Category Archives: music

A man raps to his cat (and a poll)

Well, it looks as if the government is going to shut down in about 8.5 hours. If you were going to go to the Smithsonian today, do it now.  But first, place your bets here, then I’ll show you a cat rapper: Your reward for voting: Moshow the Cat Rapper making up a spontaneous rap […]

The origin of human music? Male palm cockatoos use a stick to beat rhythmically on hollow trees

The palm cockatoo, Probosciger aterrimus, is a gorgeous bird found in New Guinea, the Aru Islands of Indonesia, and northern Australia. They can live for ages; there’s one report that a female gave birth for the first time at age 65, though I’m not sure I believe it since the oldest confirmed age in captivity is 56, […]

Music from last night’s wedding celebration

As I mentioned earlier, last night I went to a wedding celebration at Jawaharlal Nehru University in South Delhi. The son of two of my good friends from India got married in Calcutta about a week ago, and there had to be a celebration in Delhi as well, for that’s where the groom’s parents work. […]

Sunday: Hili dialogue

by Grania and Jerry In India today the Google Doodle celebrates a national celebrity, Mohammed Rafi, a prolific and famous movie singer born on this day in 1924 (he died in 1980). From the very first time when Indian movies featured singing actors , virtually all of that singing was done not by the actors […]


Goodbye for the nonce, but not for good. I am cooling my tuchas at O’Hare, and we board in half an hour. When this post goes up, my plane will be on the runway. Next stop: Delhi (after 19 hours—oy!) The good news is that although TSA ran their hands up my legs, they didn’t […]

Reconstructed music of ancient Greece

Reader Gravelinspector sent this 15-minute video and the comments below; I found that listening to what the ancient Greeks may have heard as their music was fascinating. How did they get the melodies? Watch the video!  Now a lot of the music is improvised, but we do have a starting point. From Gravelinspector: This is […]

Johnny Hallyday died

If you’re not European you probably haven’t heard of Johnny Hallyday, but think of him as the French Elvis with a decidedly French romantic strain. Having lived in France for a year in total, I know of him, though I wasn’t a huge fan. But many, many people were, and I’m saddened to report that […]

Two by Bonnie Raitt

The younger folk, I’ve learned, don’t know who Bonnie Raitt is, which is not only a damn shame, but makes me feel old: Raitt was born just a month before me, and I gauge how I’m doing by how she’s doing. (Does anybody else do that? Meryl Streep is about my age as well.). At […]


This song was written in 1969 by Leon Russell and Bonnie Bramlett, and first recorded by Delaney & Bonnie. But the definitive version was by Karen Carpenter, and so I’ll show this as a second tribute to Leon Russell, who died exactly a year ago after a heart attack.  When Bette Midler performed this on the Tonight […]

A cat performs John Cage

UPDATE: I need three more American cat photos to make ten. Response was poor, I’m sad to say.   Here’s Nola the Cat, one of the stars of Chicago’s Acro-Cats, performing John Cage’s famous (non)piece 4’33”. Look, if it’s applauded when a human does it, why should it be considered as any less good when a […]