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Tags  →  music

Another very nice Christmas advert, this one from John Lewis (you can find more here)

Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous (and de-Trumped) New Year

I have often listened to this lovely song sung in French, and although the sense of it was clear to me I didn't get all of the words - so finally I can listen and read at the same time (apologies to French speakers for any errors I made in editing the available online lyrics).

There are many (poor) translations on the web, but this song simply does not translate into English, even if its words do. Only in French (or some other romance language, perhaps) could one sing about sensuality like this and not sound clunky or vulgar.

The first image above, by the way, is by the Portuguese doctor, surgeon and photographer José António Pascoalinho.

If you click either image you will get a selection of videos of Céline Dion singing this beautiful song.

A beautiful song for troubled times, penned by the Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith and sung here by the lovely Katie Melua.

Click the image if you would like to play it.

She performed another version of this this song for the Titanic Commemoration Concert in 2012, featuring the Irish musician/composer Davy Spillane on low whistle, which you might also really like. You can play it here.

Peia's “Machi”, a beautiful hi-def video from her album Four Great Winds

Peia Luzzi, who currently lives in Portland, Oregon, describes herself as “a vocalist, composer and Sacred Song preserver of traditions that span across the globe.”

Thanks to my younger daughter for this one!

“I Will Always Love You”

An amazing child's cover of the Whitney Houston classic - that kid is awesome!

From the beautiful and uplifting pages of Chaotiqual:

which reminded me of this great song, which I always associate with the movie Sleepless in Seattle:

sung beautifully here by the Russian-born jazz vocalist Sophie Milman:

If you like this:

[Random acts of kindness (links)]
[Pay it forward (from my web page)]

If you like violin music, you will really enjoy the virtuoso performance of 11-year-old Sirena Huang from Connecticut, which ranges from classical to folk tunes. However, don't miss Sirena's charming short interlude talks, which start about 9 minutes and 16½ minutes in. Enjoy!

Wonderful video of a cat concerto... The cat really is playing the piano - sure, the video has been edited, but not CGI'd - and a marvellous orchestral accompaniment added.

A real treat for music and/or cat lovers - don't miss it!

Thanks again to my younger daughter for this one!

A collection of soothing music videos, arranged as a playlist, perfect for insomniacs... thanks, Little Lu Lu!

(Click the image to play)

This great photo of one of the Dutch windmills at Kinderdijk (from Wikimedia Commons, click image for source) reminded me of Noel Harrison's version of Michel Legrand's song "Windmills of Your Mind" (“Les Moulins de Mon Coeur”) that appeared in the original 1968 version of The Thomas Crown Affair.

It wasn't a great movie, I have to say, but it had much to enjoy, notably the sexual chemistry between Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway (including their famously erotic chess game).

If you'd like a nostalgia trip to the 60's, you can watch the movie's glider sequence, which was accompanied by an abridged version of Noel Harrison's song, here (or click the image to the right).

Noel Harrison performs the complete version of his song here.

BTW: The girlfriend watching Thomas Crown gliding is played by the beautiful Dutch fashion model Astrid Heeren (a purely decorative role in this movie).

In searching for videos of Michel Legrand's original, I also came across this very nice video of the instrumental version.

In complete contrast...

Later on, the Muppets produced a gloriously funny interpretation of the same song, which anyone who has suffered from seriously jangled nerves (or is only “calm on the outside”) can relate to... you can watch that here (or click the image to the left).


If you like this...

[Night photo of the Dutch windmills at Kinderdijk]
[Great music and style from the 60's: Claude Lelouch's film Un Homme et une Femme, with music by Francis Lai]

“I will be there”, one of Katie Melua's most beautiful songs (full orchestral version, I like the album version even better)
(If, like me, you are getting problems with the audio on this particular VIMEO video, try here)

“What a wonderful world”, a special duet between Katie Melua...

...and the much-missed Eva Cassidy (as well as a non-performing appearance by the French rock star Johnny Hallyday)

Katie Melua is one of my favourite singer/songwriters. Some years ago I was lucky to see her perform live at Kenwood House, Hampstead on a beautiful summer's evening, hearing several new numbers that were later to appear on her album Piece by Piece.

A live, exhilarating performance by Jesse Cook and friends, a medley of tracks from Jesse's album (and full video) The Rumba Foundation.

“The Rumba Foundation” (see the bottom of this post) is essentially a musical lesson in Rumba Flamenca, which could almost translate as “how to enjoy life”, and the various fusions around it.

Jesse Cook is not just an awesomely talented guitar player, but an ambassador for world music and an extraordinary team leader. He is Canadian, and it happens that my other favourite Rumba Flamenca artist, Govi, is a German who spent 8 years in India. Both of these people obviously have Latin deep in their souls!

If you like this, do NOT miss...

[The Rumba Foundation - Full Video (59 Minutes)]

“Enjoy this beautiful piece with an appropriately awe-inspiring slideshow”

“The Adagio in G minor for violin, strings and organ continuo, is a neo-Baroque composition popularly attributed to the 18th century Venetian master Tomaso Albinoni, but in fact composed almost entirely by the 20th century musicologist and Albinoni biographer Remo Giazotto.” (thanks, Antonio!)

The apparently ageless Dolly Parton at age 68, wowing the crowds at Glastonbury 2014

The Mexican singer Malukah (real name Judith de los Santos) has a beautiful voice, and she has made some very popular cover versions of songs from computer games like Skyrim (among others), as well as music from other kinds of popular entertainment.

I particularly liked this version of the Game of Thrones Theme and “The Children” from the same popular TV series, as well as her recording of “Misty Mountains” from the film The Hobbit.

You can currently download several of her songs for free at her web site, or watch and listen to her here on Youtube.

The 13 year old child prodigy Leung Pak-yue giving a great performance of Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue” on a harmonica

Thanks to Bluesemotion for this one!

If you saw that wonderful “life is good” movie Enchanted April, you will remember the lovely theme tune that George Briggs (Michael Kitchen, perhaps best known for Foyle's War) plays on the oboe.

The tune is Elgar's Chanson de Matin, which you can listen to on this video in an orchestral version, accompanied by many of my favourite paintings by J.M.W. Turner.

Just what it says... nice and soothing to play in the background (opens in a separate window).
Thanks to Adrian von Ziegler for this free gift!

This is the most charming and delightful video that I have watched in a long time.

Camille Roux writes: “Hello, with my little brother we realized a trumpet-guitar cover of a [female] French singer (we're french) : Joyce Jonathan - Ca ira.”

Enjoy it for the music and the wonderful antics of this lovely pair. Also, I recommend another of Camille's videos, C'est écrit.

If (like me) you have never heard of Joyce Jonathan, try her video Je ne sais pas - you won't be sorry!

Another of Gatorindo's many great shares (click his tag above for a lot more good stuff that I've had from him). Thanks again, David!

Screenshots from a beautiful NASA video - click any image to play

Thanks to my friend Sandy for this one!

If you like this...

[LUX AETERNA, a beautiful video with music from Cristóbal Vila]

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

My American family is into computer games and music (among other things). They always have something good to show me when I visit, like this...

A scene from the standard Skyrim game (click the image to read a major Wikipedia article, and there's a good review here)

As I understand it, Skyrim has an open architecture, and a whole community (the Skyrim Nexus) is involved in extending and enhancing it - this is an example from Skyrim Visuals and Graphics enhancements, an image that I found here (click the image above for a full-size version)

And then there is the music from Skyrim...

The Mexican singer Malukah (real name Judith de los Santos) has a beautiful voice, and she has made some very popular cover versions of songs from Skyrim (among others) - this one is The Dragonborn Comes (and a video of a Skyrim trailer with the same track wil be found here)

...and here is Malukah singing another Skyrim song, one of my favourites, Tale of the Tongues

You can download many of Malukah's songs as MP3s, including these, free from her web site.

My American family is really into Anime (as well as music and computer games, see my next post). They recently introduced me to Anime Music Videos (AMVs) which are really an art form within an art form. They showed me this hilarious example. It's a lot of fun - do play it.

A celebration of the Curiosity Rover Mission, with beautiful images and music

Thanks to ensemble5 (whose beautiful pages are well worth visiting).

[How far is it to Mars? (nice video animation)]

“Nima Dialla”, some really nice fusion music by a very talented ensemble - Bill Frisell (from the USA, one of the world's foremost jazz guitarists), Djelimady Tounkara (from Mali, one of Africa's foremost guitarists), Greg Leisz (American multi-instrumentalist, playing lap and pedal steel guitars, guitar and mandolin), Jenny Scheinman (American jazz violinist) and Sidiki Camara (from Mali, now lives in Norway, contemporary percussionist/composer), performing at London's Barbican Theatre.

Thanks (as so often, see his tag at the top of this post) to Gatorindo (David) for this one. Click the image to see his original post, and to play the video.

I love this... shared some time ago by a kind friend whose name I have mislaid - if it was you, please let me know!

A truly beautiful video, blending science, nature and spirituality, from Cristóbal Vila
(click any screenshot to play, opens in a separate window)

Thanks, Elegantlady (Roberta)!

If you like this...

["Nature by Numbers", another beautiful video by Cristóbal Vila]

The beautiful voice of Cesária Évora, who died a year ago at the age of 70 in her native Cape Verde

One of many great shares by Gatorindo - thanks, David!

This is a wonderful site where you can listen to free music with videos - typically 40-50 tracks (selection may vary from visit to visit) from almost any artist you want.

Start here, type in the name of the artist you want to hear, select from the drop-down list (even if it doesn't seem necessary), and away you go!

You can skip tracks, or go straight to a track that you like from the playlist. From a playlist page you can type in the name of another artist that you want to listen to, or select your next artist from a list of suggestions. That last feature has the nice effect of introducing you to other artists that you might like, based on what you are playing now ( also does this, but in a different way).

Here, mostly for my own benefit, is a somewhat eclectic (and growing) list of artists that I really like listening to from this site (you may have to wait a few seconds after clicking one of these before the corresponding playlist opens):

ABBA ~ Abbey Lincoln ~ Alicia Keys ~ Amy Winehouse ~ Andrea Bocelli ~ Bert Kaempfert ~ Blackmore's Night ~ Blondie ~ Carpenters ~ Chris Botti ~ Chris Spheeris ~ Diana Krall ~ Dire Straits ~ Eddi Reader ~ Emmylou Harris ~ Enya ~ Eric Clapton ~ Eva Cassidy ~ Fleetwood Mac ~ Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass ~ Govi ~ Imogen Heap ~ James Galway ~ Jesse Cook ~ Katie Melua ~ Mark Knopfler ~ Melody Gardot ~ Nanci Griffith ~ Natalie Imbruglia ~ Neil Diamond ~ Nick Drake ~ Nigel Kennedy ~ Paul Simon ~ Queen ~ Roberta Flack ~ Roy Orbison ~ Sara Bareilles ~ Sarah Blasko ~ Secret Garden ~ Simon & Garfunkel ~ Sophie Milman

Descriptions of this site that I have found suggest that selecting your next artist queues up that artist for when the current playlist is finished - hence "neverending". However with my PC setup, selecting the next artist jumps there immediately. That's no problem for me!

Thanks to saboma and s-reg for this one!

Should you want to return here...

[Permalink to this post]

Natalie Cole giving a wonderful live performance of "Smile", a song whose music was written by Charlie Chaplin for his 1936 movie Modern Times, the lyrics being added later for Natalie's father Nat King Cole's original recording...

...which you can listen to on this nice video (but I apologise in advance for the probably inappropriate advert that you may have to use the "mute" button for!)

On August 29th, a peak audience of 11.2m watched Channel 4's coverage of the London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony (from which my screenshots are taken), which was the biggest C4 audience in 10 years.

The ceremony featured some great and inspirational music. You can find the full event playlist here, and in what follows I provide some links to videos of the music, in some cases taken from the event itself (don't miss the last one!).

However you thought the opening ceremony of a Paralympics Games might start, it probably wasn't like this...

As the stadium became a Nebula, Professor Stephen Hawking, probably our greatest living physicist, invited us all to stretch our minds and our conceptions:

“Ever since the dawn of civilization, people have craved for an understanding of the underlying order of the world: why it is as it is, and why it exists at all.

“But, even if we do find a complete theory of everything, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations, and makes a Universe for him to describe?”

...a question that introduced a symbolic Big Bang...

...featuring the British umbrella motif that returns again and again, quirky and effective

Specially trained volunteers, many of them disabled, take to the air in an aerial dance to Rihanna's "Umbrella" [video links]

...introducing (from the air) Shakespeare's Miranda, played by the disabled radio actress Nicola Miles-Wildin, who will be led through a journey of discovery and enlightenment by Prospero, played by Sir Ian McKellen (whom the world will probably always see as Gandalf)

A sequence featuring The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first article of which is so relevant to this occasion

After the official opening by the Queen, and the entry of over 4,200 paralympians into the stadium (less a few with early events the next day)...

Let spirits soar… the blind soprano Denise Leigh and deaf actor Deepa Shastri bring the Paralympic motto – Spirit in Motion – to life in an original composition by Errollyn Wallen [video of this segment]

Lord Seb Coe, father of the London Olympic Games, equally committed to the London Paralympics. He began by looking back to Doctor Ludwig Guttmann's achievement at Stoke Mandeville. Among his words:

“[In setting up these Olympics and Paralympics] we determined that London 2012 would be the next great advance for the [paralympic] movement... and a landmark for people with disability everywhere.

“To [the] athletes I say: You will hear us. The enthusiasm for these Paralympics is extraordinary. The crowds will be unprecedented. These will be games to remember. And to my fellow countrymen and the millions watching around the world I add these final words: Prepare to be inspired. Prepare to be dazzled. Prepare to be moved by the London Paralympic Games of 2012.”

Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee. a British former Paralympic athlete and an obviously proud native of Bolton, Lancashire, said among other things:

“Tonight is a celebration of the development of the human spirit, a celebration of the Paralympic Movement coming home, and a celebration of dreams...

“In 1948 [Sir Ludwig Guttmann] organized the Stoke Mandeville Games, on a small piece of land sandwiched between the back of the hospital and the railway embankment...

“Most importantly, welcome to you, over 4,200 paralympians... you have before you some of the finest sporting stages on which to perform. Every step of the way you will be cheered on by the most passionate sports fans that you will have ever seen or heard. Your performances will inspire and excite the world. You will inspire not only a current generation here, but many generations to come. With record ticket sales, media and broadcasters, your stories and performances will challenge the way people think about themselves and how they think about others. You are all catalysts for change, and role models for an inclusive society. ... You not only have the ability to win medals in London, but you have the ability to change the world.... and remember... make sure you have fun!”

Eight members of the British under-22 wheelchair basketball team starting the ceremony of the raising of the Paralympic flag, to Elgar's Jupiter Suite from The Planets. The music was chosen as a universal anthem to inspire people from whichever country they may come from. [video links]

In an extraordinarily beautiful sequence, soprano Elin Manahan Thomas sings Handel's Eternal Source of Life Divine - absolutely wonderful [video links]

...and to that glorious music we were treated to a wonderful aerial ballet by six paralympic athletes (I am filled with admiration for everyone in this event who performed at what must have been a dizzying height)

This was followed by an equally inspiring segment where Birdy played Bird Gerhl (written by Antony Hegarty) [video links]

...while David Toole, later joined by Miranda, performs another wonderful dance that rises into the air.

The C4 coverage didn't show everything else going on at the same time, but you'll find another view if you follow the video links above.

Stephen Hawking introduced a section featuring the Large Hadron Collider, symbolically transformed into a collision of ideas.
I shall always remember these words of his:

“We are all different. There is no such thing as a standard or run-of-the-mill human being but we share the same human spirit.

“What is important is that we have the ability to create. This creativity can take many forms, from physical achievement to theoretical physics. However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”

This section featured a raw performance of Ian Dury's angry Spasticus Autisticus (once banned by the BBC). It seemed to fit in perfectly, perhaps because you have to face reality before you can make the world a better place (a good link here).

Royal Marine Commando Joe Townsend brings the Paralympic Torch into the arena via zip wire from the Orbit Tower, more than 350 feet up...

Only 5 months ago he was in Afghanistan, where he lost both legs to an IED. He hopes to compete as a paralympic triathlete in Rio.

Possibly the most amazing and inspiring handover of a torch ever seen (so far). This image is so extraordinary that you might think it has been photoshopped, but Joe is suspended, perfectly still, by wires from very far above. Joe handed over the torch to blind footballer David Clarke...

...and that beautiful cauldron was actually lit by Margaret Maughan, the oldest paralympian, who won gold in archery 52 years ago. She was treated by Doctor Ludwig Guttmann at Stoke Mandeville after a car accident in 1959, who introduced her to archery.

It's hard to think of a more uplifting, appropriate and inspiring climax than "I Am What I Am" performed by Beverley Knight (accompanied by Caroline Parker & Lizzie Emeh). You can watch it here - don't miss it!

...which turned the packed Olympic Stadium into one huge party... the centre of which stood the giant version of Marc Quinn's Alison Lapper Pregnant, the sculpture of the limbless woman that once looked down from the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square (see this excellent article).

This amazing ceremony has proved to the the beginning of an equally inspiring Paralympic Games, still going on as this is written (more posts to come!). In Britain, and in other countries whose broadcasters are giving them access, the Olympic party is happening all over again.

Disability? What we are watching in these Paralympics is ability, in spades.

[More links for the London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony]
[All of my posts on the London 2012 Paralympics]
[All of my posts on the London 2012 Olympics]

From my web site:

[The beautiful games]

I think about the life I live
A figure made of clay
And think about the things I lost
The things I gave away

And when I'm in a certain mood
I search the house and look
One night I found these magic words
In a magic book

Throw it away
Throw it away
Give your love, live your life
Each and every day

And keep your hand wide open
Let the sun shine through
'Cause you can never lose a thing
If it belongs to you

There's a hand to rock the cradle
And a hand to help us stand
With a gentle kind of motion
As it moves across the land

And the hand's unclenched and open
Gifts of life and love it brings
So keep your hand wide open
If you're needing anything

Throw it away
Throw it away
Give your love, live your life
Each and every day

And keep your hand wide open
Let the sun shine through
'Cause you can never lose a thing
If it belongs to you

Throw it away
Throw it away
Give your love, live your life
Each and every day

And keep your hand wide open
Let the sun shine through
'Cause you can never lose a thing
If it belongs to you

'Cause you can never lose a thing
If it belongs to you
You can never ever lose a thing
If it belongs to you

You can never ever lose a thing
If it belongs to you
You can never ever lose a thing
If it belongs to you

A beautiful song, written and beautifully sung by Abbey Lincoln, a jazz singer, actor and civil rights activist who was strongly influenced by Billie Holiday. Abbey died in August 2010.

If you like this, you will find a really interesting New York Times article about her life and work here.

Thanks again to ensemble5 for this one.

A beautiful romantic jazz number from the Mexican singer-songwriter and actress Ximena Sariñana.

Another wonderful share from Gatorindo (David) - if you click the image you will be taken to his own post, where you can read more information and play the video.

"Hope", directed and choreographed by Lionel Hun, in a performance inspired by his experiences in the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, with music by Olivier Milchberg (who also played and appeared in Cirque du Soleil)

A wonderful share from Gatorindo (David) - if you click the image you will be taken to his own post, where you can read more information and play the video.

A happy Korean pop-jazz foot-tapper, one of many delights in the fabulous music collection of Gatorindo (David)

"Follow me", a beautiful song by Kimiko Itoh, set to the music of Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez

From the soundtrack of the anime/computer animated science fiction film Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

One of many beautiful things to be found on the pages of ensemble5 (forwarded to me by Elegantlady (Roberta)).

Music by Jannis Zotos, Lyrics by Maria Polidouri. Maria Simoglou - vocal, Maria Anissegou - cello, Antonis Anissegos - piano. Live at the "B flat", Berlin

A beautiful piece of music, beautifully performed. Thanks to ensemble5 and Gatorindo (David) for this one!

A picture of the American jazz singer-songwriter Melody Gardot from the cover of her second album My One and Only Thrill

I was introduced to Melody (as to so much other good music) by Gatorindo (David), who shared a video of a track from this album called The Rain. If you haven't heard Melody before, try listening to this one.

If you like this...

[My posts on Sophie Milman]
[Gatorindo's jazz favourites - a superb collection]

"Wild Mountainside" by the Scottish singer-songwriter Eddi Reader MBE

One of many, many treasures to be found in Gatorindo's fabulous and wonderfully-documented music collection. Thanks, David!

One of many breathtaking (and sometimes beautiful) sports compilations put together with "epic music" by derDon1234

Thanks to my friend Louvain95 (Lou) for this one!

An extraordinary and beautiful performance by the young Dutch trumpet player Melissa Venema

Thanks to Elegantlady (Roberta) for another of her many generous and excellent shares.

"Sayonara", beautiful harp guitar music from Don Alder - thanks, Bluesemotion!

If you like this...

[Click the "harp guitar" or "soothing" tags!]

Great music from the English jazz composer and musician John Surman - thanks, Gatorindo (David)!

This is the coolest and funniest Christmas video that I have ever seen. However blue you are feeling, this will cheer you up!

I have posted this in previous years but (as usual) I can't resist doing it again.

The music, by the way, is sung by Clyde McPhatter (Santa) and The Drifters (reindeer). The animation is by Joshua Held.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

"Night and Day", a beautiful cool track by the Australian singer-songwriter Sarah Blasko, from her album
As Day Follows Night

One of many wonderful music shares from my friend Gatorindo (David).

Some nice art by Louis Ashton Knight, and nice music to go with it - thanks again, Elegantlady (Roberta)!

I had never heard of this 1997 film until it was shown recently on UK television. Directed by Clint Eastwood, it stars Kevin Spacey and John Cusack, supported by some other fine actors (and Clint's daughter Alison as the love interest). I was expecting a steamy Southern soap opera, but I was pleasantly surprised - one word to describe it might be "dignified", not a common attribute nowadays. (I'll certainly read the book, which sounds considerably more complex.)

The film opens and closes with an a capella version of "Skylark", sung by k.d. lang. The linked video is only about a minute long, but you can listen to a surprisingly good cover version (including a film clip) here.

The a capella style suits the film, but I still really like "Skylark" by Cleo Laine and James Galway, from their magical album Sometimes When We Touch (one of my treasured possessions from the days of vinyl).

A slide show of Gaudi's wonderful architecture, set to the music of Queen - thanks to aldchronicle56 (Allan) for this one!

A charming musical version of A.A. Milne's poem from Now We Are Six by singer-songwriter Melanie Safka,
sent to me by my friend Gatorindo (David)

If you like this...

[The Hoose at Pooh's Neuk]

This wonderfully cheerful, bouncy song was sent to me by my friend Gatorindo (David), who wrote:

"Poppy but fun, and you can understand all of the words... note the chick doing the Robot--not a retro Robot, but really doing it... Debbie went on to do great things with that voice..."

If you haven't visited David's great pages, there is no time like the present... and you can see all of my Gatorindo snaffles if you click his tag above.

A very popular light show, set to the equally popular duet by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman

Thanks to Elegantlady (Roberta) for another of her many generous and excellent shares.

(The original video shared (from which the screenshot comes) has been blocked in some countries - this is the next best I could find. Give it 25 seconds or so for the spectacle to get under way...)

"Hallelujah" by the (female) Canadian pop and country singer-songwriter k.d. lang - a song that I always associate with the sad parts of that great movie Shrek - thanks again, Elegantlady (Roberta)!

"Forever Autumn" by The Moody Blues, one of my favourite tracks - thanks, Elegantlady (Roberta)

If you're in this mood...


A very nice video featuring the work of Patricia van Lubeck, set to some glorious music which I am pretty sure is by Karl Jenkins - it is very like (but isn't) one of the tracks on "Adiemus"

"Patricia van Lubeck is a self-taught artist. Born in Amsterdam in 1965, she was a bookeeper until 2000 when she started the 21st century by becoming a fulltime professional artist. She moved to the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand in 2005 and since then her work has taken a new and exciting direction. Her works in recent years show landscapes and weird plant species which she calls her psychedelic gardens."

Patricia van Lubeck was one of Ritas's favourite artists, and you can listen to more of Karl Jenkins' beautiful music here.

Thanks to my friend Catcaley for this one!

I guess everyone has a "They're playing our song" favourite. This classic by Roberta Flack is mine! In the old days, we attended quite a few dances where the DJ's choice of this song would magically fill the previously sparsely-populated dance floor.

Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris performing live during their tour 'All the roadrunning'.
From the DVD 'Real Live Roadrunning' recorded at Gibson Amphitheatre 2006.

One of my all-time favourite songs, written by Mark Knopfler, and a great version of it.

Neil Diamond is one of the world's great performing artists (the third most successful in the charts after Elton John and Barbra Streisand), still going strong at 70.

In this beautiful track he transforms a catchy but banal pop hit that he wrote for the Monkees into a beautiful ballad. He also performed this version on the same tour in his July 2011 concert at London's huge O2 Arena, televised by BBC4.

"Time to Say Goodbye", one of Andrea Bocelli's most popular songs, on a great site that acts as a themed music-video jukebox (thanks for both the site and the track, Elegantlady (Roberta))

This track in the same sequence comes from a great music DVD called Under the Desert Sky, which I can strongly recommend to all Bocelli lovers.

"Juliette (Romantic Guitar)", a very nice track written and performed by Chris Spheeris
(The original video, from which the screen-shot comes, has been removed - I have found another)

The man himself (click for bio)

A sad farewell to Amy Winehouse, who was found dead on 23rd July 2011. A great young talent, tragically lost.

An extraordinary young talent who is thankfully still very much with us...

[Imogen Heap]

"De Rose en Rose - Slow Dance" by Chris Spheeris

A lovely piece of music, one of many beautiful things to be found on the delightful pages of gungorsanli.

If you ever had a special time dancing to this one, then I'm sure you will always remember it.

Thanks again, bluesemotion!

The romantic piano of John Sokoloff, with images to match - thanks, bluesemotion!

I really like Jesse Cook, and this is a particularly beautiful song with some beautiful images to go with it

[If you like this, try the 'rain' tag above...]

Yente has (among other things) some great art and music on her beautiful and thoughtful pages. A long visit is highly recommended!

I really liked these:

"Bird" by the Polish artist Leszek Andrzej Kostuj

"Birdie" by the Brazilian artist Caroline J. (~aeryael)

I heard singer-songwriter Clare Maguire recently on BBC's breakfast TV - she's an interesting character with a voice that is well worth listening to. I can see her becoming much better known in the future.

Previously on BBC Breakfast...

[Imogen Heap - a musical experience not to be missed]

Jake Shimabukuro plays "Bohemian Rhapsody" on a ukulele... an extraordinary performance on a happiness-bringing instrument (when played like this).

Thanks for sharing, Anitab!

If you like this, here is a really beautiful one...

["Somewhere Over The Rainbow" by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo]

"My Muse", a fine performance by the Texan Bluegrass singer and songwriter Sarah Jarosz, found on Comely1's very fine pages

I am delighted to say that Comely1 is now here on Categorian as tobeannounced

Adagietto, from Symphony No. 5 in C-Sharp Minor, 4th Movement, by Gustav Mahler

Thanks Catcaley for sending me this piece of music, one of the most beautiful ever written (IMO) - and a nice video too

Thanks to elegantlady for this nice chill out video (if the wrong video plays, swing your cursor to the left of the screen to select it - it's currently the 4th one)

There are some other very good HD chillout nature videos on this page

[Some of my soothing favourites if you're feeling jangled...]

Ilse Annoeska de Lange is a Dutch country and pop singer, better known as Ilse DeLange. I saw her recently on the BBC's Breakfast Show, and I suspect that she is going to become much better known internationally than she has been in the past. She has an attractive personality and sings great songs, and like most Dutch people of my acquaintance speaks English perfectly.

Here's a sample of her two styles (click images to play, videos will open in a separate window):

"I'm Not So Tough" (Pop)

"So Incredible" (Country)

The sixties were a fun time for me.

While I was a student I assembled a modest stereo system from a Garrard SP25 record deck, a build-it-yourself Heathkit valve amplifier, and home-made speaker cabinets housing Wharfedale Super 8's. I had it for many years and "Swingin' Safari" was one of my favourite vinyl records, partly because of its catchy rhythms and joyful penny-whistle melodies, and partly because the quality of the sound was so good.

Since losing my vinyl collection many years ago I have been waiting for this to be released on CD, and finally it has been (click the image if you're interested). As a nice touch, Polydor have printed the CD's top side so that it looks exactly like a miniature version of the vinyl record.

In today's digital age, a whole generation are turning their backs on CDs, and have probably never even seen a vinyl record. It's nice to have this one again.


"In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight...", otherwise known as "Wimoweh", appears on the Bert Kaempfert CD in a semi-instrumental version. The song has a fascinating history going back to 1939 and extending through Disney's "The Lion King". It's worth checking out.

Two delights in one here: a beautiful song by Enya, "China Roses", and an equally beautiful video to go with it by the Spanish environmental and peace activist angelsolcito (a lady well worth visiting)

Thanks to Pasatter for this one (I found it on her StumbleUpon pages, but she has now moved to Tumblr where she is Irish Fantasy).

The glorious "Pearl Fishers" duet sung by Andrea Bocelli and Bryn Terfel - performances of it don't get much better than this!

Thanks for the share, Cat!

"Torn", a great track by Natalie Imbruglia (image from here)
Click the image to play

Thanks to Bluesemotion for this find!

"Dusk and the boy" by LensENVY (Jacqueline)

There's a little trail behind this one. It started when my good friend Nancy sent me Bluebird, a great song by the Manchester-based singer/songwriter Chas Rigby.

I searched for more songs by Chas Rigby and one that I really liked was Nightwind.

When I was looking for a "Night Wind" image to accompany this song, I found the beautiful image above.

Thanks, Nancy!

"Rocket Love", a great rainy-day song, sung by the Russian-born jazz vocalist Sophie Milman

I agree with Ray - this is one of the most beautiful songs ever written.

Whatever the (excellent and beautiful) video says, though, this has nothing to do with Art Garfunkel, unless I am much mistaken (not an unheard-of occurrence!). It is all about Paul Simon and Kathy Chitty, and it is Paul who is singing.

[Click the music tag at the top of this post for more of my music favourites...]

"Make Someone Happy" (a song that I always associate with that great movie Sleepless in Seattle) sung by the Russian-born jazz vocalist Sophie Milman

If you like this...

[More of the bright side of life...]

Images of Imogen Heap from

Thanks to butterflyZa for this stunning video, and also to Mike who writes:

"Imogen Heap performing live for Indie103.1, spine-tingling stuff. Just the girl herself, sampling and looping her own vocals live on this version of Just For Now."

Imogen is an extraordinarily talented lady, with an amazing command of both technology and music. I saw her once on BBC's Breakfast Show, where (sitting on the sofa, with her various gizmos more or less invisible about her person) she demonstrated how she could harmonize live with herself. Click any of the above images to hear what she can really do in a live performance.

If you haven't met it before...

[More about]

"Preguntas Hermosas" by Superfad, who writes:

"Preguntas Hermosas" is a story about a time that was shared between two people, told through a combination of "Poema X" by Pablo Neruda and "Under the Harvest Moon" by Carl Sandburg. It unfolds in three parts; a fond remembrance, loss, and then finally acceptance.

A beautiful song from Secret Garden, and an equally beautiful video from Wintermood (Virgil Beceru)

The song is from Secret Garden's album Once In A Red Moon

Running Bear writes:

Secret Garden's music has been described as a tapestry of Norwegian and Celtic elements. There are classical as well as popular influences. There are traditional as well as contemporary colors in it. But most of all their music is an emotional storytelling style of their own, unable to fit into one category. This is why Secret Garden is recognized in classical radio charts as well as play-listed in popular radio programs, crossing over from New Age charts in USA to Pop charts in Asia. The trademark is its simplicity and haunting melodies, sung by the violin of Fionnuala Sherry, all composed and produced from the heart of Rolf Lovland.

Thanks to Neva for introducing me to this beautiful song.

PS: Secret Garden makes a very nice "Radio Station" on, if you like melodic and relaxing music that you can listen to free on-line.

A singer, pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, actress, educator, TV host and producer who is worth knowing about...

[Ann Hampton Callaway]

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole ("Iz") sadly died of weight-related respiratory illness on June 26, 1997, at the age of 38.

He left behind this absolutely beautiful version of a beautiful song.

"Winter Light" by Linda Ronstadt

"Winter Light" by Linda Ronstadt

This was a nice video of a beautiful song from the end-credits of Agnieszka Holland's film of Frances Hodgson Burnett's book The Secret Garden. The original has gone, but if you click the image you can select a different video with the same track.

I can remember only two film adaptations of classic children's books that (IMO) are virtually perfect. Agnieska Holland's film of The Secret Garden is one, and Lionel Jeffries' film of Edith Nesbit's book The Railway Children is the other. If you know of more, please let me know!

If you liked this...

[Wikipedia's list of classic children's books]
[My books page]

Delightful feel-good jazz, and a delightful feel-good video to go with it, from Inga Swearingen

Thanks to my friend David for sending me this one.

[More of the bright side of life...]

If you live in the UK, the USA or Germany then you are lucky: you can listen to Radio for free.

Have you every wished you could listen to a radio station that played non-stop music, all of which you really liked?

That's Its basic concept is simple and effective: tell the system the name of an artist that you like, and it will play complete tracks from that artist and from other similar artists.

In my case I started off with two of my favourite artists, Diana Krall and Nanci Griffith, each of whom set up as a "radio station". My "Nanci Griffith Radio Station", for example, plays country music, but not every kind - it seems to pick tracks that would appeal to people who like this particular artist (it works in my case, anyway).

Over the next few hours I had heard some great music, much of it from artists who were quite new to me, and almost all of the selections very much in the style and spirit of my original choices.

You can also set up a "combo station" on the Radio tab, which bases its choices on up to three different artists that you specify, and there's lots more that you can do.

The organization of the site is first rate.

One thing to watch out for: make an early visit to the privacy settings in your profile. can behave like Facebook with music, but its default setting (after you have played music for a while) is "share with everyone".

Also, sooner or later you will have marked a bunch of favourites, and will wonder how you can get to play them automatically. The answer, it appears, is that you need to subscribe for that particular feature - but as of November 2010, this particular subscription feature has been withdrawn, to many protests from subscribers. Watch this space!

[My music favourites]

Randy Cassingham adds a great deal of value to this extraordinary video, which is why I am directing you to his site first.
From Randy's blog:

I'm really taken with a video released on YouTube last week. It's an Auto-Tune, which is the name given to soundtracks that use the audio plug-in of the same name. Auto-Tune was designed to correct the pitch of vocals, but clever music creators realized they could use it to make spoken word recordings musical. This is a fantastic example of the genre.

It's not just fantastic because it's a clever use of Auto-Tune; I've seen that and it's fun, but it's not amazing. But in this video, John Boswell not only put some spoken word to music with compelling visuals, but he also managed to distill the essence of what Carl Sagan was saying with his groundbreaking 1980 13-hour TV series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. (It also features a brief interlude of words from physicist Stephen Hawking.)


I know not everyone will like the Auto-Tune effect, and it starts out a bit weird, but it's only three and a half minutes, so stick with it: it's worth it. I recommend you play it twice: once to watch it, and then again while reading along with the lyrics, which are below...

If you like Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking, or even if you have never heard of them, don't miss this one.

"Torero", a beautiful Flamenco piece from the German guitarist Govi, in a video featuring some extraordinary and appropriate computer graphics. The music comes from Govi's album "Cuchama".

Thanks again to my friend bel-vedere (who sadly left SU) for this one!

The talented American trumpeter and composer Chris Botti, one of many great musical finds sent to me by my SU friend bel-vedere, whose current location I sadly don't know.

Click the picture, or go here, to play Chris's beautiful track On The Night Ride, from his album "First Wish".

(Original post: August 11th, 2009)

The young South Korean guitarist Sungha Jung, still only 12 years old, plays 'With or Without You' from 'U2 Medley' by Doyle Dykes

Sungha Jung says that his dream is to become a professional acoustic fingerstyle guitarist. Judging from this performance I would say that he has an excellent chance of realising his dream!

One of many good things to be found on the delightful pages of my friend dak2cool.

This HD video was shot at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan by Jon Rawlinson, a filmmaker, cinematographer and editor based in Vancouver, Canada. The music is by Barcelona.

I am not sure what the world's largest aquarium tank is... the largest aquarium (well worth visiting, I believe) was the Georgia Aquarium in November 2005, although that may have changed by now...

Thanks for this one, Sandy!

Beautiful rain sounds, music and images found on Aline's always-lovely pages

"Canadian rumba flamenco artist Jesse Cook has blended the exotic Spanish music form with elements of new age, jazz, and easy listening on his releases for Narada Records."

Simply glorious music, for rainy weather or any other time.

Joe Hisaishi, playing his own composition, the theme "One Summer Day" from one of my all-time favourite movies, the Oscar-winning Spirited Away

Joe Hisaishi is a really interesting and talented composer as well as musician. He composed the music for many of Hayao Miyazaki's movies, making a major contribution to their special magic. His stage name (reversed so his family name comes first) was adopted by him as a phonetic equivalent of the name of one of his own favourite composers, Quincy Jones.

If you like this...

[Japanese animation at its finest: the master-works of Hayao Miyazaki]
[My movies page]

A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim

Until recently I had never seen Stephen Sondheim's musical "A Little Night Music", and was unaware of what a treat I had been missing.

I was lucky enough to see this production at the Garrick Theatre, London. "Sublime" is an over-worked word, but it certainly applies in this case. Directed by Tevor Nunn, its wonderful cast included Maureen Lipman on deliciously top form as Madame Armfeldt, Hannah Waddingham as Desirée Armfeldt, Alexander Hanson as Fredrik Egerman and Kaisa Hammarlund as the saucy, free-spirited Petra.

"A Little Night Music" is probably best known for the song "Send In The Clowns". Sung by Desirée to (and with) Fredrik, it is even more stunning in the context of the play, and Hannah Waddingham's performance of it is one that I shall always remember. The other songs don't make sense unless seen in the play's context, but include some that are equally brilliant.

"A Little Night Music" is based on Ingmar Bergman's movie "Smiles Of A Summer Night", which was itself inspired in part by Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

From this review of the movie:

"The summer night has three smiles," one character says to his lover. The first comes "between midnight and dawn, when young lovers open their hearts and loins." The second smile is for "the jesters, the fools and the incorrigible." And the third smile is for "the sad and dejected, for the sleepless and lost souls, for the frightened and the lonely."

Ingmar Bergman's movie is available on DVD, but there is currently no decent movie version of Stephen Sondheim's musical (I am told that the one starring Elizabeth Taylor is not recommended). If you haven't seen the musical on stage and get a chance to, don't miss it... and if you are in reach of London, there is a very rare treat waiting for you!

If you like this...

[My movies page]

(Original post: June 29th, 2009)

Michael Jackson: Gone Too Soon

This beautiful song is dedicated to Ryan White, a young victim of AIDS who Michael befriended prior to his death. Michael performed this song at the ball for former President Bill Clinton's first inauguration on January 20, 1993, where he highlighted the importance of supporting research for a cure to this disease.

Thanks so much to my friend Sandy for this poignant memory of a great, sad talent.

Sandy also recommended this beautiful video: Michael Jackson: Childhood - if you miss him, it might well make you cry.

Wonderful uplifting music by Eric Bibb.

If you haven't heard Eric before and you like this one, check out his web site where you can hear more of his work.


Here we are
Finally together
Holding close
Never release this feeling
This moment
My dream is now
Loving you

'Cause your beautiful
Something in your eyes
Tells me I have found
Love that never dies
I don't have to dream
Reality is beautiful in you...
Never felt more true

There you are
Finally the answer
Take my hand
Never release
The sweetness
The magic
The happiness
I found in you

'Cause you're beautiful
Something in your eyes
Tells me I have found
Love that never dies
I don't have to dream
Reality is beautiful in you...
Never felt more true

Here we are...

'Cause you're beautiful
Something in your eyes
Tells me I have found
Love that never dies
I don't have to dream
Reality is beautiful in you...
Never felt more true...


A beautiful song by Late Night Alumni, and a beautiful video to go with it.

The song "From Clare To Here" by Ralph McTell, sung by Nanci Griffith, has always been one of my favourites. It's hard to explain why - it's just something about the sad, haunting refrain that grabs me.

I love this wonderful fantasy by the Turkish artist Yusuf Artun.

When I saw it I was strongly reminded of a production of Rimsky Korsakov's little-known opera Chrismas Eve that I once saw in London. It had a wonderful Russian fairy-tale atmosphere to it. The proscenium arching over the stage had old houses set at odd angles - almost like a rainbow of houses - their windows glowing with light or opening to show villagers leaning out to watch the proceedings below.

Many children came to watch it, and for them it must have been a truly magical experience, the kind that stays with you for your whole life, especially as the cast (in full costume and character) mingled with the audience before and after the show and in the intervals, particularly to meet the children.

Even for an adult it had a very magical quality. I keep hoping that one day it will reappear somewhere that I can see it again.

This is my winter song to you.
The storm is coming soon,
it rolls in from the sea

My voice; a beacon in the night.
My words will be your light,
to carry you to me...

A beautiful duet from singer/songwriters...

Sara Bareilles, and...

Ingrid Michaelson (whose work you may have heard on Grey's Anatomy, among other places)

(Original post: December 22nd, 2008)

Hilarious topical version of Carol Of The Bells, sent to me by my friend Julian

(There's a "watch in high quality" option on this video)

(Original post: December 15th, 2008)

A pocket-powerhouse performance of Mariah Carey's song "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by 10-year-old Olivia Olson, in the delightful movie Love, Actually. Richard Curtis, the director, explained afterwards that they had get Olivia to dial back the quality of her singing in order for it to be believable to cinema audiences!

Among many other treasures in that movie was what must be one of the coolest small kids on the planet (he's about 5 years older now) Thomas Sangster.

Click either picture to play - the video will open in a separate window.

Samba Saravah is a musical sequence from Claude Lelouch's movie Un Homme Et Une Femme, one of my all-time favourites.

It's hard to believe now that when this film appeared in England in 1966, the censors gave it an X certificate. Times have certainly changed...

It's essential to see this movie in French, with subtitles if necessary. The French language (and this movie) has a rhythm, a style and a soul to it that just doesn't translate into English.

Every time that I hear this music, the words go on dancing in my head for hours afterwards:

“…Mais quelque soit le sentiment qu’elle exprime,
Elle est blanche de formes et de rimes.
Blanche de formes et de rimes,
Elle est nègre, bien nègre dans son coeur…”

You will find all the words of this song (with a translation) here. Click the picture above to play the video - it will open in a separate window.

I had to add a couple of pictures of the beautiful Anouk Aimée...

If you like this, you'll find more on this movie here:

[My movies page]

The Rose

Some say love
It is a river
That drowns the tender reed
Some say love
It is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed
Some say love
It is a hunger
An endless aching need
I say love
It is a flower
And you its only seed

It's the heart
Afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
It's the dream
Afraid of waking
That never takes the chance
It's the one
Who won't be taken
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul
Afraid of dying
That never learns to live

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong
Just remember
In the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed
That with the sun's love
In the spring
Becomes the rose

This beautiful song was written by Amanda McBroom, who describes how this song came to be written here.

Click the picture (which I found here) to bring up a selection of Bette Midler's performances of this song, which will open in a separate window.

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

Tell her to make me a cambric shirt
(On the side of a hill in the deep forest green)
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
(Tracing a sparrow on snow-crested ground)
Without no seams nor needlework
(Blankets and bedclothes the child of the mountain)
Then she'll be a true love of mine
(Sleeps unaware of the clarion call)

Tell her to find me an acre of land
(On the side of a hill, a sprinkling of leaves)
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
(Washed is the ground with so many tears)
Between the salt water and the sea strand
(A soldier cleans and polishes a gun)
Then she'll be a true love of mine

Tell her to reap it in a sickle of leather
(War bellows, blazing in scarlet battalions)
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
(Generals order their soldiers to kill)
And to gather it all in a bunch of heather
(And to fight for a cause they have long ago forgotten)
Then she'll be a true love of mine

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

A truly magical intertwining of poetic lyrics and harmony, from a combination of talents the like of which we may never be lucky enough to experience again.

Click the picture to play - it will open in a separate window.

This is the Dyer Symphony Harp Guitar...

... and if you click the picture above you will hear a wonderful song played on this instrument by Michael Hedges.
The song (which starts about a minute into the video, after Michael introduces the instrument) was composed by Michael for a film documentary about a Japanese mountain climber.

Once you have heard this great music you may want to know more about it. Thanks to Catherine Todd who writes:

"Since 1990, I have been searching for the title to the soundtrack which Hedges plays "Because It's There." [This is from a] documentary about a Japanese mountain climber who was ultimately lost in the snow, his body never found.

"After long searching on the web, came up w/the film titles "Uemura Naomi Monogatari" also known as "Lost In The Wilderness" (U.S.) 1986. Windham Hill WD-1055 soundtrack is listed as "The Shape of the Land."

"Found it! Bought it! Bless you guitarsoul for posting & musicians & Amazon!"

For more songs by and information about Michael Hedges, click here.

"Fragile" by Sting

If blood will flow when flesh and steel are one
Drying in the colour of the evening sun
Tomorrow's rain will wash the stains away
But something in our minds will always stay
Perhaps this final act was meant
To clinch a lifetime's argument
That nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could
For all those born beneath an angry star
Lest we forget how fragile we are

On and on the rain will fall
Like tears from a star like tears from a star
On and on the rain will say
How fragile we are how fragile we are

On and on the rain will fall
Like tears from a star like tears from a star
On and on the rain will say
How fragile we are how fragile we are
How fragile we are how fragile we are

Karen Carpenter
March 2nd, 1950 - February 4th, 1983

Requiem in Pace

When Karen died in 1983, the world lost both a lovely woman and one of the most beautiful voices on the planet.
Karen lives on in memories and in many wonderful recordings.
The words of this song have always seemed to me to be a fitting epitaph.

A Song For You

I've been so many places in my life and time
I've sung a lot of songs, I've made some bad rhyme
I've acted out my love in stages
With ten thousand people watching
But we're alone now and I'm singing this song for you

I know your image of me is what I hope to be
I've treated you unkindly but darling can't you see
There's no one more important to me
Darling can't you please see through me
'Cos we're alone now and I'm singing this song for you

You taught me precious secrets of the truth witholding nothing
You came out in front and I was hiding
But now I'm so much better and if my words don't come together
Listen to the melody cause my love is in there hiding

I love you in a place where there's no space or time
I love you for in my life you are a friend of mine
And when my life is over
Remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singing this song for you

You taught me precious secrets of the truth witholding nothing
You came out in front and I was hiding
But now I'm so much better and if my words don't come together
Listen to the melody cause my love is in there hiding

I love you in a place where there's no space or time
I love you for in my life you are a friend of mine
And when my life is over
Remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singing this song for you

We were alone and I was singing this song for you.

Click the picture to play the video.

Karen Carpenter (Wikipedia Article)

More on Karen Carpenter's story...

Here's a suggestion for a really enjoyable and inexpensive evening:

Buy this outstanding DVD (it's a keeper). Evict kids or other non-sympatico noise-makers. Choose your favourite companion (human or otherwise). Turn off unnecessary lights and replace with candles, lay out a snack supper, pour some nice wine, and settle down for over 2 hours of romantic ballads and bossa novas from the beautiful and very talented Canadian jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall.

This concert, recorded at the Paris Olympia, features tracks from her album The Look Of Love and the full set from her 2001 world tour. She is accompanied by the Orchestre Symphonique Européen & Paris Jazz Big Band, as well as her own recording jazz band members flown in especially from LA. You have the best seats in the house, and if you have the equipment, you also have the benefit of excellent 5.1 surround sound. And don't miss the bonus videos on the DVD, either, especially the first one!

Diana Krall, when performing live, makes the endless parade of celebrity bimbos seem positively sexless. She sits at her piano, very calm and poised, not making a big deal about how great she is, and the only adequate word to describe her is "smokin'".You don't often get a chance to listen to and watch the very best. This one is definitely up there.

River Man

Betty came by on her way

Said she had a word to say
About things today
And fallen leaves.

Said she hadn't heard the news
Hadn't had the time to choose
A way to lose
But she believes.

Going to see the river man
Going to tell him all I can
About the plan
For lilac time.

If he tells me all he knows
About the way his river flows
And all night shows
In summertime.

Betty said she prayed today
For the sky to blow away
Or maybe stay
She wasn't sure.

For when she thought of summer rain
Calling for her mind again
She lost the pain
And stayed for more.

Going to see the river man
Going to tell him all I can
About the ban
On feeling free.

If he tells me all he knows
About the way his river flows
I don't suppose
It's meant for me.

Oh, how they come and go
Oh, how they come and go.

A haunting, beautiful, autumnal song in 5/4 time by Nick Drake, from the album Five Leaves Left.

Nick died young in 1974; I wish I'd heard his music earlier. More on his story here, and on the song itself here.

The images in the video, I understand, are extracts from a BBC documentary on Nick Drake.

"For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her"

What a dream I had
Pressed in organdie
Clothed in crinoline of smoky burgundy
Softer than the rain
I wandered empty streets down
Passed the shop displays
I heard cathedral bells
Tripping down the alley ways
As I walked on

And when you ran to me
Your cheeks flushed with the night
We walked on frosted fields of juniper and lamp-light
I held your hand
And when I awoke and felt you warm and near
I kissed your honey hair with my grateful tears
Oh I love you girl
Oh I love you

I think that these are some of the most lovely lyrics that Paul Simon ever wrote. Click the picture to listen to the song being performed by a unique combination of talents...