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April 2011

Tunes for a Monday Morning

Today's tune is a fabulously wacky, jazzy version of the old Anglo/Scots/Irish folk song "Mad Tom of Bedlam," performed by the New-York-based singer Charlene Kaye (with thanks to Amal El-Mohtar for the link).

This is, by the way, one of the videos featured on the Music page of the new website for the Bordertown Series. (And just to loop everything in this post together, Amal is one of the writers in the new Bordertown book.) My brief for creating the Bordertown Music page was to chose musicians and bands who would go down well with the kids of Bordertown -- largely (but not exclusively) musicians who use traditional music (Celtic, Gypsy, Klezmer, Latin, etc.) in unusual and contemporary ways. It was hard to chose just a few videos -- I've probably overloaded the page with too many already! -- and no doubt other Bordertown readers would make entirely different selections. Please feel free to give us your own Bordertown play list, or to let us know what deserving bands we've overlooked, in the Comments section of the Bordertown Music page.

Getting back to "Mad Tom of Bedlam" (aka "Bedlam Boys"), Irish singer Heidi Talbot has also recorded a good version of the song, which is far more traditional in her rendering. In the video below, she performs it along with two other distinguished folkies, Kris Drever and John McCusker.

I'll end today with two more versions of the tune, the first from Scotland's Old Blind Dogs. The second is the old, now-classic version by the English roots band Steeleye Span.

Spring unfolds at Bumblehill

Garden 3

"It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart."  - Rainer Marie Rilke

Garden 2

Garden 4

Garden 5

"Obviously a garden is not the wilderness but an assembly of shapes, most of them living, that owes some share of its composition, it’s appearance, to human design and effort, human conventions and convenience, and the human pursuit of that elusive, indefinable harmony that we call beauty. It has a life of its own, an intricate, willful, secret life, as any gardener knows. It is only the humans in it who think of it as a garden. But a garden is a relationship, which is one of the countless reasons why it is never finished."  - M.S. Merwin

Garden 6

Garden 7

Dandlion fluffTilly's dandelion fluff eyebrows (photo by Howard)

"To laugh often and much; to win the affection of intelligent people and the affection of children;to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."  - Harry Emerson Fosdick


Another Bordertown Contest!

Borderland elf by Iain McCaig  If you act fast, you have a third opportunity for winning an Advance Reading Copy of Welcome to Bordertown (in addition to the two contests I posted yesterday), over on Dark Roast, Emma Bull's LJ page.

"All you have to do to win," Emma says, "is tell me, in the comments to this post [on the Dark Roast blog], how you would find your way to Bordertown, if you decided to run away, too. Points for originality (of course!), humor (though I'm fussy), and an overall sense of "I'm having fun!". I'll judge the entries, because I'm like that. "

I recommend reading the answers that have been left on the post so far, which are wonderful. The contest ends tomorrow, Thurday April 21.