Monday, February 26, 2007

A Celebration


I'm surprised that I have already created seventy posts in this blog; the previous posting was number seventy. I can see this blog continuing for a little while longer. Sometime around Memorial Day, after the semester ends and after I get back out to the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery to take pictures of the tombstones, I plan on adding a posting about the Kidder Massacre, Sappa Creek, and Beecher Island. Each event in Kansas history may have its own posting. The location of Beecher Island is no longer in Kansas, but it remains a part of Kansas history despite its location in what is now Colorado.

I also should think about adding reviews of movies and books, such as the book I finished a few weeks ago, that is, Barry Lopez' Arctic Dreams.

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I recently have been listening to Anouar Brahem's Astrakan Cafe and Conte de l'Incroyable Amour, both of which my wife gave me for Valentine's Day. Brahem plays the oud, which is considered as the Middle Eastern version of the lute. Some critics consider Brahem's music to be more subdued than that of other musicians who play the oud; this difference is credited to the influence of jazz and western classical music. I am still in the midst of discovering this music. One of the selections from Astrakan Cafe, accompanied by photographs of Istanbul, appears at this link to YouTube . Brahem was raised in Tunisia, in North Africa, where he returned after living in France for several years; he currently tours extensively in Europe.

Those of you who prefer a more domestic version of Middle Eastern music might investigate Salaam . This band played in Kansas City at the Nelson Gallery of Art a couple of years ago. Their music is quite good.

I advocate discovering more about the Middle Eastern, and North African, culture through music and, perhaps, through the food if you live within easy access of a Middle Eastern/North African restaurant. It's through this acquaintance that we can begin to acquire understanding and acceptance, which are things that we in this country need much more of.