SOUNDTRACK: BALLAKE SISSOKO AND VINCENT SEGAL-Tiny Desk Concert #104 (January 17, 2011).
Back in April 2010, another kora player with the same last name (Yacouba Sissoko) played a Tiny Desk Concert with Regina Carter. Sissoko plays the kora and he is mesmerizing to watch (and to listen to). Vincent Segal plays the cello and he does things with that instrument which I’ve never seen anybody do before. It’s a great duo.
Together, the play some beautiful music. On the first song, “Chamber Music,” Sissoko provides both the lovely backing music as well as some fast plucking. And Segal keeps up and often outplays his partner.
For the second song, “Balazando,” Segal plays the cello like an upright bass and even plays a little bass solo (including some harmonics). Then when Sissoko starts playing Segal, plays such high notes that it sounds almost like a flute and even has a Chinese feel to it.
Before the third song starts watch as Sissoko tunes the kora (by twist ting the ropes that hold the strings in place). “Niandou” opens with Sissoko playing a fast melody (with an up close camera to really show his fingers). Then Segal play a lovely riff of high notes on the cello. The song ends with a very fast section–some quick bass playing on the cello followed by some very fast bowing before returning to the slow opening.
The fourth song features some cool harmonic bowing, the likes of which I’ve never seen on a cello before. The end of the song sees Segal strumming the bowl like a guitar–he can do it all.
Together, they make some beautiful music.
[READ: January 5, 2015] Moomin Volume 1
Inspired by reading the D&Q 25th anniversary book, I decided to check out the books that have been sitting in the children’s section of my library every time I go–Moomin! They are oversized and lovely books and since I’ve paused on Peanuts I thought I’d read some Moomin–which I have never read before.
It was fascinating to read in the D&Q 25th Anniversary book that Moomin started because Jansson tried to draw the ugliest creature she could think of. And it eventually morphed into the adorable round creature that we know as Moomin.
This book contains four stories. I feel like the strips are printed like an every day four panel strip. Each four panel strip is signed and numbered (but not dated) and most of them (but not all) read like they have a punchline at the end. So I’m not entirely sure what to make of the publishing run. Although the front pages state that it originally ran in the Evening News, London 1953-1959.
The four stories are Moomin and the Brigands, Moomin and Family Life, Mooim on the Rivera and Moomin’s Desert Island.
In the first we meet Moomin and learn that he has tons of relatives and guests staying with him. And it is up to his friend Sniff, (who is skinny and looks like a kangaroo or a rat, maybe), to help to get rid of them. Sniff is a classic naughty sidekick who works very very hard at not working at all. They try a few things to get rid of the people, eventually settling on Stinky, a black hairy creature who smells so bad that everyone flees. But then Stinky starts eating Moomin’s house (!) and so Moomin and Sniff search for a way for Moomin to get a new house. And this is where Sniff’s clever ideas to raise money come into play–creating a magic elixir (which goes horribly wrong), becoming a fortune teller, becoming artist and more.
This story also introduces us to Snorkmaiden, the female moomin whom Moomin falls head over heels with.
In book two, Moomin finds his parents! (it was in this story that I noticed how Jansson plays with the lines between panels–there’s some very clever details there. Moomin’s mom (Moominmamma) is a sweet woman who does housework all day and his dad (Moominpapa) is always bored and looking for adventure. And so after having been reunited, Moomin’s parents decide to run away and live in a cave for some excitement–this involves fleeing from Aunt Jane who threatens to disinherit them. And of course Sniff is there to take all the money he can.
“Moomin on the Riviera” sees the whole family hop into a boat and travel South to where the movie stars are. They get to a fancy hotel (they have no idea what a hotel is, which leads to many wonderful misunderstandings). They stay in a gorgeous suite and meet many celebrities (including a dog creature named Clark whom Snorkmaiden falls for).
How are they ever going to pay for their massive bill? And why is Moomin battling Clark in a duel? Meanwhile Moominpappa has made friends with an artist who is delighted to live a bohemian lifestyle like the poor Moomin family. There’s some wonderful class distinctions thrown around in this story. It’s quite funny.
“Moomin’s Desert Island” sees the family setting off (in their helicopter!) to an island picnic. The copter crashes and they must fend for themselves on an island. Moominmamma is prepared right away, of course. It’s on this island that they find evidence of their ancestors–tall thin Moomins with big noses. Naturally, those ancestors come to life.
This story also introduced the strange-looking Mymble and her cat.
All of these stories are weird and delightful with funny situations and absurd resolutions–pushing ideas to their logical extremes. I enjoyed them tremulously and am looking forward to more.