Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Greeting from Herzegovina

Greeting from Bosnia and Herzegovina
(four) stages, 12" x 12", oil on masonite, 2013
Last weekend I taught a class titled Expressive Landscape Painting. A day before it started I went to work in my back yard and took pictures as I progressed my painting. The 3rd from the four pictures above, was the "finished" painting I took with to show to the students, while also bringing in photos of the progress. When all was said and done, and the weekend gone, I took it back back to studio and painted on it the next image for the Top 100 2012. And next was the song Kaharli Sam, Večerala Nisam (poetically translated as "I am distraught, I have not supped" in the liner notes to the CD World Library of Folk and Primitive Music, Vol. V: Yugoslavia) sung by Naza Muhović, a Muslim woman from eastern Herzegovina. The song was a familiar one to me, a version that appeared on the LP Folk Music of Yugoslavia made all the way to #2 in the Top 100 2009 (on the liner notes to that record the song is translated less poetically but is perhaps more poetry as "I am sad, I have not eaten". Curiously it is the distinguished Professor Albert Lord—an authority in ethnomusicology as well as in Homeric poetry—who was involved with the translation of both. The recording for the World Library was made by Peter Kennedy in 1951, while Laura Boulton recorded the Folk Music version in 1952—the recordings actually sound identical to my untrained ear.) Muslim women from Herzegovina do not play instruments as a rule but in the confinement of their kitchen they do play with utensils, such as in this song where the singer sings into a reverberating spinning copper tray. ("The same type of instrument has been observed in the Arctic among the Hudson Bay Eskimo women" —Folk Music of Yugoslavia. I love those theories concerning disparate geographical occurrences. I also love conspiracy theories, and most of all I love scientific anthropological theories.)

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