Category Archives: Architecture & Art

Serenade in Paris

Rather than hide from yet another birthday, we flew east and I claimed it a few hours earlier in 2011. My birthday in Paris included a surprise serenade in front of Notre Dame Cathedral by a crowd-pleasing men’s chorus. Birthdays aren’t so bad…

Check out the video. These guys are exceptional performers, masterfully led by a mysterious tall brunette in a purple fedora.

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Featured Photo: Gaudi to Gaudi

Featured Photo: Gaudi to Gaudi (Parc Guell; Barcelona, Spain)

Can you spot the tiny steeples of Sagrada Familia to the left of center of the circle in the gate (click the photo for a better view)? We walked from there. And then back. And then on back to our hotel again (maybe another three miles more each way). Barcelona is a very walkable city. And while we might have taken that idea to the extreme, the journeys to our destinations revealed more of the city’s inner nature to us. This photo taken from Parc Güell in Barcelona, Spain links one Antoni Gaudi creation to another and provided visible perspective to our day’s adventures.

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The Music of Chinatown San Francisco

Erhu

West from Clay St; Chinatown SF

Alongside the tourists, wistful melodies meander the streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown. The fluid tones are familiar to me, heard before in movie soundtracks and traditional Chinese music, but the instrument is not.

Erhu musicianThe “erhu” or two-stringed fiddle has the shape of a crude golf club or croquet mallet, but in the hands of a practiced musician, produces sweet haunting notes that glide like a soft insistent breeze. Played vertically with the sound box resting on the left upper thigh, the instrument has a range of three octaves. The bow hair is permanently inserted between two strings, and tones are produced as the musician slides the bow against the strings at right angles to the upright neck.

Intensity

The gentleman in the photograph played elegantly and kindly paused to show me how the erhu is played.

Listen: Traditional Chinese Erhu Music Samples

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