor gave a microwave-link television tour of his Hollywood Hills home to Edward R. Murrow on Person to Person.

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Listen to the Oldest Song in the World: A Sumerian Hymn Written 3,400 Years Ago

≡ Category: History, Music |25 Comments

In the early 1950s, archaeologists unearthed several clay tablets from the 14th century B.C.E.. Found, WFMU tells us, “in the ancient Syrian city of Ugarit,” these tablets “contained cuneiform signs in the hurrian language,” which turned out to be the oldest known piece of music ever discovered, a 3,400 year-old cult hymn.

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Johnny Cash Reads the Entire New Testament

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The best gospel recordings—by Aretha Franklin, The Staples Singers, The Carter Family, even Elvis—hum with a deep sincerity that can be truly moving, despite the unintentionally funny earnestness of ballads like “He Touched Me” (not to mention some of those album covers).

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Watch John Coltrane Turn His Handwritten Poem Into a Sublime Musical Passage on A Love Supreme

≡ Category: Music, Poetry |4 Comments

On Vimeo, James Cary describes his video creation:
A few years ago, knowing I absolutely adored the John Coltrane album, “A Love Supreme” my wife gave me this incredible book by Ashley Kahn : “A Love Surpreme/The Story of John Coltrane’s Signature Album.

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5 Musical Guests Banned From Saturday Night Live: From Elvis Costello to Frank Zappa

≡ Category: Music, Television |4 Comments

A defining television moment of my generation—Sinead O’Connor’s infamous ripping up of a picture of Pope John Paul II on live television after an a cappella performance of Bob Marley’s “War”—was as baffling to most as it was offensive to many. (O’Connor offered many eloquent explanations for the act—mostly ignored.

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David Bowie Stars in a Classic Performance of Bertolt Brecht’s Baal (1982)

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I don’t quite know why I instinctively associate David Bowie with Bertolt Brecht, but maybe the city of Berlin has something to do with it. The English rock star moved there in 1976 and (in collaboration with Brian Eno) recorded his influential “Berlin trilogy” of albums – Low, “Heroes”, and Lodger.

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The Art of Mapping Music: Mike Hamad’s 200 Schematics of Songs by Phish, Pink Floyd & The Dead

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Mike Hamad, a music writer for The Hartford Courant, has a deep and abiding love for Phish. He also has a talent for drawing “schematics” or maps that turn the experience of listening to music into something visual.

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Watch 1970s Animations of Songs by Joni Mitchell, Jim Croce & The Kinks, Aired on The Sonny & Cher Show

≡ Category: Animation, Music, Television |1 Comment

The Sonny and Cher Show aired in the years right before I was born. Not only do I have no memory of it, of course, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an entire episode, either in re-runs or on the internet.

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Sonny Rollins Describes How 50 Years of Practicing Yoga Made Him a Better Musician

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Indian mystic and philosopher Patanjali supposedly created modern yoga by transmitting his doctrine and disciplines to seven sages.

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Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones & The Beatles Played on a 3-String Electric Mountain Dulcimer

≡ Category: Music |1 Comment

My parents always seemed to me to represent two very different strains of sixties counterculture. My mom loved Peter, Paul and Mary, Appalachian folk and bluegrass, and played the dulcimer and autoharp. My dad loved psychedelic rock, and had an extensive collection of Zeppelin, Beatles, Floyd, and Hendrix records.

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