Archive | Music

Beat the Drum Slowly

 

A Dark & Haunted Poem

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Deco tower, rainbow fountain showers
Crystal columns, silver tabloid entry
The celebrity cemetery

A faded trail of a golden age
that flickered out into celluloid ashes
phantasms fantastic.

Outran the avalanche
Outran the avalanche
Outran the avalanche

To the cameras rolling

We beat the Drum slowly

The family jewels, the swimming pool
yards marked by emerald coffins
we heard crimes often and softly
A mystery mist, new systems shift
things recognized from television channels
nostalgia signals, unscrambled.

Outran the avalanche
Outran the avalanche

Outran the avalanche
To the cameras rolling

We beat the Drum slowly

 * * * * * * * * *

Dark, haunted, surreal and vacant. 
Shades of the arid West, a funeral march, Jim Morrison, an empty LA night.
Melancholy and society lost. 
Yeah, we liked it.

~Via Timber Timbre from their album ‘Hot Dreams’

 

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Posted in Media, Music, Poetry0 Comments

Mystery Girl Shreds Van Halen’s ‘Eruption’

 

14-Year Old ’Tina’ Tears It Up in Guitar Solo

(VIRAL VIDEO)

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Who is this girl?

She plays a wicked stick and slays a hard number.

Her name is known only as Tina S.  She’s 14-years young and she rocks.

Five years ago, the guitar prodigy made a minor splash with her remarkably dexterous performance
of Ferdinando Carulli’s Andante at the tender age of nine. 

She has since traded in her classical guitar for a custom Vigier Excalibur model, and ditched Carulli in favor of Van Halen.  Taught by teacher Renaud Louis-Servais who shot and posted the above video, Tina makes playing a cover of Eddie Van Halen’s Eruption appear convincingly effortless while looking bored and seemingly unimpressed.

The Internet darling is also tearing it up on YouTube:  3 million hits in four short days.

That’s all we know.  That’s all anyone knows.  Well, What…ever.

You go, girl.  Everyone else keep practicing.

 

Posted in Media, Music4 Comments

The Phantom of the Opera

 

Lindsey Stirling’s Rocking Violin Take:  “Staying True to Myself”

(VIRAL VIDEO)

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

The Phantom of the Opera is a novel by French writer Gaston
Leroux.  A story of unrequited love in a beauty and the beast
narrative, Leroux claimed that Erik, the “Phantom of the Opera,”
was a real person upon which he based his 1909 story on.

Phantom classic picThere have been numerous works based on The Phantom of the Opera, ranging from musicals to films to children’s books. Well-known stage and screen adaptations of the novel include the 1925 silent film version starring Lon Chaney, the 1962 film version made by Hammer Film Productions, and the 1986 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

In Leroux’s classic horror-romance tale, Christine is a beautiful and gifted young woman who longs to join the company of the Paris Opera House.  During rehearsals for one of the opera’s grand productions, a backdrop mysteriously falls and crashes to the floor nearly crushing the leading lady, Carlotta.

Several members of the company suggest this could be the work of the “Phantom of the Opera,” a ghostly presence said to haunt the building.  Carlotta drops out of the show and importune fate allows Christine stepping in as her replacement.  Christine’s performance is a triumph, and on opening night she becomes reacquainted with Raoul, a former childhood friend and now a wealthy and well-known nobleman.

Phantom Lon Chaney3Christine soon finds herself taken with the handsome Raoul.  But on the same evening she also makes a startling discovery — the story of the Phantom is not just a legend.  He’s very real.

A brilliant but horribly disfigured composer, the Phantom lives deep in the bowels of the old opera house, and he’s taken with the sheer beauty of Christine’s voice.  The masked Phantom abducts and brings Christine to his secret lair– where he offers to help perfect her talents and write an opera especially for her. As the terrified Christine is comforted by Raoul, the Phantom sees her misplaced affection as yet another tremendous betrayal.  The vengeful and bitterly jealous Phantom nearly kills Christine– just as he previously nearly killed Carlotta.

When the Phantom finally emerges to present the opera’s management with the piece he has written for Christine, the singer is asked to risk her life in an effort to capture and unmask the mad genius– once and for all.

stirling2The performer in this musical adaption of The Phantom of the Opera is accomplished violinist, musician, dancer, and composer Lindsey Stirling.  She plays it fast, hard, and wicked.

Stirling performs a variety of music styles, from classical to Celtic, pop to rock, hip-hop to dubstep.  At the age of 5, after being influenced by the classical music records played by her father, Stirling began to study the violin.  She took private lessons for 12 years, and when she was 16, joined a rock band with four of her friends.  From there, her career took off.

In 2010, the 24-year-old Stirling was a quarter-finalist on the fifth season of America’s Got Talent where she was known as the ‘Hip Hop Violinist’.

Stirling’s performances were dubbed “electrifying” by the judges and she won the acclaim of the audience, but after she stepped up her final performance judge Piers Morgan bluntly told her, “You’re not untalented, but you’re not good enough to get away with flying through the air and trying to play the violin at the same time.”

Sharon Osbourne softened the blow bittersweetly by adding, “You need to be in a group.  What you’re doing is not enough to fill a theater in Vegas.”

Slindseytirling confided later, “I was devastated at the results.  It was painful, and a bit humiliating; however, I had to relearn where it was that I drew my strength.”

And draw upon it she did.  She has since done many collaborations, solo works, recordings, a few films and videos, and is presently touring across the country.

Shortly after her performance on America’s Got Talent, an awesome cinematographer named Devin Graham contacted her in hopes of making a YouTube video together.   The above video has gone viral with over seven million views and is one of their many fine collaborations together, among others.

Stirling decided to continue to embrace her unique style of performance.  In a 2012 interview she remarked, “A lot of people have told me along the way that my style and the music I do is unmarketable.   But the only reason I’m successful is because I have stayed true to myself.”

She must be Irish.

* * * * * * * *

The above video is best viewed at the fullscreen setting.  The sound is great.  Crank it up.

Other film works by the young Devin Graham that we’ve covered include Wingsuit Racing and Trike Drifting.

Posted in Media, Music, Scene1 Comment

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

 

 (VIDEO)

 

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas“ was first introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM musical ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’.

Judy Garland’s character, Esther, sings the song to cheer up her despondent five-year-old sister, Tootie, played by Margaret O’Brien.  They are disraught over leaving behind
their beloved old house in St. Louis and moving to New York City
so their father can take on a new job.

In 1944, as World War II was raging across Europe and the South Pacific, Garland’s song became popular among United States troops weary of war, uncertainty, and the loss of loved ones.

Her performance of this song at the Hollywood Canteen, a free entertainment club for servicemen on their way overseas, brought many soldiers to tears.

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

Posted in Media, Music0 Comments

Concert for Hurricane Sandy Relief– Comfortably Numb

 

Old Rock Legends Come Together to Raise Some Cash

(VIDEO)

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It was all for a good cause.

The 12/12/12 Hurricane Sandy benefit concert at Madison Square Garden went down last night in New York and aired on multiple TV channels, websites, and in theaters, reaching a record 2 billion households worldwide.

The concert featured performances by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Roger Waters joined by Eddie Vedder in ‘Comfortably Numb’, above, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Chris Martin joined by Michael Stipe, and Paul McCartney joined by members of Nirvana.

In between there were appearances by Billy Crystal, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, P. Diddy, Chris Rock, and many more, spliced with footage of the devastation caused by
Hurricane Sandy that pummeled the East Coast in
October, leaving thousands homeless and billions of dollars of damages in its wake.

Other highlights from throughout the show included Roger Waters ending his set by bringing out Eddie Vedder to sing lead on Comfortably Numb.  Roger, like many of the others, is looking terribly tired and old these days.  Heck, for those who remember, we’re all getting older.  These guys are pushing 70 now.

The Rolling Stones only got to play two songs (You Got Me Rocking and Jumpin’ Jack Flash) but still looked like they were having a good time.

The Who, meanwhile, played seven songs, one of which was Pinball Wizard above.  Roger Daltrey doesn’t belt it out like he did in the old days, but he’s in fairly good shape for 68.

Kanye West delivered a set in a leather skirt which sent much of the Twitterverse into an angry fit– but the greater surprise was Chris Martin bringing out R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe to do Losing My Religion.

The most anticipated part of the night was that Nirvana reunion with Paul McCartney filling in for Kurt Cobain on vocals.  Sir Paul brought Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear out during his set to perform a new song they wrote together titled, Cut Me Some Slack.  Rare and sloppily cut renditions of the song are being taken down as quickly as they appear on the web.  But, for now, you can catch Cut Me Some Slack for the first time here.  Shhh….

The 12/12/12 concert set was:

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Land of Hope and Dreams
Wrecking Ball
My City in Ruins/Working on a Building/Jersey Girl
Born to Run with Jon Bon Jovi

Roger Waters
In The Flesh
Another Brick in the Wall
Money
Us and Them
Comfortably Numb with Eddie Vedder

Bon Jovi
It’s My Life
Wanted Dead or Alive
Who Says You Can’t Go Home with Bruce Springsteen
Living on a Prayer

Eric Clapton
Nobody Loves You When You’re Down and Out
Got to get Better in a Little While
Crossroads

Rolling Stones
You Got Me Rocking
Jumpin Jack Flash

Alicia Keys
Brand New Me
No One

The Who
Who are You
Bellboy
Pinball Wizard/See Me, Feel Me
Baba O’Riley
Love Reign O’er Me
Tea & Theatre

Kanye West
Clique
Mercy
Power
Jesus Walks
Run This Town
Diamonds From Sierra Leone
Touch the Sky
Gold Digger
Good Life
Runaway
Stronger

Billy Joel
Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)
Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
New York State of Mind
River of Dreams
You May Be Right
Only the Good Die Young

Chris Martin
Viva la Vida
Losing My Religion with Michael Stipe
Us Against The World

Paul McCartney
Helter Skelter
Let Me Roll It
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five
My Valentine with Diana Krall
Blackbird
Cut Me Some Slack with Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear
I Got a Feeling
Live and Let Die

Encore:
Alicia Keys
Empire State of Mind

 

Posted in Media, Music, Scene0 Comments

Farmer Style

 

 

American Gangnam Style:  “Thank the Farmers”

(VIRAL VIDEO)

 

–Updated Below–

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Just when we were getting tired of the Gangnam Style parodies, a good one rises to the top like cream in our milk catching our Humboldt attention:  the beauty and spirit of the American farming family.

This is by the Peterson Farm brothers– Greg, Nathan, and Kendal– promoting agriculture and reminding us to thank the American farmer for their hard and honest work.

When Greg Peterson went home from college to his family’s fourth-generation farm near Assaria, Kansas, Peterson talked his kid brothers, Nathan, 18, and Kendal, 15, into singing and filming a video of the three of them together, rapping their farming mission on the family’s Saline County farm.

Their sister, Laura, helped shoot some of the video from the break of
the dawn, as the brothers buck hay, feed cattle, drive combines and tractors
until sunset.  Mom and Dad are in it, and even Grandma had a say.

“I have a hard time understanding all this electronic stuff,” says Eunice Peterson, the brothers’ 88-year-old grandmother.  “But it is all very exciting. I am thrilled for the guys.”

“My brothers thought it was funny,” Greg Peterson said. “We all like rapping.”

True to the farm experience, the Peterson brothers worked 15-hour days cutting wheat and feeding the cattle in the midst of shooting the video.

“We started halfway through wheat harvest and I got them up at 6 a.m., they were so mad at me and thought I was so stupid,” Greg Peterson said of the scenes in the video.  “I told them to just trust me. … The reason it is so silly is we were so tired.”

The video has since gone viral with over a million hits.  “It’s definitely been a dream,” Peterson said.

It’s also been the dream for all three brothers to work together farming.  “When we were little kids, we’d all play with our toy tractors,” Greg Peterson noted.  “We’d farm together with our tractors on the carpet.  The dream was we’d all farm together with Dad.”

Making videos on the side when not working the family farm, the Petersons ask you share this video with farmers and friends everywhere.  We thought our local farmers, ranchers, dairymen, fishermen and food producers deserve equal merit for what they do, too.

Because we’re proud of our own, this is for you, Humboldt.  Please pass it on.

Update:   America seems to love the message given the more than 8 million additional views the video has received since our column first posted.

If you liked it, you may enjoy seeing the Bros’ behind-the-scenes Farmer Style’ Outtakes– the making of the videoWorking and playing on the farm, Peterson style.

 

Some of the Peterson’s ‘Farmer Style’ licks:

We are the Peterson Farm Bros, and we’re farming and we grow it
We love agriculture, and we want the world to know it
Farming is a way of life with many different flavors
Being stewards of the gifts God gave us

Out here on the farm,
We’re running green John Deere Tractors
Out here on the farm,
We work in many weather factors
Out here on the farm,
We’re working hard to raise your food
Out here on the farm.  On the family farm.

Agriculture, is so important to me, (and should be to you) HAY!
It feeds the world and will never ever cease to be, We need to eat!
We all need farmers to provide us with our food, food, food, food!

Workin’ farmer style.
Farmer Style
Work, work, work, work, working farmer style

Haaaaaaay, for my cattle
Work, work, work, work, working farmer style
Haaaaaaay, from the field
Work, work, work, work

Farmers are working harder than you might imagine
But that is just because we have a job that is our passion
We will work sunup to sundown time and time again
As if working for the Lord and not for men

Out here on the farm
We get away from lights of cities
Out here on the farm
The countryside is nice and pretty
Out here on the farm.
We work together as a family.
Out here on the farm.  On the family farm.

Workin’ farmer style

Hay, hay, hay, hay
Is what we feed our cattle
So they grow big and strong
And then become the food that keeps us living nice and long.
Our crops like corn and wheat
Help make diets complete
Without the farmers working
We would all be starving
You know what I’m saying?

Workin’ farmer style

Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey

Hey, thank the farmers!
Hey, for your food!

 

 

Posted in Local, Media, Music, National3 Comments

1960s Throwback Party in Arcata Tonight

 

New Riders of the Purple Sage– and the Adventures of Panama Red

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

In the summer of 1969, John Dawson was looking to showcase his songs while Jerry Garcia was looking to practice his brand new pedal steel guitar.  The two played in coffeehouses and small clubs initially, and the music they made became the nucleus for a band—the New Riders of the Purple Sage.

That same year, David Nelson, expert in both country and rock guitar, joined the group on electric lead guitar.  Filling out the rhythm section in those early days were Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and engineer Bob Matthews on bass, later replaced by Phil Lesh.  In 1970, Dave Torbert took over on bass and the New Riders played every chance they got.  Soon enough, smoky clubs all over the San Francisco bay area were filling up with whooping crowds as their music got tighter and more dynamic.

They began to tour extensively with the Dead, and in December of 1970, Spencer Dryden, who had previously showed his impeccable drumming style with the Jefferson Airplane, had stepped in on drums.

One of the many gigs with the Dead included the Trans-Canadian Festival Express with Janis Joplin, The Band, and other American and Canadian artists like Ian and Sylvia, who had with them a brilliant, innovative pedal steel player named Buddy Cage.  When Garcia’s busy schedule made it increasingly difficult for him to play with the New Riders, the talented Cage was the perfect choice to fill the pedal steel spot.  With the addition of Cage, the New Riders emerged as a fully independent band with a special brand of music—sweet country harmonies mixed with pulsing rock rhythms.

The New Riders were signed to Columbia Records in 1971 by Clive Davis and their first album, New Riders of the Purple Sage, was released in September to widespread acclaim.  In December, 1971 they played a live radio broadcast with the Dead over WNEW-FM in New York to an audience of millions.

In 1972 the pattern of their success continued to grow, with their first European tour followed in June by the release of their second album, Powerglide.  They toured the United States extensively in response to increasing demand, and in November, 1972 released their third album Gypsy CowboyThese first three New Riders albums were all produced by Stephen Barncard, who worked with Crosby, Stills and Nash and co-produced the Dead’s American Beauty.

New Riders of the Purple Sage is quite the flashback and classic jam band of old times past– and we were surprised to hear they’re still around and kicking for those who remember.  Panama Red and those seedy $10 lids disappeared long ago.

They’re playing at Humboldt Brews tonight at 856 10th Street in Arcata.

With pleasant reminiscing of the Panama Red days, good beer, and a ticket price of $25, it sounds good for a Friday night.  Drive safely, drink and smoke responsibly, and enjoy the show.

The show starts at 8:30 p.m.  For more information, call 826-2739.

* * * * * * * * *

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

 

 

Posted in Arcata, Local, Music, Scene1 Comment

In Gangnam Style

 

Pop Video and Dance Craze Rocking the Planet (VIRAL VIDEO)

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

There’s a strange pop song and dance phenomeon breaking big outside the Redwood Curtain.

Gangnam Style.

How big is it?  Ridiculously big.  The above video had over 500,000 hits on the first day, 500 million hits in the last three months, and Guinness World Records noted it’s the most “liked” video ever in YouTube history with over 1 billion views.

That’s some play.  We don’t know why.  You try figuring out how the world works.  It just is.

South Korean rapper Psy’s (whose real name is Park Jae-Sang) highly-contagious horseriding butt-shaking hit first uploaded back in July.  It’s taken off like a rocket ever since.  Everywhere.

For the uninitiated, Gangnam Style refers to a lifestyle
associated with the upscale Gangnam district in Seoul,
South Korea, where people are trendy, cool, and hip.

Psy likened the Gangnam District to Beverly Hills, saying he intended a twisted sense of humor by claiming himself to be “Gangnam Style” when everything about the song, dance, looks, and the music video is far from being high class.  He also wanted to make a sarcastic jab about mindless consumerism.

“Dress classy and dance cheesy,” he explained.

The Gangnam Style video shows Psy performing his comical and highly-contagious dance moves with a catchy beat at unexpected locations around the Gangnam district.

Psy had said the lyrics are about a perfect girlfriend who knows when to be refined– and when to get wild.

Ouchie-wow-wa.  That’s our kind of gal.

 
To date, there are more than 5,000 parody music videos online.  Gangnam Style has been nominated for Best Video for the upcoming 2012 MTV Europe Music Awards in Frankfurt, Germany, on Nov 11.

Everyone’s done a take on the song– ranging from clubs to dance groups to flash mobs to different militias and countries throughout the world.  Even North Korea got into the act putting their isolated country onto the same page with their own version.

Indeed, Gangnam Style fever is such a pop phenomenon that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, a fellow South Korean, hailed Psy as “a force for world peace.”

Perhaps that’s a bit over the top, but folks are certainly enjoying it– while looking ridiculously silly and having fun.

Psy’s response?  “I’m glad people have chosen my song and decided to celebrate throughout the world,” he humbly acknowledged.

There more than several thousand versions of Gangnam Style videos out there.  We’ll spare you those.

But to give you an idea of what’s happening here, we have the best three videos we liked below:

 
The United States Naval Academy Midshipmen  (other branches have their versions, too)

Those kids at  England’s upper crust and almost-royal school, Eton

And our favorite, the  University of Oregon Ducks

 

There’s also the Obama Style and Romney Style riffs, depending upon whom you prefer.  If you haven’t had your fill yet, check out Billboard’s Top Ten List of Gangnam Style parodies.

Like most pop culture fads going the way of the Macarena, this too will pass.

Thank Goodness.  But in some strange twisted act of fate, YMCA will stay.

Pass this link on so everyone can stay trendy, cool, and hip.  Or at least know what’s been going on lately.  That is, after we learn the wickedly stupid dance moves.

We might live behind the Redwood Curtain but we can still see what’s up in the world even if we can’t explain it.  Besides, we need the views.

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

 

 

Posted in Media, Music, National2 Comments

Neil Young’s Bridge School Concert Saturday on KEET-TV

Young, Pearl Jam, McCartney, Springsteen, Petty, Bowie, and Others at 8 PM

 

Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Organized by musician Neil Young and his wife, Pegi, the Bridge School Benefit Concert is an annual nonprofit charity event held in October to raise funds for the school’s programs for children with severe speech and physical impairments.

On Saturday night, September 15 at 8:00 p.m., the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and local affiliate  KEET-TV will have some of the biggest names in music participating in the all-acoustic concert held at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View.

This 25th anniversary concert special includes Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, David Bowie, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Petty, Paul McCartney, Dave Matthews Band, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Pretenders.

It’s free and part of KEET’s annual pledge drive.  Watch and enjoy.  Make a pledge if you like.  It supports public programming for the North Coast and the Bridge School for viewers like you.

 

You can catch Neil’s broadcast on air, cable, or satellite, on Channel 13 (or Channel 113 for those high-definition cable subscribers).

The Bridge School is a non-profit organization that ensures individuals with severe impairments achieve full participation in their communities through the use of alternative communication, assistive technology, and the development of
innovative life-long educational strategies. 

It is an internationally recognized leader in the education of children who use augmentative and alternative communication, and has developed unique programs and highly skilled trained professionals in the use of state-of-the-art technology.

The school was founded by Neil & Pegi Young.  Neil and Pegi’s sons Ben and Zeke both suffer from cerebral palsy.

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

Posted in Media, Music2 Comments

Mister Rogers Goes Techno

Did You Ever Grow Anything in the Garden of Your Mind?

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Gee, Wally.  Wait til the Beav finds out.

You remember him.  Mister (Fred) Rogers was a goody two-shoes puppeteer and ordained minister who became the iconic host of the TV program Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood in 1968.

With a degree in music composition, he wrote 200 songs for the 895 popular children shows, including the theme, It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.  He was honored with numerous awards and accolades for his dedication to children via television before hanging up his sweater and passing of cancer in 2003.

Now he’s been given a freshly knitted spin.  Sort of.  The smarmy sweaters are still the same.

The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) network asked MelodySheep “to revisit the extensive video libraries of PBS” and make a few musical tributes to their more well known figures– and this is what they came up with.  Mister Rogers goes remix racy with a mildly modern-techno beat.  Welcome to the new hood.

Mister Rogers would have been amused.  After all, he reportedly enjoyed Eddie Murphy’s Saturday Night Live take ridiculously spoofing him in “Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood.”  He also remarked he was glad the children had already been put to bed.

Not to be outdone by Mister Rogers, Melodysheep also did daring PBS remix renditions of fluffy French chef
Julia (“Bring on the Roast and Potatoes!”) Child  

…and quick-soothing Xanax pillow-talk artist Bob (“I Believe”) Ross.

You go, PBS.  Maybe it’s time for Big Bird to have an extreme makeover and digital nip ‘n tuck before Julia’s cleaver gets to him first.

 

Posted in Media, Music1 Comment

Who Was That Kid Singing During the Olympic Ceremony?

 

The Extraordinary Boy with the Angel’s Voice

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

That’s the question everyone has been asking.

He’s Humphrey Keeper.  He’s 12-years old.  And yes, he’s British.

He’s a fairly unknown lad who sang his heart and soul out during a solo rendition of England’s famous hymn, Jerusalem, at Friday’s opening Olympic ceremony.  With his fellow choristers, his hauntingly beautiful song and crystal clear voice brought silence and tears to the eyes and ears of thousands in attendance– and to the millions watching him live around the world.

It was an amazingly moving moment.

I’ve heard a dozen versions of Jerusalem; some good and others quite tepid.   This one, though, was spectacular and one of the best I’ve heard.  The boy’s got pipes.  His pitch, note, and timing were perfect.  He was composed, confident.  Others went so far as to say he ‘has the voice of an angel.’ 

The song Jerusalem comes from William Blake’s famous 1804 masterpiece poem that was composed to music by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916.  Originally entitled And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time, it has become one of England’s most beloved and well known patriotic anthems:

And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon England’s mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England’s pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green & pleasant Land

Chosen to sing live and unaccompanied at the Olympic ceremony, the young Mr. Keeper was surrounded by fellow members of the Dockhead Choir, a group of 40 children and teens from two parishes in South London. 

Mr. Keeper began with the first two stanzas of Jerusalem before the choir wove into the melodies of Danny Boy, Flower Of Scotland, and Bread of Heaven, each piece representing the four nations of the British Isles, until returning back to sing the final stanzas of Jerusalem together.

Something of a mystery, little is known about this young singer who came out of nowhere.  Sharing the stage equally with his Dockhead Choir-mates, he has avoided exposure or publicity.  Nothing about his background or life has been written.  Photographs of him are rare and difficult to find.  A solo photo doesn’t seem to exist.

The lad has faced his share of challenges reaching for this Olympic moment.  Never having taken a proper singing class in his life, he was “cast” as the lead chorister 10 days before the opening ceremony.   Take a close look at the top right picture.  Mr. Keeper is a member of REACH, an organization helping children and families suffering from a full or partial loss of limbs due to accidents or necessary surgeries.

Even London’s UK Daily Mail would only report:

Humphrey Keeper’s note-perfect rendition of Jerusalem was one of the most poignant moments of the ceremony.  But behind the spellbinding voice, viewers were unaware of the extraordinary journey the 12-year-old choirboy had made to take his starring role.

When Humphrey was born without a hand on a malformed left arm, his parents were ‘shocked and dismayed.’   His mother Samantha said that during the early months of Humphrey’s life she was ‘worrying about the challenges he would face.’

Before the Olympic performance, Humphrey had only sung as a ‘background’ chorister in his school choir.

But on Friday, the stadium fell silent as he sang the first chorus of the English anthem.

Humphrey’s father Lee Keeper, of Forest Hill, South London, said he was ‘extremely proud’ of his son, adding:  ‘Humphrey has been loving all the attention.  And why shouldn’t he be?  He did brilliantly.’

 You can decide for yourself after listening to Mr. Keeper and the Dockhead Choir’s song in the Isles of Wonder link above.

The first hour of the opening 2012 Olympic ceremony with Mr. Keeper and the choir can be found here, starting about one and a half minutes in.  The whole ceremony, if you didn’t catch it, was a dramatic eye-opening number orchestrated by English film maker Danny Boyle illustrating England’s struggles moving from an agrarian society to one dominated by the Industrial Revolution, which Blake’s poem purposefully underscored.

And we’d be remiss if we didn’t include another famous and snappier Jerusalem rendition banned by the BBC done by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer—but unfortunately without Mr. Keeper’s fine voice.

He may be unknown, he might only be 12, and he may suffer from a serious physical challenge, but the young Mr. Keeper couldn’t be kept back from delivering his greatest given talent of all:  his voice. 

His stunning performance, done live for the first time before an audience of millions, was  truly a rare and remarkable achievement to behold.  Mr. Keeper and the Dockhead Choir’s Jerusalem has become a You Tube hit throughout Europe.

As the world’s athletes earn their 2012 Olympic medals, Mr. Keeper certainly deserves a special medal to call his own.

* * * * * * * *

Photo credit:  the Archdiocese of Southwark

(Thank you, Sue.  For you)

Posted in Music, Scene1 Comment

Sentinel Presents: Radios In Caves – Live At The Works

 

Keeping up with the up-and-coming bands of Humboldt County, Sentinel Presents brings you the alt-rock of Radios In Caves as they impress the crowd at The Works record store during the final Arts Alive! of 2011!

Filmed live in Eureka, CA on December 3, 2011.

Produced by Charles Douglas in association with the Humboldt Sentinel.

http://www.charlesdouglas.us/
http://www.humboldtsentinel.com/

Produced at Access Humboldt utilizing community media.

http://www.accesshumboldt.net/

All rights reserved, HumboldtSentinel.com. License available under Creative Commons 3.0.

Posted in Music, Sentinel Presents0 Comments

Sentinel Presents: Another Climb With The Compost Mountain Boys – Live At May Day

Sentinel Presents brings you the fourth in a series of performances at the May Day Festival on the Humboldt Bay waterfront, with another set of original and traditional bluegrass hits from the Compost Mountain Boys!

Filmed live in Eureka, CA on May 7, 2011.

Produced by Charles Douglas in association with the Humboldt Sentinel.

http://www.charlesdouglas.us/
http://www.humboldtsentinel.com/

Sound engineering by Mo Hollis.

http://www.reverbnation.com/mohollis

Produced at Access Humboldt utilizing community media.

http://www.accesshumboldt.net/

All rights reserved, HumboldtSentinel.com. License available under Creative Commons 3.0.

Posted in Music, Sentinel Presents0 Comments

Sentinel Presents: Grandma Dolf – A Thanksgiving Reunion

For the opening of our new season on Access Humboldt, Sentinel Presents brings you a special reunion of Old Town’s convention-assassinating wildcats, Grandma Dolf, whose all-original experimental sound is unlike anything heard before!

Filmed live in Eureka, CA on November 26, 2011.

Produced by Charles Douglas in association with the Humboldt Sentinel.

http://www.charlesdouglas.us/

http://www.humboldtsentinel.com/

Produced at Access Humboldt utilizing community media.

http://www.accesshumboldt.net/

All rights reserved, HumboldtSentinel.com. License available under Creative Commons 3.0.

Posted in Music, Sentinel Presents0 Comments

Sentinel Presents: Pony Time – Live At The Little Shop Of Hers

Posted in Music, Sentinel Presents0 Comments


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