Last week in Georgian chorus we almost didn’t sing anything Georgian. First we learned a Greek folk song about the sea called Θάλασσα (Thalassa). Here it is being sung by an Orthodox youth choir in the UK:
Though we usually sing a cappella, this time we had a special guest accordionist our director knows from the UCLA Balkan (mostly Bulgarian) ensemble. Also, one of the grad students in my cohort served as our choir’s Greek pronunciation consultant (as he is in fact Greek). For the life of me I cannot pronounce Greek retracted [s]s.
Next we learned an Albanian folk song called Kopile Moj Kopile. Here’s a version of it, though we sang it in four parts:
The melody is curiously close to the Italian song/Israeli national anthem/theme from Die Moldau I blathered on about here. Since it sounds like this tune spread all over Europe back in the day, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s turning up in this Albanian folk song.
After our detour into Indo-European isolates, we returned to our Kartvelian roots by continuing to work on this Megrelian work song, ოჩეშხვეი (Och’eshkhvei). It’s really fun, especially the last part, which always reminds me of something French, namely Tri Yann’s Pastourelle de Saint-Julien-Marai (glad I figured that out, it was bothering me!).
You may recall the stamp a fellow linguistics graduate student made me when she was a prospie visiting UCLA. I brought it to my book signing at Children’s Book World last week, though I only stamped her book (and Andrew’s, because he requested it). She wasn’t entirely happy with the stamp because the phonetic transcription of “writer” is both a little odd for English and doesn’t reflect how I personally pronounce the word because I have Canadian raising (see the old post for relevant linguistic explanations). Well! She made me a new stamp, with a new transcription for “writer” that exactly matches how I say it! The old stamp is on the left and the new stamp on the right:
A few other newsy items:
I haven’t linked to any blog reviews of Sparkers before, but I really liked this one at Asian American Literature Fans (you have to scroll down past the reviews of all of Marie Lu’s books). I found the commentary quite interesting–it goes in a different direction than most of the reviews I’ve read–but I’ll admit I was also just tickled to see Sparkers called “part of the ever-growing archive of young adult fiction penned by American writers of Asian descent”.
Also this week in being Asian American, there’s a little piece about me on page 13 of the October issue of ChinaInsight, a monthly Minnesota newspaper about Minnesota-China relations (or more broadly, U.S.-China relations). It includes a photo from my Red Balloon launch party.