music

Musical Space: Amateurs

Nov 27, 2012
Reverend Guitars

I'm told that a century ago the average American could sing 300 folk songs. Not too surprising, since back then, if you wanted music, you probably had to make it yourself.

Wichita's James Paul is a solo musician but he can claim deep support from some fellow performing artists--his family.

It's easy to hear some musical influences in Wichita singer-songwriter James Paul's music. Gospel and soul are clear touchstones. But there are also touches of folk and country music, elements, he says, that came from two of his biggest direct influences, his mother and father.

Into It: Vinyl Records

Jun 12, 2012

Mark Foley explores the joys of vinyl.

For the past decade, vinyl records have been making a comeback. Today, LPs are the fastest-growing medium for recorded music. One estimate of sales for last year is four million—impressive in an industry that has been shrinking since the early 1980s.

Briana O'Higgins

A Wichita State University professor of organ has been awarded one of France’s most distinguished titles by the country’s Minister of Culture and Communications.

The title, Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, or Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, was given to WSU’s Lynne Davis and recognizes influential artists and writers who have contributed to and encouraged French art and literature around the world.

Christmas has hundreds of songs. Thanksgiving has “Over the River and Through the Wood.” New Year’s has “Auld Lang Syne” and Easter has “Here Comes Peter Cottontail.” But Halloween has zilch.

So here’s a song for Halloween. Played, appropriately I think, on the scariest instrument—the banjo.

This is a list of each scary thing that can frighten you this Halloween:

A letter for you from the IRS
A store-bought cantaloupe
Yet another GOP presidential debate
To drain your soul of hope

“Late in the evening, about sundown
High on the hill, up above the town
Uncle Pen played the fiddle; Lord, how it’d ring
You could hear it talk, you could hear it sing.”

Have you ever tried to play a violin? It’s crazy hard. There are no frets on the fingerboard, so you have nothing except your ear to tell you whether you are putting your fingers in the proper places. Meanwhile, your other hand is sawing the taught, stretched horsehairs of a violin bow across those very same strings. Horrible, shrieking noises ensue for the first few weeks, or months, or—sometimes—years. The closest thing to that sound I can think of might be something like what would occur if a high-pitched dentist drill was being applied to the teeth of a cat in heat.

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