Today’s prompt is inspired by the fact that I’m having lunch with my high school Spanish teacher today. Unfortunately, exposure to the Thai language has really confused my ability to speak Spanish. But hey! Maybe I’ll get some Spanish back today.
PROMPT: Learn a song in another language (besides the primary one you speak).
You get to choose the language. I’m probably going to learn a song in Thai, probably a song that the Thai King wrote.
SONG OF THE DAY: ยามเย็น ~ Love at Sundown
This is an example of a song that the Thai King, Rama 9, wrote. He’s got a lot of titles, including “The Agriculture King,” but my favorite thing about him is that he writes music and is sometimes called “The Jazzy King.” (See photo above!) He writes music, primarily jazz and blues. I love his music.
This song here (“Yam Yen” is how to pronounce the Thai title), is one I used to sing when I lived in Bangkok and performed with a choir made up primarily of Thai senior citizens. (LONG STORY, not as long as the cover band story though). I was their magic farang they pulled out of a hat at concerts and things who could sing solos written by the Thai King.
This version of “Yam Yen” is kind of hokey, but the King’s music isn’t always performed in this hokey crowd-pleasing way. I happen to love a bit of hoke, though, especially Thai hoke, but if you take a step back you can recognize that it has a gorgeous tune.
I recommend that you take a youtube tour of his music though–it’s good!
TODAY’S PROMPT: take an old poem, without a copyright, and put a tune to it.
Rhyming is so out of poetry-style these days that if you can find a poem that rhymes, you’re likely to be safe. But just in case the song you half-create today is amazing enough to hit the airwaves and/or you just want to be careful, here is a website of poems in the public domain. It’s not hugely expansive, but it’ll get you started. Also, the site has nine Oscar Wilde poems on it. I didn’t even know he wrote poems. Doh.
Give it a shot!
SONG OF THE DAY: Richard Cory
Paul Simon is a poetry buff, if you haven’t noticed. He’s one of the most poetic lyricists we’ve got. This song, from his Garfunkel days, springs out of a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson by the same title. Read the poem and you can see that S&G took a lot of liberty, i.e. rewrote and updated it. You can do this, too! You can do anything and everything you want to interpret and own the poem you’re working with.
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
‘Good-morning,’ and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
TODAY’S PROMPT: Learn a song in a style that you’re not too familiar with.
I’m about to learn a reggae song today, I think. I know none, so it’s going be a challenge. What does Nora sound like singing reggae? Time will tell! At the very least, it will be a chance to learn a new strumming pattern.
I’m very interested in the styles that people choose, if they choose to do this prompt.
SONG OF THE DAY: Vietnam
My brother is a huge Jimmy Cliff fan and he put this song on a compilation CD he made for me while I was living and working in Thailand. Music in English that wasn’t terribly popular, or at least, world famous, was hard to find in Bangkok. My friends and brother knew this and sent me a lot of music while I was there. This was before I had iTunes. I still listen to the majority of that era’s tunes (I learned to love Lucinda Williams during that time!), and this Jimmy Cliff song is no exception.