Posts Tagged ‘harp’

Asakiyume writes that an old friend visited her and brought along an unusual harp. Asakiyume explains that the nyckelharpa is “a Swedish musical instrument that’s both keyed and bowed.”

That sounds harder than walking and chewing gum. Even the hurdy-gurdy that I hear in the subway doesn’t look as hard as that sounds, and the hurdy-gurdy involves keying and cranking.

“It’s older than the violin,” Asakiyume says of the nyckelharpa, adding, “my friend tells me there are old tapestries and paintings showing the angels playing these nyckelharpa in heaven.”

(Readers of this blog will note that I can seldom resist tidbits about Sweden. Egypt is another favorite. Both for family reasons.)

Here is Asakiyume’s friend playing the nyckelharpa.


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I wonder if this laptop bag would have helped my friend Kai in Barcelona, where he was robbed twice on one trip.

It’s a bag that has an alarm and strobe lights you can activate quite easily, but what if you don’t know your bag’s been stolen?

Personally, I think it would be more useful to have a magic harp, like the one Jack tries to pinch in “Jack and the Beanstalk.” I like the idea of possessions that know when they are being stolen and call for help.

In case you have forgotten the details, check out Wikipedia.

After climbing the beanstalk, “Jack is hidden by the giant’s wife and overhears the giant counting his money. Jack steals a bag of gold coins as he makes his escape down the beanstalk. Jack repeats his journey up the beanstalk two more times, each time he is helped by the increasingly suspicious wife of the giant and narrowly escapes with one of the giant’s treasures. The second time, he steals a hen which laid golden eggs and the third time a magical harp that played by itself.”

If I can’t have magic, I think I would at least want a gizmo that can activate the bag’s alarm from a distance as soon as I realize it’s been stolen.

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The Hip Harpist I wrote about before has a lot of interests, about which she both tweets and blogs extensively. An especially kooky interest is her Burnt Food Museum.

She explains: “The museum was founded in the late 1980’s one night when Deborah put on a small pot of Hot Apple Cider to heat, then received an unexpected . . . fascinating . . . and very long phone call. By the time Deborah returned to the kitchen, the Cider had become a Cinder and thus the first, and perhaps still the most impressive, exhibit: Free Standing Hot Apple Cider was born.

“Since then, countless other works have entered the museum, such as Thrice Baked Potato, ‘Why Sure, You Can Bake Quiche in the Microwave,’ the indestructible ‘Mmmm……Soy Pups,’ and the lovely matching set of Pizza Toast.”

Like the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA, the world’s only museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition, and celebration of bad art in all its forms), the Burnt Food Museum gets a lot of press in the mainstream media for sheer kookiness. These cultural institutions are both in the Greater Boston area.

Don’t let anyone tell you Boston is staid.

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For several years now, there has been a concert series right in the middle of all the comings and goings at Boston’s busiest Amtrak Station. Sometimes chamber music is played, sometimes it’s movie music, sometimes it’s cabaret. The concerts go from 11:30 to 12:30, and people just wander in and wander out. It’s great to see the look of surprise on travelers’ faces and the cellphone cameras being whipped out. Chairs are set up for those who want to sit to listen, or to eat their lunch. This year’s schedule is here.

Today we heard jazz harpist Deborah Henson-Conant, who has a website with a great URL, www.hipharp.com. She plays a small, 11-pound, blue electric harp from France and dances and sings while playing blues and jazz and songs she wrote. She has been called the Jimi Hendrix of harp and had us all singing along.

See the demo. It starts out with an original song that she also performed in South Station today.

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