Listen

“So, Kate, what are you listening to lately?” is something that…well, actually, it’s something that no one has said to me ever. Alzo is the undisputed Expert in Interesting Music in the family, and maybe someday I’ll write a blog about what he’s listening to these days. But for now, since I’ve already posted pretty pictures for you to look at, I should probably post some lovely musical accompaniment to go with them. (Not all your senses will be engaged on this blog. I draw the line at cooking all of my readers a delicious meal. Sorry.) So here goes:

Skara Brae

 Skara BraeSkara Brae

I’m 40+ years late to the party with this, but I’ve recently discovered the one and only album recorded by an Irish band called Skara Brae. Skara Brae consisted of three siblings — Micheál Ó Domhnaill, Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, and Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill — along with one of Micheál’s college friends, one Dáithí Sproule. The eponymous “Skara Brae” (1971) was the first album to feature Irish-language vocal harmonies, and as such it was enormously influential. (I mean, sure, you had the Clancy Brothers and the Chieftans and the like running around in the ’60s singing “Danny Boy” and whatnot — but they largely performed in English.) The various members went on to either establish or participate in many of the most popular and groundbreaking acts of the 1970s and 1980s, including the Bothy Band, Nightnoise, Relativity, and Altan. Indeed, the case could be made with some justification that without Skara Brae, this never would have happened:

I saw an excerpt from this once on PBS. It was a song called “Acushla” in which Michael Flatley and his female co-lead circled each other and eyed one another suspiciously. That was it. It was really weird.

 

Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is a question I will leave you to ponder within your own heart, but the point is, Skara Brae’s influence continues to be felt even today, as three of the four members are still out there making music. The fourth, Micheál Ó Domnaill, died tragically young in 2006, and what a shame it is that I was just a preschooler in 1971, because he totally had it going on:

Double sigh.

Sigh.

The remarkable thing about Skara Brae is that the oldest of them was, like, 20 years old when they recorded this album. Maighread, the youngest, was still in high school. What were you doing when you were in high school? Probably not this:

Also, if anyone ever says “Cad É Sin Don Té Sin” to you, it’s not the worst thing they can say, but it’s not exactly…polite. Just saying.

Panda Bear

I heard this song on satellite radio on the way home from one of Hoot’s basketball games and was immediately taken with it. It’s catchy and hypnotic. Enjoy “Boys Latin”:

 

Gettin Mah Dork On

Yeah, I like Taylor Swift’s new album, and believe me, no one is more surprised about that than I am. I mean, just look at her. She’s clearly a snippy little blonde prom queen with a magnificent case of Resting Bitch Face:

Bitca Taylor

She doesn’t actually care what I think.

She also writes — as she herself would put it — hella entertaining songs, and I rather suspect that she’s totally In On The Joke. Ladies and Gentlemen…Blank Space.

So that’s what’s on my iPod these days. What about you? What are you listening to? Recommend some new music for me!

Here’s Skara Brae to play us out:

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