1/16/17: Monday Funday Dance Party

Way back in 2005, a man named Dr. Cliff Arnall looked at things like weather, debts following the holidays, and all those New Years resolutions we haven’t been following, and came up with a date for the most Depressing Day of the Year. It’s the third Monday in January, if you want to mark your calendar.

You can find out more in The Telegraph:

Blue Monday 2017 could be bluest ever, says expert behind equation

This year is slated to be extra depressing, what with Trump and Brexit, and all those celebrities who died in the past year.

Anyway, in my mind, that’s all hooey. I am a lady with depression, and although the illness and the mood are different things, I know a thing or two about both of them. Let’s all decide to make today the most awesome Monday of 2017 – until next Monday, of course.

Also marking the third Monday in January in the U.S. is a holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He died before I was born, and oh God, I wish he was still here with us today.

mlk-jr-earnoize-11617

Photo: The Seattle Times

9/26/16: Monday Funday Dance Party!

It’s one of those rough allergy mornings, the kind where you feel like all the sinus cavities in your head have been filled with cement.

In times like these, all I can say is: thank goodness for Gloria Estefan.

The video’s fun, too. Yes, ladies really had hair like that back in the 80’s. And grumpy foreign ambassadors could always be relied on to fall prey to the seductive rhythms of a Miami evening.

Image: Royalty-free, courtesy of British Museum

9/12/16: Monday Funday Dance Party!

If you’re on the East Coast, it’s pushing 3PM right now. Which means it’s just about time for some B-52’s.

See if you can get a conga line going around the office.

And BTW, the whole album is great. Treat yourself to a copy for the next time it’s 3PM and you need a conga line.

 

 

Image: JD Hancock. Creative Commons License 2.0

5/23/16: Monday Funday Dance Party!

There. Now you’ll be singing this to yourself all day long. I know I will.

Back in the late 90’s, even jaded grunge enthusiasts had to begrudgingly (be-grungily?) admit how much fun this song is. And for the younger crowd, this was a perfect pop-crush band; three cute brothers, and one for every age range.

Twenty years on, the Hansens aren’t super-huge mega rockstars, but they’re out there playing music, hosting songwriting get-togethers, and starting up a brewery (yes, one beer is called “MmmmHop”). Here’s an article from Vulture on what they’re doing these days:

Hanson on the 20th Birthday of ‘MMMBop’

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to mmmbop my way to the kitchen for some more coffee.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

4/4/16: Monday Funday Dance Party!

Written by Randy Newman, the original version of “Mama Told Me Not to Come” was recorded by Eric Burdon, and of course Three Dog Night had a big hit with it in 1970. But right now, this version by Tom Jones + Stereophonics is my favorite.

Great, great, singing, and I love the guitar solo. Great outro, too.

In the intense research process that goes into my weekly “Monday Funday Dance Party” selection, I came across this video featuring Tom Jones, Luciano Pavarotti, and a large choir of small children, performing “Delilah.”

Two things come to mind:

1.) When it comes to personal aplomb, not to mention vocal projection, Pavarotti has nothing on Mr. Jones. Nothing.

2.) Why did they pick a song about infidelity and murder for a large choir of small children to sing? Just curious.

Photo by Miika Silfverberg, Creative Commons License 2.0

3/28/16: Monday Funday Dance Party!

Now you’ve done it. You’ve got me started on the Nicholas Brothers. Harold and Fayard. Genuises.

Fred Astaire told the brothers that this sequence (from the movie “Stormy Weather”) was the greatest movie musical number he’d ever seen. The virtuosity of their moves is just stunning.

And yes, that is Cab Calloway leading the orchestra.

Harold and Fayard’s parents were musicians who performed at a theater in Philadelphia. Because of this, they were able to observe the top African-American dancers of the day, and learned to dance by copying their moves. While still in their teens (actually, Harold was 11), they were performing at the Cotton Club.

Here’s a clip from 1936; Fayard would have been 21 or 22, and Harold would be about 15.

And here they dance with Gene Kelly in “The Pirate,” their last film. Both Kelly and co-star Judy Garland had to fight to get the brothers into the movie, and this sequence was cut from the film for many theaters in the South.

Okay, just one more. This is from the movie “Orchestra Wives,” and that’s Glenn Miller on the trombone.

 

Photo by Miika Silfverberg. Creative Commons License 2.0

3/21/16: Monday Funday Dance Party!

Sometime after my third cup of coffee, I said to myself, “Why not play some ukrabilly?”

I saw this for the first time on Facebook. Facebook’s translations can be pretty rough, but thanks to one of the comments, I was able to find out that this is a Ukranian band called OT VINTA.

Check out this one; it’s even sillier:

OT VINTA’s website is http://ot-vinta.com. They have other songs posted that are more serious, and feature more of a traditional rock setup. But these are great – how can you feel sad when you’re dancing in a washtub?

 

Featured Image: “Dancing With the Storms” by JD Hancock. Creative Commons License 2.0

3/14/16: Monday Funday Dance Party!

These are the Toelegu Pan Pipers from Toelegu Village, Havulei District, Isabel Province, the Solomon Islands.

When I talk about “Monday Funday Dance Party,” I’m serious about the dancing. If you’re in a place where you can cut a rug a little bit, you’ll just feel wonderful. And I say this with full knowledge that I am a terrible dancer.

I’m very impressed that these guys can play and dance at the same time. The dances themselves are not very difficult – even I could do that, after some practice. Of course, if I tried to play the pan flute at the same time, I’d just fall down. That’s one too many things for my brain to handle.

Check out the lower-pitched instruments and how they are being played, with those paddle things. I’ve seen Blue Man Group do something almost identical, but with PVC pipes (you’ll see it at about 1:30 in this video):

And Harry Partch’s Instrumentarium features instruments that also used pitched bamboo – the bamboo marimba and spoils of war come to mind.

http://www.harrypartch.com/#!instruments/csqv

You could make your own similar instruments, if you have access to PVC pipe and something to cut them to pitch (kids, and many adults, don’t try this. Too many opportunities to get hurt). And maybe some repurposed flip-flops for the paddles?

It should definitely be easy to make those cool shakers they’re wearing on their ankles. And so much fun while you’re dancing.

Featured Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.