The Sound of Music

Friday was Sports Day at our little school and the high school kids got to participate in 47 blissful minutes of the sport of their choosing: basketball, soccer (of course), ping pong, reverse tag and the very popular “Dance Verandah”. (Yup…dancing on a verandah). One boy, a grade 11 student, played his entire soccer match plugged into to his i-pod; I was amazed that his little white i-buds (I know… I’m making that name up but it seems appropriate) never once flew out of his ears.

The kids are always so amused to hear that DP and I actually still pay for our music. “Oh no you don’t.” But YES we do. The i-tunes store is our connection to all that is both hip and new in musiclandia and this is creating a shift in our buying and listening patterns. I used to be an album-kind-of-girl. I remember the excitement I felt when I first saw the listening stations at the newly built Barnes and Noble in McAllen, Texas. The music section of B&N was like our heaven on earth. DP would spend hours browsing entire sections of the alphabet; this may be how we found the “Be Good Tanyas”. We bought our cds based on the strength of the entire album… it was okay if one was not wild about one or two tracks but we were not people who spent 15 US dollars for one hit. Never!

Fast-forward five years and a move to Spain. Enter i-tunes (stage left).

Buying our music online has changed everything. For Valentines Day DP gave me two “mixed tapes” (except that they were on cd) of music he has downloaded from i-tunes. Not albums he has downloaded… but mostly individual songs by mostly obscure artists. We are part of the new generation of pickers and choosers. Our music-listening life is rich and varied and I often have no idea whose music is flooding our apartment.

Here’s what we are listening to right now:

1) “Asking for Flowers” by Kathleen Edwards
Edwards is an Ottawa girl, born in 1978. (Maybe it’s just me but, whenever I hear about a wildly successful person born ten years later than I, my default response is to feel old… perhaps I should train myself to feel more motivated). I first heard Edwards’ song “Hockey Skates” on the soundtrack of a Canadian film called “Men with Brooms”. (Thanks, mom. That cd was a great gift).
i-tunes users comment on “Asking for Flowers”:
“She’s as Canadian as hockey and as brilliant as Joni…”
“Goodnight, California is probably the best Blue Rodeo song that Blue Rodeo never wrote.”
“In case you didn’t notice, we love this album.” (From i-tunes Canada staff)
I also recommend her first album called “Failer”.

2) Soundtrack to “Once”
If you have not seen this movie, rent it this weekend! (We actually bought a copy from and had it mailed to Spain). It’s an Irish indie film about street music and vacuum cleaners and finding/keeping love. The main characters are played by musicians Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová… Oh, did I mention that the film is a musical? This cd is in constant rotation in my office… so much so that DP actually changed the cd a couple of days ago. My favourite tracks are “Falling Slowly” which won an Oscar in February, and “If You Want Me” although I suspect that my love for this song is connected to the scene in which Markéta Irglová performs it.

3) i-tunes podcasts: Stuart McLean’s “Vinyl Café” and “Q” with Jian Ghomeshi
It’s hard to be away from Canada for a whole host of reasons and CBC Radio is one of them. We now subscribe to free CBC radio podcasts of “Vinyl Café” and “Q” through i-tunes and it’s lovely to have a little bit of radio-free-Canada here in Barcelona. We recently listened to Jian Ghomeshi’s interview with Woody Allen on our flight to Budapest; the result was inappropriately loud laughter from our row and a much more relaxing flight for this somewhat reluctant flyer. (Canadian Music Trivia: Did you know that Jian Ghomeshi was a member of the band Moxy Fruvous?)

4) Spirit Week Slide Show
On Friday, during high school lunch in the caf, I ran a slide show of student photos from the week. 170 photos. The “oohs” and “aahs” reminded me of the fireworks on Canada Day. DP put together a collection of music to accompany the images:
– “Ordinary Day” by Great Big Sea
– “New Soul” by Yael Naim (See the video here)
– “Weighty Ghost” by Wintersleep (See the video here)

5) The Dance Verandah
Just so you’ll have an idea of what our high school kids are dancing to right now:
“The Macarena” (as seen above)
“Alcoholic Party” by DJ Kicken & MC-Q (the title says it all)
“Mueve la Colita” (See dancers “mueving their colitas” at a Hungarian dance club here)

So what are YOU listening to right now? Tell us… maybe we’ll buy it from i-tunes!


  1. i haven't an original musical bone in my body. i am a musical sheep…baa…baaaaa…. so, all my "i am listening to"s come from a variety of other blogs and friends. having said that, i am currently listening to-*Young Folks by Peter Bjorn and John*We Brave Bee Stings and All (album) and Like the Linen (album) by Thao (Nguyen)*Heretic Pride (album) by the Mountain Goats*The Crane Wife (album) by the DecemberistsCheers M! Tell DP I say hi!Love,Jenny

  2. Hey teacherwhy not try my favourites;Devon Sproule – Keep your silver shined – this one is worth buying the whole album. also love Tom Baxter – his new album Skybound is pretty good but also love Feather and Stone. for the Canadian connection you might like The Great Lake Swimmers me know if you like themHeather

  3. @singwallThanks for the lovely compliment about my blog but I am not ready to think about advertising yet.@JennyThanks for the recommendations! I am familiar with the Decemberists (I like this album) but the others are new to me. I shall check them out tonight. I especially like the title "We Brave Bee Stings and All". Fantastic!@HeatherI really like the "Great Lake Swimmers" (great name for a band)… learned about them on CBC radio at home. I will check out Devon Sproule and Tom Baxter and let you know what I think. Thanks for the suggestions!

  4. Thanks for the tips T.G.I am currently stuck on David Gray's Greatist Hits … just hit replay … my neighbors will sneak in an steal the disk soon – I am sure they are tired of listening to it – I'll try out some of your suggestinos and maybe give them a break.CJ

  5. Hey CJ!I am very excited that the Ottawa Blues Festival line-up has been released (you know how anxious I get about the line-up). We are keen to see Matthew Good and Kathleen Edwards live. I also saw that Keb Mo will be back… that should make you happy!I don't think I wrote about this in my post but I have been loving the soundtrack to Ethan Hawke's film "The Hottest State". I don't own the cd yet (it's on its way from Amazon) but I have been listening to five tracks on My Space at Feist song might be my favourite.

  6. Hey MsMcD,I am listening to:"No se como decirte", by Nena Daconte"Fidelity", by Regina Spektor"Sorry", by Tracy Chapman"Angry Anymore", by Ani Difranco"Dos Gardenias", by Buena Vista Social Club"Love is Only a Feeling", by The Darkness – not all at once, of course.By the way, I think I recognize myself in one of the pictures: )

  7. @AnnaHi sweet Duke-girl. You do recognize yourself in one of those photos… doing a little jig!I totally love your playlist. It's not every day that you find the Buena Vista Social Club playing alongside Ani Difranco! Eclectic and perfectly Anna-esque. Did you know that Ani Difranco is playing in Barcelona this autumn? I know that you are dancing to all of that fabulous music and that thought makes me so happy.

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